Geigerrig Rig 1600 Tactical Hydration Backpack Review

Anyone who loves the outdoors needs to have a go-to hydration pack. Whether it be for hiking, biking, trail running, hunting, or just plain adventure the right hydration pack will help get you further and keep going. I have had my fair share of hydration packs over the year varying from Camelback to Osprey however, it always felt like something was missing. I loved having access to water straight from the hose without having to take the pack off, especially for mountain biking. That was never the problem, it was always the actual pack that felt off. Both previous hydration packs I had did not have enough organization to grant using it even with the water bladder. 

Enter the Geigerrig Rig 1600

When it comes to a complete package for a quick day-trip adventure pack, the Rig cannot be beaten. We will start with the specs of the Rig first. The whole pack is built from 500D Multicam Cordura, which if you have followed RMK at all you know this is hands down my favorite fabric - mixing in all the best attributes, weight, abrasion resistance, tear strength, and feel. Truthfully if you are making packs without Cordura right now you are doing something wrong. 

The Rig comes in at 1600 Cubic inches, hence the name which equals a 26L volume. I did notice during my testing this pack did not feel like a 26L pack when I had it on riding or hiking. The Goruck GR1 26L also comes in at the same size and feels much more bulky than the Rig. 

To start off, on the very front of the pack you have your typical Military style Mollee webbing to give multiple attachment points as well as connect to any mollee backed pouches you may have. Above the mollee webbing sits the front admin pocket. Upon opening this pocket, you are greeted with a decent sized pocket with plenty of organization up top to keep all of your smaller items secure and ready when you need them. On the very top, there is a section separate from the pocket that lays down. This flap has two small zippered compartments and a place for cards, pens, and pencils. In the top most zipper I kept my keys on the key strap and right below is where I would store my wallet and whatever other small items like chapstick or gum. 

Underneath the top zippered organization pockets you have two larger mesh pockets for any other items you want to keep in the front pocket. 

On either side of the Rig, there are two heavy duty compression straps the help keep the load close to your back or make the pack very slim when not holding a ton of gear. At first I did not think I needed compression straps on a smaller hydration pack however when I took the Rig on my mountain bike ride packed with a full bladder, my DSLR, GoPro, gorilla pod, med kit, and a few other items I was loving the straps. They do a great job at staying out of the way and not flapping all over the place but are right where they need to be when you have to strap up. When strapped they also can act as a second closer system if you need to have the zipper open to carry taller items. At one point I was able to carry my DSLR on the Gorilla pod and have it held in by the buckles for quick access while the pack stayed on my back. 

Below the compression straps on either side of the pack sits a small but great side pocket. The side pocket can not hold a ton but does a great job at storing small quick grab items like spare camera batteries, a fire kit, gloves, etc. On my bike ride and hikes I loaded one pocket out with my spare camera batteries and the other with my work gloves. This is a great feature of the Rig. 

The main compartment of the Rig is exactly how it should be. Large and simple. The main pocket is just one large empty pocket perfect for the larger items in your loadout. While testing this pack I was able to fit my DSLR, Gorilla pod, GoPro and its Gorilla pod, my Med kit EDC pouch, an extra layer, and still had some room. When the water bladder is loaded fully it can push into the main compartment somewhat but that is to be expected. I love the emptiness of the pocket so I can easily slide in and out my camera without catching them on pockets, hooks and whatever else doesn't need to be there. One thing I would like to see added to the main comparment is some light padding on the bottom for some extra peace of mind when carrying Camera or other expensive eletronics. 

Another feature that separates the Rig from other hydration packs is the included, removable, padded hip belt. Not many packs this size offer a fully featured hip belt and I am not sure why because after using the Rig's I am in love. The hip belt is perfectly padded, not too much that it is uncomfortable while riding my bike but enough to support a 30lb Goruck Ruck weight. The hip belt also has a small pocket on either side that was large enough to store my iPhone 6s and would work great for keys and other small items. The belt can be removed effortlessly as it is attached with some heavy duty velcro at the base of the pack. This is one of my favorite features of the Rig. 

The back panel on the Rig is also more than expected from a typical hydration pack. The panel is home to three large separate padded mesh islands to help with not only padding but ventilation. When riding my bike with the pack my back did get sweaty but that is fairly hard to avoid while mountain biking. When just hiking the pack did a great job at venting. At the bottom of the back panel, there is a large lumbar mesh pad which houses the velcro for the hip belt.   

