Backpacks

Road Tests :: TAD FAST Pack Litespeed Backpack

by , November 30, 2011

tad2

Triple Aught Design’s (TAD) FAST Pack Litespeed (FPL) is my favorite backpack in my vast personal collection. There, I said it. There are still many other packs I long to own (KILLSPENCER’s Special Ops backpack, Visvim’s 20L and 22L backpack, Lexdray’s Boulder backpack, GORUCK’s GR1, etc)… but let’s focus on the FAST Pack Litespeed… my current, yet to be defeated, favorite backpack that I own.

That being said, the FPL isn’t my go-to everyday carry (EDC) backpack. The FAST Pack Litespeed ($239) is better suited (for me) for specific active… activities. And it’s designed to be this way, for the movers and the shakers, the living. Fast, form-fitting, light, and tough as nails.

“The FAST Pack Litespeed was inspired by our customers who were looking for a lightweight and more nimble alternative to our legendary FAST Pack EDC for use in active scenarios when you need full range of arm motion.” For me, it is great for 1-3 day travel trips, riding my bike around town on errands or over to the local swimming hole, with plenty of room for a towel, change of clothes, all my tech toys, etc.

It’s great for going on hikes on our greenbelt, especially when it isn’t 110+ degrees Fahrenheit outside. And just in case it is that hot, there is a smart hydration pouch that works well with my existing CamelBak bladder with insulated tube. I like how the port for the bladder tube is a beefy flap of Hypalon fabric (serious heavy-duty stuff). It’s perfect for taking to a music festival, camping, or traveling on a multiple-day trip.  Judging by the fit, comfort, and construction, it could be great for a soldier out in the field. I’m not a soldier, so this is just speculation. Then again, I design packs for soldiers, so maybe I do know what I’m talking about. :)

IMG_1058 (2)

The FPL is designed for the extreme (made in the USA, Mil-Spec 1000D Cordura nylon fabric, high-tensile strength nylon thread, reinforced with Mil-Spec Hypalon, utilizing ITW Nexus GhillieTex Fasteners, NM Duraflex auto-lock buckles, YKK #8 and #10 Nylon Coil Reverse Zippers, etc.). The owner of TAD, both an ex-soldier and a lover of the outdoors designed the FPL to be exactly this way.

TAD focuses on a “…strong appreciation for durable and reliable equipment. (Patrick) founded Triple Aught Design with a signature focus on combining rigorous functionality with sophisticated design. At Triple Aught Design, we believe that human presence should not overtake the beauty of the natural world, evidenced by our choice in color palettes and the many environmental groups we support. Our apparel and equipment are meticulously designed to excel under the strenuous demands of the modern explorer, giving you the confidence to focus on the task, not the equipment. We also believe there is no need to sacrifice style in the pursuit of performance; Triple Aught Design’s unique aesthetic is recognized around the globe.”

Read more about TAD and their products on their website.

img_tad_fast_pack_litespeed

The number one attribute for the FPL is the modularity. It is a literal shape shifter. You can make this pack as complex or as streamlined as you’d like, depending on the day, your activity, your gear, your mood, your aesthetic preferences, your life. TAD relies on the military PALS and MOLLE webbing systems, covering nearly every square inch of the exterior of the pack in the stuff.

Any compatible pouches will work, but I recommend TAD’s killer pouch offerings. These pouches are built just like their packs – tough. They’re multi-sized for all sorts of different gear, they’re well thought out, provide quick access to contents, are aesthetically pleasing, and, well…they match their packs seamlessly. With their large selection of pouches, any individual can create their own unique combination that is perfect for their needs, even if they change daily. Want to bring your accessory pouch with your Leatherman on a hike? Strap it up. Want to leave your Leatherman because you’re catching a flight at the airport? No problem, pop it off the MOLLE/PALS webbing by undoing the rear Velcro straps of the said pouch. Quick and easy to add or remove gear-specific pouches as you please.

I personally am using iComm, OP1, S1, and BC4. The iComm is a solid cell phone/mp3 player pouch (fits my iPhone 4 nice and snug, but loose enough to pull out quickly), the OP1 works great for an organizer of small gear items/cables, the S1 would be perfect for a Surefire flashlight or other similar shaped item, and the BC4 carries TAD’s plastic battery case (which is made to carry CR123A batteries for that Surefire torch).

The shoulder straps are nearly revolutionary. They’re curved and highly ergonomic (as an Industrial Designer, I very much dislike using this term, as it’s pretty much a cliché) to fit your body like a glove. They curve inward, and then back out, so they wrap around your pectoral area comfortably. They are seriously some of the best designed shoulder straps that I have encountered in my years of researching, buying, and designing backpacks.

patchpouch

There is also something to be said about TAD’s badass morale patch selection, which they change up regularly. I normally wouldn’t expect a company to make really cool patches for their own packs, and would assume I would have to search long and hard for some secret underground third party company who no one knows about for “cred”. TAD is already kind of underground yet highly respected by their cult following.

