First Tactical is a somewhat new brand in the tactical industry, having entered the market in 2015. Led by Dan Costa, (formerly of Royal Robbins, 5.11 Tactical and others), the company specializes in apparel, packs, knives and other accessories. First Tactical develops products for law enforcement and first responders primarily, but many of their items are useful for everyday carry as well. Their products are well made and affordably priced, due in part to their direct-to-consumer business model.
Today I’ll be looking at the Tactix 1 Day Plus, a bag designed for longer days or perhaps 2-3 day trips. It sells on their website for $189.99 and represents the upper echelon in First Tactical’s pack lines, and falls in the middle of their range in terms of volume.
2368 cu. in.
|500D/1000D water resistant nylon, YKK® zippers, Duraflex® hardware|
Quality and Comfort
The Tactix series of packs utilize heavy duty materials, such as 500D and 1000D water resistant nylon, industry standard Duraflex buckles and YKK zippers. Some may have reservations that the First Tactical packs are made abroad, but the quality of construction is as good as any pack I have seen. There are no errant stitches or misplaced seams. All the seams are taped and well secured. The pack shows impeccable build quality and uses materials known to endure. I have no concerns regarding the quality and longevity of the Tactix.
The pack carries well. First Tactical has developed an adjustable suspension system for the bag that allows the length of the straps to be adjusted, and a top carry handle type yoke system that allows the width of the straps to be fine tuned. The should straps are fairly wide and not overly padded, as is the case on some cheaper packs. These are features not found on many bags in this price range, and they go a long ways towards making the pack a comfortable piece of kit. There is a pass through under the lumbar pad designed for the companies optional waist belt should one be needed.
The bag uses a frame sheet with two aluminum stays for rigidity. This allows the pack to handle more weight than might be expected, and keeps things upright when the pack is carried or set down.
While this suspension is a bit stiff to start with, the straps break in well and provide a reasonable level of comfort for moderate loads (say, up to 30 lbs/15kg). Heavier loads will strain the users shoulders and produce hot spots. Carry comfort does not match the venerable HPG Harness or the Mystery Ranch Futura yoke, but it is as good or better than most other packs I have tried.
The organization of the Tactix is, well, busy. They list 9 external and 22 internal pockets on their website. Let’s try not to get lost here.
On the fron of the Tactix, we find plenty of laser cut PALS type mounting options as well as a suite of pockets. There is a larger pocket on the top third that runs the width of the bag, a low profile pocket designed for CCW applications and two vertical pockets on the very face of the pack. There are also two areas of loop material designed to hold patches or name tapes.
Inside the two vertical pockets are two sleeve pockets to refine gear organization.
The CCW pocket is loop lined to accommodate Velcro mounted holsters or other accessories and is sandwiched between the admin pocket and main compartment.
The sides of the pack display more PALS compatible mounting space, removable and reposition-able compression straps, a drain grommet at the bottom corner and low profile grab handles. First Tactical went the extra mile and provided webbing keepers for the compression straps.
The top of the pack features a heavy duty carry handle from rolled webbing, a fleece lined glasses/electronics pocket and provides access to the rear sleeve pocket, main compartment and the front upper pocket.
Inside the top of the rear sleeve compartment are two smaller sleeve pockets. These are useful for a wallet, phone, charging brick, or something of that nature.
One can see here also is the width adjusting portion of the suspension harness. It doubles as an additional carry/grab handle.
While some companies may not consider the functionality of the bottom of their packs, First Tactical has not overlooked this are. They have included webbing loops to attach lashing straps and placed a zipper at the bottom of the rear sleeve to facilitate the use of one of the companies Rifle Sleeves.
First Tactical also included a small flat zippered pocket on the bottom that opens towards the pack face. They suggest this is useful for a rain fly or for adding padding to the bottom of the pack.
The admin compartment on the Tactix is not sparse. It sports a variety of slots and sleeves for all your smaller items, a removable key ring, a fixed key ring, a zippered rear pocket and a label area on the front flap to let the user mark the bag.
The main compartment of the pack is largely wide open and ready for customization. There are two zippered pockets on the front flap that are fixed and two hook backed pouches that can mount to the flap or any where on the loop covered back panel. The imagination can go wide with all the mounting and accessory options!
- The build quality on this pack is impressive. First Tactical seems to be working with top notch factories and consistency delivers a well made pack.
- Carry comfort is well done. The adjustable straps are wide and padded appropriately.
- I have long been a fan of panel-zip packs, and this one lives up to that reputation. It’s great that First Tactical designed the bag to open completely by having the zipper come around the bottom corners slightly. The large, open capacity of the main compartment is great for bulkier items like my camera gear.
- The rear compartment serves well as a laptop sleeve in EDC use, and the two little sleeve pockets inside it are a great place to stash valuables.
- Side grab handles are a fantastic idea for maneuvering the bag and these lay flat when not needed. Well done.
- The inclusion of a CCW pocket will appeal to some, and it is placed in a fairly accessible yet unobtrusive location on the pack.
- First Tactical used different zipper pulls on different pockets to differentiate them and included webbing keepers. Good thinking.
- The larger pockets on the exterior of the pack have their own volume. It’s hard to overstate how frustrating it is to have a pack with so many pockets that eat into each other when loaded. This is not a problem on the Tactix.
- Need flexibility in mounting PALS pouches? The Tactix has you covered. Really, it’s all over the pack.
- First Tactical built this pack with flexibility in mind, and they have some nice features included in this realm. The full loop back panel and removable mesh pockets in the interior are simple, but allow some degree of customization without needing to purchase extra accessories.
- The compression straps are removable (I believe all compression straps should be) or can be moved anywhere needed on the pack. They are a great asset on a pack this size in controlling excess pack or lashing items to the exterior.
- First Tactical has built a rain flap into the bottom of the rear pass through sleeve and cut a little hole in it for the zipper pull to pass trough to help keep it secure. This flap should aide in keeping water from seeping into the sleeve and really makes the bottom of the pack feel more complete.
- Who needs 31 pockets on a pack? Not this guy. There are just too many. I’d like to see the pack streamlined some, maybe removing the two on the front most part of the bag for a slightly slimmer profile.
- Even though the pack includes the fleece lined pocket on top, the large cocoon shaped pocket on the face/top of the pack would have been a great place for bulkier glasses or goggles as well. It could have used a fleece treatment as well.
- While I appreciate the removable key fob, it is difficult to remove or attach with one hand.
- The pack is right at the edge of volume and height where a second set of compression straps might come in handy.
The Tactix 1 Day Plus from First Tactical is a bag designed to carry plenty of kit and do it with a high degree of organization. The bag accommodates many different users through it’s large number of pockets and ability to be customized internally. Carry comfort is better than average in a sub-$200 pack, and materials and build quality are flawless. This pack would be well suited to those looking for an affordable, durable pack on a budget, or those looking for plenty of wide open volume for bulky gear. At nearly 39 liters, it would serve well for long weekend adventures, or perhaps beyond if packing light. First Tactical has a 27 liter and 62 liter version of this pack with similar features. Overall, the Tactix line deserves consideration as a well-built, affordable and feature-packed set of bags.
Editor’s Note: The Tactix 1 Plus was provided by First Tactical as a sample for review purposes. The content of this review was not shared with First Tactical before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.