- Buyer's Guide
A pack long-forgotten that influenced so many – the military-issued Eagle A3 backpack – lifted into the light and given the trash treatment, in a collaboration with the anti-brand of the tactical world.
If punk rock was a collab then this would be it. So we’re going a bit punk rock (and a little Toyota Corolla) on this design article. Enjoy the ride!
Corey Emond is the owner/founder of Superior Defense. I first met Corey at SHOT Show, when I was a Product Designer at Magpul. He walked up to the booth and was checking out the new Magpul DAKA Pouches that I had designed and were just getting released. We quickly started talking about all things carry and connected over the fact that we’re both gear nerds. We became fast friends. Super genuine dude and he simply doesn’t fit any kind of mold. Also, we did a silly podcast together on his FORT KNOX Podcast channel (be warned, we talk about beards a lot).
Corey’s persona is deeply infused into the DNA of his brand Superior Defense. What the hell is Superior Defense? It’s definitely not a cult. Let’s make that part clear. Also referred to as “Sup Def”, “SUPDEF”, “SupDef”, “FedSup”, and a bunch of other nicknames, the brand is kind of, well… an anti-brand. I know Corey will laugh when he reads this, but he/they really have a punk rock mentality of doing all things. And they don’t try to do it, that’s just the way he is – this, I love.
Sup Def dishes up all kinds of products, from bags, cases, keychains, umbrellas and ice cube trays. I’ve heard the phrasing that “Sup Def is the Supreme of the tactical world”, but that’s too big of a compliment for Supreme, in my humble opinion. Sup Def makes quality stuff, usually in the USA, out of fun/weird camo patterns, with humor weaved in, always.
Now, is there a “but” coming? There just has to be one. Yep, here it is. But, with these products being awesome and Sup Def being a very small brand (I feel dirty even calling them a “brand”), they can only make small batches of products. So they sell out blisteringly fast. You think Carryology collaborations sell out fast? Our collabs last for minutes, sometimes even a few hours. Sup Def products last for seconds. I wanted to specifically highlight this, so those who are new to Sup Def understand what to expect. Alright, that’s enough about Sup Def. Remember, Sup Def is NOT a cult.
Alright, now onto the inspiration for this whole… “thing”.
Corey and I have been friends for the better part of a decade.
I think Superior Defense is cool.
Corey thinks Carryology is cool.
We both think bags and carry are cool.
We’ve been joking for years that doing something together would be cool.
So we decided to do something cool.
Ok next up. We established that doing “something” was going to happen. But what product? Over the span of several months via several phone calls and some in-person hangs over noodles, Corey and I would go back and forth on what specific form factor it might be. Then, Corey just blurted out, “We should do the coolest bag you forgot that you used to own… the A3”. The super classic and iconic A3 (AKA A-III). This pack has some history. First stitched up in 1989, it’s been a US military issued pack for soldiers on the ground for decades, carrying their assault loadouts for 3 day missions. A = Assault. III = 3 days. Make sense? Nice. PORTER Yoshida & Co. does their own take on one and it’s one of my favorite packs I’ve ever owned. No brainer. A3 it is.
But we needed to go to the source, not just some random manufacturer who cranks out low quality knockoff versions. There are plenty of those. After some solid and calling on some favors, we found the real deal original source. We chased down the OG creator of the A3 backpack, Mr. John Carver. Years ago, John was at the helm of Eagle Industries, until he sold the company and started his own brand called Atlas 46. Over at Atlas 46, they make what they call the “A3 Legacy Pack” which is handcrafted in the USA at their facility in Missouri. After a quick pitch, they agreed to be the manufacturer of our dream Superior Defense x Carryology A3 pack. Gears officially moving.
How do we make it different? Well, the A3 pack is a proper military pack, full of stuff you don’t need to grab tacos at the taco truck down the street. We pulled off all that extra stuff. What stuff? Mostly excess webbing, as the original A3 is covered in it. It also does have all the stuff you need to grab tacos at the taco truck down the street. So we added stuff, like a padded laptop compartment instead of a floppy water bladder sleeve. Fits up to a 14” MBP or the 12.9” iPad Pro, no problem. If you’ve got the big boy 16” MBP, you can slip it into a padded sleeve and toss it into the main compartment. It comes with a padded waistbelt, which it probably doesn’t need, but it is removable if you don’t want it. Take it off and wear it like a sling or bandolier even though it doesn’t even have any pockets on it. Or leave it on as a waistbelt. Your call. The entire thing is lined unlike the original version, providing additional structure, extra durability, and 4,900% more resistance to the elements. Ok, design… done.
MIXING IT UP
Colorways. While I can’t prove it, Superior Defense is really the king of mismatching camos together on tactical bags and packs. Sure, they might not have been the first ever to do it, but Sup Def made it popular.
