Tasmanian Tiger Essential Pack L MKII is a 15l backpack with a rather simple design. There are no external pockets, pouches and the carrying system also seems, at first glance, simple. How’s it possible that this backpack can still surprise you?
TT Essential Pack L MKII was made of black Cordura 700 fabric. Thanks to the typical coating on the inside of the fabric, the Cordura provides a basic protection against elements, such as rain, spills and etc. As you’d expect from a Cordura, the fabric is durable and bears no signs of damage after prolonged use. The backpack is also available in brown, khaki, olive and grey colours.
Main compartment of the backpack can be accessed using a twin YKK zipper, which ends slightly lower than half of the Essential Pack’s height. Thanks to such a wide opening, the access to the stored belongings is easy and comfortable. Inside, on the back, there is another pocket (open from the top, ended with an elastic tape) and a loop for attaching the hydration systems.
The front and sides of the backpack are covered in MOLLE compatible webbing, for attaching additional gear and pouches.
Additionally, the front of the pack features two compression straps, which can be used to clip-in your jacket or to regulate the backpack’s size.
Below the lower strap, there is a small pocket, which can be accessed using a reversed YKK zipper. Inside, you’ll find space for some smaller items (pens, tissues, hand sanitiser, etc). The amount of space available is limited, however, anything that’s inside will be easily available and accessible.
The bottom of the pack features a drainage hole of a rather typical size.
The top of the backpack features a handle made of tightly sewn webbing. Below, you’ll see an exit for the tubes of the hydration systems covered with a hypalon patch.
Carrying system of the TT Essential Pack L MKII may seem rather typical at first. Just some mesh-covered foam panels. However, after getting a chance to carry it, you’ll realise how ergonomic and comfortable this backpack is.
The shoulder straps feature a standard set of D-rings and webbing, as well as a chest strap attached using some elastic tape. Any length adjustments are simple. However, what might matter for some of the users, the straps feature no quick release buckles.
Below the shoulder straps, there are two plastic ‘frames’, which, most likely, should allow connecting a miniature waist strap (not included by the manufacturer).
Despite it’s small size and a rather simple design, it turned out that TT Essential Pack L MKII has a lot to offer. Right from the moment when I opened the box, I could see the high quality workmanship supported by top-notch materials – Cordura, durable hardware, straight seems and no loose threads. Everything in this backpack seems just right. At the same time, using the YKK zippers was a very good move made by the manufacturer, as the previously used, TT branded, zippers had a rather unsatisfactory performance.
Good first impression was later confirmed during the long term use of the backpack. Over the year and a half of use, the backpack suffered no damage and bears no significant signs of wear.
When using the backpack, I also noticed something difficult (if at all possible) to notice without wearing the Essential Pack L MKII, which is just how comfortable it is. The shape of the backpack is such that it doesn’t stick out from behind the user’s body. It is also so compact that the risk of hitting other people (or things) around you is negligible. At the same time, when combined with a very comfortable carrying system, the ergonomics and comfort of use of the pack are just great – even when it’s fully loaded.
The ergonomics are further improved by the easily accessible handle, or the external pocket, which could seem small at first, but actually after using the pack for a long time I can confidently state that its size is just right.
This all means that it is difficult for me to find any significant flaws in this backpack. If I really had to find something, I’d probably point out that the 700den Cordura might be, perhaps, a bit too thick and heavy for a backpack of this type and adds excessive and unnecessary weight. However, the backpack still weighs just 565g, and the thickness of the fabric makes it easier for the pack to hold it’s shape.
High quality workmanship, amazing comfort and ergonomics – these are the strongest point of the TT Essential Pack L MKII. At the same time, in the same price range (~60 Euro) you can also find bigger backpacks with more bells and whistles – such as Wisport Sparrow 20l, Helikon-Tex Raccoon MK2, or Helikon-Tex Raider. However, having more features doesn’t necessarily equal having a better backpack, and the strength of the TT Essential Pack L MKII lies in it’s simiplicity and comfort, which the main competitors simply struggle to match.
Special thanks to the Polish distribution of the Tasmanian Tiger backpacks for giving us a chance to test the TT Essential Pack L MK II!