This tactical bag is unique in that it was developed and tested by professional field guides and is aimed specifically for that market. Currently, the majority of bags being used in the guiding industry were originally designed for the military, whose needs are VERY different from that of a guide!
Although I do not guide for a living, my work does involve being in the bush a lot and when the opportunity arose for me to test this bag, I accepted the challenge. Before starting the review, I have to say that I showed the bag to the owner of Klaserie Sands Safari Trails and I was hard-pressed to get it back from him!
Off the bat, I have to say that this is THE most comfortable backpack I have ever utilised. Most of those that I have used over the years have given me issues during outings. Not so with this one. Also, I was not left with sweaty clothing from the pack resting on my back. Keeping hydrated in the bush is imperative and to this end, the bag has been designed to carry a 3-litre bladder( the clip for the bladder makes it easy to hold it firmly in place, but at the same time make replacement simple and quick) plus two fairly large bottles on either side of the main portion of the pack. The professional guides that I showed the bag to were of the opinion that the Paracord handle was an innovative design addition. It is a great just-in-case feature and might come in very useful at some point during the life of the bag. I hope that the handle will be able to be purchased as an accessory. That being said, many of the guides that I have been working with recently seem to be able to braid Paracord themselves.
The bag has a 28L capacity, but the laser-cut molle design means that pouches can be added on in a number of applications. The heat-shrink around the cord on the zips is yet another innovative design addition as this can be a weak point with constant opening and closing.
There is the capability to lock one of the compartments on the bag. I suppose that would be seen as a deterrent rather than a ‘security feature’. But it was good to know that it was an option.
The bag has gone through several changes since the prototype was designed and to that end, the latest bag is constructed from an updated Cordura nylon to improve its water resistance. The drainage hole is a feature put in place at the request of the industry professionals.
Overall I found that the bag more than met my expectations and it did exactly what the designers said that it would. As a result of my experience with this product, my well-utilized 14-year-old pack has now been relegated to the cupboard and I will be using this product going forward. Not being a professional trails guide, I did not need to fill this with all the paraphernalia that guides carry…first aid kits, extra water and a plethora of other items that they are required to have with them on a walk. The bag was designed to carry those items comfortably and I have no reason to doubt that Riaan has made certain that it will fulfil that task.
Although it has been designed to be used in the bush, there is nothing stopping it being used in an urban setting. Aside from the water that it can carry, there is space for a laptop and all manner of electronic devices. This could even become a mobile office should that be necessary. And the comfortable wearing position means that it could be used when touring in cities or towns around the world. There might seem to be an inordinate number of straps, pockets and pouches, however, they can all be contained so that they do not become cumbersome or unsightly.
The bag was designed by working Field Guide and winner of the Safari Guide of the Year 2019, Riaan Fourie. If you would like to find out more about pricing and availability of this product and how to obtain it, contact Riaan directly on 0835547680. Also, look for the Lonely Bull Facebook and Instagram pages that are currently under construction.