In other words, not everyone is going to have your same patch/patches. I’m usually a minimalist, and go for the clean look. But not this time. I personally dig the black on black look (though they have a variety of tasteful color options in the packs, pouches, and patches, such as Coyote Khaki, Multicam, and Foliage Green to fit your aesthetic palette) so I’m extremely happy with my Dogpatch, Mean T-Skull, and TAD Logo patches… all in, you guessed it, black. The patches are also really well made, which you’d think would be overlooked with something so simple as a patch. It is that attention to detail that makes me appreciate Triple Aught Design even more.

IMG_1061 (2)

The Transporter Tail (the lower flap that is buckled to the back side of the backpack) is something new for me. At first I questioned its purpose, and wanted to remove it to achieve that super clean, minimal look which I’m a big fan of. Now, after using it for a while, I really appreciate it. I’ve found myself using it quite a bit, always in a random pinch, when almost any other pack would have trouble in these situations.

For example, I had won a skateboard deck at an event here in Austin, and though I don’t skateboard, I wanted to take the deck from the event, across town on my bicycle to surprise a friend with it. With any other backpack I’d have to carry the strange shaped object under my arm while I bike one-handed, steering and braking. Or have over half of the deck sticking up and out of an unzippered main compartment. Not ideal. But not this time. With the Transporter Tail, you unclip the two buckles, pop the deck under the Transporter Tail, and off you go. It would also be great for fishing poles, sandy beach towels, dirty boots, a rifle, or any long items/items you don’t want to or can’t store inside the main compartment.

One of the only qualms I have with this lust-worthy pack is the amount of webbing and the locations. For example, you have to unbuckle the top two buckles (which act as cinch/adjustment straps for the shoulder straps) to access the main compartment, which takes an extra second or two. Then if you’d like to fully open the main panel, you need to unbuckle the two side cinch straps for the Transporter Tail. Though I sort of like this as a feature…maybe you don’t want to open the front panel fully 100% of the time, keeping your gear intact rather than all over the ground. Then again, you can leave your most commonly accessed gear in pouches or in the quick access pocket on the front panel. This way you can reserve the main compartment for your gear you need less often, like your tent, your laptop, or a sweatshirt, etc.

The only other issue I’ve found with all the many, many design features on this pack is that the zipper catches on one of the corners of my OP1 organizer pouch, as it is very squared off and zippers like curves rather than angles. It only catches about 50% of the time on the edge binding. I mention this because I’m searching hard for issues.  (Edit: now that the pack has worn in a bit, the catch is gone).

fast

As mentioned, there is a cult following with Triple Aught Design’s gear and I hope I explained why. They offer jackets, apparel, tools, lights, and more, all of which are up to the same standards of their packs. They also look amazing and solid from what I can see in their photos on their site. I’m keen to give more of their products a try myself, as I bet my first-hand experience with them will be a pleasure and worthy of rave review.

Also check out their larger FAST Pack EDC backpack and their Dispatch Messenger bag for some more carry options.  I’m very interested to get my hands on the larger FAST Pack EDC backpack so I can take it on even longer trips.  Regardless, with any of their products, if you think you may want it, you should buy quick. I’m not joking. Their cult following buys up their inventory within days of releasing a new product (which is announced on the TAD Facebook page), and it can be weeks until they’re restocked. This heavy demand of their products should give you a little bit of an insight to the quality too.

The more I use this pack the more I find it similar to a super-aged Scotch. Highly complex, yet refined, and no doubt delicious. Absolutely an acquired taste. Once you have used the pack and customized it to fit your unique lifestyle and gear, you can become a master at using it. Much like another tool in your arsenal of life, you can become perfectly efficient and have it as an extension of yourself.

TADnew1

Is this suitable for an EDC pack? Absolutely.

Is this suitable for an active/adventure/travel pack? No doubt.

Will it also become your favorite pack in your collection? I can’t say for sure. That is for you to decide. But I would bet on it.

  • Felipe Torres

    Hi Taylor,

    I’m a university student looking for a backpack where I can carry some books, an iPad and a bunch of small items such as pens, flash drives, my MP3, headphones, etc. I’m leaning towards the 5.11 RUSH 24 (a lot of pockets to organize all my stuff), but the TAD Fast Litespeed looks like a nice and sturdier pack, besides costing almost doble the price.

    Is it too large? I mean, bigger than the RUSH 24? It’s difficult to say by looking at pictures around the web. There’s some where I judge it to be mid-sized, like this http://www.carryology.com/2011/11/30/road-test-tad-fast-pack-litespeed-backpack/img_1061/ and others, like this http://www.carryology.com/2011/11/30/road-test-tad-fast-pack-litespeed-backpack/img_tad_fast_pack_litespeed/ where the pack looks huge.

    Anyway, I’ll appreciate any help coming from you, as you road tested both packs. Thanks a lot!

