When on the lookout for the perfect pack we are not looking for a monogamous relationship. No, we are looking for The Perfect Pack for the situation. There are innumerous reasons for carrying a pack; from traveling the globe to making the commute to work, from running a special operation in the Andes to running to the gym. No matter what the situation, there will be a pack designed for that very situation. Finding the perfect pack for each situation has been a personal goal of mine since joining The Perfect Pack. For the majority of us finding a perfect pack will mean finding a solid, tough workhorse for the city commute. Well, for me that search is over.
The Conceal pack from The Brown Buffalo isn’t a hiking pack, its not designed to carry all your clothes on a month holiday around Canada. It is however, designed and dare I say perfected for city carry.
I have had the pleasure to briefly discuss the pack with Douglas Davidson the founder of The Brown Buffalo on a few occasions. So opening up the box and seeing this pack for the first time gave me quite a thrill. I instantly fell in love with the colour and material, Moss Green STORMPROOF.
The 500D STORMPROOF material feels great, its slightly textured and gives you the impression the pack would take a serious beating – not to mention it’s highly water resistant.
The Conceal is most at home with predominantly city/day carry, not to say that you couldn’t also take the Conceal on a few overnight trips or use it for a day travel bag.
The bulk of my usage for the Conceal was travelling to and from work. This typically involves a bit of walking from my car to the office, and a bit of car travel. My main use is what most would call typical EDC as well as a bit of extra kit.
For me the Conceal pack satisfied a number of the usual stipulations, easy of use, high quality and design. A pack has to perform the intended tasks and why not also look good doing it?
The Conceal at face value is a simple pack, but don’t let that fool you. Everything is very well thought out. While waiting for the pack to be dispatched I was informed it was slightly delayed as the zips were not up to the extremely high standard Brown Buffalo has. The interior admin is simple and useful. Some packs have so much admin you could easily lose track of where you last placed your pen. Conversely there are packs with zero admin (to me this is close to the definition of insanity – I digress). The Conceal pack is perfectly between these two extremes with an extremely functional approach to internal organisation.
A bit of a glimpse at some of the internal organisation. The Conceal is very nearly a clam shell designed pack, however, due to its toughened base it doesn’t quite open all the way. This is not a massive deal for me as you can open the pack pretty much all the way anyway. I don’t think it would even really pose an issue for someone with a camera kit drop in.
Internally there are two larger pockets that function as bottle pockets or just regular admin. I personally dislike carrying water inside my pack that is really just my own insecurities, something I have to live with. I mainly use these pockets for items I’d like faster/easier access to. I have a Leatherman and small tool kit in one pocket. The admin section comes with pen holder, key clip and a pouch you could use for a tablet. There is a sleeve that fits a 15” laptop as well with no problem, and a top mesh pocket for quick access.
Overall I’d say that for me it’s quite easy to use, it’s near perfect.
The Conceal in Moss Green is really visually appealing in my opinion, this section is typically very subjective. However, when wearing I have received a few inquiries from co-workers asking what brand it is and what its made of. The pack would be fairly understated in black if that is your thing, and in green, it’s not terribly out of place in an office environment. Definitely less in-your-face than a full-on mil-spec pack.
The camouflage pattern Conceal packs would be more suited to outdoor usage in my opinion as any dirt wouldn’t show up as easily, but, with the STORMPROOF material, it’s not likely to stay dirty long anyway.
The Conceal is excellent quality, stitching is perfect no threads out of place yet. The materials used are a clear indication of the quality of this pack. Extremely high attention to detail, bombproof, hard wearing and should last you 10+ years with little effort. YKK Aquaguard Zippers, DWR coated 1000D Nylon a match made in heaven as the expression goes, or in this case designed and built in the USA.
Look at that grab handle, just look, it’s beautiful, it’s comfortable and very strong. I honestly believe I could carry 30kg or more and the top grab handle would handle it fine (terrible pun but I’m sticking with it).
The shoulder straps are really nice as well, strong, durable and with some padding to reduce fatigue. I wouldn’t load up the pack beyond about 10kg for extended carry, the Conceal would easily be able to take the weight; the Conceals shoulder straps are just not designed for lugging around huge weight.
The back panel is comfortable and durable. I feel like I am wearing out the word ‘durable’ but really every aspect of this pack is … that word, DURABLE.
The front of the pack has a slip pocket as I like to call them. Decent size and could be used for documents, tablet or thin outerwear.
The base of the pack is thick and durable, capable of being repeatedly dropped or dragged on rough surfaces as you pick up and put down your pack, with no issues.
Because the Conceal is fairly stiff it sits upright, I love this feature as you can place the pack down anywhere without worrying that it will tip over. As it is roughly rectangular in shape it allows quite a large volume of packable area, although the pack is rated at 15L it feels quite a lot larger.
I like to carry an extensive first aid kit, a throwback to when I used to volunteer for a first aid organisation in Australia. As well as a few simple rescue tools as I am currently volunteering for our state emergency services and don’t feel comfortable without them. Along with the typical EDC items this pack performs quite well.
Because the Conceal is incredibly water resistant I decided to test it out. I left the Conceal out in the rain day for 20-30min and not a single drop of water got inside. I even sprayed the zipper especially to try to penetrate it to no avail. As mentioned previously these are YKK® AquaGuard® Zippers – nothing with an external zipper will ever be truly waterproof but this is about as close as you can get.
Overall the pack is quite a nice, useful daily pack. I have only had the issue with the shoulder straps and that’s not a consistent issue. Even with this, I would still not hesitate to take this pack for a full day commute or use as a day pack for a long day out.
Are their packs out there with higher quality builds? Maybe. Are there packs out there that look better? Maybe. Are there packs that combine high quality, with fashionable design, water resistance and functionality? Yes, the Conceal.
The Brown Buffalo Conceal is unique, I keep coming back to it and for good reason. It performs every task beautifully with quiet confidence.