Lii Gear Roaring Cricket: Review

No comments

Lii Gear has become a regular on The Perfect Pack. Their military inspired urban packs typically use a unique aesthetic and pack in some interesting features. They have a history of producing some fun and creative designs and today we take a look at their Gen II Roaring Cricket.

Tech Specs

Width 9.5″24.1cm
Dimensions as measured by the author.

Quality & Comfort

I’ve reviewed numerous Lii Gear bags and am always impressed with the quality and precision with which they are crafted- the manufacturing facility they use must be very well equipped and managed. This Roaring Cricket was produced in a VX-type fabric that seems like it will hold up to the rigors of daily use without issue and should provide some water-resistance. The zippers are all YKK Brand and there are no. 5, no. 8 and no. 10 zippers used depending on the location of the zipper. The plastic hardware used throughout the bag appears to be all Duraflex, with the attachment tabs for the optional waist belt being the notable exception (I do not see any markings on these).

The carry comfort of the Roaring Cricket is OK. It has a stiff back panel (but no aluminum stay) and wide, adjustable shoulder straps, but the padding used is perhaps a bit much. The foam is bulky and dense and was just a bit much for a tiny pack like this on my chubby American frame (I’m 5’10” and 210 lbs). and I had trouble handling the tiny 1/2″ buckles on the sternum strap. The shoulder straps also feature a quick release feature to aid in getting out of the pack or swinging it around front quickly.

Organization & Access

The front of the pack features an elastic shock cord for adding a jacket, two columns of laser-cut PALS for pouches and a loop field for patches. There is also a low grab handle.

Each side of the Roaring Cricket is configured slightly differently. Each bears an expandable bottle pocket, but one has a PALS field and the other another small loop field. About that is a small, credit-card sized zippered stretch pocket. Note also a pair of low-riding compression straps.

Looking down on the pack one notes a top pocket that holds something like a smart phone or keys and a rear carry handle.

The bottom of the bag hosts another set of compression straps for lashing on additional items.

Looking inside, there are multiple attachment points and lots of loop for accessories, an upper zippered mesh pocket and a lower open-top mesh pocket. There is also a zippered port at the top to all passage of hoses or cords.

Speaking, of accessories, Lii offers many options that can be cleanly integrated into the Roaring Cricket such as hanging pouches or laptop sleeves.

What’s Perfect

  • Access is great. This ‘horseshoe’ style main compartment opening is my favorite by far.
  • Build is fantastic. I am really impressed with the consistently well made bags Lii is producing.
  • The cost ($179-$199) is pretty good for a full featured pack like is.
  • I’m not one to hang pouches off the outside of my bags, but I appreciate the thoughtful modularity on the inside of this bag. I think this is especially important on a bag this svelte, as there is no room to waste on unwanted fixed features.

What’s Not

  • The Roaring Cricket has perhaps too many features. The bottom straps really seem like overkill on a bag this size, and the side compression straps, while not doubt intended to be a brake for the zipper, are so low they really aren’t useful for compression or lashing items to the sides. The pack also has load-lifters that do no good and the quick release pull tabs on the shoulder straps can be inadvertently tugged when adjusting the shoulder strap length.
  • Top carry handle is hard to find between the shoulder straps when needed. The design is just too flat.
  • Comfort is a bit subjective, and I think all the elements for a comfortable bag are present here, it’s just too small for me. A smaller, slimmer individual might have better luck in this regard. For the loads a 16 liter pack will see I’m not sure it will be a problem, but I prefer the simpler suspension and back panel of the 18 liter Heptapods.

Wrap Up

So should you run out and order a Roaring Cricket? Is this pack for you? I think there are a couple of key metrics to consider:

  • Are you a larger-framed individual? Then look elsewhere.
  • Are you needing a bunch of useful features? This could be a good option.
  • Do you like high-quality and interesting designs? The Roaring Cricket certainly fits this description.
  • Are you looking for a small bag than can carry a 13″ laptop, but doesn’t have to? This one is good at that.

I suspect that last point is the strongest for the Roaring Cricket. It already has thoughtful features included, but the ability to reconfigure the bag with accessories makes a lot of sense to me on a tiny bag like this. Carefully consider your volume needs and give the little Lii pack a look. It’s a lot of bag in a little package.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s