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Hey Felipe,

      Regarding your decision between the two backpacks, I would say it is just a matter of taste and preference.

      However, as far as sizing is concerned, I can understand your situation. Photos online are hard to put into physical perspective. In my hands on experience, the TAD is a smaller pack. The RUSH 24 is a “large” backpack as it seems to stay structurally larger when empty, and the TAD is a bit more tapered, making it a “medium” backpack.

      Here are the dimensions of both packs to help you with your (tough) decision…
      RUSH 24: 20″ H x 12″ W x 7″ D
      TAD FPL: 22″ H x 12″ W x 5″ D

      I will say this… a family member of mine visited me recently, and ended up inspecting three of my backpacks for his own potential purchase; the RUSH 24, the TAD FPL and a CamelBak HAWG. He was testing all three with his 17″ MacBook Pro laptop and some other every day carry items for fitment. One of his concerns was the cost differences between the three. Ultimately, he ended up choosing the TAD FPL.

  • Joe

    Taylor, I did not see this mentioned, but Most of there gear is made in the USA using USA made fabric. the only exceptions (I believe)is some of there hard shells that require seem welding and taping.

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Greetings Joe,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I did happen to mention that the TAD FPL was made in the USA, but not as boldly as I would have liked to. I kind of snuck it in there (under the image with the Stanley drinking container*), though it is a major selling point for many customers. This is absolutely something that should be noted.

      *Side note: Stanley drinking containers should never be called a “Thermos”, as that is another brand/trademark. I learned this from a Stanley rep at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City. Just FYI to readers out there.

  • http://www.bellroy.com ando

    Do you have to have massive muscles to wear a TAD pack? Haha, I’m feeling rather inadequate looking at those images!

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Ando, you’ve got it all wrong man…

      As soon as you put the TAD FPL on your back, you become chiseled from marble with huge vascular muscles. I forgot to mention this important feature.

  • M.S

    Good read, cheers!

    I have been drooling over 2 backpacks for a while wich happen to be the TAD FPL and Goruck GR1, so this was intresting to read for sure. They both seem really similar in terms of build quality, price etc. What made you choose FPL over the GR1 expecially if you are into the sleek and minimalistic look? Is it the modularity, the shoulder straps/adjustability? I was almost ready to order the FPL until i discovered the Goruck… So if you could compare these two a bit?

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Heya M.S.,

      I can absolutely understand your predicament. I too, have been wanting to get my hands on a GR1to give it a solid Road Test. But it really came down to images I could view online, as I’m sure you’ve found out, these brands aren’t available at your local camping/outdoor store (which I think is a good thing personally), so, you’re left to read and view what you can online. There are just a couple of reasons that swayed me toward the FPL over the GR1. Both appear to be built amazingly well, in the US, by passionate companies, the same level of badassery, and a similar price. But the FPL has shoulder cinch straps, a removable waistbelt, and side compression straps. For me… and again, this is only from what I can view online without physically getting me hands on one, the GR1 seems like an awesome everyday carry pack or travel pack that can carry you laptop and other EDC gear, but the FPL can be an EDC/travel pack while also being used for activity, keeping the pack slim and close to your back comfortably. I do like how GORUCK wanted to minimize webbing and straps around the back to achieve the minimalist look though, something that is hard to achieve. Until I get a GR1 on my back for a solid Road Test, I’m 100% happy with my choice. Your results may vary, they’re both killer options. A great tough decision to have.

      • Ernie Quintos

        I’ve been planning to acquire the Goruck GR1 by next year & it’s only today I discovered GR1′s rival TAD FPL . I’m comparing them both by reading your comments here. So what’s the price of the TAD FPL? & is it water resistant?

        • Taylor

          The FPL costs $239. I believe the GR1 costs $295 if I recall correctly. The FPL is equally as water resistant to the GR1, GR2, RUSH 24, BLACKHAWK! bags, etc, etc, etc. Most military/tactical backpacks are made from 1000D Cordura nylon with a water resistant backing, making them all completely equal in that department. Unless it is a “drybag” which is seam welded material (not constructed from fabrics), used primarily for kayaking (and now some bicycle messenger companies too), the pack will be only water resistant, not water proof. Meaning, don’t take any pack made from nylon or polyester scuba diving.
          Quick note: I was riding my bike in a hard rainstorm with my FPL on my back, I had forgotten I had a camera in there, and continued to bike without worry, even though I was personally soaking wet. I got home, realized the situation, but the camera was still 100% dry. YMMV.

      • Patrick Bouquet

        For those in Austin TX, Mellow Jonnys downtown carries GoRuck.

        • Taylor Welden

          Thanks for the info man, I’ll check it put tomorrow.

        • Ernie Quintos

          i’m for the GORUCK too for it’s simplicity, toughness & lifetime guarantee

          • Taylor

            GORUCK is a great choice. The FPL also has the same credentials. Just depends on which flavor you prefer. Me personally… I want them both!