 

Right behind the padded back panel runs a zipper which reveals the water bladder compartment. The Rig comes with an included 3L bladder which is not your average bladder. The Geigerrig bladder does not only hold water and give you a hydration hose but has a separate "pressure hose" which the user can pump full and give the water hose pressure. At first, I really thought this was just a marketing technique however upon using I doubt I will ever be happy with another bladder. Pumping air into the bladder allowed me to pinch the outlet and use the hydration hose as more than a hydration outlet, I was able to spray my face to cool down with water, fill up my pup's water bowl and spray off my boots at the end of the hike. On the right shoulder strap, the Insulated water bladder hose runs down and connects to the plastic hold. The left strap houses the pump hose in a small pocket which can be pumped while zipped shut. The addition of the Insulated hydration hose really helped to not blasted with a stream of warm water on the first gulp after a while. 

 

The shoulder straps on the Rig are lightly padded and backed with the same mesh material used on the hip belt and back panel of the pack. The Rig comes with an included sternum strap and plenty of attachment points. Each hose runs down the straps and stays low profile due to the loops and clips holding the hoses down.

The Rig 1600 Tactical Hydration Pack by Geigerrig is not only my favorite hydration packs I've used but one of my favorite day hiking/adventure packs. The attention to detail is very apparent from the stitching to the small mesh parts in high contact areas. The pressurized water bladder is an awesome feature and the removable padded hip belt brings it all together to make a monster day pack. The pack comes in at $210 which is not cheap but completely justifiable with the Cordura construction and top-tier features. The Rig also comes in the Mulitcam verison I have, Black, and Coyote Tan. I look forward to seeing what other great packs come from the guys over at Geigerrig. 

+

  • 500D Cordura
  • Padded Removable Hip-Belt
  • Compression Straps
  • Padded Back Panel
  • Great attention to detail
  • Pressurized Water Bladder
  • Great Organization for a Hydration Pack
  • Mollee Webbing

-

  • No padding on bottom
  • No Velcro patch on Front for Morale Patches

Madden Equipment Dan's Pack Review

The Madden Dan’s pack is made by Madden Equipment in Boulder Colorado. The pack comes in at 20L with one main storage pocket and one front slash zippered pocket. The bag is made out of 1000D Cordura and a 420D Nylon inner. It is also accompanied by all YKK zippers. Madden Equipment is a smaller company that makes high-quality handmade gear right in Boulder. All Madden Equipment gear comes with a lifetime guarantee. Madden was the first US outdoor company to introduce Cordura to the European marketplace back in the late ‘70s.  It’s been part of the Madden brand identity the past 40 years.  

This is the first pack by Madden that I have had. The Dan’s pack is their smallest and cheapest backpack coming in at $100 even. The backpack has excelled at a quick day trip bag or a small EDC bag with how streamlined yet functional it is. 

The bag has one main storage compartment like most bags with two slots for documents or a laptop against the back. There is minimal padding on this bag and especially in and around the main pocket so if you are going to be carrying a laptop I suggest a separate laptop sleeve. 

On the front, there is a horizontal slash pocket that is gusseted and can really hold more than one would think. This pocket is expected on a bag like this or any backpack really, however, the addition of the gusset completely transforms the pocket and makes it more functional. Most other bags with a front slash pocket are very hard to access when the core of the bag is stuffed full. Even when I had this pack full this pocket allowed me to pull out my easy access items effortlessly.

With carrying this bag there was one thing I noticed time and time again. Without the addition of any harness or suspension the bag really hugged my back. If I were using this bag for hiking, rucking, biking etc. I would have hated this as my back would get extremely sweaty fast. Since I was using this pack as intended for my EDC this feature was great. There is nothing more awkward then a pack that is stiff and will not bend with you, especially on a crowed bus or through the town. Most of my EDC or school bags do not have any kind of suspension just for this reason alone, my Tom Bihn Synapse 25 being a great example. 

The shoulder straps on this bag are fairly normal. There is enough padding to help out if you decide to carry a heavier load for the day but not to the point that when you only have a few items in the bag they will look out of place. 

The back of the bag is also slightly padded and made with the same 1000D cordura, so no mesh or anything to help breathe. I would have liked to see some kind of mesh backing here just to help a bit with the breathability although, at $100 I didn’t except this pack to be full of features. 

The bag is simple and I love that about it. There are a couple very neat pieces sewn on throughout the bag like the 100% Bison leather patch on the front upper corner or the bag. The small and subtle Madden Equipment logo on the bottom right. If you take a look at the back of the bag there is even a small Colorado state flag attached. Lastly, on the inside there is a tag showing who hand made your bag along with a U.S.A flag. I love seeing these type of tags on bags validate their authenticity and heritage. 

