Gear-haulers from Major Surplus and Voodoo Tactical
I’m continually on the lookout for the best ways to tote my equipment so I can have it with me when I need it. That goes when I’m on a wilderness hunt, backcountry hike or stowing emergency gear in a car or canoe for a “just-incase” scenario. Daypacks, backpacks, military packs, range bags, shoulder sacks, fanny packs, duffels—i’ve tried them all.
Along the way, I’ve used several products from Major Surplus & Survival and its tactical specialty subsidiary, Voodoo Tactical. Some I’ve used extensively.
Major Surplus & Survival offers genuine military surplus gear and new, military-style gear at affordable prices. Voodoo Tactical provides top-of-the-line tactical gear designed for heavy-duty use. Much of that gear is in use by military and law enforcement units around the globe. (I once had to wait for a Tobago pack in Coyote Brown, because the company was filling a large order for that item from a South American military unit.)
Here, I’ve picked a cross-section of my favorites. Each excels at a particular bug-out mission, but the overall objective for every one of them is the same: to get your gear to where you’re going.
VOODOO TACTICAL LARGE TOBAGO CARGO PACK
When I find a great product, I never want to risk going without it. With that in mind, I have to confess that I now own three Large Tobago Cargo Packs.
The Tobago is simply the best, most versatile pack I’ve ever used. It has a large, 75-liter capacity; plenty of compartments and pockets within compartments to keep gear organized; and it is well-made, with thick nylon fabric and heavy-duty zippers.
The Tobago carries heavy loads easily. It has contoured, padded shoulder straps that are kept in place with a sternum strap. It has padded lumbar support and a padded hip belt that supports a lot of the weight. Together, they keep the pack from shifting when covering difficult terrain.
There’s a rigid back support in its own zippered compartment that also helps with carrying heavy loads comfortably. That back support is removable; with it removed, the pack can be stuffed more easily into small spaces, such as into a kayak or car trunk. That zippered compartment is also a great place to tuck topo maps and notebooks.
The pack has the natural, low profile of a smaller rucksack, unlike top-heavy conventional backpacks. That allows you to travel through thick brush easily, climbing over blow-downs without losing balance or getting hung up on low-hanging branches.
The Tobago has two large main compartments. The first and largest has tie-down straps to secure a water bladder or other gear and two zippered mesh compartments. There are ports both
left and right at the top of the pack to run water bladder hoses. They are closed off with Velcro flaps when not in use.
The second large compartment has three divider pockets to keep gear organized, as well as a radio pouch and slots for pens or other small gear. I usually stick a sharpening rod in one and a ferro rod in another.
There’s a smaller, zippered pocket on each side of the pack as well. These are great for a compass, flashlight, whistle, insect repellent, first aid kit, alcohol stove, fire-starting kit and other small items you want to keep handy. There’s also a long, zippered pocket on the back of the pack near the bottom. That’s where I usually place a couple of 50-foot lengths of paracord and a bathroom kit— trowel, toilet paper, hand sanitizer—for when I’m literally “on the go.”
There are MOLLE gear attachment points all over the pack that allow you to customize the pack however you want. I’ve used them at times to attach an additional utility pouch, machete, shotgun scabbard and, on the shoulder straps, a pistol holster and fixed-blade knife.
There are compression straps on the top and bottom on each side of the pack. As a result, you don’t have to switch packs when traveling light. You can cinch down the straps to keep gear from rattling around when carrying lighter loads. I’ve used those compression straps for securing other gear on the outside of the pack, such as a sleeping pad, backpacking tent, camera tripod and protective fishing rod tube. I always keep a pair of nylon straps in the pack in case I want to lash something to the bottom of the pack, such as a sleeping bag or bulky hunting jacket.
For overnight or gone for good, the Tobago Cargo Pack is the one I’d choose. When you consider its $99.95 price tag, this Voodoo Tactical pack is one of the best values on the market.