        • http://www.sygyzy.com/ David

          Whoa that’s awesome. Lots of love and respect for MJ (being a cycling and Lance fan and all). I wonder why they are carrying GoRuck? Not complaining, just curious.

  • Ernie Quintos

    I only like stuff that are MADE in the USA, thanks for your comments it will help me to make a good decision.

  • Ernie Quintos

    Taylor: I forgot when u compare the size of the TAD FPL & Goruck GR 1, which is larger in size?

    • Taylor

      Hey Ernie,

      The GR1′s measurements are 10.5” W x 20” H x 6.75” D making it 1417 cu in.
      The FPL’s measurements are 12″ W x 22″ H x 5″ D making it 1320 cu in.

  • M.S

    Good points Taylor and i think you are right, FPL seems more like an perferct all rounder! And for me there’s no change to get my hands on any of these bags, because i have to order them to Europe anyway.. .
    I’ve been trying to find online shops in EU that sells these bags but trust me its hard and TAD is mostly sold out everywhere anyway. And im pretty sure Goruck is only available trough their website. These bags aint cheap plus overseas shipping on top. So if any of you have links EU/UK or something please share!
    Because of this all this tests and reviews are really helpful! I also found this review about the TAD FPL with loads of pics if someone is intrested: http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=81196

    Cheers!

  • Howard Brittain

    I loved the review!
    I’m a complete newbie to the whole EDC thing, plus I just graduated from Year 12! I’ve been looking for a replacement backpack for my schoolbag (an OGIO something), and this backpack looks awesome! However is there any other options that may not be as expensive but of equal or near quality? E.g the 5.11 RUSH 12?
    Is it stocked in Australia?

    Cheers.

    • Ernie Quintos

      There is but it is made in China

  • http://www.fromhighabove.com John Canfield

    Ernie,
    Whats wrong with Chinese made?

    Check out :
    http://www.seventyeightpercent.com/

    before you complain about something being made in China. Your tone is reinforcing stereotypes unjustly. A quality product knows no borders, IMO.

    • Ernie Quintos

      That’s my opinion, but’s it’s been proven that there are chinese products sold here in USA that are inferior, poor -quality & hazardous like toys painted w/ harmful chemicals, plywood -walls use in home construction that are coated w/ hazardous chemicals, u watch NBC/ABS/CBS news. I prefer USA-made products, Japanese & German-made are superior in quality, that’s my opinion.

      • Ducky

        The problem is not “made in China” , it is the quality of materials and the final cost. The Stealh Hoodie from TAD is known as one of the best jacket ever made and It is Made in China.
        When a product is Made in USA, believe me, it is generally made in the US but by immigrants .
        Just to say that every thing is relative. Nothing is 100% black and nothing is 100% white.
        ps : i own a the litespeed and a lot of TAD products, and i reaaly appreciate that they are Made in the US

        • Rob Collins

          Dear Ducky,

          I don’t care if it’s made by immigrants in the U.S., and your generalization isn’t necessarily correct. I care that they’re paying taxes. And, I’ve been to the Kifaru shop, and can assure you that Patrick Smith isn’t paying slave wages to illegal immigrants. Quite frankly, made in china means “Made by a country that tried to kill U.S. Marines,” (Korean conflict) and just because dick nixon made buddy buddy with them doesn’t mean I shouldn’t resent the fact that a company profits from the slavery that chinese communism imposes. Quite frankly, although my father fought in Vietnam, I’d rather buy goods from there. The Vietnamese people aren’t STILL waging war (albeit economic war) against the United States.

          Wave the chinese flag somewhere else, jerk.

          • Taylor

            Dear readers, it is one thing to support “made in USA”, or “made in ______”, anywhere. If you support products that are made in a specific country, great. But don’t hate a person, product, or brand because it is made somewhere else (even if it is somewhere you don’t agree with). There is a 100% chance that your blanket statements are 100% incorrect. If you choose to spread extreme negativity here, please spend a minimum of 5 years in said country, visiting their factories and speaking with their workers… then provide a detailed analysis of your negative review of that country.
            Fact; when I was in China, dozens of people were trying to bribe and/or flirt with the gate security guard to let them into the factory on a daily basis, whether it was sunny, or during a torrential downpour… just so they would have a chance to bribe and/or flirt with a hiring manager to maybe get a job. These jobs are high-end reliable and safe work for most villagers. They are highly desirable, and people who earn these positions are respected within their community, providing for their entire families.
            Let’s spread the love and the knowledge of all things carry here on Carryology, let’s have fun with it.

            Taylor Welden

            Industrial Designer
            Carryology Writer/Tester

          • Leather

            Whoa whoa whoa gents…

            Lets not go down this track of slagging each other, if that’s your poison feel free to vent on an IRC chat board or something.

            As Taylor said, everyone is here for Carry. Bags. Wallets. Knowledge and good times.

            Obviously everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I understand that. But I ain’t having a sniff of that type of commentary on Carryology.

