TT Raid Pack MKIII
The TT Raid Pack MKIII is a robust, comfortable, and slimline rucksack which is ideal for all types of outdoor activities and thru hikes.
Throughout my adult life I have used a wide range of different rucksacks, for various purposes. Some were issued to me while I was in the British army, which were designed to carry a lot of gear but were so uncomfortable, it was ridiculous. While others were the ultralight packs, I purchased myself that were comfortable, yet they were easy to rip when out in arduous environments, and the volume of kit that could fit in there was not the best. So, I have found it hard to find a rucksack that was comfortable, could carry the gear I wanted it to, and which was robust enough to stand up to even the toughest of environments. But, a few years ago I heard about a brand called Tasmanian Tiger, which was the military gear division of a reputable outdoors/mountaineering gear manufacture. However, prior to this review, I never really had a chance to use any of their rucksacks, just a few of their pouches – which we are outstanding quality and robust.
Then several weeks ago, the main Tasmanian Tiger distributor in the United States, asked if I would like to test out the TT Raid Pack MKIII. To be honest, I was not about to say no, as I had been considering getting the rucksack for a while. But the reason I had not purchased the TT Raid Pack MKIII, was because it looked a bit small compared to what I wanted. Nonetheless though, I was willing to give it a shot and put it through its paces, to see how good it really was.
TT Raid Pack MK III – At a Glance
The TT Raid Pack MK III is a 52-liter capacity ‘short-back’ rucksack, which weighs a total of 6lbs empty and has a maximum load weight of 88lbs. The rucksack has one main compartment which is 48-liters that is divided into two sections, one being the sleeping bag compartment that is accessible from a front zip. There are two external side pouches, which are both 2-liters. The lid of the rucksack has an ‘half-moon’ pocket on the outside and a full under the lid pocket on the inside. For maximum comfort, the TT Raid Pack MK III has a V2 Plus carry system, which is also adjustable so that it can be fitted to all body types. The rucksack also features two side compression straps on each side of the pack, and two bottom compression straps, which can be used to also secure gear. The rucksack also has full MOLLE panels on the lid, front, and sides that allow for extra pouches to be attached. To further assist in increasing the capacity of the rucksack, on the top of the lid there are 4 rectangle single buckle loops, which allow for the attachment of the TT TAC Pouch 10 or similar pouch.
The straps have 1-inch thick padding, and the back of the rucksack has two 1-inch thick back pads that are 1.5 inches wide and are in a half moon configuration that cover approx. 30% of the back of the TT Raid Pack MK III. The base of the rucksack also has two 1.5-inch-thick pads, which provide extra lumbar support to your back. Each of the pull straps on the rucksack, also has thumb loops that allow for easier tiger ting with your thumbs when you are carrying the pack. The pack is made from Cordura 700 den material, which ensures that it is robust and capable to meet any challenge. To assist with picking the up the rucksack or passing over obstacles, there is one main carry strap at the top center of the pack, and one carry handle either side at the base of the TT Raid Pack MK III. The photo to the right, shows the V2 Plus carry system, which allows for easy adjustment of the shoulder straps to suit the wearers frame – © 2020 Texas Adventure and Survival School.
Well Thought Out Design
One of the biggest issues I have with most rucksacks (excluding the military ones I have used), is the fact that they have one main large compartment, then either no external pockets or small external pockets that won’t fit much. Another issue I find, is even though the main compartment of the rucksack will fit almost all my gear, to get certain items when I am out on the trail, I have to remove everything to get to that one thing. For example, if I was using an ultralight rucksack and wanted to get my sleeping bag (which I pack at the bottom of my rucksacks), I would have to take everything else out, before I even get to my sleeping bag. Or, if I wanted to get access to a pair of dry socks and what not. So, one aspect I look for when I purchase a rucksack is the external pockets, and how easy it will be fore me to get access to various items of kit.
With the TT Raid Pack MKIII, I found that the design was a cross over of a military style rucksack and a civilian one. Granted, it is not the lightest, but it is one well thought out design. For example, the internal and external pockets on the lid, provides access to small items I may need more often then not. For example, on the external lid pocket I can store toilet paper, a head torch and knife sharpener. On the internal lid pocket, I can store my boo boo kit, spare batteries, and extra pair of socks. I can also fit several energy bars and a bag of mixed nuts in either of the pockets. What’s more, the two 1-liter side pouches are ideal for different types of water bottles. Also, in the 2-liter side zipper pockets, I can fit a spare change of clothes, and a shelter kit. The bottom of the rucksack also has a sleeping bag compartment, which has a front zip. So, to save me dragging everything out my rucksack, I can just unzip the sleeping bag compartment and get my sleep system out in minutes.
