Home > Reviews > SOURCE ASSAULT 20L Daysack ~ Part 2

SOURCE ASSAULT 20L Daysack ~ Part 2

Jitka wearing my now well-travelled ASSAULT 20L earlier this month – as straps are adjusted for my broader shoulders it is hanging low on her – note how I make full use of the MOLLE/PALS system to expand it with pouches to suit the task in hand [© BM]

Throughout most of last year I trialled several daysacks as replacement for the six year old SOURCE ASSAULT 10 which I used as both a camera bag and airline carry-on luggage, writes Bob Morrison.

Since penning the first part of this review on the SOURCE ASSAULT 20L Daysack, supplied by UK Tactical, I have been off on another assignment with it, this time travelling across much of the breadth of Southern England from Devon to Kent and back entirely by public transport. For this three-day trip to Military Odyssey, the daysack, well expanded with different MOLLE/PALS pouches from various UK suppliers, carried both my spare clothing and my camera kit plus a netbook and a pack of several hundred of the new JOINT-FORCES.com A5 size flyers.

Military Odyssey configuration [© BM]

Those readers with current or recent military service will be well aware of how versatile the MOLLE/PALS ( Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment / Pouch Attachment Ladder System) expansion system is, as it has now been around for 20 years and is now used by most NATO armies, and many others around the globe, on their load carriage equipment. That being said, as not all of our readers will have been issued with this type of kit and others who use it might not necessarily change their kit around as much as I sometimes need to, possibly this article may be of interest.

With the exception of the ASSAULT 10 image taken in Jordan in 2016, the accompanying images illustrate two configurations which I used during this August, the first for a two-day trip up to visit the Hobson Industries HQ and factory in the Lincolnshire Wolds and the second for the three-day London and Military Odyssey trip. As I needed to take a couple of longer lenses on this second trip, and as a cold and very wet front was scheduled to blow through and replace the spell of warmer weather at the start meaning I would require my Gore-Tex Windstopper fleece for the return leg, plus as I fully expected to pick up a military ration pack or two at the show, the daysack was reconfigured and expanded to suit.

Leaving for Military Odyssey – there is a substantial Gore-Tex Windstopper fleece stowed in M-M and M-H is crammed with several hundred flyers – both pouches are Marauder [© BM]

In a follow-on feature I plan to look at MOLLE/PALS pouches, and the different means of attaching them, so in this article I will just mention them by name and to help identify them I have annotated the images:-

  • B-H denotes the small, but incredibly handy, Hexi Pouch from British Tactical – I have two of these.
  • B-V denotes the Vertical Utility Pouch from British Tactical which I use to carry an awkward size ‘white’ telephoto lens with hood.
  • D-D denotes a Folding Dump Pouch from Disciple Tactical – I also have a similar but slightly more bulky mesh dump pouch from Intelligent Armour.
  • L denotes my standard and non-tactical black Leatherman WAVE+ pouch – I picked up a surplus Osprey 9mm magazine pouch at Military Odyssey to replace this.
  • M-H denotes the Zipped Utility Pouch Horizontal from the Marauder range produced by Extra Range UK in genuine MTP.
  • M-M denotes Marauder Maxiload Front Pocket from Extra Range UK which massively increases capacity of the daysack.
  • P-F denotes an old Medic Pouch from the Highlander Pro-Force range which usually carries my netbook leads and peripherals.
  • T denotes a simple clip-on thermometer – when reviewing kit it is sometimes useful to know what temperature range I am testing it under.
  • W-SU denotes the Warrior Assault Systems‘ Small Utility pouch; I have two of these (plus the similar Medic Pouch from the Highlander Pro-Force) which I mostly use when in light mode.

The above pouch suppliers are all British and, with the exception of Marauder products which are made from UK MoD specification MTP fabric,all are manufactured from either MultiCam or MultiCam-compatible material.

In Jordan the load was lighter but I was carrying a water bladder and spare bottle [©BM]

Looking now at each of the three load configurations, starting with my original SOURCE ASSAULT 10 (now replaced by the updated SOURCE ASSAULT 20L, after six years of service) out in Jordan. During the weekend between 8th Annual Warrior Competition at KASOTC and the 2016 MESOC (Middle East Special Operations Commanders conference) I took a short two-day break in Petra where I returned to the seldom-visited Roman Soldier’s Tomb in the valley behind the High Place Of Sacrifice in addition trekking around all the usual sightseeing points. If you have never visited Petra, having been there three times, I can recommend it as it is one of those places one really needs to experience – especially if you go there on weekdays outside the main tourist season.

