Since last year, the waist pack style seems to be catching on again. Across those commonly featured on this site, we’re now hard pressed to find a brand that does not offer a waist pack in its product line. Tactical-styled bag company Vanquest, for example, have released the Dendrite, available in two sizes.

Tech Specs

ImperialMetric
Height6.5 in16.5 cm
Width10.75 in27.3 cm
Depth3 in7.6 cm
Capacity244 cu. in4 litres
Weight104 oz295g
Dimensions taken from vanquest.com

Primary fabric: 400-D UrbanBlend™ Nylon-Poly fabric

While the model reviewed is the DENDRITE-Large, Vanquest also produce a Small. Note that the smaller version measures 5.5” (H) x 9” (W) x 3” (D), with a capacity of 2.75 liters.

Quality and Comfort

I always find Vanquest products to be well made. The Dendrite is no exception. All internal edges are taped. Seams are straight. Vanquest always use name brand components like ITW and Duraflex hardware with YKK zippers. I particularly like their zipper pulls which are easy to use even with gloved hands.

The Dendrite is easy to adjust for wearing on the waist, or slung across the chest. The belt is made of 1.5″ webbing material. It is fully removable, with the buckle on one side, to be set up for left- or right-handed operation. Vanquest have included a small loop at the end of the connection point which I initially mistook for a compression strap setup. It is non adjustable but great for hooking on additional items with a carabiner.

Organization and Access

Vanquest are known for their high-viz interiors and internal organization. Even in a small 4L pack like the Dendrite, the organization is plentiful. Starting from the back, there is a somewhat hidden large pocket, good for keys or wallet. The pocket is hidden via a flap/cover from the bottom, which means it is a natural channel to collect small debris. Be careful eating trail mix over the top of this bag.

The front pocket is similarly sized, without a flap. There is a zipper garage at the end also, to give the front pocket more protection. This space is perfect for hand sanitizer and face masks, a common need in 2021. While the pocket does not have its own volume, it can push into the main compartment a little to store small items.

The main compartment is classic Vanquest. The front front has their signature semi-transparent zipper pocket. The back wall has a full loop field. Vanquest sell various hook backed inserts that will work here, to configure that space to any specific use case. In front of the wall there is a pleated pocket, with two more pleated pockets in front, complete with a row of elastic webbing. That is a mouthful to describe in words. Take a look at the photos instead.

What’s Perfect

  • The organization in the main compartment is just enough and flexible enough to adapt to different use cases
  • The removable and reversible waist belt is comfortable and adjustable, all the way to 54 inches
  • There are two attachment points for key leashes, and the bag comes with a very nice key fob.

What’s Not

  • The bag I tested has the PU coated 400-D UrbanBlend Nylon-Ploy fabric, and I am not a fan. It has a strong plastic feel. The bag also comes in 500D Cordura MCB fabric
  • The upside down rain flap in the back is a debris catcher
  • The large leather branding on the front seems out of place. I would prefer something more subtle

Wrap Up

It is hard to have a waist bag in the 4-6L size range that stands out from the now crowded field. The organization setup and the quality of the Dendrite make this bag stand out. It is also affordably priced. If you are used to the Vanquest style of organization you will fell right at home. If you want to try out a Vanquest product this is a nice entry point. I would go for the 500D fabric though. The Dendrite is available in both small and large size from the Vanquest website.

Disclaimer: The Dendrite was provided by Vanquest for use in this review. The content of the review was not discussed with Vanquest prior to publication. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.