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Kifaru X-Ray G2 Review

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by WilsonCQB1911, Jan 7, 2012.

    WilsonCQB1911 Loaded Pockets

    I just recently acquired a black Kifaru X-Ray G2 and have put it through some light use. I use a backpack on a daily basis, so a good quality pack with a good main compartment and the ability to organize smaller items is important to me.

    I do not have as much experience as some here with various packs, but I have extensive experience with the TAD Gear EDC, which most will agree is a comparable competitor to the X-Ray in terms of overall claimed capacity, price, and general construction. As such, my review will largely consist of me comparing and contrasting the two packs.

    My general impressions of the pack so far are favorable. I think it's an excellent overall size and a great "EDC" pack for someone who needs a bit more than what the smaller day packs offer. I personally think that the TAD EDC is a bit too big and bulky for use as an everyday pack, but do not think so about the X-Ray. I'm not sure why, as they are rated to the same general size, but the X-Ray seems more compact and less bulky. Additionally, it seems to hold more than the EDC, as odd as that sounds. I think it's just a better overall design.

    The problem with the EDC tends to be that it turns into a pregnant guppy very quickly when you start to load it up. I don't think it distributes gear very well or organizes it well either. The X-Ray has a great main compartment that has a huge opening up top, making it very easy to get into. The EDC is difficult to get into items in the main compartment due to all the buckles, and the narrower opening. Additionally, the main compartment on the X-Ray can be accessed from the front of the pack, which means you can get to your gear at the bottom easier. The main compartment is just much easier to use and holds more. Also, because it's not as bottlenecked a design, it carries items better without looking pregnant. I think that the X-Ray just makes a better use of its space than the EDC.

    In terms of numbers of pockets, I believe the two packs are about equal. However, the X-Ray's pockets are more useful in my opinion. Other than the admin pocket on the EDC, all the other pockets encroach on the main compartment, limiting it's capacity. The X-Ray's pockets do not do this. There's a medium-sized pocket on top of the pack, a mesh pocket on the reverse side of this inside the pack, and a slide pocket on the back of the "door" on the front of the pack. My only complaint is that there is no real "admin" area with pockets to organize smaller items. While I don't feel that the EDC's admin area is as good as it could be, it's still better than the nothing the X-Ray has. Luckily, I have a Maxpedition organizer to allay this.

    Additionally, there is considerably more MOLLE on the X-Ray than on the EDC. On the EDC, there are a few rows on the actual pack, a few on the sides, and a the transporter tail is covered with it. I never found the MOLLE on the trainsporter tail to be very useable, as when the bag gets filled, it bubbles out, so anything on the tail would be pushed out and stick out strangely. It would also cause the tail to sag and makes using the tail more difficult. By contrast, the X-Ray's back and sides are covered in MOLLE, providing more useable space than the EDC. It also has MOLLE inside the pack on the opposite side of the "door". I was initially very excited about this internal MOLLE, as I prefer a cleaner look on the outside, which also provides greater security for your items as they aren't hanging off the outside. However, when I attached pouches inside I found that it made the main compartment much less useable as it encroached too much on that space (similar to my complaints about the EDC).

    One thing the X-Ray does have that the EDC doesn't is storm flaps on the zippers, to prevent rain from getting on your stuff. I was intially pleased by this, but now I'm not so sure. I think because of this, the zippers are much more difficult to operate. They don't glide nearly as smoothly as the EDC's. The actuall zippers themselves look the same on both packs, so I have to assume that the difference is the storm flaps.

    The X-Ray is also lacking a "transporter tail" like found on the EDC. I understand that you can purchase a similar device from Kifaru to add on your pack. I'm mixed on this. I used and enjoy the transporter tail for securing things like jackets to the pack. What I didn't like was having to unsnap 4-6 buckles (including the top buckles) on the EDC to get to the main compartment.

    I should also add that I love that I can remove the two compression straps with their buckles off the X-Ray so I have absolutely nothing impeding me from accessing the contents of the pack. As much as I appreciate the EDC's features I hated having to go through multiple steps just to access contents.

