By Brandon Butler, Director/Chief Instructor, TRS
Propper has produced great clothing and gear for many years now, so it came as no surprise when they debuted a new line of bags to add to their outstanding product list in 2015. While Propper debuted several well-built and priced packs for 2015 (be sure to check back for more reviews on those later), we were blown away by the UC Pack, which Propper has made for the Marine Corps for a few years. So, what’s so great about the UC Pack and why do we love it?
The UC (User Configurable) Pack can be used for just about any task. With its low profile and back-hugging design, fast packing, hiking or working with this bag makes it easy to use. The options are endless.
At TRS we found that this pack makes a great medical bag with its user custom layout, wide opening, and low profile design. Its retaliative low cost and user configuration options as compared to other similar tactical medical bags make it our top choice. An example bag from North American Rescue retails for $650 empty. The UC bag starts around $110 with the option to add a ton of pouches to fit various needs. Our setup includes:
- 3 – 5×10 See Through Pouches,
- 1 – 4×10 See Through Pouch,
- 1 – 10×5 Elastic Organizer,
- 1 – 7×5 Elastic Organizer,
- 1 – 3 Channel Organizer,
- 1 – 6×8 Mesh Pouch and
- 1 – Adjustable Tool Pouch
The UC Pack, in our configuration and with all the pouches, retails at just under $200. A pretty good price considering how it can be used in multiple configurations.
This pack has many additional options to work with and can cover a multitude of uses. There are pouches for attaching to the MOLLE system outside the pack for more storage and a huge selection for attaching within the pack. The main compartment takes up most of the pack’s volume and an additional bottom pocket allows for more storage and can hold a rain coat or lightweight bivy (In our case we used the bottom compartment for our evac stretchers since it has quick access).We opted to keep the outside attachments to a minimum to reduce the profile and snagging.
The pack is very comfortable and low profile. I found that while hiking with it the pack distributed weight well, the shoulder straps were comfortable and I didn’t feel the need to lean forward nor did I feel off balance while wearing the pack. The inserts are relatively inexpensive and add to the ability to utilize the pack for whatever the task at hand. There is an area for a hydration bladder and attachments for a water bottle or Nalgene. Although the pack has some extra weight in comparison to “light hiker” packs, it is light enough for fast packing or tactical field use without slowing you down. All the available options makes the investment well worth the money since it isn’t dedicated for a single purpose and can be customized to the user.
Propper has definitely come up with a great design for this pack. It is a tried and true bag tested by Marines, now available to civilians. It is a great pack for those who like a tactical, durable, but adaptable pack that is not designed for a single purpose. Whether you’re looking for a medical pack, a day hiker or you want one bag that can be setup set up for multiple jobs, this is one affordable pack you can use for just about anything.
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