            So if you could, please keep the comments more about the carry topic at hand, carry topics in general and other fun stuff and less on your personal opinions about locations, countries and origin of make.

            Regards

            Lincoln
            Carryology Editor

  • http://fishingrodcase.blogspot.com/ sing.mutdfc

    It’s good to offer. And I have been taught about this article. And will be used in everyday life.

    • Ernie

      Are u buying the TAD FPL/litespeed?

  • Adrian

    How well does this store a 15 inch laptop – and is it easy to get in and out (like the Goruck packs)? I’m interested in one for overnight work trips, but only want to carry one bag, so need it to be large enough for a change of clothes, and small enough to get onboard the plane.

    • Taylor

      Hey Adrian,

      The FPL is perfect (for me) for an overnight bag for work trips. I do know how to pack efficiently though. It can absolutely fit your 15″ laptop in the rear bladder sleeve, I know this from experience. Then, on top of that, you can fit in a change of clothes, shoes, and other personal items. If you need additional room, there are always modular pouches that Triple Aught Design offers, which have definitely helped me squeeze in a few additional items. All that being said, when my FPL is loaded to the max, with 3 additional pouches on the exterior… it fits in the airplane overhead bin with tons of room to spare, and under the seat in front of you quite easily. It’s not a massive backpack, which is why I like it. The addition of exterior pouches (on the MOLLE webbing on the front, sides, bottom, and shoulder straps) really makes the FPL extremely versatile for whoever you are, whatever you’re doing.

  • Justin

    Have had a chance to hold and put on the FPL by TAD and i must say, this is an incredible piece of hardware. “Durability meet fashion, fashion meet durability. Now be friends.”

  • Rob Collins

    I like TAD stuff, but I’ve never actually laid hands on it in person. I’ve got a Kifaru fetish, but understand the need for something that is toned down a bit. Anyone out there have a basis for comparison of the TAD FPL to the Kifaru X-Ray?

    Reality might say: “Rob, you don’t need both, just carry the MC X-Ray….”

    • http://brianpark.me Brian Park

      Rob, I’m currently road testing a Kifaru X-Ray so we might have some insight for you soon. My initial impressions are incredibly positive, and, though they never advertise it, the X-Ray can actually be stripped down quite minimally for a toned down EDC vibe.

      • Ernie Quintos

        Is the Kifaru-X-ray designed for just the military or it’s also good for the hunter, camper or outdoor enthusisast? How does it compare to the GR1 Goruck & TAD FPL? water-resistant & durable too?

        • Rob Collins

          I got the X-Ray for a hunting daypack, and it works GREAT for that. I’ve also carried it for a 5 day backpacking trip in Wyoming, while it held everything I needed in surprising comfort, the load I had (food, water, shelter, sleeping bag, 2 fishing rods, tackle, raingear, scoped .500 S&W, .22 Buckmark, spare clothes) pretty well maxed it out. I was FAR exceeding what it was designed to do, and it did it. I’ve carried it on my bike for trips to the store, and loaded it up to 70 lbs with pods and carried it 5 miles home comfortably. I don’t have a basis for comparison to the others, but, it’s bombproof and versatile, and made in the U.S. by people who are adamant about not offshoring anything.

          • Ernie Quintos

            You’re review/info is very helpful & interesting, I’m glad it’s also made here in the USA just like TAD & Goruck packs, what’s the capacity in liters? weight? & price?

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  • Rob Collins

    I think the price is the big hangup. BUT, after using Mountainsmith stuff for years, (that company was also started by Patrick Smith in Golden, CO) I knew he builds great packs. All of the info is on their website, the X-Ray is ~30 liters. I’ve shopped their forums and found stuff cheaper.
    https://kifaru.net/xray.html
    Base Price: $331.00 (add 10% for Specialty Colors).
    Composite Stays: add $40.00
    If price is your basis, I’d say look seriously at the TAD, I think they’ve got great stuff. I’m seriously looking at the Fast Pack if I decide to camp/bike on the Colorado Trail. That will be strictly U/L, hammock camping. Emberlit stove, dehydrated food, ti cup, iodine to purify water, extra bladder for long in betweens..
    My X-Ray is set up with a gun bearer, bladder, and extra clothes for Colorado’s weather swings, enough to spend the night out if contingencies hit. I’ve had to do it once, it paid off, filled a bull tag the next morning, 6 miles from the car. I’ve since bought an MMR Hauler that will be my hunting pack with a sealline bag if I’m doing a multiday, or will possibly be hauling meat. I can also haul my kids’ stuff too. Or, my kids…. If I can get them to hold still while I cinch the straps…. :-)
    https://kifaru.net/militaryhaulers.html

  • Rob Collins

    When I’ve flown with the X-Ray, I keep having people assuming I’m in the military, and trying to buy coffee for me and letting cut in security lines, and thanking me, even after my repeated denials. Some of it’s the haircut, they kind of fixate on the pack though. I’d call that a negative really, it kind of freaks me out. Definitely an argument for something toned down more. If you wanted to use it for a varmint hunting pack, $3 worth of burlap would do a good job of making it hide. I wouldn’t buy a multicam pack again..

