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TACTICAL GEAR: Bag Whores – Which One Are You? Part 1.

The tactical gear bag, no Starbucks trip is complete without one

Unfortunately I collect too many things but fortunately my small flat forces me to swap things instead of dumping them in the basement after a several months.

This advantage allows me to always upgrade while patiently annoying good friends into forcing them to buy my used gear for a bargain… Welcome to my life!

There are several types of tactical-gear collectors (similar to the blade/cutler world) and I have lots of fun writing about them – they are fictional versions of people I know for real and you know for sure as well, so if you happen to identify someone it’s just pure coincidence:

– Mr. One-Piece-only:

He got one outdoor backpack, one city backpack, one heavy-used range-bag, one well-stocked BOB in his car, a few magazine pouches, and that’s it. He refuses to get any new bag because his old stuff still works.

Also most of his gear is in ranger-green, because he is truly old-school. Usually his wife/girlfriend patches things up. He favors Arc’teryx or Kifaru because they will last forever, Patagonia or Timberland for outdoor stuff, and some BlackHawk Industries pouches because that’s what his team got issued.

– Mr. Gear-Head:

He is the Mr. Potato-Head of the tactical gear industry. Running around with four kinds of paracord lanyards and all kind of attachments, he has modified all of his bags: either by patching them up with more Velcro or by adding/removing webbing.

You tell him a random Maxpedition product-number and he will respond why he made modifications to the upcoming, super-secret successor of this model. Of course he rotates his favorite EDC bag having all color/camo versions ever made.

He loves Maxpedition and Tactical Tailor, because he made some collaboration projects with them. Of course he is the gear-head everybody instantly recognizes at Urban Shield or in a Larry Vickers class.

– Mr. Gives-a-shit:

Yup, he got that super-expensive BattleLab jumpable backpack with laptop-insert and he also has a custom-modded AR15 in his office in Phoenix, AZ. He will never discuss gear (what for anyway?) as he just grabs the shit he needs from his friends within the industry.

He actually has no need for such gear unless he needs to store his Toughbook for a one-day trip flying business-class with United Airlines. He also happens to EDC a Panerai and a Strider he designed for the boys, but again he gives a shit as they are only tools to him. Favorite Brand? Right now it’s DBT/BattleLab, but why do you ask, stupid?

– Mr. Has-it-all:

You stand in his office wondering why he has this old EAGLE vest stored with the other vests in the third bin from the left. He smiles and takes out some prototypes Mr. John Carver made for him and some Delta guys many years ago.

In his car you see a selection from a Wal-Mart plastic bag over various Protech duffle-bags to the latest CamelBak backpack. And yes, he uses the Wal-Mart bag to transport a custom Vickers 1911 to a friend’s house in Mesa… His brands are EAGLE Industries and Protech pouches – the classics he uses since 20 years and already recommended to his friends at Fresno SWAT many, many years ago.

– Mr. Has-the-latest-only:

One black TAD Gear backpack is enough tacticool gear and somehow he flipped a gen3 for some profit on a forum while organizing a gen4 through a friend in San Francisco. He loves to discuss gear but actually has no real need for it – unless he goes to a shooting range once a year.

Most pouches are empty as he only transports his Apple  notebook in there. When you tell him about some of your used offerings in excellent condition and fair price he refuses, because he is looking for exactly the other model you don’t have in another color you’d never get anyway. Only TAD Gear for him, after he sold his CamelBak backpack because everybody has those now…

– Mr. Bought-it-on-a-forum:

He always finds some 90%-condition-like-new bags on various forums, but he is still looking for the perfect bag. He has three different variations of a BOB, but none of them fits his needs – either the OD color-shade is wrong, the Velcro is too small or not cross-quad-stitched, the AR-15 magazine-pocket does not fit his Garmin GPS, the shoulder-belt is too small, or some others important features are missing.

