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ATS RAID 2 pack

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by yellowhammer, Dec 4, 2009.

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    And so arrives another new bag. You may or may not have seen my review of the first gen. ATS Raid pack here, in which I mentioned a few issues I had with the bag. Well, it seems everyone else had those same problems as ATS have sorted all the little niggles out with the new, improved Raid 2. I apologise in advance for the awful pics, I’m having a bad camera day.

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    Looks the same from the front, doesn’t it? This is very much an evolution of the old bag so the bits that worked have been left well alone. There are two main changes really, the most important being the shoulder strap attachment. Rather than being sewn straight into the top seam of the bag they are now attached to the front of the bag, in a similar way to the Cobra;

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    This decreases the strain on the seams which was, for me, the main drawback of the old bag. The straps are also much thinner, to sit better over armour apparently. I wouldn’t know about that, but they are very comfy and not really any thinner than Kifaru straps;

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    The new strap arrangement works very well and the Raid 2 rides much better than the original. I do feel the top of the straps could be wider apart, but that’s really being picky. Instead of the top compression straps we now have tension straps fixed to the top seam. You can see the three hydration ports in this shot too;

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    The sternum strap isn’t very nice – the webbing is incredibly stiff, it’s elasticated (which I hate) and it’s too long, presumably again to go over armour;

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    The other main change is inside the main flap. Where there used to be two large mesh-fronted pockets is now nothing but glorious PALS. The top and bottom rows are elasticised;

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    I didn’t mind the old pockets to be honest, they made maximum use of the space for minimum weight. The mesh was fairly delicate though, and the new way gives you more options. Here are a couple of Kifaru Lock & Loads in place (a #10 above a #2);

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    Annoyingly, the PALS both inside and out are still seven channels wide. As most pouches have an even number of channels on the rear I think six or eight channels would have given you more options for getting add-ons centred. It’s no biggy though.

    Inside the main compartment, the lash-down straps of the old model have been replaced with four three-bar sliders allowing two horizontal straps to be added;

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    It’s possible to add even more PALS to this by fixing a TAD Gear MOLLE panel to these points with Slik clips. You know you want to;

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    The base of the pack is the same as before, with more PALS and grommets for drainage;

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    The sides are also the same, still with five channels of PALS (although only four are really usable) and the splendid slot pockets on each side;

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    On the outside of the main flap there is now a pocket running the full depth of the flap;

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    Other details. A large, roomy grab handle, unfortunately just sewn onto the main body of the bag. I always feel this a potential weak spot, although I’ve never had one fail;

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    Buckles for attaching a 2” webbing waist belt, and quick-release shoulder straps;

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    All of the stitching is good, tight and straight with no loose threads. The quality is almost up there with the best, although it doesn't have the overbuilt and classy feel of Kifaru stuff.

    And that’s about it. I do feel the Raid 2 is a noticeable improvement over the original, and ATS are to be applauded for listening to the end user in the update. It’s just a shame that the new bag isn’t selling for the same price as the old one!

    I bought my bag from Supply Captain, who gave first-rate service, as always.

    shrap Loaded Pockets

    Good review. I've got one of the non-Eagle RAIDs in CB, and it's proved good enough for my needs. The RAID 2 has a lot of changes for the better.

    Did you get the frame sheet? I don't think I would like my RAID without it.

    Do you carry water bottles in the slot pockets? I've been carrying 32 oz Nalgenes in mine; the pocket is perfect, although it prevents the bag from being packed fully - the bag can't expand to its full depth. I'm not willing to strap on external pockets just for water bottles, though.

    Did you buy from Supply Captain's web site? I don't see it listed. And they have a 20% off coupon until the end of December.

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    Thanks for the comments. I don't have a framesheet in this bag as I didn't like it in the old Raid - it made the bag feel too stiff and flat for me, even after a bit of tweaking. I'm planning to have a bit of a play with homemade framesheets in this bag though.