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Excellent point Rob. I get the same when I fly with a large military carry on backpack (such as the BLACKHAWK Phoenix Patrol backpack I reviewed a few months ago). Offers for discounts, plenty of “thank yous”, questions about which unit I was in, etc. I also explain that I’m not in the armed forces, and sometimes they don’t believe me. Interesting. I personally don’t mind it. I’m not looking for people to think that, but its not upsetting to me or anything. I usually just end up talking with a new person about something else once I change the subject, a definite conversation starter.

      I haven’t had it happen with the TAD FPL yet, mainly just passing positive comments “nice pack”, etc. I take notice that the people who do make the comments, also usually have a similar style of military/tactical pack.

  • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

    FWIW- there is a Triple Aught Design Fast Pack EDC backpack on its way here to Road Test. So I will share my insights and experience on the larger volume and slightly different pocket configuration after I lovingly abuse it for a while. If its anything like the FPL, I’m sure it will be amazing.

    And in case you’re on the fence on whether to make the purchase, one additional thing I should note… everyone at TAD is awesome to work with and talk to. Customer service and experience is top notch. Great folks.

  • Pingback: Road Test :: BLACKHAWK! Phoenix Patrol Pack | Josh Kerr

  • David

    Hey guys,

    I’m a college student that often bikes to class and I like to go rock climbing, hiking, trail running, etc. I’m looking for a pack that wouldn’t be too much of a burden in day to day school use, but would also be useable during my rock climbing sessions that’re on the slightly more extreme side.

    I’ve narrowed it down to the TAD Fast Pack or a Goruck Radio / GR1. Any chance any of you could point me in the right direction or tell me which they think would be better for my needs?

    Thanks,

    David

    • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

      Hey David,

      Tough call! Both are great options. For a day/college pack, I’d personally lean toward the GR1, but for the additional fun/climbing bag and ability to carry large items (via the beaver tail design feature), I would suggest the TAD FPL for your needs. I love mine, my favorite backpack I own.

      Let us know what you choose, and send us pics!

      • Justin

        Hey Taylor, is this still you favorite backpack?

        I also wanted to know what feels better with a heavy load- GR1 or TDC?

        • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

          Heya Justin,

          Indeed he FPL is still my favorite backpack I own. I am currently testing the larger EDC… and though that is my favorite backpack for other particular activities (I’ll reveal it when the review is posted), the FPL is more suited to my day to day activities. Funny enough, I’d say the FPL is more of a sporty or “EDC” style backpack, where the EDC is great for longer distance/longer trips/traveling.

          The TAD FPL has a waistbelt (removable), sternum strap (removable), and shoulder straps which can be adjusted two ways (below and up at the shoulders), I’d say the TAD FPL is the better option for comfort and adjustability, as the GR1 only has shoulder straps which can be adjusted one way (below). People say the GR1 is quite comfortable, but generally speaking, more adjustment means better fit and better comfort. Looking to try out a GR1 for myself and compare the two head to head!

          • Justin

            Thanks for the reply.

            This is a tough call! I love the look and organization of the GR1 but I’m not too crazy about the $75 zipper replacement if it breaks.

            TAD will fix anything and I also like that it is comfortable and works well but it doesn’t have organization and is smaller than the GR1.

        • http://www.taylorwelden.com taylorwelden

          Hey Justin,

          I wouldn’t say the GR1 has more organization. In fact, I’d say they are exactly equal, if not the FPL just barely inching by. TAD offers more pouches that GORUCK, and the exterior beaver tail is really clever, giving you additional storage/organization. The main two things that GR1 offers is simplicity and durability. Its without additional stuff, which is all about removing other stuff. That being said, it is executed brilliantly. Hats off to Jason and crew. A tough call indeed. Let us know whichever one you choose, they’re both bad ass options.

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  • AA

    Owning both the FPL and the GR1, I’d say the GR1 whilst less comfortable, crushes the FPL in terms of organisation. The pockets on the FPL are tall and narrow, whereas on the GR1 the pockets are wide and shallow-ish, making access far easier. I can store my kindle sideways in the top GR1 pocket, but it must be vertical in the FPL’s top pocket. However I suspect that the FPL’s narrowness does help with the superior comfort. It also ventilates a lot better than most of Goruck’s range, especially the smaller GR bags. The GR1 rides a little higher and tighter though, which works well for a skinny dude like myself.

    The front pockets on both bags could use work but is especially bad on the FPL. If you over stuff either front or the top inner pocket they protrude into each other (making the flap very top heavy) and the front pocket, being tall and narrow, isn’t great for many items past pens.

