Review – Dutch Army Backpack

For a while now, I’ve been looking for the perfect backpack to complement my sniper loadout. This may very well be it…

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I’ve got the camo suit, got the dirt cheap but highly effective webbing which I’ll review soon, and that’s pretty much it as far as a skirmish loadout goes. But for longer events, or days when I want to be able to go out and stay out, I need a bit more capacity. But without lugging a full bergen around.

 

This is one of those 50l molle packs you find all over the Internet and is my current “safe zone” bag (it carries all my kit to and from site). Specifically its a Miltec one from military1st.co.uk in Kryptek Mandrake, which was good quality and reasonably priced. Now on the whole I really can’t fault this bag. It has good sized compartments, is well made, and well thought out. As you can see, I’ve added a few pouches on to increase capacity and as well as airsoft, it serves as my go-to for camping with the family. As a result, I really don’t want to glue 3D vegetation all over it and as an in-game bag, it does have one minor flaw – it’s massive, especially depth wise (2nd photo). It would get stuck entering doorways, and sometimes caught on vegetation where I didn’t realise how far back it protruded. It does have straps to tie the pack down, but it still flaps about a bit. I needed something new, and better suited.

The requirements I decided on for a sniper pack were therefore –

– Needs to have enough capacity to get me through a 24hr event. Ideally a 35-40l pack. It’s a weekend, not a week. Sleep kit and rations only.

– Cheap, because I can’t bring myself to glue leaves onto anything expensive. And durable, which was definitely pointing at surplus kit.

– With attachment points in case I need to add extra kit, like a sleeping bag. I’d rather have something like a sleeping bag carried externally, where it can be unclipped, than have to carry a bigger bag which would be unnecessary without it.

For anyone who reads my blog, you’ll know I love old British Army DPM kit. I grew up with it and I’m a big fan of the pattern ahead of most modern ones. Army kit is built to last (it has to), but since the change to MTP it’s not as easy to find. However, the Dutch army also do DPM kit and I’ve been impressed with their kit in the past, so I picked up their issue Daysack to try out, and it doesn’t disappoint…

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Descriptions do vary of this pack, being from 25-40l, but I’d guess it’s around 35l. 

The first thing I noticed was the three rows of ALICE looped across the front of the pack. It’s possible to attach molle pouches, and obviously the older ALICE pouches, so I can easily add some on if I feel the need to. It’d also be very easy to strap a sleeping bag onto the pack, or whatever else the mission requires. From a camouflage perspective however, these will make excellent attachment points for camo netting, to which I can add leaves/raffia/local veg to. And that’s a huge plus.

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Quality wise, this is made from very tough cordura and feels really well made. Some sites advertise it as waterproof, but I would disagree. I’ll test it out in wet weather and do a follow up (it is very tightly woven but doesn’t feel like it would bead water on the surface, although the main compartment does have a plastic coating). It’s Grade 1 surplus, so does have a couple of names written on, some glue residue which I’ll try and scrub off, and has been lightly used, but there’s no damage anywhere. I wasn’t able to find any “new, in packet”, but it’s in good condition. The straps look unusual, but it’s ridiculously comfortable once it’s on, so hats off to the Dutch for that. The bag sits quite high on the back; I’m 6’3″ and it goes from the middle of my back to the middle of my head, but this should help break up my head and shoulders outline once I get some camouflage attached, and puts the weight high which is where you want it. The straps also pull inwards across your chest, so you can still shoulder a rifle nicely.

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On the inside of the lid of the bag are two elastic loops, which could hold a tarp nicely or whatever else you might need in a hurry.

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Inside the pack is split into compartments. I really like this for keeping kit organised, although it prevents stuffing something large inside. The other advantage would be being able to pack half your kit (maybe a single day event) into just the section nearest your back, and not have it jump around or all sink to the bottom of the pack. There are extra pockets inside again for those small but important bits.

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That buttoned compartment holds a sheet of foam to add rigidity and padding.

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Side pouches, x2. Press stud closure, and deep enough to take a flask with room to spare. I’m planning on using one for a Swedish Army mess kit, plus rations, and the other for a bottle of water. Still leaves the full of the main compartment for whatever you need.

On the whole, this is a really solid and well thought out piece of kit, originally designed for Dutch airborne troops, and whether you’re an airsoft player or wild camper, I highly recommend it. It was around £20 off ebay but is pretty easy to source from a lot of military surplus sites.

I’ll do a guide in the near future on how I go about camouflaging it.

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