Introduced in 2017 as part of its “Bushcraft” product line, the Satchel Bag by Helikon-Tex is intended to provide a functional shoulder bag for use afield, in a minimalist design that won’t draw unwanted attention of the eye or snag on obstructions.
The Satchel Bag is a medium-sized (featured), unstructured over-the-shoulder bag. With its overall 500D Cordura nylon material, the bag’s overall dimensions are 11.8” (H) x 12.6” (L) x 6.9” (D) with 17L of overall storage space. The YKK zippers have paracord pull tabs, with rubberized tubing for added tactile feel and durability.
The front of the Satchel Bag has a single accessory pocket for semi-flat items that is secured with a 12” long YKK zipper that grants access to the interior. The interior of the pocket is unremarkable and free of obstruction or hardware.
The rear of the Satchel Bag is featureless to avoid abrasion against the torso while movement.
Both the Satchel Bag’s sides feature a single slip-pocket for flashlights, knives or other similar items. Next to the slip pocket is a similar pass-through pocket for inserting a small hatchet or other long-handle items. On the exterior of both these pockets are two bands of MOLLE-compatible webbing, with a third nylon compression strap for securing items in the sides or tightening up the items stored in the main storage compartment. Lastly, a single, continual band of nylon webbing is divided into MOLLE segments and woven down the length of the side, around the bottom, and up the adjacent side for added strength and support.
The bottom of the Satchel Bag is unremarkable with no added features to offset the bag’s ability to sit flat when placed down.
The 2” wide shoulder strap is unpadded and removable from the upper sides of the Satchel Bag via its slide-release polymer buckles.
The main storage compartment of the Satchel Bag is accessed by a 20” over-length, dual-shuttle YKK zipper, which grants access into the undivided interior with two sleeve pockets for additional 1QT Nalgene bottles or other items. Additionally, a nylon mesh accessory pocket is on the interior of the storage compartment and secured via YKK zipper.
The Bushcraft Satchel Bag available in Coyote (featured) and five other solid colors, two split colors, and seven camouflage patterns.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): At $63.00 for a moderate-sized, over-the-shoulder stash bag, the Bushcraft Satchel Bag was made from durable 500D Cordura, with a smooth nylon interior, and minimal hardware so as to allow the bag to still collapse into a small roll and be easily stored when not in use. In comparison, market alternatives to the Bushcraft Satchel Bag would be the Mission Go Bag A1 ($130.00) from SO Tactical or the Ammo SAC (Large) w/shoulder strap ($47) from Emdom USA. But beyond that, shoulder bag designs start trending specifically to tactical “go bags” or active shooter bags of similar size such as the Bolt Bag ($140) from T3 Gear, or the Tactical Bail Out Bag ($64) from 5.11. The important thing to remember is that while many other stash or response bags are more inexpensive – they either look like tactical bags or are not collapsible. Amid the market of alternative designs and material, the Bushcraft Satchel Bag occupied a niche position to those looking for a simple stash bag for longer durations or bulkier items and is appropriately (or of average) price for what is provided.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the Bushcraft Satchel Bag was designed to be a very flexible and comfortable shoulder bag for storage, while still having the means to collapse/stow when not in use. The YKK zipper moved smoothly and did not bind or cross-feed. The shoulder strap did not have any padding (perhaps a point of consideration for improvement for GGG) but the seatbelt webbing material (though somewhat thin) was soft and flexible enough to not significantly chafe when worn for extended periods (1hr+). When slung over the shoulder and fully loaded, the bag’s unstructured design and over-lengthed zipper design allowed it to contour as needed against the torso—so there was less excess profile while walking. The interior’s undivided and smooth nylon material was pliable and soft enough to remain functional and did not burn nor cut the knuckles while rummaging around for the desired item.
- Durability – Average (3/5): The nylon material, exterior webbing, and shoulder strap offered the Bushcraft Satchel Bag an appropriate (or average) amount of abrasion resistance and durability despite daily carry to the office or transport to/on the range. Additionally, the nylon exterior was good for repelling a minimal level of light water, allowing it to bead off and mitigate potential saturation of the fabric. There was minimal bartack/reverse stitching (seemingly limited only to reinforce the exterior webbing material) at key stress points, and some along the shoulder strap’s anchoring points for added reinforcement. It would have been an improvement had there been more reinforcement stitching along the zipper line or at the bag’s corners, and is a recommendation to Helikon-Tex to consider. The supporting material anchoring the shoulder strap’s slide release buckles was incorporated into the upper corner sides of the bag, and gave it an overall appropriate (or average) degree of reinforcement against pulling/tearing from the weight of items placed inside the bag. It could be a better idea however to make that anchoring material slightly wider (increasing surface area) and further along the sides (increasing overall strength).
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the Bushcraft Satchel Bag did a good job of serving as an over-the-shoulder stash bag, while still providing ready access to the interior. However, the rubberized zipper pull tabs could have been a little longer to allot for easier tactile control. The singular and voluminous interior offered ample space to store any odd or otherwise bulky items, while the over-molded YKK zippers helped to ensure no moisture saturation was experienced. The fact the interior was an undivided space (with the exclusion of the interior mesh pocket and water bottle pouches) meant the bag had little in terms of organization or structure—but that was by intent so something for the end-user to bear in mind. The exterior side webbing and pass-through slotting allowed for handled items (hand axe, knife, hand saw, etc.) to be stowed easily, but it would have been an easy improvement had elastic shock cord retention been provided so as to secure these items. Otherwise items in these slots are free to move. When finished using, the ability to roll the bag up and stow in in a smaller space added to its appeal in keeping space free of clutter and unused items.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Weighing in at 1.04 pounds (empty), the Bushcraft Satchel Bag owed a good portion of its overall weight to the nylon material used exclusively. While slightly heavier than other nylon-only messenger bags, this stash bag’s design had a large amount of storage space and thus could have a good deal of added weight when full (that weight correspondingly borne by the shoulder and upper torso). In comparison, market alternatives such as the Mission Go Bag A1 (1.50 pounds) from SO Tactical, the Ammo SAC (Large) w/shoulder strap (0.5 pounds) from Emdom USA, the Bolt Bag (1.0 pounds) from T3 Gear, or the Tactical Bail Out Bag (0.5 pounds) from 5.11 all illustrate the Bushcraft Satchel Bag is at the higher end of weight, due dominantly to its larger size and corresponding volume of material—thus it is also at an appropriate (or average) weight for the current market.
Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)
Product Link: https://www.helikon-tex.com/en_usd/tb-bst-cd-bushcraft-satchel-bag-cordura.html
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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