For this trip, as I was planning in both spending twelve hours in the field and climbing a lot on minor trails away from the main tourist route, I carried both a full 3-litre SOURCE hydration bladder in the rear compartment and an extra roll-up bottle of water clipped to the outside for emergencies. Some camera gear was stowed inside the main compartment along with a shemagh and a long-sleeved T-shirt, a compact camera and small accessories were stowed in the secondary compartment at the front, I carried my lunch in one Warrior Small Utility Pouch on the lower front face and my travel First Aid Kit in a similar pouch on the right side. As loads go, this was pretty light for me as I was ‘on holiday’.

The lead image was taken during my trip up to Lincolnshire on a warm and muggy day in August; I asked Jitka to carry the ASSAULT 20L for the photo but forbade her from adjusting the straps, hence it sitting so low. My quick release clip modification (see further down) can be seen in this shot.

Pouch arrangement for Lincolnshire Wolds [© BM]

For this trip, where I was carrying spare clothing, camera gear, netbook, peripherals & accessories and two novels, I attached a British Tactical Hexi Pouch either side with Disciple Tactical Dump Pouch underneath on the right, a Highlander Pro-Force Medic Pouch on the front face, and an Extra Range Marauder Zipped Utility Pouch Horizontal at the bottom, cinched in with the kip mat straps to stop it bouncing around.

For the London and Military Odyssey trip (daysack is modelled by one of the East-West Trading team at the show) I had to carry a lot more kit but did not want to be restrained by a bergen so I hung more pouches than usual on the ASSAULT 20L. On the way out my Windstopper Fleece was stowed in the largest pouch and, once the weather turned and I needed to wear the jacket, for the return trip I stowed away both US Army MRE and British Army SMR ration packs in there.

Pouch arrangement at Military Odyssey [© BM]

On the left side I attached my Vertical Utility Pouch from British Tactical and on the right I carried both a BritTac hexi pouch and my Disciple Tactical dump pouch. On the upper front I had the Marauder horizontal zipped utility pouch and below that the Marauder Maxiload front pocket cinched in with the kip mat straps. The two pouches on the front of the Marauder Maxiload were a second BritTac hexi pouch and the Pro-Force medic pouch. This combination, when crammed full, weighed a little under 20kg but was sufficiently compact not to cause major problems when travelling beneath The Smoke on the underground and it tucked neatly behind my seat on the three hours each way train journey to and from Waterloo (the station, not the battle – it’s Carl who is the Napoleonic re-enactor).

This time I have taped up the ASSAULT 20L waistbelt to form a lumbar pad but if necessary I can quickly revert it to standard configuration [© BM]

Turning finally to my modifications. I find that a daysack waistbelt just gets in the way so I seldom use one. In the end I cut the belt off my ASSAULT 10 as it was annoying me, but regretted this the next time I asked Jitka to carry my bag as she prefers to take the weight on her hips. This time, just in case, I taped up the belt (with MultiCam-compatible gaffa tape) after removing and stowing the buckle and strap keepers. Should I need to rig the belt again it should take just seconds, courtesy of my Leatherman, and in the meantime it doubles as a lumbar pad.

In my humble opinion every daysack should have one of these ITW Nexus quick release clips to allow fast dumping [© BM]

An ITW Nexus dump clip used on a couple of KARRIMOR SF rucksacks I had for review last year really took my fancy and as a result I have now incorporated one of these in the right shoulder strap of my ASSAULT 20L. By unclipping the sternum strap buckle and tugging down on the cord I can divest myself of my daysack in a couple of seconds with minimum fuss and without having to change strap length. However, being Mr Belt & Braces, when I asked a seamstress friend to permanently stitch in the new buckle I made sure she affixed the old one slightly higher so that if the new one should break in the field, which is unlikely I know as it is a good make, I could still use both straps.

My ASSAULT 20L was supplied by UKTACTICAL.COM who stock it, code number 40104, in MultiCam, Coyote Tan and Black. At under £80 with hydration bladder included it is, in my opinion, very good value for money.

{ images © Bob Morrison }

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