Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Very Budget Gear Review: Maxpedition Proteus Knock Off

So every now and then I'd be on Amazon or ebay and come across these no name, no brand "tactical waistpacks" and the wide assortment of related products from the great far east. Mostly I'd just get annoyed that my searches were full of this trash and added extra particles for my mental spam filter to sort through. Recently though I wanted some kind of waist pack to replace one I've used for years while hunting that was given to me as a gift. I find it very handy to have calls and ammunition and snacks and all assortment of other items right in front of me for easy access. So at a wallet friendly $15.00 I figured it was worth getting even if I had to write a post about how godawful it turned out to be. Maxpedition's gear, the way I understand it, is made it Taiwan and if you know anything about Taiwan, let's just say they aren't China. So I suspect this product is not made in the same place and I know there is another brand or two that does sell the same products out of the same factory under different names. I hang out over at the EDC forums and there are countless negative experiences with Maxpedition and it's not that I'm jumping on board or anything, it's just another reason for me not to care if someone rips off their designs. This one happens to be a rip of the Proteus and as far as I can tell, it's pretty much exact. Presumably there are short cuts taken. It's hard to determine the quality of the thread for instance, or really the quality of the webbing, buckles, etc. Often you can "feel" cheap plastic but the buckles appear to be somewhere between good and bad. Point is, there are some less than obvious places that corners can be cut that ultimately lead to a product that falls apart. Oh well. It was $15.00 and let's always keep in mind the end use. Buckles can be replaced, I am capable of using a needle and thread, and even the belt can be replaced. Let's get into it.
chines maxpedition knock off
If there is one thing they seen to struggle with, it's making MOLLE attachments. I don't know if the rings will work or not, haven't tried them, just not sure why they don't use webbing.  Overall though, the material seems pretty tough, being essentially the same as the backpacks we abused as kids for school. There are about 15 different ways to carry this thing .... well ok, maybe 3. The belt can be turned into a shoulder strap (Why? I dunno) and it has this goofy carry handle. The carry handle also doubles as a compression strap. I get the purpose, I just think it's mostly pointless. At first I was just going to cut it off, but it can be pulled around the back out of sight, so in case I do decide it's useful it's still there. You see it wrapped around the front in the picture at the top. It has a couple side release buckles which are necessary if you actually want to get INTO the pack. Me, I just like to take some shock cord and fashion my own easy to use compression system.

The webbing is thin but has that canvas look and feel so I'm not sure it's all that bad - it is better than the super cheap webbing we've all seen that is more like seam tape than anything else. You can see here there is a plastic stiffener and a snap for secure attachment. The snaps are ok, they won't last forever.

Some organization. Not sure what it's good for. For hunting I could see keeping tags and your license and sundry paperwork in here. A handful of turkey calls, crow call, and a squirrel call are probably going to live here. The side pockets are wide open with no organizational stuff inside, and a good spot for my butt-paper stash that one must always have in the woods.  

This just shows it for size. I think this is almost like a butt pack set-up only smaller. The light fighter concept comes in here with very essential comfort and hygiene kit right there always on you, nothing extra. You can also barely see how I wrap the carry handle around the back and buckle it so it's out of the way. 

A look at the material, stitching and zipper up close. The zippers are smooth feeling and chunky. The stitching is actually pretty clean. My overall impression is that it's surprisingly good for the coin spent and will serve just fine for my purposes. Deer season quickly approaches and we'll see just how it goes.