I spent many years putting off something inevitable – Buying a “man bag”. I needed something that could be used every day and would double as a small range bag when required. You see I have to know where my stuff is at all times. I used to go through pocket checking rituals multiple times a day! I see a lot of guys stopping in the street and doing that.. Phone – check – wallet – check – keys – check.. So I decided to opt for a bag that was large enough to act as a day bag for essential items but not so cumbersome that I would regret bringing it out with me.
Jumbo LEO Versipack.
After a few days spent browsing the internet for suitable candidates I settled upon the Versipack range from rugged gear makers Maxpedition. Maxpedition was started in 2003 in the garage of the founder. It has rapidly gained a reputation for producing really tough gear that can be relied upon. The Versipack range is actually designed for the concealed carry of a pistol but it also has plenty of features to please those who do not carry a gun. I live in the UK where handguns are mostly banned (only the criminals can have them..) so for me it was not going to be used for concealed carry. I would be using it as a range bag though so any features that could assist with that would be useful. I ended up settling on a model called the Jumbo LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) because it seemed to offer the features I required.
The Versipack Jumbo LEO fully loaded on a hike across the South Downs.
The bag is made from PU coated 800D nylon. The material is very strong and water resistant. These bags are not 100% water proof. If you drop it in a stream water will get in as they are designed with rapid access in mind (the top cover is a simple flap). However I have spent days out in rain and snow and have never had anything get wet in the bag. I have also dragged the bag over/through a lot of rough surfaces and I can attest to the 800d nylon being extremely durable. The stitching, webbing and zippers have been equally tough and I have yet to see anything fail or break which is a suprise given the anmount of abuse it has had.
A close look at the stitching after 3 years hard use.. Note that the grab handle is probably the most used area on the bag and it is still 100% damage free.
The zippers were always a weak point on bags I have owned in the past. They usually start to stick and eventually break completely rendering the bag useless. No such problems with the Versipack. The zippers are smooth as the day I bought it. I have had zero problems of any sort with this bag in terms of quality and it’s ability to endure abuse which in my mind is pretty unusual these days..
The Versipacks are designed to be slung over a shoulder. The thick webbing strap features a comfy movable pad so nothing digs in. On the LEO model the strap also has a mobile phone pouch. I have never used it for a phone and it is worth noting that phones have changed so much in terms of size and shape that I doubt any new model would fit in it. You could use it for carrying something else which needs quick access.. I put my range cards and ballistic info in there when I go shooting. It is handy for sure. The main strap is fully adjustable and quick release. The rear of the bag is also nicely padded and has a smaller webbing belt allowing the bag to be comfortably secured to the body. I have run cross country wearing it this way and it works very well. The bag remained tight the whole way.
On the left side of the bag is a magazine pouch which will hold two rifle mags. I reguarly carry two AI mags or two 30 round Pmags and they are held securely. The elastic maintains its spring over time which ensures they don’t wobble in transit. For non gun people the mag pouch would make a great bottle holder which I believe it may be marketed as.
Two Pmags securely held and accessed rapidly via velcro pull tab.
The right side of the bag houses a large zippable pouch which I use to hold a light weight waterproof jacket. The pouch has molle loops on the outside which allow you to fix another pouch or admin panel. You can also use the molle loops for karabiners or to clip knives/tools/kit onto.
There is a useful front pouch with zip fastener. There are elastic loops within for handgun magazines. I use them to hold gunsmithing tools and so on.
The main compartment is a fair size. I would say you could fit about three standard bags of flour in there to give some realistic idea of size. My main compartment is ether full of ammunition or it is where my daily high use items are stored. Both back and front of the main compartment has pockets which are great for odds and ends which could get lost if left rattling around. The base of the main compartment has drainage holes which will prevent spillages from sitting in the bag or from rain filling it up and ruining your stuff. The main compartment is cushioned by other pouches and the rear padding which make it ideal for goods like cameras which you don’t want getting bumped. I reguarly use it for my Canon 7D and lens when out doing some product photography.
Using the Versipack for my photography gear, I just hang it off a tree to give me a convenient storage place while I work.
The main compartment is covered with a flap which closes with a quick release buckle (adjustable). The front of the flap is also a small zip pocket and has the cool maxpedition logo and velcro allowing patches and such to be added.
At the rear of the bag you will find a large zip. This gives access to a large pocket which has a velcro covering on the side which would be nearest the body. You may wonder what the velcro is actually for. The rear pocket is the “concealed carry” part of the bag. You would normally attach a holster and maybe a mag holder to the velrcro. Your pistol can then be carried without bulging or risk of falling out. Again I do not carry a pistol so I do not attach anything. I do find the large pocket Ideal for paperwork and I.D. and so far it has kept those things dry as I tend to just leave them in there year round. Just above the zipper to the pocket you have some more Molle loops running up toward the strap. You could add a pouch there or just use them for carring a knife or clipping Karabiers onto.
More Molle loops at the rear behind the large “concealed carry” pocket.
I paid around £80 for my Versipack. When you consider I have had 3 years hard use out of it then that equates to about £27 per year. I cannot see the bag being relegated to the bin anytime soon so that figure will only improve. I think that represents superb value for money.
I have happily used this for 3 years with absolutely no complaints. If my stuff had been damaged or the bag was uncomfortable or prone to breaking I would not have done – it is that simple. There are many items I have bought over the years which ended up in the back of a cupboard on being given away. The Versipack was not one of them. Even when Im not carrying it I have it sat in the boot of the car holding my precious stuff. I would definitely buy another one for basic every day carry. As a range bag it only works in secondary capacity. It is way to small for all my range gear and ammunition ect. I find it convenient two have a large back pack and the versipack with me at the range. That way the Versipack can carry all the bits I need at lunchtime and so forth saving me from lugging a big carryall into the cafe. The bags one downside is that it does not look “covert”. It looks very military and that may not be suitable for everyone or every environment. If any elite operators are bag shopping for luggage to be used on undercover missions then I am pretty sure this would not be the look they wanted. But lets be honest most of us are not spies or operators so I think that is a very mild niggle in the big scheme of things. Personally I like the look and I love the military type ruggedness that bags like this offer.
https://www.maxpedition.com/ for more info and dealer location.