He got them all for a steal, though, and he’d love to flip one of them by offering it at 125% of the “suggested” eBay price only to you. He also favors brands nobody has ever heard off, but tells you long stories how many emails it took him to have that owner from that small shop place the Velcro patch one inch to the left – extra for him which makes this a custom model nobody else can get.

Now the forum patch looks awesome on the BOB, but the bag is still not 100% perfect! His favorite brands are Extreme Gear Labs, Jones Tactical, and maybe Triple Threat Tactical.


Me? Somewhere in between with a sheepish grin. I do not concentrate on one brand, as I love to test them all. Also I know various distributors here and there, which allows me to check out different brands and models.

I own pieces from nearly all the brands I’ve described before: Arc’teryx, DBT/BattleLab, EAGLE, Kifaru, Maxpedition, Tactical Tailor, TAD Gear, etc. I also jump between the extremes: from a discrete Grayman Arc’teryx Blade backpack to a screaming CRYE-pattern DBT/BattleLab messenger-bag used for the gym.

Be it a two-day business trip in Bosnia, a few weeks in Arizona, or simply staying home: I always love to experiment and adopt my gear. Some things stay always the same, like my two Maxpedition OCTA waist-bags for either running (black) or outdoor (desert tan).

In the second part of this series I will do something unusual: I will not describe why the EAGLE 3-day backpack beats a similar model from Kifaru, but I will concentrate on each company and what they are best known for.

It does not make any sense to describe certain models as preferences vary too much. Also one cannot compare a BOB with a duffle-bag or backpack. Basically I want to give you a guide what to buy where, when looking for the best – regardless if high-end or low-cost!

What type of Bag Whore are you?

TACTICAL GEAR: Bag Whores – Part 2
TACTICAL GEAR: Bag Whores – Part 3


~Lorenz “Lo” Szabo
Contributing Correspondent

Lorenz “Lo” Szabo is an Austrian citizen and tactical gear-head, helping US companies locate customers in Europe and parts of Middle East. His areas of expertise are body-armor, less-lethal, and low-light. He also consults end-users on special equipment and training. He loves coffee, cigars, and all kind of bling made from Titanium. He has a dislike for people using political correctness as a defense for their own stupidity. As he has written this all himself, it might not be true at all…


  1. Great article and I am guilty. Hey you got to have the latest gear to take tango out. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. I think I’m a one piece/ bought it on a forum type.

    My day to day EDC bag is an LBT EOD bag that I got off of ebay for a song (brand new – and that’s why I check for common typos). I actually don’t care that it’s LBT or setup for EOD, just that it’s roomy, well-built, low profile black, and lacks MOLLE webbing.

    My GTH bag is a ranger green tactical tailor 3 day assault plus pack that someone put some velcro on. Again, an eBay steal (and also never used), picked up for most of the same reasons as the LBT EOD, plus ranger green is versatile.

    I also have a woodland MOLLE asault ruck as a backup.

    Best part is retail I should have paid over $650 for all three bags. I paid less than $160 total for three quality packs.

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  3. It’s funny that this article came out as I’ve been scouring the maxpedition site for my next bag because my Thermite bag feels too small. I’m sticking with the maxped brand because I’m really happy with the stuff I have. But, I tend to have one bag and multi-use it.

  4. Ouch, I think I’m a combination of all of them. Only for me, it’s what I can get the best price on. I’m overall a gear junkie of all kinds.

    I’ve got my backpacking bag, hiking bag, edc bag, range bag, overnight bag, different bags for work/pleasure, laptops, you name it. Again, I’m not just a bag gear junkie, I’m an overall gear junkie. I’ve got bags, bins, pouches, gadgets, lights, knives, electronic gear.

    I realize that it’s more of a hobby for me (like I don’t already have enough expensive hobbies) and try not to let it become too much of an obsession. But I’m excited to see what you have in store for us next, I think it’ll definitely be a good thing for me to get some tips on choosing the right bag.

    Great article.

  5. Norm, we are exactely the same!

    I usually try to cut back on electronic stuff but can’t resist flashlight #7 or bag #8.

