After retiring my aging decade old soccer bag, I sought after find a bag that would meet my ever demanding needs for bag capable of carrying 3 sets of soccer kit and associated accessories.
I came across the Maxpedition Doppleduffel and seeing the price tag (MSRP $208) decided to look for a clone as most Maxped products would eventually be destined to become. After weeks of entering different combinations of search terms the Fox Tactical 3-in-1 Recon Gear Bag finally came into my sights. I pulled the trigger after seeing the price of $85 + shipping.
If you are at all familiar with the DoppleDuffel, you will know its actually a piece of check in luggage (MIGHT be able to sneak it on as carry on) that is more of a suitcase style bag that has a clamshell opening. It's made from 1000D PU nylon, high density webbing, high quality plastic hardware and YKK zippers.
The 3-in-1 Recon is now where near those specs, however it is still a very capable bag if you are looking for a gear bag that can separate and organize you items well. NOTE: At the time of this review, I have replaced all the zipper pulls with Solar Orange 550 Paracord. The original is a nylon, OD green cord.
Why did I want the 3-in-1 bag beyond the price and now obvious sub-Maxped quality materials and construction? The interior dividers. I love them.
More on that below.
Lets start with the outside. The 3-in-1 Recon is constructed from a 900-1000D PVC backed material. I wanted OD green because black just shows dirt too easily from a soccer pitch. The webbing is medium density polyprolene webbing and not high density nylon. The PVC backed material is tough but is susceptible to extreme colds and the backing over time, if exposed to UV light could hardened and crack. Since I am using this for indoor soccer during the winter and outdoor during the spring/summer/fall, the PVC doesn't bother me. Just let it off gas for about a week.
Why is it called the 3-in-1 Recon? Like it's better brother, it can switch from shoulder bag, to top handled duffle to backpack in almost no time. It's covered in grab handle options!
On the top is a neoprene, permanent grab handle that connects to the compression straps on the main body via a x-box stitch. This offers an almost full suspension of bag contents weight. Decent care to details but the stitching is spaced much wider than it should be.
On either side of the main grab handle are 3 rows of MOLLE webbing perfect for any wider pouches and other additional organization. In addition to the lid having molle, the side panels also have a weird 4 rows vertical MOLLE webbing. I say weird because these are in an orientation that suggests that this bag will be used in vertical orientation mostly, but in use, the bag sits horizontally like a suitcase most days.
I've ordered a Maxped Fatty organizer which should be a good fit, as the internal elastic webbing on one side on the Fatty runs vertical when opened like a book, so when mounted on this bag, should run horizontal...get it? no...I'll add pics when it comes.
On either end, there is a short, unpadded grab handle, great for extracting the bag out of the trunk. The orange thing is my own creation, one of my soccer leagues requires you to have a membership card, I'll never forget mine.
To manage the bulk of the bag which, if left unattended, would be closer to 12" wide from the body, there are 4 compression straps linked to a thick 1.5" webbing. Big, medium quality side release buckle hold down the fort and the excess strap is managed by some elastic webbing.
The shoulder pad and strap is of decent quality and is adjustable in length. It can be attached via 4 d-rings on all 4 corners of the bag. This drops the bag into a horizontal, lower profile carry.
The backpack straps are what made this bag something else for me...they can be hidden in a secret zippered pocket on the backside of the pack. They thread out easily and attach to d-rings at the bottom of the pack. The Recon rides high but not so high that it feels like a frame-pack. There is a sternum strap and a hydration bladder tube management on both straps. The backpack straps are important for me because during the summer, I ride my sport scooter to game and having it safely on my back helps.
On hydration bladders, the Recon even has a bladder hook for hanging the bladder and in case there is leakage, a drainage grommet at the base of the backpack strap pocket.
Under the main handle is singled side opening pocket that is larger enough for 2 full sized 1 liter Nalgene bottles and likely more (maybe some snacks)
Moving to the sides, there are two identical zipper pockets on either long side of the Recon. Running the full length, they are able to carry a LOT of stuff. For my purposes, I put the least used stuff on the far side pocket (ball pump etc etc). Inside each pocket are two small mesh pockets.
Now, finally moving to the inside. I had mentioned before the interior is why I bought this bag. The interior is a MASSIVE space, measuring 26 x 13 x 9, with a slight taper on the shorter ends. I play indoor and outdoor all year round so I don't have time to have 2-3 different bags depending on where we play. Sometimes it's an indoor field with a soft pitch so I can use my outdoor cleats. Having a dedicated section for my footwear is important, they often get muddy and this way I can manage the grim next to my jerseys.
The my jerseys, shorts, and other various warm/cold weather wear sits in the the middle. For the purposes of these photos, I've folded them somewhat neatly and use the build in compression strap to show how it can be used. Normally it just tossed in.
On the left are the super stinky stuff, the shin pads, socks, ankle guards and goalie mits (I play net for one of the teams). This can be managed with a dryer sheet to avoid killing small animals that may come by and smell the bag.
This massive cavern is neatly divided thanks to some integral dividers that cleverly zip up or down depending if you need the division.
On the lid of the 3-in-1 Recon are two mesh, one-way zippered pockets that are fleece lined. In one of these I keep the more affordable Maxpedition products, the EDC organizer that is set up as a first aid kit. I have 2 OD Micros, 2 OD Fattys and 1 OD EDC organizers on the way, I'll see which one fits the best as a FAK and I'll sub that in for the black. I have a full set of Orange FAK stuff that I am subbing in when I have the OD Fatty, a lot more visible in the grass than the green, plus it has matching colour cool factor to everything else on the bag.
On the otherside, I show black lightweight toque for those cold fall games and a Micro organizer that is full of emergency stuff, tools, a patch kit and some other various items. However, I am relocating that bag to the lesser used long side pockets. In place of the tool kit will be an airfreshener or a couple of dryer sheets to combat the super stinky stuff (thanks to the mesh)
Conclusion, I am going to rate this based on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the worst:Materials: 4 (PU is better, but PVC will do)
Construction: 4 (stitching could be better)
Design: 4 (weird molle web on side, not enough smaller item organization)
Colour Options: Tan, Black, OD, and ACU digi cam
Search Terms: Fox Tactical Rugged 3-in-1 Recon Gear Bag
So is the Fox Tactical 3-in-1 Recon Gear Bag worthy of travel? Sure! But don't expect it to perform and be as robust as the Maxped DoppleDuffel.
Does it work as a wicked all in one outdoor/indoor soccer/sports bag? Absolutely.
This is one doppleganger
than I don't mind having the evil copy of.
-MPC aka Eric