    I do use the slot pockets for bottles, I'm using Klean kanteens and Camelbak Better Bottles at the mo and they're a bit narrower than a 32oz. Nalgene. It's not perfect but, like you, I'm not going to add on pouches for it. I'm going to start hanging Kifaru pullouts above the water bottles for organisation though.

    I did get it from the SC web site, but it looks like they're out of stock & not showing them at the minute. 20% off is good, nearly as good as the 25% I got off at Thanksgiving... ;D

    jujigatame Loaded Pockets

    Great pictures as always Ian.

    Having that PALS panel on the inside back to go along with the inside front and all that's on the outside is total overkill....and I love it. :idiot2:

    shrap Loaded Pockets

    Can you have too many PALS? I suppose you can mount a Kifaru E&E or ATS Cobra to the inside - and then keep on mounting successively smaller pouches. The last pouch would have a single bullet.

    It would be the MOLLE Russian Nesting Doll Pack.

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    I'm going to have to try that. :D I'll wait until the Mrs is out though, she's already rolling her eyes at me for taking pics of the bag. ;D

    Bushman5 Loaded Pockets

    man that is one slick pack. Pals on the inside make it all that much more awesome. Me thinks it will be my next pack.

    Cryptic Loaded Pockets

    It looks like they upsized a Cobra into a RAID, because (aside from the side pockets) all of the details are the same.

    There seems to be some confusion about the volume and dimensions, though- is it really 1500cubes?

    Buffalohump Empty Pockets

    NICE review...... :thumbsup:

    I just ordered a CB one from the Captain... with the tasty 20% discount and international friendly shipping, it was a no-brainer.

    Can't wait for this guy to arrive.... after drooling over all the amazing packs I finally have one of my own to play with. Woohoo!

    :pirate:

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    I'd guesstimate it at about 35 litres in new money, so around 2100 - 2200 cubic inches? That's just from comparing it to other bags I've got handy though, nothing more accurate than that. :) It seems to hold more than a top loader just because you can really fill every last inch of it.

    I think there a lot of features of the Cobra that are better thought out than on the RAID - the layout of the PALS grid (inside and out) and the top grab handle spring to mind.

    wmcamp0 Loaded Pockets

    ive had the Non Eagle raid for a while, and it has been a good bag. I am also glad they moved the straps off the seams, but I am surprised you said the straps are thinner. As that is my biggest problem with my bag, the straps always felt like they cut into my shoulders and didn't have much padding. As opposed to say my FastPack. also the removal of the pods on the inside is great. Question on the side pockets. I will have to look at mine, but I thought i remembered the pockets uner the side webbing being open on both ends?

    shrap Loaded Pockets

    I've gotten kind of used to the straps, but I believe the RAID was made for body armor where thickness would be a negative. As far as the side pockets, mine are definitely sewn down on the bottom. If yours are not, I'm pretty sure ATS will take care of it.

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    My side pockets have all been sewn down, on both versions of the bag. As for the straps, personally I find thinner straps more comfortable as they conform to the shape of your body, rather than just sitting on top. The RAID 2 straps are, for me, much better than the old ones and not noticeably thinner than on my (V.2) Fast pack or Kifarus. Obviously this is very subjective though. I think that the distance between each shoulder strap has more effect on the comfort than anything else, along with the back profile.

    Having said all of that, the Fast pack was the most comfortable pack I've had when worn without a belt. Shame about the rest of it. :rolleyes: ;D

    Buffalohump Empty Pockets

    The only thing that is just wierd about this pack is the odd number of PALS...

    I had to change my order after I realised that the ATS large GP pouch I'd ordered with it, wouldn't center properly as it has six rows of PALS and the pack has seven.

    That's pretty darn odd if you ask me, considering they are made by the same company!

    They need to get that sorted...

    Its also a shame they disconned the Cobra - it looks like a nice little pack!

    jma78 Loaded Pockets

    Thx for the review Yellowhammer!