+

- Very affordable 

- Military grade materials

- Handmade Colorado features

- Streamlined, simple

- Front gusseted pocket

-

- Not very breathable

- Not much padding

 

Who this pack suits  

- Someone looking for a daypack built in the USA with a lifetime guarantee 

- Someone who wants a small streamlined day pack

- Someone who wants high-grade materials and features at a great price

 

Who it doesn't

- Someone looking for a backpack that excels at carrying a laptop

- Someone who will be in very hot weather and needs a pack that can breathe

- Anyone looking for a hiking or overnight backpack

 

GoRuck 15L Bullet Ruck

I was lucky enough to have purchased my first Goruck hydration bullet about a month ago at the Denver Colorado GoRuck Kill That 5K. It paid off getting to the “Beer and Gear” early to get my hands on this 15L and also the 10L Coyote, which I will be doing on review on later. I got this ruck for $90 which is a little under retail at $120 on the GoRuck website. 

The first thing I noticed about this ruck was that the material felt a lot “thinner” then that of my GR1 or even the Coyote 10L I had bought. This is because the newer hydration rucks are being made of the 500D Cordura instead of the normal 1000D Cordura, which the GR series of rucks is made out of. At first this made me uneasy and feel that I was not getting the normal quality that I had come to except from GoRuck, however this was not the case at all. After a few days with the 15L I learned why the company had decided to change the material it is made of. I used this pack mainly as a hydration bladder pack and extra gear backpack for my biking trips and for my hiking/climbing adventures while I was back in my home-state of Colorado. The pack was noticeability lighter then even the 10L Bullet I bought that had the 1000D Cordura construction. Anyone who bikes/climbs or uses a smaller backpack for any action adventure activity knows that the lighter the pack means more endurance and less effort. I had always been looking for light packs to bike with but they always came with the compromise of quality and reliability I could count on. On the other hand, anyone who knows the GoRuck company knows that their products and quality that their products are built to is second to none. Having this mix of lightweight 500D Cordura and toughness and water resistant Cordura felt like the perfect combination. Cordura aside, the ruck also comes with the same kickass YKK zippers, 2x3 velcro patch, and padded straps that are featured on the higher end GoRuck packs. 

As I said before, I used this ruck mostly while biking throughout Colorado. The lightweight but sturdy construction of the pack made it feel like I had nothing on my back. In the main compartment on my excursions I would bring along a rain jacket, pelican case for my phone and wallet, a bike case storing tire patches and other simple things. Then my Lowepro GoPro case/GR1 Field pocket for my Sony A3000. Everything fit perfectly and still the bag had a slim profile when on my back. 

 On the inside of the front panel, like every other GoRuck bag there is two zipper pockets. The larger of the two is mesh and on the bottom. This pocket is very handy for anything you want separate from the main compartment that you may need to see or quickly grab while on the trail. The top pocket is perfect for smaller items like gum or snacks.

On the front of the bag there is a horizontal zipper pocket that reaches the bottom of the ruck. This compartment is where I would leave smaller and thinner objects during my rides. Keys, headphones, and my knife.

The last pocket of this bag is the hydration pocket for the bladder. On this ride I only brought along my 2L Camelback bladder and it slide right in without any problems. I had also used my 3L Osprey bladder in this pack and that too fit perfectly. The back of the bag has enough padding to support the bladder and keep it upright but not too much so that the bag feels bulky. 

 

On the front of the bag as like most GoRuck products there are four rows of Mollee webbing. I not only love the look this addition gives GoRucks bags but it can be used to attach multiple other “pockets” GoRuck sells and pictured below can be used as a great way to attach a helmet or anything else you can think of. 

Now I know that most of these packs are used for rucking but this was just a quick review to show the different ways one could use the 15L Bullet. Below is a picture of six duct taped bricks in the main compartment of the 15L Bullet. I use this pack on light rucks when I don't feel like lugging around my GR1. I can fit the six bricks in the main comparment and a 20 pound GoRuck weight in the hydration compartment to give me some pretty decent weight in such a small pack.


    All in all I can safely say that the GoRuck 15L Hydration Bullet Ruck is one of my favorite biking bags that I've had. It not only is built of the best materials, water resistant, and super streamlined, but the pack looks great and lets me showcase the patches I have earned while doing something other then rucking.