    To get to a pocket in the GR1 you just open the zipper. For the FPL, you have to under 1 to 3/4 buckles and then the zipper. The rigid shape of the GR1 helps access too. Both bags feature a sleeve in the main compartment, on the GR1 it’s not very deep and is elasticated, meaning you can stow several smaller pouches in there and quickly access them. On the FPL, the sleeve is very tall and not elasticated, all the items slide to the bottom and it’s a pain to find anything. The GR1 one also has the laptop compartment in the back, but I don’t use it much, being as backs are curved and laptops are not.

    Speaking of pouches, the OP1, which shows up in a lot of FPL reviews, hasn’t been available for most of this year and is still isn’t in stock. It may not be for quite some time yet. Nor have I ever found much use for the beaver tail. Pouches are a bit of a mixed bag, yes it’s nice to be able to attach them to the outside, but it isn’t always the nicest thing visually and it may not be practical. The GR1′s internal molle means you’ll always be happy to have a pouch attached (but GR’s offering’s are over priced) and that means your internal organisation can be very flexible. That said, the smaller GR bags lack of molle can be a pain.

    If you’re trying to decide between both, I’d say if you’re looking at cities and urban travelling, with hiking as a secondary focus, the GR1 is the better choice. If it’s for mainly hiking or travelling , the FPL is the way to go. While the GR1 can be used for many things and environments, the FPL is the more versatile bag, given it’s compression and greater molle.

    • Faiz

      Awesome write up!

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  • http://fidelseyeglasses.blogspot.com/ Major_Northeast_City

    There’s no doubting the TAD Gear Fast Pack Litespeed is:
    1. Made exceptionally well (in the U.S.A.).
    2. Quite functional for a “1-3 day” travel trip.
    3. Can fit a surprising amount of clothes/gear inside.
    4. Has “copious amounts” of Molle webing, front, sides, bottom.
    5. Has a ‘Beaver Tail’ on the front (removable) and in up position allows for a helmet, rolled article of clothing to be stored behind it, or down in the open tail position, a rifle carried straight up, stock down.
    6. Sewn out of 1000 denier Cordura fabric.
    7. The padding/design of the back is very comfortable and somewhat breathable.
    8. Functional and well designed shoulder straps, chest strap, waist strap.
    9. Smooth strong zippers, durable buckles.

    Along with the above “pro’s”, there are however several things about the pack that I and others find to be “con’s” which due to the often cult like following the pack has are often overlooked, or go un-noticed until you actually own it.
    1. Because it’s 1000 denier fabric + the “copious” amount of Molle webing + the added Beaver-tail + the “15″ dangling straps and the pack is not as “light” as the name may imply.
    2. Start adding numerous extra pouches (“modularity”) and the weight increases, then fill those pouches along with the main compartment and feel how much it weighs.
    3. The pack has a nice slim profile, but if pouches are “piggybacked” on top of each other (front), the pack quickly looks cluttered and unsightly.
    4. The zipper pouch at the top is rather uncomfortable to access quickly and cannot easily hold a cell ph. + wallet + eyeglass case together.
    5. The pack has an extremely tactical look, not great if you’re not into “tacti-cool” or don’t want to attract attention.
    If you don’t care about that, it’s a great pack to bop around campus with or look cool/hip at the office.
    Yes, I do own this pack.. I only use it for an occasional “1-3 day” jaunt, an OP1, S1, BC8 on the front carrying only “urban” essentials: wallet, eyeglasses, cell, 2 pens (not 10), a Leatherman P4 and Squirt, writing pad, 2 flashlights, small ‘At A Glance’ weekly planner and various other necessities etc.

    However, my “go to pack/s” are:
    1. A patrol sized Camelbak Mil. Spec. HAWG no longer made for the Military. (built very strong with superb organizational areas, with Molle, but not 10 tons of it and no loose straps flapping around)
    2. Two different sizes of older TUMI packs that I modified a.k.a. “pimped” slightly (awesome packs built like tanks).
    And 3., my true bug out pack, the amazing ‘Spec Ops T.H.E. Pack’ (made in the U.S.A.).
    Yes, the TAD Gear ‘Fast Pack Litespeed’ Backpack is a “great bag”, I’m just not comfortable calling it earth shatteringly awesome.

  • Major_Northeast_City

    I additionally found this interesting review (incl. photos) of the TAD Gear Fast Pack Litespeedbag that may help someone interested in it :
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/69317-Review-Triple-Aught-Design-FAST-Pack-Litespeed

    For those interested, SOC (Sandpiper Of California) makes a varied line of packs in various sizes that are reasonably priced.
    This is a small EDC/3 day pack – 2 lbs, 14 oz :
    http://www.ebags.com/product/soc-gear/three-day-pass/227518?productid=10109171&sourceID=COMJFEED&PID=3051316

    This is another style 3 lbs, 11 oz :
    http://www.ebags.com/product/soc-gear/three-day-pass/204378?productid=10109177&rlid=DETAIL