    Man, that´s some cool looking pack... I was going to sew myself a similar type of backpack, instead of buying RAID2, but maybe i´ll order it anyway :)

    I checked supplycaptain, and didn´t find Raid2 from there(?)

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    It looks like they're out of stock at the moment jma, but when they get them in you can find them in the ATS section. I'd be interested in what you come up with if you decide to build a pack this sort of shape. I've got a few ideas on how to improve it even more as well. That's me, full of good ideas but with no ability to implement them! ;D

    One thing I'd like to see a custom sewer try is to build a base bag to whichever specification is needed, that will take (for example) the stays, belt & straps from a Kifaru Omni pack. It could give the best of both worlds, tried and tested suspension with the 'bag of your dreams' and, if you already own the Kifaru (or whatever) hopefully at a reduced cost. I've no idea how feasible or indeed moral this is though.

    Look at that, I've managed to derail my own thread! :D

    Buffalohump Empty Pockets

    They have more stock coming in two weeks.....

    If you do make a pack like it, make sure it has 8 rows of PALS on the front and inside.... and I will buy one!

    :luck:

    yellowhammer Loaded Pockets

    Okay, after a bit of a play this is how I'm running the pouches on the Raid (this week at least). On the front, the classic Emdom shingle, of course;

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    I'm grooving on the new patch too. ;)

    Inside is where the magic happens;

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    On the TAD panel inside are a couple of Kifaru Lock & Load pockets, a #10 above a #2;

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    On the flap are a Kifaru GPS pouch for my phone, a Maxpedition Cocoon and below them a Maxpedition IFAK pouch;

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    The IFAK pouch is pretty horrible really, bad stitching and untaped seams all over. But it's 420D, light and can be centred. The other two are positioned so as to be accessible from the top without interfering with the zip.

    I replaced the sternum strap with one of my own making;

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    I also replaced the shoulder strap buckles with Duraflex non-slip ones, as I find the ITW ones don't work that well in this application;

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    They were very difficult to get on though, it needed a lot of swearing and a Leatherman to make it happen. ;D

    So, only tiny changes but they all add up to make an already good pack just a little better. Next job is a waist belt (not that it really needs one) and some internal organisation. Watch this space! ;D

    jma78 Loaded Pockets

    Since you started the hijacking of your thread, i´ll continue doing it :)

    I´d be interested to hear from your ideas!

    Here´s the basic idea; It´s going to be somewhat similar in size and shape than the RAID2. I´m going to put 2 sleeve pockets inside the pack, as well as on the outside like in RAID (like SPUR´s modular pack has, here´s my review of it; http://edcforums.com/index.php?topic=27572.0).

    Instead of that slit pocket in front of the bag, i´m going to do 2 smaller ones maybe with some organization inside of them... The one big slit pocket that RAID and Spur´s pack has, is ok but too awkward to use when the pack is stuffed full. I´m in the fence whether to put mesh pockets inside the pack like the old RAID has, or just cover it with MOLLE... Maybe i´ll do both? Or at least some sort of small organization pocket.

    Removable MOLLE panel could come in handy, so that´s definitely part of the project.

    That´s something i will have to look into. I haven´t got any experience about Kifaru´s, but i guess i´ll have to buy one to see what all the fuss is about :)

    I too hate when a pack (or pouch) has uneven number of PALS in it.. Like 7 for example. But maybe 8 PALS wide pack would become too wide for the size-range i had in mind.. Oh well, it´s either 6 or 8, but not 7.

    Now, if only the customs officials would release my shipment that they have been holding for days, which includes zippers, plastic hardware, etc essential material :mad:

    Anyway, RAID2 is still a great looking pack! I had RAID gen 1 and i just loved it.

    Buffalohump Empty Pockets

    Bro, sounds like a great concept to me! O0

    I would vote for MOLLE on the inside and out.

    That's the beauty of this concept - you can configure it any way you like.

    It seems good to go to me, except for the webbing problem, which you are already on top of.......

    Having said that, I have not received mine yet and I may well have other 'comments' to make about it once I've actually played with it for a bit.