First off, I need to apologize for the inconsistent and sometimes poor quality of the pictures, my camera was struggling to cope with the terribad lighting in my room. I also don't have any editing software installed on the computer I'm using right now to try and clean them up. I also want to add that I am in no way associated with Maratac or Countycomm, I just buy a LOT of stuff from there. Now onto the review.
This is the Maratac Extreme Bailout Bag, or B.O.B. from Countycomm.com
It is intended to be used as a grab and go "The Smurf Hit The Fan" bag, or as an EDC bag in the same vein as the Maxpedition Fatboy Jumbo. The construction is top notch. The Nylon isn't as thick or tough as what Maxpedition uses, but it is still plenty strong enough for EDC use, in fact for the average person it may still be overkill. The seams are exceptionally strong,I have no worries about it coming apart any time soon. The zippers are heavy duty YKK brand and work very well. No doubt they will hold up a good long time as well.
It has a nice thick adjustable shoulder strap that is clipped on with what appear to be some very solid DuraFlex brand clips. The strap has a nice thick, soft, comfortable shoulder pad that can be adjusted or removed as desired. Even with several pounds of weight it is quite comfortable to carry:
It also has a pair of grab handles that are held together with a very burly snap for easier hand carry:
All of the hook and loop is indeed genuine Velcro brand. It is very strong, and sewn on very securely.
The front pocket:
This pocket has a 6 inch velcro patch for adding nametape or morale patches onto. The zipper is covered by a small flap. Inside I currently keep a First Aid kit in a ziplok bag and a couple space blankets. Also note that added a small Countycomm "Photon style" LED light to the zipper pull to aid in quickly finding and opening the pocket in an emergency, and also ensuring there's a light available if need be as well:
The bottom "tube" pocket is designed for holding a D cell Mag Light. I use it to hold my "securing" items:A few feet of Paracord and a bundle of long zip ties held together with a velcro strap:
I plan to add in a tube of super glue, and a couple feet of duct tape as well. There will still be some space to spare.
On the sides are two water bottle holders that were also originally designed to hold large radios as well. They will hold up to a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle. They both have a Velcro strap that is used to secure down the items and can be cinched down to size from inside the main compartment with elastic cord. You can see here that my Camelbak 24oz bottle fits with plenty room to spare, but the cord/strap keeps it in there very securely:
Note the small sheath and flashlight clipped to the bag next to the bottle. The front of the bag has three of these pockets. A large one here and two smaller ones at the other end. They extend the same depth as the front large pocket and do not secure closed. The one visible holds my Maratac 9290 (discontinued item from Countycomm, a rebranded iTP C7t-fantastic EDC light) flashlight inside of the modified SOG belt sheath that you see here. The other two hold a pen and a permanent marker.
Turning the bag around you can see 4 Velcro pouches of differing sizes:
The two large ones I believe were intended to hold spare ammo magazines. In the left pocket I keep a Countycom P.C.C. (Personal Carry Case) filled with a selection of small sockets and a Countycom Widgey bar wrapped in paracord:
The small pocket in the middle holds my Victorinox Sentinel inside of a Swisstool sheath:
The other large pocket holds my SOG Powerlock in it's sheath along with a Victorinox Cybertool 34:
Note that all of these pockets still have a bit of room left inside of them. Under the last flap in the middle is actually two small pockets. Apparently they were originally designed for a pager and a bottle of White Out. A good thing to note is that the larger one to the left fits a Zippo lighter PERFECTLY, and the smaller one will probably hold a spy capsule or a small bottle of extra lighter fluid quite nicely. They are empty on mine since I haven't decided on what I want to put in there yet:
The main compartment:
As you can see here the entire interior is lined with a very soft material for protecting any electronics you may want to put in here. It also doubles as a velcro backing. Notice the divider. It is removable (Velcro) and fully adjustable to however you want to lay out the main compartment, which is quite nice. An important note here: Nowhere on Countycomm's site, or in any review I have seen is this next feature mentioned. You see smaller divider that creates a third compartment at the bottom? Either that is a new feature recently added, or I am somehow the first person to actually notice the thing. As shipped that flap is velcroed flat against the main divider and is easy to overlook, but as you can see can be unfolded and attached to the side of the bag to create another small compartment. Very, very handy.
