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TAG Mountain Ruck A-TACS


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#1 jinx667

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 03:24 PM

Just got this bad boy last week.  I will post up the pics for now and give a full review after a 3 day hike with it nest week.  They still are not doing the webbing in A-TACS as standard, and the up-charge along with time to get made was outside what I wanted/needed.  There are no really good pics of it that I could find online, so please ask if you want a pic of something specific, and I will see what I can do.
Out of the box the ruck/frame/pads weighs 6.9 lbs.  The AGAF welded aluminum frame weighs in at 11 oz by itself.  It appears VERY well made and covered in what looks like truck bed liner.  The main compartment is 3000 cu in (50L).
Mine arrived with several improvements over what is shown online.  I will discuss as we go.  Here is a link to the TAG site:  TAG MOUNTAIN RUCK
Inside is the standard large ruck with a radio pocket (which has my Mountain Hardware Sprite tent).  It can hold a 3L bladder on each side, with a slot to run the tube from each one.  This is not the optimal spot in my opinion, but it is what it is.  
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Bottom:
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Closed: The lid splits along the seam and has a large pocket inside There is a claymore sized pocket on the body of the pack that is currently under the lid since the pack is not full.  Making a total of 4 external pockets.
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Suspension.  As you can see they did not skimp on the belt and shoulder straps. The belt has been re-done to tighten by pulling forward, and is much easier to use.  I have added a compass pouch and a small GP pouch to the belt.  In the pics online there is no MOLLE on the belt, but mine came with 2 rows on each side.
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Here is close up of the non-skid patches that now velcro to each shoulder.  Seem to work great for routing and somewhere to put your buttstock.  They were also a surprise.
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Top.  Here you can see the antenna hole.
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And finally a side view.  I have a TAD Gear pod attached to hold tent stakes.
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So there you go.  They have recently changed the cordage used on the packs and pockets to a variable thickness that does a much better job of holding in place in the cord lock.  Also, they are using the new wavelock buckles.  I still need to get a few more web dominators for strap management.  Also I plan to get a couple of flat mount buckles and some webbing to set up lateral compression.  
My plan is to be carrying enough for 3-4 days and a total weight with food and water of 40-45 lbs.  I will report back after the trip. 

Edited by JINX667, 14 November 2010 - 03:27 PM.

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#2 jinx667

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 04:25 AM

Not sure if anyone really cares since there were no replies in the first place, but here is a small review.  
OK so the trip is done and now comes the review portion.  We did the first 33 miles of the Pacific Crest trail, starting at the border to Mexico and heading north.
Overall the pack did very well.  The trip broke down as such:
Day ONE - Great weather.  Humped the pack about 9 miles at approx 45lbs.  I carried a tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothes, water, food, stove, etc... The suspensions system did very well and distributed the weight nicely. 
But by the end of the day, 45lbs is 45lbs and I was a bit sore in shoulders and quite ready to not be carrying it any more.
Here are some pics from day 1.
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The next day I was able to get the pack weight down to under 40lbs as I did not need to carry so much water (I had 6L in the day before).  The weather was horrible all day.  We did another 10 miles in constant wind and rain over not very friendly terrain.  I had dry sacked most all the important gear in my pack, but over time the cordura took on quite a bit of water and got a bit heavier.  This was despite having treated it with some water resisting treatment. Lesson learned: GET A WATERPROOF PACK COVER.  We had to wuss out and rent cabins at the next campsite since we were all soaked to the bone and needed to dry our stuff.  My stuff was for the most part dry and would have been all bone dry with a pack cover, just need to find one that fits it nicely and is waterproof.
Here is the BEST of the weather on DAY 2:
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Day 3 was just a bad weather wise, but we left our packs at the ranger station and hiked the final 13 or so miles to our cars with a bottle of water and some food.  Some of girls thought they would get ahead of us and missed the turn for the final campsite (I had the GPS), needless to say they finished 3 1/2 hours later than the guys and MUCH colder and wetter.
Back to the pack:  Overall it handled very well, and in the conditions we came across I found it to be as comfortable and manageable as most commercial type packs I have used.  With that said, the base weight of 7lbs is a bit much by modern standards, but the pack makes up for that in ruggedness.  Also, the weight distribution is of course a bit different, but nothing unusual to those that have used this type of pack in the past.  It got dropped, scrapped through trees etc... and other than being dirtier, it none the worse.  It easily carried all of my gear for the trip without having to strap anything to the outside.  
I bought the pack for ruck training (Which it excels at) and it turned out to work pretty damn well for a weekend trip.  Would I use it as my primary pack for a longer trip in the wilderness?  Probably not, but I could.
If you are looking for an external frame, very rugged pack that is made in the USA, I would say give the TAG Mountain Ruck a shot.OK so the trip is done and now comes the review portion.  We did the first 33 miles of the Pacific Crest trail, starting at the border to Mexico and heading north.Overall the pack did very well.  The trip broke down as such:Day ONE - Great weather.  Humped the pack about 9 miles at approx 45lbs.  I carried a tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothes, water, food, stove, etc... The suspensions system did very well and distributed the weight nicely. But by the end of the day, 45lbs is 45lbs and I was a bit sore in shoulders and quite ready to not be carrying it any more.Here are some pics from day 1.Posted ImagePosted ImageThe next day I was able to get the pack weight down to under 40lbs as I did not need to carry so much water (I had 6L in the day before).  The weather was horrible all day.  We did another 10 miles in constant wind and rain over not very friendly terrain.  I had dry sacked most all the important gear in my pack, but over time the cordura took on quite a bit of water and got a bit heavier.  This was despite having treated it with some water resisting treatment. Lesson learned: GET A WATERPROOF PACK COVER.  We had to wuss out and rent cabins at the next campsite since we were all soaked to the bone and needed to dry our stuff.  My stuff was for the most part dry and would have been all bone dry with a pack cover, just need to find one that fits it nicely and is waterproof.Here is the BEST of the weather on DAY 2:Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImageDay 3 was just a bad weather wise, but we left our packs at the ranger station and hiked the final 13 or so miles to our cars with a bottle of water and some food.  Some of girls thought they would get ahead of us and missed the turn for the final campsite (I had the GPS), needless to say they finished 3 1/2 hours later than the guys and MUCH colder and wetter.Back to the pack:  Overall it handled very well, and in the conditions we came across I found it to be as comfortable and manageable as most commercial type packs I have used.  With that said, the base weight of 7lbs is a bit much by modern standards, but the pack makes up for that in ruggedness.  Also, the weight distribution is of course a bit different, but nothing unusual to those that have used this type of pack in the past.  It got dropped, scrapped through trees etc... and other than being dirtier, it none the worse.  It easily carried all of my gear for the trip without having to strap anything to the outside.  I bought the pack for ruck training (Which it excels at) and it turned out to work pretty damn well for a weekend trip.  Would I use it as my primary pack for a longer trip in the wilderness?  Probably not, but I could.If you are looking for an external frame, very rugged pack that is made in the USA, I would say give the TAG Mountain Ruck a shot. 
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#3 mikejulietpapa

