BlackHawk’s STRIKE pack

   06.25.13

BlackHawk’s STRIKE pack

Bug-out bags are typically divided into two types: the larger SHTF or INCH (I’m Not Coming Home) bags, which typically carry at least three days worth of supplies, and the smaller Get Home Bag (GHB), which, as the name implies, is a smaller bag containing no more than 24 hours worth of supplies to help you get home in an emergency.

The GHB is essentially a day trip bag, designed for light and fast travel, ideally well under 10 lbs loaded. You keep it stashed in your car or truck whenever you’re away from home, ready at hand should disaster strike and you suddenly have to move quickly. My own personal GHB recently needed an update to something more comfortable, and in my search I found the S.T.R.I.K.E. Predator Hydration pack from Blackhawk. This bag is the perfect size, and it comes complete with a hydration pack.

The S.T.R.I.K.E. is a rugged, lightweight bag designed to be comfortable and secure for active sporting or high-speed military situations. The bag is extremely lightweight when empty, but it loads effectively in a balanced and comfortable manner. The IVS molded back channel contour assures plenty of ventilation for your sweaty back, while adding stability and improving comfort. The shoulder straps and chest strap are contoured for a very comfortable and secure fit to prevent shifting. Generally, packs this size are always full, however, I would have liked a couple extra compression straps for times when I remove my cores and use the pack for hydration. A waist strap is not a requirement for a pack this size, but it would make the pack more manageable when fully loaded.

The pack features 830 cubic inches of internal storage space between all the pockets. Blackhawk’s Microban antimicrobial technology hydration system is famous for flexibility and ease of maintenance, and it features a Bite Me valve and a quick-disconnect system tube. The main bladder stores in its own zippered compartment, though the pack’s main compartment can be used for a second, optional water reservoir. The pack itself has a heavy-duty reinforced drag/carry handle, plenty of extra d-rings, durable zippers with silent sure-grip pulls, and the exterior is covered with loads of MOLLE straps.

The large exterior pocket and main compartments are double-zippered and open halfway. The interior is covered with a field of Velcro, and it comes with a Velro-backed insert which is versatile enough to organize a variety of personal items. Interior MOLLE straps cover about 50% of the back interior for customization and storage, and Blackhawk has also integrated a zippered interior mesh bag. For a pack this size, there are plenty of areas to tuck items you want quick access to.

Hydration is the essential survival item. Personally, I shoot through about .5L every three miles, so this 3L bladder should get me at least 20 miles depending on weather and terrain. Generally, I carry my Get Home Bag with the bladder pre-cleaned and dry, but slip a 1L bottle of water into the pack so I know I have some water if needed.

Ultimately, the S.T.R.I.K.E. is pretty close to perfect for a GHB, and my complaints are minimal. I wish the main compartment zipped completely open, and compression straps would help manage water-only loads. But other than that, it’s a great bag. The hydration pack in my S.T.R.I.K.E. bag gets used constantly, and I can now see why the Blackhawk hydration pack is considered the best in the business: like the S.T.R.I.K.E. bag itself, it is comfortable, well designed, and ready for anything.

Specs

  • Main comp: 16”L x 9.5”W x 2.5”D
  • Front comp: 9”L x 9.5”W x 2.5”D
  • MRSP – $119.99


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