This bag has been my EDC for over a year now. It's by far the most reliable and customizable bag I've ever owned. I hope they bring it back into production.
So, I bought this pack, and 2 days later took it on a goruck. For those of you that don't know what that is, it is essentially the ultimate torture test for a backpack. You spend multiple hours doing all sorts of horrible things to your pack while it is loaded down with a 20 pound weight, 2-3 liters of water, and other miscellany. Having said that, this pack handled everything I could throw at it without any problems. I saw a few other reviewers complain about the strap stitching, but I had no problems with close to 30 pounds total weight on them.
So I have used the pack as both a standard backpack and a sling bag, and I think it functions well as either one. The sling bag is nice, as the access zippers are designed for ease of use while the pack is slung. I can easily get in the main and accessory pouches with the pack slung while I am walking. In the sling bag conformation, the extra strap tucks away behind the back pad nicely and doesn't create any uncomfortable bulges, even when I also had the kidney belt I added tucked in there as well. I did not use the stabilizer strap, as the pack felt fine without it. I ended up using the pack with both shoulder straps, as that was most comfortable for me. The compression straps on the side and bottom work fine, although I don't normally keep the pack full enough to need them. I do like the Y configuration of the bottom compression strap, as it could be used to hold gear strapped to the bottom of the pack. (Maybe an extra coat, or a small tent?)
The only complaint I have with the straps is that it is a little difficult to pull the shoulder straps tight, and the straps make a ripping noise when you tighten them with weight in the pack.
I wasn't sure how I would feel about the "grab and open" tabs on the bottom corners of the pack, but I love them and always have the strong side one out. It makes opening the zippers quick and easy. The interior divider pockets are nice and fairly easy to access from outside the pack. I do agree that I would prefer slightly different pen holders: maybe with elastic. I really like the huge zipper compartment in the lid, as it's perfect for storing my waterproof pack cover. I never notice it is even in there. The molle strap/velcro system on the inside of the pack is awesome. It lets you put small pouches inside. I personally got a velcro-attached small med kit to use as my "office organizer", and I keep it in the bottom corner on the strong side of the pack for easy access. I can still fit a notebook above the pouch as well. The huge zippers in the back liner allow for more mass storage. I used that pocket to store my Goruck sandbags, but haven't used it since. The hydration bladder pocket is nice, but I don't use it for a hydration bladder, as it creates an uncomfortable curve against your back when the pack is full. However, this is true of all non-frame packs with a hydration bladder insert. I do agree with some of the reviewers that the routing of the hydration tube is rather convoluted when the pouch is in the hydration pocket, but since I put it in the main pouch most of the time, this isn't an issue. The hydration pouch does, however, fit my 17" laptop perfectly. The large "weapon pocket" on the back is nice as well. I do carry concealed, but since I don't use the pack sling style, I don't store my pistol in there. I do have a "last chance" knife in there, but I primarily use it to stuff a light rain jacket when I need it.
My only storage complaint is the same as other people: the "water bottle" pouches. They are not very useful, as they tend squeeze your water bottle out when the pack is close to full. The retainer straps help some, but aren't a real solution. Also, shoving a large water bottle in the pouches distorts the storage space inside the lid compartments, and can make accessing those items more difficult. I do still use them to hold my coffee mug/water bottle, but I wish they were designed differently. I did find a solution to retaining things in them though. I put a carabiner through the molle straps above the water bottle pouches, and hook my cup/bottle into that before I put it in the pouch. This helps keep the bottle from squirting out, and offers a "safety" if it does come out of the pouch. Also, I do have to say that storing a plastic 20oz bottle in the pouches should be fine. My water bottle is 1 liter, so it is larger than normal, and I have a ridiculous coffee mug too, which exacerbates the pouch issue.
I made this a separate category because I wanted to talk about my love/hate relationship with it. I love the fact that I have a nice fleece-lined, easy access, safe place to keep my sunglasses. 511 is the only brand of packs that does this, and I think it is cool. However. I also hate it. The pouch gets in the way when you are trying to route a hydration tube. It gets in the way when you are accessing the upper organizing pouches in the lid. It gets in the way when you are trying to stuff items into the upper part of the pack, especially rigid things like notebooks. I wish that they had arranged the pouch slightly differently so that it wasn't right in the middle of all that going on at the top of the pack. I have been tempted once or twice to cut the pouch out, but I have resisted the urge because it is so nice to have a sunglasses pouch.