    The X-Ray has more padding overall on the pack than the EDC. The shoulder straps are better padded, and there is a large lumbar pillow/cushion on the back. However, I kind of feel like the EDC may be more comfortable in carrying. It could be that I'm just more used to the EDC yet. I haven't really put the X-Ray through its paces yet either, but have hauled some heavier loads in the EDC. Maybe because of the top buckles on the EDC, which pull the top of the pack in towards you, but the top of the X-Ray feels like it's pulling away from you and pulling you backwards a bit. Strange since it's a shorter overall pack than the EDC.

    Both packs are constructed of the same heavweight Cordura, but the EDC's fabric seems thicker/heavier for some reason. It holds its shape better and just feels thicker. I don't know why. I'm completely convinced it's nothing, but that's my perception. What I can say for certain is that the buckles and webbing are of lesser quality on the X-Ray. The EDC's buckles are much tougher and of better quality. Probably way more than necessary. The X-Ray's stuff is good and more than enough for a pack of this class, but they are not in the same league as the EDC's.

    Another thing I noticed was that the shoulder straps are harder to adjust than on the EDC, especially when you are wearing the pack. This can also be a good thing as they are less likely to come loose on their own. The EDC's straps needed constant readjusting, especially the top adjustments which required retightening after carrying a heavier load every time.

    Both packs are highly comparable and I feel that both are equal in terms of their overall package. I think TAD's EDC got the smaller details in terms of construction done better. I think that in terms of use of space, the X-Ray did it better. It feels like a much smaller pack than it is. I also think it's more versatile due to it having more useable MOLLE space.

    My pack with Tactical Tailor Admin Pouch on the front, and two Maxpedition Voltac Battery Pouches on the side:
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    amdmaxx likes this.

    hakaduka Empty Pockets

    Nice review, thanks for taking the time to put this together - I just took delivery of a Kifaru Molle Express but am at work and have to wait a bit to open it... AND THE ANTICIPATION IS KILLIN' ME
    • Administrator

    Kripto Evil Sid

    Thanks for this review! Quick question though, had you looked at the TAD Litespeed? I think it's somewhere between the X-Ray and the EDC in design. I also looked at the Kifaru gear but ended up with the EDC and ultimately have the same issues you have with it... I guess I just kinda settled on it. :) I'm always changing the configuration and agree with you about the transporter tail and the webbing (or lack of it).

    I also have to say that the TAD buckles are very good, and if you're like me and a little abusive, TAD is GREAT about sending replacement buckles! :)

    Schaferhund Loaded Pockets

    I have just got an X-ray myself; thread here, and I love the thing so far! Great review, thank you!

    WilsonCQB1911 Loaded Pockets

    Thanks guys. I've used the pack now with some heavier loads and am really liking it. To me, it's a better pack than the EDC, especially now that I've adjusted it right and it's "broken in". I adjusted the top straps up so they have less slack in them at the top of the pack. This helped the sensation that the pack was pulling away (because it physically was). Also, the padding in the back seems to have broken in and its much more comfortable to wear now. I'm pleased with it.

    My only complaint would be buckles and webbing, which are fine, but not as good as TAD's.

    Oh, and to Kripto - I actually have a Litespeed and have come to love that pack. At first I didn't, but now after several months of use I adore it. It's very comfortable and a great smaller backpack. Very well made and, in my opinion, much better laid out than the EDC. My only complaints are that it's heavy because of all the heavy-grade materials used to make it, and it's small, which is what it's designed to be.

    My two main packs right now are the Litespeed and the X-Ray and I don't see any reason to change that right now.
    amdmaxx likes this.

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

    Great review and comparison! Totally agree about the seemingly small size of the X-Ray but large capacity. It looks and feels like a small pack, but can hold quite a bit. Also wish they incorporated some sort of admin area.

    Windex Loaded Pockets

    Congrats on the new bag and thanks for the write up!
    • Administrator
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Dr Jekell I had fun once, It was awful.

    While there may be differences between the black & Coyote Brown versions of the X-Ray but I just checked the back of the buckles on mine & most of them say "ITW nexus" (and the ones that don't have a model number that match up to ITW products).

    ITW nexus are held in high regard for making quality buckles, clips, etc.

