Continuing its efforts in operational support; the 100oz Reload Hydration Backpack by T3 Gear enables the end-user to utilize the hydration backpack in either a stand-alone configuration, or as an assault-style support backpack.
Introduced in 2015, the Reload Hydration Backpack (RHB) is made from 500D solution-dyed Cordura nylon, and has an overall dimension of 17” (H) x 9” (W) x 4” (D). It is squared at the top, and uses minimal binding tape (to seal raw edges) where applicable. All genuine YKK zippers utilize nylon pull-tabs throughout the backpack.
On the front and starting at the top, the RHB has three 1” wide hook-and-loop (female) bands stitched into MOLLE-compatible spacing and for attaching identification or morale patches. These bands are on the exterior of a 6.5” (H) x 8” (W) x 2” (D) accessory pouch. In addition, a fourth 1” wide nylon MOLLE band enables additional pouches (not included) to be attached as well. The accessory pouch itself is secured via a three-side YKK zipper with dual shuttles to allow maximum access to the pocket’s interior with over-molding fabric to prevent moisture penetration along the enclosure.
At the bottom of the front is a larger 8” (H) x 9” (W) x 2.5” (D) secondary accessory pouch with three nylon bands on the exterior that are MOLLE-compatible for attaching additional pouches or accessories. The interior of the secondary accessory pouch is accessed by a dual-shuttle, YKK zipper (opening along the upper three sides) with over-molding fabric to prevent moisture penetration along the enclosure.
The sides of the RHB are unremarkable in order to keep a minimum profile between the shoulders.
At the top of the RHB is a 7.5” wide, open-end envelope pouch positioned behind the top front accessory pouch that is secured via hook-and-loop. This enclosure can be opened to accommodate removable, dual AR rifle magazine pouches with shock cord retention (included).
The backpanel of the RHB has two contoured and slightly tapered, 2.75” wide shoulder straps that are anchored at the top and bottom of the backpanel itself. The shoulder straps are thinly padded, with five elastic nylon bands (each side) for running hydration tubing or comms cabling, with an adjustable sternum strap (with multiple nylon webbing loops). Anchored into the top of the shoulder straps is a carrying handle made from nylon webbing.
The backpanel also includes two open-cell padded sections that are approximately ¼” thick and allot for a ventilation channel between the two to allot for heat mitigation and circulation.
The top of the backpanel also includes a pass-through slot for hydration tubes or comms cables, which is in turn covered by an elastic nylon band to protect the interior from moisture penetration.
On the bottom of the RHB is a single drainage grommet for the main interior storage space.
The interior of the RHB is accessed at the top via a three-sided, dual-shuttle YKK zipper line that allows nearly the upper half of the pack to fold open and grant access to the interior.
The interior is unremarkable with no added features, and has a hook-and-loop retention band at the top for securing any appropriate-sized sized hydration bladder.
The 3-Day Hydration Backpack is available in Multicam (featured), Ranger Green, Coyote, Multicam, and Black.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): With its list price of $214.99, the Reload Hydration Backpack (RHB) is comprised of Cordura nylon, genuine YKK zippers for the accessory pockets, and extensive MOLLE fields for attaching additional pockets or accessories. While it is slightly larger in storage volume than T3 Gear’s MOLLE Assault Backpack ($159.99), market alternatives to the RHB would be the 24 Hour Assault Pack, Fixed Shoulder ($143) by Velocity Systems, the Gunfighter 14 ($255) from Mystery Ranch, and the Fight Light Modular Operator Pack ($290) from Tactical Tailor. Thus, as the only design of the listed alternates that allowed immediate access to spare magazines, the RHB is of a good value on the current market for its materials and design.
- Comfort – Average (3/5): From a comfort aspect; the RHB was a medium, stand-alone pack (with associated MOLLE webbing) worn over an outer layer. The fixed shoulder pads had a thin layer of closed-cell foam running the length of the strap, which gave it an appropriate (or average) level of comfort, but did not become excessively bulky while worn over other shoulder straps from a plate carrier or chest rig. Likewise, the backpanel had a similar layer of closed-cell foam padding, in two sections, with an air channel between the two to mitigate heat/moisture that was somewhat negated by the carrier’s back panel. The RHB’s design lends to the pack comfort features not intended to augment other Line 2 gear, but were better suited to be worn with chest rigs or as a stand-alone pack. The YKK zippers functioned smoothly, and without binding or cross-threading when taking the corner turns. When fully loaded, the weight of the RHB was carried exclusively in the upper torso. Perhaps the only negative observation noted during use was the removable waist strap was unpadded and was more suited to keep the pack secure to the waist, rather than assisting to mitigate the weight of the pack.
- Durability – Excellent (5/5): Throughout the RHB’s design, there was extensive use of bartack/reverse stitching throughout, as well as double and X-pattern reinforcement at all key stress points. That included added durability to the shoulder straps, the pack’s pockets, and all MOLLE/PALS webbing. The RHB was designed for field use and direct support to personnel. The durability of its 500D Cordura and stitching helped ensure it handled a variety of items with varying dimensions, weight, hard corners, ammo, hydration bladder, and other gear easily.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally the RHB performed appropriately (or of average) with regards to storing items in its pouches or main storage compartment. The additional exterior ammo pouches gave immediate access to rifle magazines by those in support of the end user, but were not accessible by the wearer unless the pack was removed. The main storage area does accommodate the 100oz hydration bladder appropriately when full, with the pass-through slot providing easy access. The largest functional detractor to the RHB was the lack of MOLLE attachment on the backpanel (for attaching to a plate carrier) and the fixed shoulder straps. These aspects limited the RHB to a more suitable backpack role or in conjunction with a chest rig, rather than as an assault support pack—as many in today’s professional fields run such packs directly attached to carriers to minimize bulk and excess weight. T3 Gear could easily modify the design of the RHB accordingly to improve the function of the RHB to meet both needs.
- Weight – Good (4/5): Weighing in at 1.13 pounds, the RHB kept excess material and weight to a minimal, while still offering reinforced stitching, additional storage, and immediate magazine access over the market’s current contemporaries. In contrast, the MOLLE Assault Backpack (1.07 pounds) by T3, the 24 Hour Assault Pack, Fixed Shoulder (0.99 pounds) by Velocity Systems, the Gunfighter 14 (1.91 pounds) from Mystery Ranch, and the Fight Light Modular Operator Pack (1.75 pounds) from Tactical Tailor all demonstrate that the Reload Hydration Backpack is ounces lighter than some of the listed alternatives and a good overall weight for its design and the current market.
Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)
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