The external compression straps are also awesome, as I can use them to attach tent/walking poles to the outside of the rucksack. And the bottom compression traps, allows me to attach a small two-person tent and a sleeping mat. I also like the fact that it has MOLLE panel system on the front, sides, and lid – as this allows me to attach my Jetboil pouch (which is the TT Bottle Holder Pouch) and my IFAK and TQ pouch. Another feature I also like, is on the lid you have 4 rectangle buckles, which allows you to attach an ancillary pouch, like the TT TAC Pouch 10 so you can increase the overall volume of the rucksack. One of the other features I also like about the TT Raid Pack MKIII, is the carry system. Not only are the shoulder straps sufficiently padded for extra comfort. The V2 Plus carry system, allows the user to alter the position of the shoulder straps for ease of carrying. Not only does this provide extra lumbar support, it also reduces back issue and muscles fatigue. The two back pads at the base of the rucksack back are also awesome, as again, they not only provide extra support they also allow for extra comfort and a decent amount of air flow between the back and the rucksack.
The hip belt on the pack is also another well thought out part of the TT Raid Pack MKIII. Not only does it have MOLLE attachment system on the sides to allow for the attachment of pouches, it can also be removed and used as an independent battle belt. Another advantage to the rucksack, is the slimline and narrow design, which allows the wearer to walk through wooded areas/cross obstacles with ease, as the risk of snagging is mitigated due to the compact design. Overall thought, the TT Raid Pack MKIII is a well thought out design, and something of a hybrid. And, the Cordura 700 den makes it very robust and versatile.
On the Move
You know, when I first got the TT Raid Pack MKIII I was a little skeptical. Not only due to the empty weight, but also the way it looked. But I was really impressed with the TT Raid Pack MKIII form the moment had packed my kit and equipment and put it on. Firstly, it really did not feel as heavy as it looked, and the center of gravity is just right, which prevents you from having an off-set balance. Then the next thing I noticed was how comfortable it felt to wear. Granted, comfort also comes from how you pack your rucksack, but with the TT Raid Pack MKIII, the extra padding really does make a noticeable difference. So, I was excited, for when I took it out for the real test.
The first thing I noticed when I was carrying the TT Raid Pack MK III on my first hike with it on, was how little it pulled down. What I mean by that is, if you have ever had a rucksack that weighs over 30lbs, it tends to feel like it is pulling you to the floor. Yet, the TT Raid Pack MKIII really did not have that feel. I also noticed that it remained firmly in place, and did not move around too much, which also helps prevent it from rubbing your skin. But the ultimate test came when I took it on a long hike, through winding narrow pathways in the woods. Not only did it not snag on the tree branches, it was also very easy to move around with the rucksack on. With each hike that I undertook with it on, I got more confidence in the comfort and quality of the TT Raid Pack MK III. I knew after conducting several smaller day hikes, which ranged from 5 – 10 miles. However, I knew the real test would come when I took my TT Raid Pack MK III on an arduous thru-hiking route in my local area – which was easier said then done, as my local area has very few thru-hikes or hills for that matter.
After searching around, I was able to find a trail of some 25-miles, which did have some undulating and hilly terrain. To make sure that my ‘field test’ was accurate, I packed my ruck with 45lbs (including food and water) and set off. Like on the shorter hikes, the ruck felt comfortable and did not move around on my back too much. But experience has taught me that the first few miles will be fine, it is when you pass the five-mile point is when you start to notice the issues with any rucksack. Yet, with the TT Raid Pack MKIII even after I passed the five-mile point, it was fine. No rubbing, no irritation, and the pack did not move around too much. And when I camped the first night, it was nice to be able to access what I needed with ease. The sleeping bag compartment also made a big difference, as I did not have to empty out my whole rucksack to get to my sleeping bag.
The next day of my thru hike went just like the first, for the first phase of the walk. Then, I came to a riverbank which I had to climb. I was debating whether or not to throw the pack up onto the ledge, but then decide to scale it with the pack on. Needless to say, my first plan was not the best option, as I lost my footing. One thing that surprised me though, was how the pack actually kept me balanced out. I have worn rucksacks before, which when you slipped or tripped, either up ended or shifted and helped to cause you to tumble to the ground. But, the TT Raid Pack MKIII remained firm against my back and acted more like a counterweight then anything, which really did impress me. On my second attempt, I did throw the pack up on to the ledge, and with the carrying handles on the top center and sides, they really did help to heave it up and above my head. At the conclusion of my 2-day 25-mile thru hike, I really was even more impressed with the TT Raid Pack MK III, then what I was before I embarked on my trip (and I don’t mean the stumble on the riverbank, lol).
An Ideal Pack for Many
The biggest question is though, who would get the most benefit out of the TT Raid Pack MKIII. Well, to be honest it is too heavy for people who like ultralight gear, as the pack alone weighs just under 6 lbs. But, for anyone looking for a robust, semi lightweight, and comfortable rucksack the TT Raid Pack MKIII really is for you. I love everything about it, from the simplistic design to the well thought out space and compartments/pockets, to the little touches of the thumb straps which made life that little easier. And, it is one of those packs that will continue to surpass expectations and it really will stand the test of time.
To watch the YouTube Product Review Video, click here.