When I was in training and stationed stateside, I loved my assault pack. It was a nice size and had all the functionality I thought I needed. When I deployed, I needed to find a replacement because, for those of you who don’t know, the woodland MARPAT used for Marine Corps assault packs and ILBEs back in the day doesn’t blend in with shit in southwest Afghanistan.
That was how I discovered tactical backpacks that weren’t standard issue. I’ll admit I was a little bit pissed to learn how lame my assault pack was by comparison. Everything about the private-sector bags was stronger, easier to use, and about a million times more comfortable to carry. Shocking, I know.
With all the options available from big-name brands like 5.11 and Oakley, do we need another manufacturer jumping into the game? Can a new company with a weird name earn our business? I snagged a 39-liter tactical backpack from WolfWarriorX to find out.
First impressions are important, and this one left me feeling optimistic. Everything about the WolfWarriorX pack felt overbuilt and strong. The hardware and fasteners were large enough to make me confident that they wouldn’t fail two days into a field exercise or camping trip. The fabric felt thick, durable, and at least somewhat water-resistant.
WolfWarriorX used rugged 600D nylon to make this pack. That’s strong enough to hold gear inside and out, where MOLLE systems rely on a strong connection. This material was advertised as water-resistant––that’s a very broad term and we’ll get into it more later. Zippers were of the oversized variety, which I appreciate. I once had a zipper blow out on a relatively high-end camping pack and that was a huge let-down. Capacity is listed at 39 liters and the bag can be expanded to a cavernous 60 liters. That’s enormous and more than I’d want to carry with this level of padding and back support.
The bag’s storage and organization options were almost overwhelming at first. All the pouches and MOLLE felt borderline excessive. Beyond the main compartment is a midsize storage area for things like an extra layer of clothing or some chow, which is continuous, and a small compartment with secure storage for your wallet and keys. For day-to-day use, I stripped the shoulder strap pouches, hip belt, and velcro patch. After that, the bag felt less moto and more functional. Still, it’s nice to have the option to use those things when they’re necessary.
How we tested the WolfWarriorX tactical backpack
The first place I took this backpack was the gym (naturally). In order to look a little bit less like a boot, I peeled off all the unnecessary attachments, straps, and patches to make the bag fly as far under the radar as possible. With that done, I was pleasantly surprised by how normal it looked. Even the color seemed reasonable for a daily backpack.
The next test was hiking. WolfWarriorX attached the shoulder straps nice and low. That kept the pack high on my shoulder blades rather than hanging off the poor discs in my lower back––remember that spinal injuries, like all other injuries, are not service-related. That gave me high expectations for the bag’s comfort, and it didn’t let me down during day hikes.
One thing I noticed under heavier loads is that this pack feels like it was designed for smaller people. At 5-foot-nine and 185 pounds, I’m a pretty average size. When I had the shoulder straps positioned high and snug, the hip belt wrapped around my abdomen. If you’re any taller than I am, this pack probably isn’t going to fit well enough to support heavy gear.
I also wanted to see how well this backpack would hold together. I started by loading it full of bricks and doing 50 motivated jumping jacks (plus one for Chesty, plus one for the Corps. The commandant can do his own jumping jacks). The bricks took a beating and I don’t know exactly which of my deficiencies needed correcting that day, but I assure you that one or two were hazed out of my body by this test. After emptying the bricks, I zipped up the main compartment and ran a hose over the bag to give it a good soaking.
The stress test left the bag no worse for the wear. You can expect the padding and support to become an issue long before the seams and fabric. As for the water, you’d be wise to pack a garbage bag if rain is in the forecast. There was enough of a waterproof coating on parts of the backpack to keep light rain out, but most of the water ran right inside.
What we like about the WolfWarriorX tactical backpack
Holy organization, this bag has a place for everything. Hydration system pouch, MOLLE, elastic straps inside and out, mesh side pocket––it’s all there. Inside, there are pockets for everything from your CAC to your laptop, and a clip to keep your keys secure when you open the front compartment. Best of all, these features are relatively light and low-profile so they don’t get in the way when you don’t need them.
Durability was another strong point. I’d feel confident about this pack’s longevity in a demanding environment. Let’s not forget that it costs less than a handle of Gentleman Jack. I’m all about saving money, and WolfWarriorX packed a decent bang for the buck into this pack.
What we don’t like about the WolfWarriorX tactical backpack
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with the WolfWarriorX backpack. The expandable main compartment is very handy for traveling, but remember that it expands the pack outward and away from your body. That means that every ounce you add will feel heavier because it’s not positioned well. Large camping packs are tall and skinny for a reason––they keep the weight close to your spine and minimize rearward pull on your body. Go ahead and load this bag up with clothes, but don’t plan on using the expansion feature to lug around belts of 240 ammo.
Compartments for hydration systems should be standard on any backpack designed for the outdoors, so credit to WolfWarriorX for including one. The zippered pouch and elastic drinking tube opening are well-placed. What they forgot was a way to hold the tube down once it’s installed. You could easily rig up a velcro strap or a piece of tape to hold your drinking tube to one of the shoulder straps, but that should have been part of the original design.
The WolfWarriorX pack might be a bargain, but only for the right buyer. If you’re shorter than I am at 69 inches (nice) and don’t need to carry more than 30 pounds or so, I don’t see why this wouldn’t be worth a try. If you’re a tall person, sizing might be an issue. Loading this bag with heavy gear will take a toll on your body in a hurry as a result of the shape and lack of support.
Don’t forget that there’s more to being tactical than carrying as much gear as possible. Buckles and attachments are great, but you’ll need to spend some time securing all the loose ends on this bag to reduce catch points and maintain noise discipline. Take care of that with some electrical tape, and you should be in business.
FAQs about the WolfWarriorX tactical backpack
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s additional brief.
Q. How much does the WolfWarriorX tactical backpack cost?
A. That’s the best part: this pack costs less than $40 on Amazon. At that price, I’d give a lot of backpacks a chance and be prepared for them to fall apart. I certainly wouldn’t expect one to be this sturdy and well-designed.
Q. Can I use my own hydration system?
A. You sure can. This pack has a built-in compartment for a standard-sized hydration bladder and an elastic opening for the drinking tube. One thing I wish it had is some way to fasten the tube to one of the straps. Having a hydration system is a lot less handy if you have to wrangle an insubordinate drinking straw every time you want a sip.
Q. Is this bag approved for use while in uniform?
A. That will ultimately depend on your command and the general mood of your particular SNCO. WolfWarriorX went out of the way to make this pack military-friendly by offering it in the current and previous Army camouflage patterns, coyote brown, olive drab, and black. There’s also a color called “shallow green ash” that could work with whatever the Air Force is wearing these days.
Q. Would this be a decent camping backpack?
A. For shorter camping trips and day hikes, this is definitely something I would consider using. It’s heavier than something like an Osprey or Deuter, but it’s also built to a heavy-duty standard that will probably absorb bumps and scrapes better. Strap construction makes a huge difference during a hike, and these are positioned well to give you a comfortable trip as long as you keep the weight reasonable.
Q. This all sounds great, but is there a place to put all my moto patches?
A. Yes, there is velcro. Yut/hooah/get some!
Got questions? Comment below & talk with T&P’s editors
Scott Murdock is a Marine Corps veteran and contributor to Task & Purpose. He’s selflessly committed himself to experience the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader.
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