trevor knollComment

Guest Review - SOG TOC 20L Tactical Backpack Review

trevor knollComment
Guest Review - SOG TOC 20L Tactical Backpack Review

Initial Impression: 

The SOG TOC 20 makes quite an impression when you first lay eyes on it, The Hypalon Molle field is a different more streamlined look then what I’m used to and the Impact Resistant pocket I’ll admit looks a bit weird. The zipper pulls are great for easy use and despite my reservations about them catching on things they don’t, a huge plus not having to modify the zipper pulls like we have done on GoRuck and other packs. The straps and backrest are fairly basic but do the job nicely and provide plenty of comfort for heavier loads.

Utility: 

The TOC 20 has 4 gear compartments, 2 subdivided compartments inside the main compartment, and a laptop pocket. The front 2 utility pockets are great for your slightly smaller items that always seem to fall to the bottom of the larger compartment but are too big for accessories compartments. I use them to store my bike tool kit and first aid packs. The large main compartment is host to a subdivided executive organizer that has two larger pouches for you e-readers or smaller tablets in addition to the normal pen pouches and the like. There is also a small what I’m guessing is a key retainer pocket on the underside of the crush proof compartment that is really too small to do anything else. Lastly, there is a pass through laptop compartment that doubles as a hydration bladder compartment.

Construction:

The TOC 20 is made of 500D Nylon that has a polyurethane thread coating to increase its water resistance but doesn't take this to mean it will stand up to prolonged exposure to heavy water saturation. The Hypalon Molle field is the same material used in rigid inflatable boats and has shown no signs of deterioration thus far. The side carry handle is an unnecessary addition since the straps cannot be stored away. The pack all around has proven to be constructed quite well thus far.

Specs:  

  • 20 Liter capacity @ 2lbs
  • 17” Laptop compartment
  • 20” x 11” x 7.5” dimensions
  • 4 Gear compartments
  • Laptop/Hydro Bladder compartment
  • 500d Nylon with Polyurethane thread coat
  • Water-resistive
  • 2 Molle fields
  • 2MM Polyethylene paddedsuspension straps and a sternum strap

 

Overview:

The TOC 20 as I mentioned earlier has 4 Gear compartments, the 2 utility pockets, an impact resistant compartment, and the main gear compartment. Unfortunately for this pack, it is another victim of try to be a jack of all trades and thus a master of none. The combination of the executive organizer in the main gear compartment means having to unload books/clothes/gear from the compartment to get to smaller items in the organizer and it gave me an uneasy feeling putting my iPad in the tablet pouch. Due to this, I found myself putting my keys and wallet in the front utility pockets to increase the ease of access but lost that space in the process and at only 20 liters space is a premium. The impact resistant compartment is a great idea that could use some more thought, I put my Oakley’s in the sunglasses divider and was disappointed to see that as they shifted around on my hike the lining scratched the lenses so now I put them in the case in that pocket and there is very little if any space left in the compartment. Again though I love the idea just needs a bit of refining and they have a gem there. Lastly, the pack doesn’t have a back vent incorporated in the design so I found that after about an hour perspiration begins to build up and leads to a less comfortable ride. This problem is non-existent if you’re using this for travel or to and from school, however. The one true downside of this pack is the lack of any water bottle pockets and as I mentioned earlier space is a premium for this pack and I don’t like the idea of having water and electronics is the same compartment. The size of this pack is actually a thing of beauty however at 20 liters it makes you cut all the non-essential junk that weighs larger packs down but still has room for 2 textbooks, a notebook, and a couple folders in the main compartment. Perhaps the most overlooked part of this pack come in the form of the standard Molle field on the bottom of the pack that came in handy more than I ever could have imagined, you can rig up a slew of different large items to it in order to increase carrying capacity and due to the packs size it doesn’t drop down and interfere with your legs. As a bigger than average guy this pack fits my 6’1” frame with plenty of room to spare for those that are more built than me. 

Cost:

At $159.99 this pack delivers decent utility in the Travel and EDC categories but does lack a bit in the Hiking category, SOG offers a Lifetime Warranty against Defects in manufacturing but doesn’t include damage from misuse, alteration, or normal wear and tear determined at their discretion. It has proven to be a well-made pack from a construction standpoint and offers some interesting innovations that with a bit of refining and fine tuning and the addition of a water bottle pouch could justify the price tag.