THE TOBAGO IS SIMPLY THE BEST, MOST VERSATILE PACK I’VE EVER USED. IT HAS A LARGE, 75-LITER CAPACITY; PLENTY OF COMPARTMENTS AND POCKETS WITHIN COMPARTMENTS TO KEEP GEAR ORGANIZED; AND IT IS WELLMADE, WITH THICK NYLON FABRIC AND HEAVY-DUTY ZIPPERS.
PRAETORIAN RIFLE PACK LITE
When you have to travel fast and light with minimal gear, a smaller pack is sometimes best. Maybe you have a place to stash heavier gear, or maybe you’ve established a temporary base camp—a place to hunker down.
I’ve used two smaller Voodoo Tactical packs for several years. The first is the Mini Tobago, an excellent pack for hunting, day hikes or when bugging out with just the basics. The second is the Discreet Raven Pack, a heavy-duty daypack with a more-subdued, less-military look to it for traveling, especially in urban environments, when I don’t want to draw attention.
But this time around, I decided to put another Voodoo Tactical pack to the test. The Praetorian Rifle Pack Lite has some unusual capabilities for a daypack and lots of “cool” factor.
The entire back panel of the pack is actually a large, padded flap secured by a zipper and six adjustable, quick-release buckles. Open the flap, and a compartment is revealed that allows for carrying any long gun from 29 to 58 inches long.
A fold-down pouch with adjustable straps
cradles the butt of a rifle or shotgun, while additional straps secure the receiver and barrel for muzzle-up carry. Close the back panel, and you’re ready to go with the rifle protected—lessening the chance of a scope from being knocked out of zero. A nylon sleeve is provided to cover the barrel and further protect a long gun from the weather. Also included is another adjustable carrier that gives you the option of transporting a long gun muzzle down.
Another padded compartment, accessible with full-length zippers on each side, is perfect for stowing a laptop computer. In that compartment, there’s also a removable pistol holster that secures via Velcro in various positions within that compartment.
While this compartment increases the Praetorian’s overall capacity to 30 liters, I would probably add a utility pouch for small survival gear (knife, compass, fire kit) while using the padded compartment for a water bladder. Extensive external MOLLE webbing provides numerous attachment points for add-ons, giving this pack great versatility. And when you’re not using the pack to transport a rifle, you can add pouches to the MOLLE webbing inside that flapped gun compartment.
The Praetorian Rifle Pack Lite has padded shoulder straps and a waist belt. Mesh padding where the pack contacts your back is designed to keep you cool and comfortable.
MOJO LOAD-OUT BAG WITH BACKPACK STRAPS
The large Mojo Load-out Bag is a great grab-and-go bag that you can throw in the trunk of your car when bugging out by vehicle. It has an enormous, 173-liter capacity, with one large main compartment and an assortment of 11 external pockets for keeping gear organized.
The main compartment is accessed through the two top zippers that run the length of the bag with joined zipper pulls, providing a wide-mouth opening that makes it easy to add or remove gear.
I wish I had had one of these bags when I was a police officer, because it would have made an excellent patrol bag, to be kept in a vehicle to carry the many extras (backup flashlights, raincoats, extra handcuffs, rubber gloves, binocular, tools and many other pieces of gear) that are sometimes needed in law enforcement.
As a bug-out bag, this Mojo Load-out Bag excels. There are compartments for everything, enabling you to keep your gear separated and undamaged when transporting your gear over rough roads. Two
compression straps on each end of the bag also help keep your gear stabilized.
You probably won’t need more capacity than this bag offers, but you can add MOLLE pouches and other gear to the outside webbing along one entire side of the bag. The bag also features D-rings around the top for adding straps or lashing gear.
The bag features a wraparound carry handle in the center and an adjustable, removable padded shoulder strap. And, in the event your vehicle breaks down and you find yourself afoot, there’s a shoulder strap harness stowed in a special compartment on the outside bottom of the bag that allows you to carry the Mojo as a huge backpack.
MIL-SPEC PLUS 70-LITER BACKPACK
If a more-traditional backpack suits you better, Major Surplus and Survival offers its Milspec Plus 70-Liter Backpack. It’s a top-loading pack constructed of lightweight ripstop nylon and offers enough capacity for multi-day excursions. This one has been flying under the
radar because it has the quality and features that outclass many of the more-expensive “name brand” packs.
