Sabra Gear – Solo

Sabra Gear is a backpack and pouch manufacturer started in Israel by Eran Man. What began as a hobby creating gear for himself evolved into a business that currently has three packs and three pouches in its inventory. After seeing a Sabra Gear pack picture on Facebook I decided to give their Solo a go.

Sabra Gear Solo Review molle webbing with patch panel

At the time that I purchased my pack all of their products were made to order and generally took about 4-6 weeks to ship. Since they were going to building the pack anyway, I sent an email to ask if it would be possible for me to pay extra to add an extra row of molle on the front to open up the possibilities of adding a wider variety of pouches. Imagine my surprise when I received an email back from Eran himself saying that adding the extra molle was no problem and he didn’t want any additional payment.

About 5 weeks from the time I ordered I received another email from Eran explaining that he had hoped to have my pack shipped that week however that plan was derailed by the birth of his first child. I was more than happy for him to take his time and enjoy his new kid without worrying about my pack but he promised to get it out the next week and included one of their quick pouches to make up for the delay. The customer service throughout my experience with Sabra Gear has been excellent.

Sabra Gear Solo Review patch and logo close up

The pack arrived in a usual brown box that had been thoroughly destroyed by customs and re-taped together (thanks, parcel force!). Initial impressions were positive. It has been a while since I’ve had a pack that was 500d Cordura nylon ( I usually end up with 1000d ) so I was a little surprised by the “crinkly” feeling of the bag when I picked it up. A momentary panic hit me wondering if the quality was going to be up to my expectations. That worry was quickly resolved once I got a chance to actually give the pack a thorough inspection. The stitching on the entire bag was solid and the YKK zippers were beefy and smooth.

Sabra Gear Solo Review compression straps

Looking at the front of the pack there are two compression straps which are great for not only keeping the bag compressed if it’s not completely full but also allows for attaching bulky items like jackets to the exterior of the bag. I imagine these straps and the front molle could also be used to rig up a beaver tail ( for instance the Triple Aught Design Transporter Tail ) with very little effort.

Sabra Gear Solo review unbuckled compression

Along the face of the pack are three rows of molle webbing (mine has 4 rows as requested at time of purchase) which allows for pouches to be added and goes a long way towards increasing the organization of the pack. It’s a perfect spot to add an admin pouch if you are planning on using the pack for EDC because there is no admin area included, not uncommon in an “outdoors” pack. If you add the fourth row of molle the Kifaru 1000D Organizer pocket fits perfectly and gives you the admin space you may be missing in this pack. Along the top of the exterior is a large strip of Velcro loop for adding moral patches or reflective tape if the pack is going to be used at night.

Sabra Gear Solo Review 40oz Hydroflask bottle pocket

The bottle pockets on the sides of the pack are made of the same 500d Cordura nylon with a stretch top instead of the usual stretchy mesh that most other packs go for. At first, I wondered if the lack of mesh was going to be a problem, however, I can easily fit any of the Hydro Flasks that I own including the 40oz and I’d assume the Cordura may remain a little more rigid over time where the mesh can sometimes lose elasticity.

Sabra Gear Solo Review internal hydration and laptop compartment

The interior of the pack is accessed via a #10 YKK zipper and reminded me quite a lot of a GORUCK bag with one glaring exception. Along the back of the pack is a 14” deep bladder pocket which on first look seemed to be stitched irregularly, with one side much baggier than the other. I used it for a while assuming that that was part of the design but finally did shoot Eran an email about it along with a video showing how one side is stitched differently than the other.

Sabra Gear Solo Backpack quality control

He responded within a day saying that it was a flaw that was unfortunately missed during quality control and both sides should be uniform allowing for items to sit correctly. By the time I emailed him Sabra had decided to eliminate the black packs and pouches from their inventory so he was unable to replace the bag with another of the same color however offered 30% off a future purchase or was willing to take suggestions from me for adequate compensation. Like I said, great customer service.

Sabra Gear Solo Backpack hydration port

Above the bladder pouch are two ITW nexus d-rings for attaching pouches, carabiners or any number of accessories available from other manufacturers. Hidden at the corners of the top of the bag are two small openings allowing for a bladder hose to be run to whichever shoulder strap the user wants.

