Comfortable and quite innovative load bearing system, laser cut modular panel, well developed organizer. When we add to this set padded laptop pocket or aesthetic refinement, it might seem like a recipe for a successful backpack. Unfortunately, the Direct Action Dragon Egg proves that it isn’t entirely true…
The backpack is made of Cordura 500 nylon. The material performs well and the coating on the inside still protects against water.
The reversed YKK zippers work as they should. The only thing that can raise minor concerns are the rubber tubes on the paracord pullers which slid out from under the plastic endings and wrinkled. However, this isn’t anything serious, just normal signs of wear.
Buckles made by Duraflex have the Helikon / DA logo (my backpack was made before DA became separate brand). Unfortunately, they rattle with almost every movement (especially top-down). This is annoying and far from being “tactical”, but except for that they work fine.
The main chamber allows you to easily pack for a day in the city or a one-day trip. With longer ventures, however, there may be a problem – a normal-sized sleeping bag would take almost all of the available space. The mesh pocket allows you to hide various equipment that you’d like to keep at hand. On the back there is a compartment for a hydration bladded (in which you can also comfortably carry flat items) and a buckle allowing to attach it. It is worth mentioning that when there’s too much gear inside the back ventilation system tends to bend outwards, which is rather uncomfortable.
In the second chamber there is a number of pockets and compartments that make it possible to carry many items which remain easily accessible. It was this useful part of the backpack that made me an unpleasant surprise – the material at the top of the pocket has torn. Twice. For the first time, in June, the problem was resolved by the warranty and Dragon Egg returned repaired. The second time the warranty was no longer valid – more than a year passed since the purchase …
From the outside, the backpack is covered with a laser cut modular panel. The cells hold well, but fibers come out on the edges of the laminate.
Above the MOLLE panel there is Velcro (10x5cm) for patches and a pocket lined with soft material, in which you can easily keep sunglasses, small items (such as pendrive or headphones) or handheld electronics.
The handle of the Direct Action Dragon Egg was made of braided paracord attached to two D-rings and allows for an easy and secure grip. In addition, if there is a need, you should be able to untie it to get a few meters of the cord.
Under the handle there is a small exit for the tubes of the hydration systems.
The sides of the Dragon Egg feature pockets for water bottles which were additionally equipped with a zipper for adjusting their capacity and Velcro preventing empty pockets from opening. Such a solution makes it possible to carry water bottles ranging from 500 ml to 1.75l bottles. On the outside the pockets have small modular panels which I never used.
At the bottom of the Dragon Egg there are two straps with buckles that allow you to compress the backpack and give you an additional opportunity to attach more gear. Understandably, after a year of use, the buckles are quite scratched. Next to them there is also a drainage hole that allows dirt to fall into and out of the backpack.
CVS load bearing system
At the back of the DA Dragon Egg backpack there is a CVS – Combat Vent System – load bearing system. It consists of two foam panels with recesses and openings covered with a layer of mesh. CVS is stiffer and harder than typical mesh, nevertheless it is comfortable and, most importantly, it works – it reduces the contact surface between back and the pack. At the bottom of the CVS there are Cordura finishes which prevent damage from the contact with ground.
The detachable waist belt consists of two pieces of webbing, a large buckle and several regulators.
Foam padded laptop compartment
Behind the CVS there is a foam-padded pocket for laptops or hydration bladders (carrying both at the same time would be risky). It is both convenient and safe – my computer, despite several falls, works as it should. Inside you can also safely store other flat items such as documents.
Shoulder straps are equipped with a standard set of accessories – quick release system, elastic band, pieve of webbing and a D-ring. From the inside, they are lined with a soft mesh, which quickly began to wipe. After proper fitting, they work well, but the webbing has a tendency to slide throught he buckles, forcing user to regulate them frequently (especially after lifting the Direct Action backpack off the ground). Even rolled-up ends of the webbing aren’t helping with this issue – if the backpack is full, the straps will deregulate anyway.
During more than a year of use, Direct Action Dragon Egg has proven itself both in the city and during shorter trips. One of the major advantages of the design turned out to be a well-thought-out organizer, which allowed me to comfortably carry all the little things – whether those for every day adventures or those selected for a specific action. During daily use this set is completed by a laptop pocket allowing me to carry my computer safely and conveniently.
Another of the pack’s advantages are laser cut modular panels, which in combination with it’s shape give Dragon Egg a lower-profile look (especially in neutral colors, such as the tested black). “Lower”, however, does not mean “low”, the tactical origin of the backpack is still visible.
Despite these advantages, I can not get rid of the impression that Dragon Egg is an incoherent backpack. On one hand, the manufacturer tried to show care for his product by paying attention to details – a paracord handle, embroidered logo or even buckles with brand markings. On the other hand, the usage shows that this attention isn’t given to all aspects of the pack (and that it is far from the level expected from a backpack at this price) – the buckles rattle, the organizer breaks, and the mesh at shoulder straps wears off quickly …
Direct Action Dragon Egg doesn’t stand out too much in the crowd, its organizer allows you to carry a lot of useful equipment on a daily basis, and the main compartment will fit what you need. At the same time, thanks to a convenient carrying system, a fairly compact structure and overall durability, the backpack can be easily used during a short trip to the forest, in the mountains or a bit of urbex. Its versatility also allows you to go out almost without repacking things after finishing the “normal” part of the day.
On the other hand, the backpack has lacks which shouldn’t be present at a price of 135$. It’s a shame, because if it wasn’t for them, DA Dragon Egg would be a quite nice pack.