I think this is a quality pack that will put up with a lot of abuse. When I first got the pack, it felt overly stiff, the zippers were difficult to use, and the straps were difficult to move through the buckles (and they made a loud "ripping" noise when you tightened them). This is temporary, as the pack just needs to be broken in some. After the Goruck, and a few weeks of everyday use, the zippers are smooth, and the strap buckles are better, but not quiet. This pack is the perfect "everyday use" size, but it will expand to hold an impressive amount of stuff, and has multiple molle straps to expand the capacity further. Honestly, I don't think you are going to find a better pack at this price level. I have a few other brands of pack that were even more expensive, and I think this one is better quality.
I purchased this bag in the hopes of converting it to a camera/hiking pack. Most of the hydration compatible camera bags are upwards of $350, and won't fit my Tamron 200-500mm Lens, but I purchased the Rush Tier system to strap my lens and tripod base down inside the bag to prevent movement, and it was a success. My gimbal head also fits snugly into the conceal and carry pocket.
The water bottle pockets leave something to be desired. They barely fit a 32oz Nalgene, which I find odd because I don't know of a single tactical operative that would use a noisy single use water bottle. The 32oz Naglene bottles stick halfway out of the pocket, which could present a problem on long hikes. I usually bring a 48oz with me, on top of my 2.5L bladder, but only about 1/3 of the bottle sits in the pocket, so I'll have to revert back to two 32oz bottles.
Also... I think the placement of the sunglass pocket/hydration hose port is strange. If you have a hose in, you basically can't use your sunglass pockey because the hose goes straight across the middle...
I said it could use more pockets, but I should clarify that I mean larger pockets. There's plenty of room for Ammo, and accessories like small binoculars and what-not, but I would like slightly larger pockets for things like food (maybe an MRE?) even thought I know this isn't supposed to be an overnight pack.
Over all: This bag serves it's purpose. It's got enough room to fit my lens with a body attached, my tripod, rain jacket, extra socks, zip-off legs, some filters some water and snacks, it could just use a little perfecting.
Good bag for Photographer limited with what gear he / she can carry. With a foam insert to take camera bodies etc the rest of the gear fits well.
Needs a good belt for holding every thing in place if running.
Being left handed, it's hard to find anything let alone a back pack that will be USEFUL left handed. Well, this pack does it!!! It's perfect as my concealed carry, day pack, everyday carry all, go to work/market/run around town bag.
It's not to big, not to small, for what I use it for. I looked at 5-6 bags and this one outshined all the other bags! Including the other 5.11 bags I was considering.
The concealed carry pocket is sized right, the MOLLE is just right, there are enough pockets for anything you may need during a day outing. The straps / buckles / ties / zippers, are top quality... I have been looking for a bag like this forever... Thanks 5.11 !!!
I recently picked the TRIAB 18 up and I immediately stopped using two other bags I owned. The fabric is slightly softer than the Maxped bags and is therefore not as noisy. Internal compartments easily keep my stuff from rattling around and the external pocket is easy to access but securely holds my CCW when not on my hip. I am especially fond of the padding and mesh of the back of the pack and inside the shoulder straps because it makes the pack more comfortable to carry. The mesh keeps you cooler and provides a softer interface with your clothing. I put the other two bags away and now this is the only one I carry.
I use my pack as a everyday bag to carry change of clothes, tools and other items too and from work using the single strap, and if my hands are full the securing strap keeps the single strap from sliding off my shoulder. Then on the weekends when i go hiking I can switch to the double strap for ease of carry. The pockets are great and there is a ton of them. It isn't overly big which fits my POU I designated for it. I love this pack and like all other 5.11 gear it appears to be very high quality for the price.
The Triab has better capacity than the MOAB packs, and functions perfectly as a sling bag. It is great for emergency response as well as casual day-hiking. The backpack conversion is great, and being able to add a belt is great for heavier loads. I plan to get the Brokos Belt to use with the Triab for serious loads. I love the grab handle and the quick-access pocket on the back.
I use this bag for everyday use and it is great.To date the most comfortable backpack I have owned and the best part is that when I'm carrying a light load I can use it as a sling pack.
5.11 has some great designs and good materials. They seem to have issues with quality control when it comes to construction. I have a Moab 10 that is falling apart (popping at the seams) after very light use. I contacted 5.11 about this a while ago and never heard anything back from them. None the less I opted for the Triab.
The new Triab 18 came out of the box with some construction issues that will probably lead to the same issues as with my Moab 10 (bad stitching and poor/uneven seams). Too bad, because 5.11 has the best designs out there. They just execute poorly. I have Maxpedition packs that are not well laid out, but are flawlessly put together. The Triab looks good and will probably last a year. The layout is good. I love that it will convert from a sling pack to a backpack. The zippers to the main compartment could be better thought designed to help keep water out (rain flap over the zipper). I will not depend on this pack as a hiking or an EDC pack. I would say this pack is more tacti-cool than a serious pack that will deliver when needed.
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