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:24 AM

How long did those 33 miles take? I've never been on a real hike/backpack trip. Mostly because I just don't have enough of the gear! I'm so much more of a car camper but I'm happy to get out any way I can!Wussing out and renting cabins isn't a big deal! I'm sure it was still fun! Not sure if I missed it but what kind of boots did you have?How much did you pay for the ruck? Meaning… do you know of any way to get a good deal?Great post! I especially love the photos of the camp site and you on the tracks! Any time I see other people camping and tents like that it makes me so jealous, but in a good way! /wp-content/forum-smileys/anim_beer.gif

#4 Mustang0268

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:09 AM

Jinx...Good review, thanks for the effort.  Couple of questions...
  • Did the pack seem to "ride" well under way, i.e. was fairly stable or tended to rock-n-roll on the frame?
  • Does the pack/frame come in a "very large" size?  Think moderately adequate aerobically conditioned gorilla...
Again, appreciate the review!
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#5 jinx667

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:06 AM

mikejulietpapa said:

How long did those 33 miles take? I've never been on a real hike/backpack trip. Mostly because I just don't have enough of the gear! I'm so much more of a car camper but I'm happy to get out any way I can!Wussing out and renting cabins isn't a big deal! I'm sure it was still fun! Not sure if I missed it but what kind of boots did you have?How much did you pay for the ruck? Meaning… do you know of any way to get a good deal?Great post! I especially love the photos of the camp site and you on the tracks! Any time I see other people camping and tents like that it makes me so jealous, but in a good way! /wp-content/forum-smileys/anim_beer.gif


We spread the milage over 3 days.  And, you are right you have to have a ton of gear, and you want to go for the lightest stuff you can.  I have a Snugpak special forces sleeping bag that is 0 deg rated, but packs ultra small and light. I may do a mini review on it.I was wearing Vasque Wasatch GTX boots, which were very nice and not too expensive (less than $200).I paid right around $250 for the ruck from ARES ARMOR, they have good prices on TAG stuff.  I can get 25% off TAG gear when I go straight to warehouse down the road from me, but that is limited to what is on hand at the time.
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#6 jinx667

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:09 AM

Mustang0268 said:

Jinx...Good review, thanks for the effort.  Couple of questions...

  • Did the pack seem to "ride" well under way, i.e. was fairly stable or tended to rock-n-roll on the frame?
  • Does the pack/frame come in a "very large" size?  Think moderately adequate aerobically conditioned gorilla...
Again, appreciate the review!


The pack rode great.  It is wide but did not shift on the frame when moving. The frame is only avail in one size and the straps and belt are adjusted for smaller/bigger folks.  
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#7 CENTCOMSurvivor

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:32 AM

Yes, very nice write up.  Good thing you didn't run into any banditos!
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#8 jinx667

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:44 AM

You jest, but we saw a ton of the shoe covers made from mexican blankets to cover tracks.  We also got stopped by a very disappointed Border Patrol agent who had been tracking our progress.
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