Gear Review: First Tactical Crosshatch Sling Pack

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The Crosshatch Sling Pack is a great choice for goods you may need in a hurry. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

Carrying an adequate supply of emergency medical gear is important to me and the people I work with as co-instructors. Some classes are conducted in remote areas, outside of cellular signal range and with a minimum 20 minutes’ response time by EMS even when communications are possible. Whether it’s being prepared for a major bleeding incident or making a mosquito bite tolerable, we’re obligated and desire to be prepared.

Having a bag that can keep all the related gear organized and handy has been a process of trial and error. After a spring trial of the Crosshatch Sling Pack by First Tactical, we’ve found a pack that does all we need, and looks good too.

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Sliding the pack forward for ready access. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

With our medical kit in the pack, it weighs just under 25 pounds loaded, just 2.45 pounds of that being its own weight. This spring, it tagged along for many jostling miles on the cargo rack of an ATV used as transport to a remote training site. It has hung behind the firing line, with its full weight on the top carry loop, for at least 100 hours and often in very windy and dusty conditions during classes.

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Stuffed full, the Crosshatch is a lot bigger than it looks on the promo video. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

This richly-featured pack isn’t necessarily made as a medical kit; it’s also handy as a day pack, a concealment bag, and is padded enough to pinch hit as an electronics pack. It’s so full of options, you can make it your own. Here are some reasons why:

Zippers

Lots of them.  First Tactical uses the heavy YKK brand, equipped with paracord on the pull tabs that make opening any of them more of a gross than a fine motor motion. Major compartments include a small elastic cord loop at the closure end, making it possible to secure the tab so it doesn’t unintentionally come loose.

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Bungee cord helps lock down zipper pulls on the rear compartment. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

Compartment choices

The product description on the First Tactical Website describes their sling pack as having three compartments—a main one that’s nine inches long, 17.5 inches wide, and seven inches deep, a top front pocket, lined for sunglasses, that’s seven inches long, 4.5 inches wide, and an inch deep, and an “admin” one, 7.5 inches long, 12.5 inches wide, and two inches deep.

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The thickly padded main pocket features an ambi-friendly mesh zipper pocket plus two pouches with adjustable tops. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

Those three pockets are sub-divided with various materials, plus there are hooks inside, to make it possible to keep tiny items exactly in place and find-able.  There’s space for organizing ID and credit cards, and for dividing items within the large compartments.

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Compression straps keep the full bag from spilling, even with zippers open wide. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

The rearmost compartment is intended for CCW use, and has a generous helping of loop material. Supplying the Velcro holster is up to the user. This compartment has the bungee attachments for security. Or, use it as a place to carry a hydration pouch; there’s a flap-covered aperture on top for a drinking tube.

Comfort and convenience

The back is heavily padded and has mesh fabric for circulation when worn on the back. Inside is a stiffener that helps the bag stand upright, which First Tactical says can double as a snow shovel. Cute, but it’s a bad day when a person needs a real shovel and has only that.  It is removable though.

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In this case, a padded rear is a very good thing. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

Customizable

On the outside, MOLLE or PALS-compatible webbing allows for expansion of storage. If your load’s not quite big enough to fill the bag or if things need to be kept stable, compression straps on each side are almost infinitely adjustable and movable to keep the contents inside where they belong. There’s loop material on the exposed side for nametags or patches, and a write-on cloth tag inside the front pouch to enter the owner’s or emergency contact information.

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Compression straps are movable and super-adjustable. If a buckle breaks, the shoulder support strap provides backup. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

Ready for action

The shoulder strap is heavily padded, with mesh on the body side. As the name implies, it’s constructed to wear slung across the body, and First Tactical includes a cross-strap to keep it from falling off. It unbuckles with a quick squeeze so the wearer can whip the pack around from back to front, making it quickly accessible in case gear or a gun needs to be deployed in short order. It’s this feature that inspired us to use it as a first aid/blowout kit.

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Support strap attached. It’s still quick to swing around and access storage. (Photo: Eve Flanigan)

On the bottom, the water resistant 1000 Denier nylon is doubled. Four small loops, intended as bedroll attachments, also protect the bottom.  There’s an easy-to-miss Velcro pocket between the bottom layers, great for flat items, or to enhance the pack’s water resistance on the bottom.

The pack is sold in black, olive drab, and coyote, and is available directly from First Tactical for $67.49. That’s a great deal for a bag that’s crafted with the user in mind and so replete with features.