The top flap includes a zippered electronics pocket with two internal zipper pockets and earphone port. There’s also a covered water bladder port leading from the main compartment. Under the top flap, the top collar of the pack has a drawstring closure with a cord lock. That collar has an extension sleeve that pulls up to make use of the pack’s full capacity. There’s zippered access to the main compartment from the side as well.
Along each side of the pack is a zippered pocket at the top and an open-topped water bottle pocket at the bottom. There’s a zippered sleeping bag storage compartment at the bottom of the pack. Inside, the sleeping bag compartment is separated from the large main compartment by a nylon flap attached with two adjustable straps. Unfastening the straps allows you to open the inside of the pack to create one cavernous space.
A removable rain cover is included—an extra expense with most other packs—and it is contained in a dedicated pocket in the top flap. Straps are included, both top and bottom, for lashing a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, jackets, tent or other bulky items. Two gear loops are also provided on the outside bottom for ice axes or other tools. Straps on the back of the pack provide a place to lash collapsible trekking poles too.
The Mil-spec Plus 70-Liter Backpack features an aluminum frame and back stays for carrying heavy loads. Dual-density, foam-padded shoulder straps and waist belt provide support. The entire shoulder harness and the padded back panel are adjustable to the size of your torso, helping keep the pack comfortable over the miles.
STUFF ’EM AS YOU LIKE
Major Surplus & Survival and Voodoo Tactical have the packs and bags you need to keep your emergency preps and survival gear ready to go. What you decide to put in those bug-out bags is up to you. (Before I get started on that, let’s leave it for now—it's a topic deserving of its own article).
Above: The Large Tobago Cargo Pack has been the author’s favorite over the years. It offers great capacity, versatility, rugged construction and carry comfort and is available in several color and camo patterns. These three are the author’s own packs.
Far right: The Voodoo packs are Molle-compatible. Additional utility pouches, cartridge carriers, magazine pouches and first aid bags are available to accessorize them as you like. Pictured here with the Tobago pack is a Voodoo Tactical shotgun scabbard that can be attached to the pack via its MOLLE attachments or carried separately with its own shoulder strap.
Below: The large Tobago pack features a removable rigid back support in its own zippered compartment. With it installed, heavy loads can be carried more comfortably. Without it, the pack can be more easily stuffed into small areas, such as in a canoe or kayak.
Near right: The large Tobago pack is fitted with contoured, padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap to keep the pack in place and, to help carry the load, a padded hip belt.
Above: The large Mojo Load-out Bag is a great grab-and-go bag you can throw in the trunk of your car when bugging out by vehicle. It has a large capacity and an assortment of pockets for keeping gear organized. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical)Near left: The Praetorian Rifle Pack Lite is about the size of a typical daypack, but with its padded laptop compartment and rifle carrier system, it has far greater versatility. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical) Far left: The Praetorian’s shoulder straps and waist belt are well padded for all-day comfort. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical)
Bottom left: The Praetorian Rifle Pack Lite, while not offering the capacity of larger packs, does provide a handy way to carry a long gun while still protecting it from bumps and bruises.
Top right: The Mojo Load-out Bag can be carried with the carry handles wrapped together or with the provided shoulder strap. A backpack strap harness is also included.Middle right: The large Mojo Load-out Bag comes with a quick-attach backpack strap harness that stores in its own compartment on the bottom of the bag—very handy if you suddenly find yourself afoot.
Near left: The Mil-spec Plus 70-Liter Backpack comes with a removable rain cover to keep your pack and gear protected from the weather. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical) Far left: Numerous convenient external pockets on the Mil-spec Plus 70-Liter Backpack enable you to keep frequently used gear close at hand. Below, left: The Mil-spec Plus 70-Liter Backpack is offered in blue (shown), green and red. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical)Below, right: The Mil-spec Plus 70-Liter Backpack has the look of a bag intended more for civilian backpackers than military operators, but it is a large, very capable pack suitable for multi-day journeys. (Photo: Voodoo Tactical)