Below the D-rings is a zipper that allows access to the plastic frame sheet with an aluminum rod which is a really nice feature that isn’t always found in a pack of this size.

Sabra Gear Solo Review main compartment zippered pockets

On the front interior flap are two zippered pockets made of Cordura. For both of these pockets there is space above the zipper making the measurements of each approximately 7”x10” for the top and 9”x10” for the bottom. The pockets are great for helping organize the pack, especially given the lack of exterior pockets.

Sabra Gear Solo Backpack harness and back panel

Moving to the back of the bag you find quite a beefy shoulder strap system. The straps are very similar to those used by mystery ranch for their packs with ample padding and curves to help conform to your shoulders. At the top of the straps are load lifters to help out in making sure the weight can be pulled closer to the wearer’s back.

I’m not going to lie, the shoulder straps aren’t my favorite. However, I tend to prefer thin wide straps so I also dislike the Mystery Ranch straps while many of my fellow pack junkies feel like the MR straps are a gift from God. This one is strictly going to be user preference.
The straps have a strip of webbing running down the center which works with the included sternum strap to allow it to be adjusted up and down as needed as well as another pair of D-rings to attach carabiners for gloves or other items.

Sabra Gear Solo Backpack review load lifters

The one issue with the webbing is while it makes it very easy to adjust the sternum strap the lack of horizontal stitching means any pouches attached will slide to the bottom of the webbing. The back of the pack is just flat Cordura with a padded area at the bottom for attaching a waist belt. The lack of any kind of ventilation means that sweating with activity is a definite possibility with this pack. Sabra Gear sells their own waist belt however the size of the attachment means that belts from other manufacturers should work as well saving some money if you already have one in your gear bin.

On the bottom of the pack are two buckled compression straps for attaching tents or jackets and some webbing loops for axes.

Sabra Gear Solo Review webbing loops and compression

Sabra Gear Sol Backpack full main compartment

The water bladder pocket is usable for a laptop but since there’s really no stretch material built into that pocket it doesn’t hold it as securely as it possibly could. Also, the bottom of the pack is reinforced with a second layer of Cordura however it is not padded so keep that in mind if you are carrying electronics. If you are like me and prefer thinner shoulder straps you’re probably going to hate this bag. The compression straps can get a little annoying if you are having to unbuckle them frequently to get into the bag.

At the time of this review the Solo is unavailable for sale on the Sabra Gear site due to a soon to be released updated design. Without having any insight into what Eran has planned here are a few things I’m hoping for out of Solo 2.0. First off, I’d love for him to expand the functionality of the bag by completely revamping the interior bladder pocket. It could be styled similar to the exterior bottle pockets with elastic topped bloused Cordura that’s raised off the bottom of the pack allowing for use as a laptop pocket as well as bladder pocket.

Adding some padding to the bottom of the pack would also make it a much nicer EDC or travel option. I love the compression straps however having them removable similar to the designs of Triple Aught Design and Hill People Gear would be excellent for people who don’t always need to compress the pack but do need to frequently fully open the pack. Also, personal preference but since the pack is black I would prefer that the buckles and sliders also be black instead of the light grey on the current version.

Sabra Gear Solo Backpack Kifaru 1000D Orgnaizer
Picture courtesy of Arthur Gendlin featuring Kifaru 1000D Organizer mounted to front webbing

Overall the Sabra Gear Solo works extremely well. If a GORUCK Rucker and a Mystery Ranch ASAP had a baby with a recessive gene for bottle pockets it would be the Solo. Adequate organization with a clamshell opening and a robust shoulder harness brings together a lot of the main features of the other brand’s packs without sacrificing a lot in the way of cost or quality. Would I use the Solo for a GR  event? No, but I rarely would suggest anyone use anything other than a GR pack for that given their excellent warranty. However, if you like the simplicity of the GR rucks, the shoulder straps of the Mystery Ranch packs, and can’t go without bringing along your water bottle every day then the Sabra Gear Solo may just be just what you are looking for.

 

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