    A large SOC that carries at least as much as wheeled 22″ roll-aboard luggage:
    http://www.amazon.com/Long-Range-S-O-C-Gear-BLACK/dp/B002FKA8BO

  • http://fidelseyeglasses.blogspot.com/ Major_Northeast_City

    I additionally found this interesting review (incl. photos) of the TAD Gear Fast Pack Litespeed bag that may help someone interested in it :
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/69317-Review-Triple-Aught-Design-FAST-Pack-Litespeed

    For those interested, SOC (Sandpiper Of California) makes a varied line of packs in various sizes that are reasonably priced.
    This is a small EDC/3 day pack – 2 lbs, 14 oz :
    http://www.ebags.com/product/soc-gear/three-day-pass/227518?productid=10109171&sourceID=COMJFEED&PID=3051316

    This is another style 3 lbs, 11 oz :
    http://www.ebags.com/product/soc-gear/three-day-pass/204378?productid=10109177&rlid=DETAIL

    A large SOC that carries at least as much as wheeled 22″ roll-aboard luggage:
    http://www.amazon.com/Long-Range-S-O-C-Gear-BLACK/dp/B002FKA8BO

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  • Yoann

    Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for this review. I’m looking for a small backpack with a lot of pockets to organize all my stuff. With so much compliment about the FLP, you almost convince me to buy this bag but at the beggining of the review, you say that it is not your go-to everyday carry (EDC) backpack.

    Why that ? What would be your choice ?

    • http://www.coroflot.com/TaylorWelden Taylor Welden

      Hi Yoann,

      Thanks for your message.

      I’d say this is a perfect backpack solution for your needs. Lots of pockets, relatively small, tactical look and performance. For me (and for me personally… that is what is important), I just carry different things that require a different pocketing system. The great part about the FPL is that it is extremely modular, you can add tons of little pockets all over it for your EDC needs. It may not be my “EDC” pack. But it sounds like a perfect EDC pack for you. It is my “everything else” pack!

  • daniel

    I just used the FPL for my latest travel to Stockholm. I just had a fleece (from TAD also, Ranger Hoodie LT) , a Macbook Pro 13′ and an Ipad. So it is really nothing.
    I can tell you that after 3 hours having it on your back, you start to feel the weight. For me this is its (unique) weakness : 1,6 kg (56 oz) empty !

  • http://www.partsdr.com Ryan Anderson

    I was trying to see if my 15″ macbook would fit okay into the TAD FPL. It looks like from the other comments that it should fit okay. The pictures on TAD’s website make the backpack look kind of skinny, but the “real life” pictures that you have posted in this article don’t make it look so skinny. Very nice writeup on this backpack, it makes me want one even more!

  • Major_Northeast_City

    An update many months later:
    I have several different packs which serve different purposes.
    I live in a Major Northeast city and have used a pack for the last 7-8 yrs. which for me is the perfect size and design for “urban city” use/carry.
    Made by Camelbak, a Mil. Spec. ‘H.A.W.G.’ model which is no longer made in 1000 D Cordura ( can occasionally still be found on Ebay), I own two of them.
    They are light, and are ergonomically contoured to fit the backs natural curvature.
    One in black, the other in DCU a.k.a. Desert Tri-color, models 73000 and 73100.
    Reference photos: http://avimar2.8k.com/cbag.html

    While the above models of the Camelbak H.A.W.G. have been my “grail” for many years and I still use them, I recently decided to try a new pack…. made by 5.11 the RUSH 12, smallest of the three sizes made of the pack (12, 24, 72).
    Reference photos:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?355544-5-11-Tactical-RUSH-12-and-24-Backpack-%28MOLLE-PALS-compatible%29-Review

    I bought one on sale for $109.00 made of 1050D, with VERY well designed 16 total compartments, pockets, and slots to stow and organize your gear with an interesting and extremely comfortable contoured yoke shoulder strap system design.
    Just minimally larger (2.64 lbs empty) than my Camelbak (2.60 lbs empty), I’m quite impressed with it and have been using it for a month now, built to take a beating it worth taking a look at. (unless you prefer something more “stylish” without molle webbing).

    While both the Rush 12 and H.A.W.G. are perfect for an “Urban” out and about day bag, I do own a legendary ‘T.H.E. PACK’ made by Spec Ops, which is a larger 72 hour bag/pack reserved for an emergency evacuation scenario.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, TAD Gear ‘packs’ are not for me.
    I do though like, own and use several different ‘pouches’ made by TAD.

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  • Gabe

    Anyone have one of these, or another TAD pack, Im looking to buy one second hand. Please email me if you are selling.

    gabecrescenzo@gmail.com

  • Rob Collins

    I’ve seen them show up occasionally on the Kifaruforums.net trading post. I’m sure there are other non-eBay sources as well. The TAD packs seem to stay pretty spendy, even used. Be aware that there are Chinese made knockoffs being passed off as real on eBay, some with full disclosure that they’re not TAD, but, be aware.

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