Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sitka Gearslinger Maxpedition - Excellence in Every Day Carry

A few months ago I picked up a pack I have been eyeballing for a long time.  It is called the Sitka and is part of the Maxpedition Gearslinger Series.  I have found it to be perfect for my "every day carry" (EDC) needs.  I purchased it to use as a multifunction bag, with the main purpose to serve as a bag to get me to work and back home. 

My wife and I understand that the world is becoming more unpredictable We see more evidence on a daily basis that it is better to be ready for an emergency.  I have taken the motto of a former employer to heart, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst."

A fresh example of being unprepared is the tragedy witnessed in the aftermath of the storm Sandy that hit the New England states.  Unfortunately, much like Katrina, days into the disaster many people received no support.  No food.  No water.  No suitable shelter.  No clothes.  They were completely unprepared.

So, with that in mind, you can call me "paranoid" if that makes you feel better...but honestly I could care less.  If something ever happens, whether my vehicle breaks down, natural disaster, or any other crazy event, I want to have some level of preparedness to get back home.  That is where this bag comes in.  It is just another tool in the toolbox.

My EDC bag contains:
Second strap attachment

First Aid/CPR barrier
Emergency poncho
Emergency whistle
Extra magazines for EDC weapon
Sanitizer hand gel
Map of surrounding area
Extra cellphone charger
Emergency cash
Energy bars
And misc. items

It also has enough room that since I use it for work, I can carry my lunch and 32oz Nalgene bottle and my Nook so I can read during my lunch break!  The bag also has a bit of a nostalgia to it just in its namesake "Sitka", which was the Russian capital of Alaska when it was still in their ownership.  Sitka is in the same area of Alaska, the Southeast panhandle, as my hometown of Skagway, Alaska.

Sitka comes in many color options; Black, OD Green, Khaki, Foliage Green, Khaki-Foliage, and ACU-Compatible Digital Foliage Camo (for a small fee). I have the "Right-Side" carry version, and it is available also in left for the southpaws of the world.  What's the difference?  Well, the right side version has the shoulder strap on the left, so users can access the bag from the right. 

There is a second strap that can be utilized if needed for additional
support.  I don't use it often, but if I was going to be wearing my bag for an extended period of time, I would probably use it as it helps stabilize the bag to the body.  This second strap can be housed inside the concealed carry pouch, and can be pulled out through a small formed hole and attached with a buckle.  This buckle happens to also have an emergency whistle built in.

The benefit from having the bag with a single strap, is that it is designed to be rotated to the front of the body, where you have access to many of the compartments, including the concealed carry compartment.  The compartments and features are as follows:

Top front:
4" x 7.5" x 2"
with internal
Bottom front:
8" x 7.5" x 2"
with internal
Main compartment:
15" x 8" x 3"
with internal

Closer look inside main
Front of bag,
showing compression
straps with buckle.
reservoir pouch.

2nd optional strap attached. 
The buckle has an affixed
emergency whistle.
Main strap with high
strength UTX  Duraflex
Font bottom pouch zipper
pull with security snap

Total capacity: 618 cu. inches.
Total empty weight: 2.3 lbs.
Grabbing the side carry handle
Attached carabiner to
body strap
Maxpedition also makes a holster specific for their bags, and is used in the concealed carry compartment.
This compartment can alternatively be used for for a 100oz hydration reservoir.

The front pouch has a theft deterrent device built-in to capture the zipper pull to make it more difficult for someone to access the pouch without alerting the wearer.  There is also PALS modular webbing to attach your accessories or other Maxpedition pouches. 

The fabric has Teflon Fabric protector for dirt and grime resistance and makes it easier to clean the bag.  The nylon fabric is also 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant.  YKK makes the high strength zippers and tracks.  UTX-Duraflex buckles are used low sound closures.  A large attached carabiner is also found on the front body strap.  There is an attached handle on the side of the bag for an alternate carrying option.  I plan on wrapping this handle with paracord.

Other features:
    Wearing the "Sitka" without 2nd strap
  • Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
  • High tensile strength nylon webbing
  • High tensile strength composite nylon thread (stronger than ordinary industry standard nylon thread)
  • #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
  • Internal seams taped and finished
  • Paracord zipper pulls
  • Stress points double stitched, Bartacked or "Box-and-X" stitched for added strength
I have personalized my bag with a few Velcro morale patches (Certified Man Bag, Good Guy, and Mil-Spec Monkey), and I added a small Vecro section to my strap for an additional morale patch (Evil Grin).  I have also replaced the paracord on the zippers to an OD green color as it is easier to find the zippers.  The only paracord I didn't replace was on the conceal carry access point to keep it harder to see.

I am outrageously happy with this bag.  You can buy it from Maxpedition's website here, where it is listed for $138.99.  I did a little hunting online and found it for about $110, so search around for the right deal for you.  It is lightweight, and extremely comfortable to wear.  The Sitka goes with my just about anytime I drive away from the house, and it has come in handy, even if to use it for the occasional pain medication I keep in it, hand sanitizer, or my multi-tool.  I highly recommend this bag for EDC, but if you have any additional items to keep in yours, apart from what I have listed, you might want to look at some of the other Maxpedition options to increase your carrying capacity as 618 cu. inches will only fit so much.  The Maxpedition Kodiak Gearslinger has 1100 cu. inches of space as an alternative to the Sitka Gearslinger.