    Schaferhund Loaded Pockets

    I just added the mini-long pockets and two stash-its to mine. The pockets, particularly the little stash-its, blew me away in quality and design. They are super functional, and fit as if they are part of the pack and not add-ons. Like the organizer, they somehow retain their low profile whilst holding a seemingly impossible amount of stuff... it's black magic I tell ya!!

    The pouches also cover up the molle on the side, and look positively non-tactical.

    Coupled with the organizer (and I have a no.2 lock and load in the 'floor' of the pack), the pack is my ultimate bombproof, well organized and comfortable 'field office' type bag. I can't imagine better for my needs.

    My only complaint so far is the amount of straps... no problem in use, but I make short flights about four times a week, and there always seems to be a strap or two either sticking out or getting shut in the overhead shutters. Gotta figure out a management system. Those 'web dominators' are ok, but it's a :censored: to adjust the fit for extra layers etc with those on.

    jcg5740 Empty Pockets

    Good write up.

    WilsonCQB1911 Loaded Pockets

    Two month update after daily use - I love this pack. I adjusted the straps so it carries better. I've stopped looking at bags all together and don't even visit this forum anymore. It's the perfect backpack for me.
    amdmaxx likes this.

    Schaferhund Loaded Pockets

    Same here. They really are that good!

    Explosif Loaded Pockets

    Just taken mine on a trip round dartmoor, it carried really well. I went over the top a bit and was carrying over 30kgs with an e&E and a couple of long pouches and it still felt very comfy and stable.

    I've just stopped using it daily for work as I worry aout tearing the back pads up slinging it in landrovers but I shouldn't have worried as it's pretty bombproof.

    MedicX Loaded Pockets

    To the original OP, I am disappointed to see the broken link to the photos. I am very interested in it. Thanks for the write up.

    tltb26 Loaded Pockets

    Aw. Shucks. What happen to the pics? :)

    Great write up. Your experience (your gut feeling about it) is incorporated well with the technical features and specs.. TAD EDC was on my top 5...but eventually got bumped off after several reviews echoed a couple of your experiences.

    Additionally, thanks much for clarifying a couple of concerns I had myself...

    These are my biggest pet peeves about packs. So happy to know the Xray handles it well.

    This was the one of the bigger features...that kept leaning me towards Mystery Ranch. You ever watch their videos on how to fit/put on your pack? Looks so...smooth.

    Kudos on a great review (comparison to a pack of similar caliber, IMO, is a great point of reference). Congrats on your new life pack.

    H2O Loaded Pockets

    I've been looking at both packs.This review makes me lean towards the Xray.I appreciate the info especcialy when its online order only for me.

    Schaferhund Loaded Pockets

    Here's mine in a less urban environment than normal... it works great treated as a big 'lumbar pack' with most of the load on the belt. I had picnic food for my wife and four kids, some spare warm clothes, 4 liters of water and a liter bottle of orange juice in there, along with a gps and leatherman etc in the belt pouches. Hardly knew it was there on the steep cliffs.

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    bigfoot, amdmaxx, nja4k and 1 other person like this.

    Schaferhund Loaded Pockets

    Over one year in, and one of the reasons I haven't posted much is that my x-ray (and a Pointman for larger pack duties) has completely stopped me looking for 'the perfect bag'. I'd be lost without it, and throughout 2012, I don't think I've been anywhere where it hasn't come with me in one way or another. I have it rigged just right, and pretty much organize my life from it! It also shows no, and I mean zero, signs of wear, despite my being less than gentle with it.

    It's been a camera bag, a mobile office/laptop hauler, grocery getter (on my mountain bike), carry-on luggage and even a tool bag for when I had to work on a rooftop with ladder access only, and it carried around 25kgs with ease.

    My only issue, is that I've lost so much weight this year that the hip-belt is now too big for me, and I need to order another, smaller one!
    BrianEDC likes this.
  1. I like the xray. I also like the edc but, I have been nervous about ordering one or the other cause I am a chubby big dude. I am 6ft 5 in. And weigh 380lbs. I am 54 across tge chest and 44 at the waist just to give you an idea. But still, I really like those packs.

    amdmaxx Loaded Pockets

    new bigger zing (to be released any day) might be right up your valley..

    zombieslayer001 likes this.