    Due to my extensive travels (with suit sometimes) I also bought a lot of bags that are “normal” like a garnment-bag or an awesome notebook ‘purse’. It’s all-black, simple and was part of a bigger set, where this notebook-bag was left as a sales item. Fortunately it goes good with other tactical bags I have, so I can take it with me regardless of wearing EOTAC or Hugo Boss! :-)

    Yours, Lo

    Ouch, I think I’m a combination of all of them.Only for me, it’s what I can get the best price on.I’m overall a gear junkie of all kinds.I’ve got my backpacking bag, hiking bag, edc bag, range bag, overnight bag, different bags for work/pleasure, laptops, you name it.Again, I’m not just a bag gear junkie, I’m an overall gear junkie.I’ve got bags, bins, pouches, gadgets, lights, knives, electronic gear.I realize that it’s more of a hobby for me (like I don’t already have enough expensive hobbies) and try not to let it become too much of an obsession.But I’m excited to see what you have in store for us next, I think it’ll definitely be a good thing for me to get some tips on choosing the right bag.Great article.  

  6. What is the od green bag that is the prop for this article?

  7. What is the od green bag that is the prop for this article?  

    Countycomm’s Bailout-Out-Bag. Actually an awesome bag for the money and would have been a keeper for me, if the company didn’t decide to copy another product which I love.

  8. I’m the guy that uses what he’s got, but window shops for news one daily. Good article.

  9. Yeah I’m sort of in between. Trying to switch to a less tacitcool look and using a Belstaff bag instead the selection that is stored in my closet now.

  10. IM the whatever i get for free guy…. i didnt see that one up there.. Whatever my current job provides for me is good enough.

  11. Yeah im Mr. Potato Head. So what if I like Maxpedition stuff that much. If I could have one of everything in every color I would.

  12. Sorry Gear Head, not potato head. Trying to watch the kids at the same time. By the way I just found out I can carry my 2 yr old in my Maxpedition vulture II ……… just saying its good stuff .

  13. I would never buy a man bag.. thats what they are ..but if anyone has a spare you can always give it to me.
    That way I save my street cred by not looking like a complete bisexual getting one from the shop.

  14. I would be a gear bag junkie. But the funds don’t allow it. I have a sneaky bag and a dakine backpack to carry my stuff in.

  15. I am totally a Mr.Potato Head. What scare me more is I have the same bag in the photo by MARTAC and it is set up the same way, with the exception of an extra blowout kit by the waterbottle!

    I just packed for a 9 day fly fishing trip in the Rockies and I used the US Army Green Duffle I was issued in 1985 and my Lowe Coutour 30 daypack I bought in 1995. Like the man said, it just works fine.

  16. BTW, I got my MARTAC bag from county.comm also. The thing is so strong I could carry a 44 lb. Kettlebell in it.

  17. Well, anybody got a toughbook case that goes on a Harley sissy bar?

  18. I fit ‘One-piece-only’ pretty well. I have three bags – an Arc’teryx Blade 21, a Kifaru Express, and an old Woodland Camelbak M.U.L.E, and about three pouches.

    I’d probably buy more if I could, it’s just these darn college classes are so expensive…

    Probably qualify for ‘bought it on a forum’ too.

    I really enjoyed the article, Keep ’em coming! DVM is top on my ‘must check every morning’ list.

  19. Too funny, I get a lot of gear to test. I also like not liking things. I am Mr. one piece. Before I got my Mission Pack from SoTech I never ran a bag for more than a few months. Been living out of it for about two years now. Most of the time it is 50% empty, filled with the normal Bag of Evil contents. The rest of the room is for mission essential gear, or stuff taken off of dead Zombies or other OPFOR.- George

  20. Guilty!

  21. @Geurgr M,dumb ? alert what is OPFOR

  22. my bob’s are fully packed 1 large alice bag and 1 med alice bag. its the gear i used before and its what i know

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