As for the contents, the small section to the left holds my "Watch Cap" from Countycomm, a digital camo bandanna/handkerchief also from Countycomm, and a small pair of gloves. These gloves also came from, you guessed it, Countycomm. They are a rather nice Lycra with a thin rubber coating on the bottom. Quite handy to have around for handling boxes, working on the car, or just for a small bit of added warmth. The rubber is quite grippy and provides a lot of tactile feel through the gloves, the Lycra is just thick enough to not necessarily keep your hands very warm, but certainly keep you from directly touching the snow you're clearing of the car in the morning. I also have my SOG baseball cap I got for free with an order, and the last item is a wrist brace. I keep it with me for when an old dirt bike injury decides to act up.
The other small compartment I use to hold my NiteIze Multi Pock-its which I use as a camera case for my Canon Z130is and a case with a few extra Eneloops. One spare set for the camera, and one spare for the Maratac 9290. The camera was sorta in my hand at the time:
There is still plenty of space with the camera and I will be adding a cleaning kit and some other accessories for the camera into there.
The remaining large section of the main compartment I leave empty to be used for whatever I may need at the time. Packing a lunch, a spare jacket, second camera, whatever. Same goes for the second water bottle pocket, I prefer to leave it open in case I need the space.
On the topic of the main compartment and bottle holders, here is a shot of one of the internal cords used to secure the bottle pockets. Note that I have another LED mounted here to provide lighting for the oh-so-very-dark interior of the bag:
The last pocket is the so-called secret compartment:
It's design intent is for concealed firearm carry. It is closed with Velcro and actually does hide itself quite well. As far as size a couple pics to give you an idea (since I don't own a gun):
An old Haynes repair manual:
And you can see my Game Informer magazine doesn't quite fit. You can carry a magazine there, but you can't close the Velcro. However a small notepad will probably fit and is indeed exactly what I intend to store in there, but a full size legal or notebook is just a bit too large. Thickness-wise you get a few inches though.
A shot with (almost) everything I have in there now:
As I said above, there are a few more items I plan to add in there, and there is plenty of pace to do so.
A couple further notes:
The zipper pulls I added myself. Countycomm says they don't ship with any zipper pulls, but mine did. However, they were really hard to see in the ocean of black so I replaced them with the black and orange paracord that you see in the pictures.
I'm 6'4" approaching 270lbs, I'm not a small dude, and this bag fits me very well. I don't find it too big at all, but it's about as large as I'd personally want to go for EDC. It has just enough room for everything I need without getting too cumbersome or heavy.
There are a few improvements I would really like to see in the future: I would like to see some better organization options in the main compartment. The divider is great, but I'd prefer there also be some mesh pockets and maybe some elastic loops for pens, etc. A flap that can close up over the top a-la the Fatboy would be very welcome also to help with keeping water out. At the very least maybe a couple compression straps over the top to keep it pulled tighter and allow for strapping a large item like a jacket, or tripod onto the top. A bit of elastic at the tops of the water bottle holders would be a nice addition. It may not be perfect, but for the money you just can't go wrong. They go for just over $30 and have quality well beyond what you would expect at that price. They could probably sell them for close to double that. If you need more space they also sell an XL version that's the exact same design, but nearly twice the size for only about $5 or so more. It is a fantastic deal, and you really can't go wrong with it. They have OD green and Desert Brown available as well. I wouldn't mind seeing an ACU grey added to the list.
Maxpedition offers more options, heavier duty materials, and probably a bit better comfort, and 5.11 Tactical also seems to sell some good stuff. Though I honestly haven't owned anything from either company, so I can only speculate. If you like the design, for a few bucks less LAPolice Gear sells a clone of this bag with only a few small differences and probably close to if not the same quality. For my needs though, and for the price, I couldn't be happier with this bag, and if you are looking for a good, solid EDC bag on a tight budget, it is really hard to beat.