Here at Calibre, we like to test things well, and in the case of the Mission Pack that’s meant packing this thing all over British Columbia, Alberta, Las Vegas (for SHOT Show) and hunting in Florida. It’s carried everything from overnight clothing to pistols to business paraphernalia. After the better part of a year’s heavy use, we’re ready to weigh in on Tasmanian Tiger’s largest day pack.
First off, the Mission pack is big. With 37 litres of storage space, it’s not quite a full-bore multi-day rucksack, but it’s pretty close. The majority of that storage space is divided between the two large “rooms” in the pack. The first compartment, which is carried closer to the wearer’s back, is slightly larger and incorporates a water bladder pocket, with a pass-through for the drinking hose. It also features a handy zippered pocket within the wall between the compartments that is accessible from this first compartment. Due to both this compartment’s position within the pack and the much heavier duty zipper fitted to its opening, we found that this was the best place to keep our heaver items.
The next compartment is a only a bit smaller, but features a lot more “organizers.” There are no less than four pockets within this compartment, all slightly different in size, ranging from completely unrestrained pockets to a mesh zippered pocket positioned at the top of the dividing wall. There’s also a small flat piece of velcro stitched to the back side of the pocket that is perfect for strapping a fixed blade knife sheath into, as its position in relation to the zippered opening of the compartment ensures it remains accessible without flipping the entire pack open.
The third large zippered compartment is a bit odd. Accessed by two vertical zippers concealed by the pack’s rear webbing panel, this third pocket does not have much in the way of depth, but is great for storing flat things… like magazines, hunting regulations and other publications. The final zippered pocket is even smaller still and is accessed by the horizontal zipper on the very rear of the pack.
Another zipper, positioned on the very bottom of the bag, conceals an integral rain cover, which unfurls and stretches over the pack to keep it dry in the rain. And the moment a drop of precipitation falls, you’ll want to do precisely that too, because the 700-weight Cordura that makes up the majority of the pack’s construction seems to feature no water repellency, and soaks through very rapidly.
Like all packs of this variety, it’s positively festooned with webbing and straps. But while it’s not really worth talking too much about the webbing, other than to say it’s there and it works, the straps are another matter entirely. First, the carry strap at the top is covered in a nice anti-slip rubber material that makes it quite a bit easier to get a hold of, while the bottom of the pack features two heavy nylon loops (one on each side) that make it equally easy to grab and go, regardless of which end you’re facing.
But, if we’re frank, the Mission pack’s compartments and organization are not groundbreaking. In fact, we found some of the features to be downright annoying. The flaps that cover and protect the zippers are quite soft and always seem to find a way to fold and obstruct the zippers so you can’t really just grab a zipper pull and open or close the pack without fighting with an errant piece of fabric doing its damnedest to piss you off. And the various divided compartments within are all relatively small and somewhat useless, as most of them can’t really be closed off from the rest of the pack.
So why is it still our go-to pack whenever we’re headed out the door for any length of time? Because it’s insanely comfortable. Yes, you’ll have to spend a little bit more time arranging your gear within to ensure it’s all packed away securely and smartly, but from the first moment you slip your arms through the thickly padded shoulder straps, it’s all worth it. With a perfectly contoured back piece distributing the load evenly and a nice ventilation channel running right down the spine, a thick waist belt that has two small zippered pockets as well, and shoulder straps that can be adjusted for length as well as tension to the top of the bag (pulling the bag closer to the back from the top) you can literally walk all day with a fully laden bag without complaint. We know, because we’ve done it on numerous occasions!