This mismatch is kind of the Sup Def signature at this point. And their classic camo combo colorway is definitely the mix of MultiCam camo + M81 Woodland camo. We broke down the paneling and selected what would go where visually, then called it good. Figuring it would be fun to make a second color, we tossed around all sorts of weird camo combos that we loved and hated. Ultimately, we wanted to do a “Carryology inspired” camo mismatch. As a little nod to our roots being founded in Australia back in 2009, we picked the little-known “jelly bean” AusCam camo and then chose black to be the contrast because #AllBlackEverything. MultiCam + M81 Woodland. AusCam + Black. Oh, and we mismatched the Velcro loop panels on both colorways. Since we know you’ll ask, there are equal units of both colors.
Cordura 1000D nylon is cool. It’s durable. It’s strong. It’s water repellant enough so your spilled milky coffee and/or a splash at Tokyo Disneyland won’t ruin your Magic The Gathering cards inside. All the sewers at Atlas 46 are already super familiar with using 1000D on all the stuff they currently make. The military uses it. Some dude named Gordon likes it, probably. We picked Cordura nylon in its 1000D variant because 1000D is a whole 500 individual Ds more than 500D. Exterior fabric sorted.
For the interior liner, we usually do a bright hi-vis orange, making it easier to find your chocolate chip cupcakes in a dark environment, especially if you don’t have NODs. That was going to be the original plan. But then… I thought… let’s add another level of insanity to each pack. I texted Corey with my idea about an orange camo liner. This is our conversation below.
Yep. I found the original DBDU (AKA “chocolate chip”) camo pattern in vector format and converted all the shades of browns and tans over to neon bright oranges. And then I threw in some vector chocolate chips. We both loved it and hated it. It was perfect. “Six Color Desert Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudd Monster Camo” (SCDCCCDFMC) pattern was born. Our man Luffy Park did us a solid and was able to custom print this wacky liner fabric for us on some burly 500D. Why not have a pack liner fabric that is more durable than most other pack’s exterior fabric? After a few different color trials and swatch approvals, it was all dialed in.
CALL IT TRASH
One thing we didn’t mention earlier, Superior Defense has a “garbage themed” product naming system for some of their stuff. This has even led to the phrase “SupDef is trash”, kind of a secret verbal handshake among fans of the brand to recognize one another. It’s hard to explain. So I won’t explain it any further. Some product name examples are; Trashbag, Dumpster, Wastebin. Hell, they even legitimately made and sold an actual Trash Can. Yes, a Trash Can. Hate it? Awesome. That’s kind of the point.
Following the same naming structure, we threw around some ideas. Ultimately we thought a garbage truck made the most sense, since this is a 30 liter backpack. A garbage truck is bigger than a dumpster. But, rather than call it “garbage truck”, we thought “Trash Truck” sounded funnier. Superior Defense x Carryology Trash Truck. To triple confirm our name selection based upon liters, we had several hundred hours of volumetric testing performed in a third party laboratory and they determined the 30L volume of the Trash Truck can hold at least a single 6 oz box of Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese. YMMV.
TRUCK, TANK AND MO
Of course there’s a woven Superior Defense x Carryology woven label on the outside bottom right. You can black ink fill the orange lettering, remove it, or leave it on. Anyway, the pack has two panels of loop Velcro so you can put patches on it. Since there’s a fun Velcro loop panel, figured we might as well include a fun Velcro patch too. I dropped a line to my super talented friend Jeramy Perlman of Questionable Morality (maker of fine morale patches for all your fuzzy loop’s needs) and asked if he could create a patch design for this beast. Immediately he was down. The concept? Superior Defense’s tank logo icon and mix it with a garbage truck. Orange and black. Velcro-backed. Garbage truck with a tank turret on top. With a little cartoon angry face. And hell, let’s give the dude a bushy moustache. Yeah. Sure. Why not? Jeramy killed this one. And then the patches were done.
Three fun Easter eggs that you can’t see on the patch because thread isn’t the same as laptop pixels:
1. There’s a teeny tiny “SD” (Superior Defense) on the side of the truck.
2. There’s a teeny tiny “C” (Carryology) on the side of the trashcan.
3. Both the “SD” and the “C” are in Comic Sans font. You’re lucky we didn’t use Papyrus.
Ok I think that’s it. If you have any other questions, you can call Corey on his cell phone. He will love that.
Superior Defense x Carryology Trash Truck
One-time limited run only.
A3 Legacy Pack modified to make it better for you.
Cordura 1000D nylon exterior and 500D nylon interior.
Made in USA by Atlas 46, the original creator of the A3.
Custom-printed SCDCCCDFMC liner.
Velcro-backed Trash Truck patch included.
MultiCam + M81 Woodland.
AusCam + Black.
Release Article with shop links will go live on Carryology.com on:
29TH March, 10AM (Los Angeles time)