Gear Review: Mobius pack and small medical pack by Vanquest

The_Mobius_2.0_VPacker--a_reliable_sightseeing_partner.

The Mobius 2.0 VPacker — a reliable sightseeing partner. (Photo: Team HB)

Vanquest, with their distinctive rhinoceros logo, is a recent entrant onto the tactical bag scene. In this field trial, we took their Mobius 2.0 VPacker gear bag, some of the brand’s accessories, and their small medical pack, on loaded-down adventure in Utah’s Valley of the Gods and Canyonlands National Park. It turned out, in this writer’s estimation, to be an ideal partner for a day hike in rough country, but lacking in one aspect that some may consider critical.

The pack, an update from the original Mobius, has the offset-teardrop shape typical of the sling pack category. The camo models of are constructed of 500 denier Cordura; solid colors are 1000 denier. There’s a well-padded shoulder that can be switched for right or left side carry, and very adjustable waist loop. Against the body is padded mesh.

The_Mobius_V2.0_VPacker_with_Fatpack

The Mobius V2.0 VPacker with Fatpack. (Photo: Team HB)

Heavy-duty zippers, each with elastic cord on the pulls, secure numerous pockets. The main compartment features an inner drawstring closure. The main and a couple secondary compartments are subdivided with interior loops and/or sleeve pockets of all sizes. The outside is likewise generously equipped with both elastic and MOLLE-accommodating webbing. Vanquest says the padded pouch can carry an Ipad. The main compartment seems much bigger than the factory-provided measurements of 10 inches tall, 8.5 inches wide, and 5 inches deep.

Front_pocket_detail_of_the_Mobius_V2.0_VPacker.

Front pocket detail of the Mobius V2.0 VPacker. (Photo: Team HB)

Inside the thickly padded body-side pouch and main pouch, only on the body-facing side, are panels of loop material. To the loop material I attached a really original creation of Vanquest — a flexible, hook-material backed card, onto which is sewn two elasticized loops — one just right for a full-size magazine, the other being larger and adjustable, made of two Velcro-joined straps. More on this feature later.

The_largest_pouch_has_a_drawstring_closure_plus_a_buckled_flap.

The largest pouch has a drawstring closure plus a buckled flap. (Photo: Team HB)

Also included in this test was Vanquest’s unique five-inch MOLLE sticks. These flat sticks are made of a fairly stiff and thin plastic material. They come to a point at one end; the other end has a hairpin-like closure made to grip webbing. A flip-up clip on this end opens the devices, allowing them to be snugged and clipped tightly around webbing.

Using_MOLLE_sticks_to_attach_a_first_aid_kit_to_the_Mobius.

Using MOLLE sticks to attach a first aid kit to the Mobius. (Photo: Team HB)

I used the MOLLE Sticks to secure a Vanquest small first aid Gen2 Fatpack to the Mobius. As promised, weaving the sticks in and out of each pack to bind them together was easy. It’s not so easy as to be something one can do on the move, but it took just a couple minutes to attach the packs. After trying it on a couple locations, the most balanced and easy-to-carry position was with the medical pack on the front of the pack, above the main flap. There, it rode with ease and even made a comfortable armrest while walking.

Inside_the_Fatpack_is_very_roomy.

Inside the Fatpack is very roomy. (Photo: Team HB)

On each side of the pack is a drawstring opening with a zippered, triangular expansion panel made for bottle carry. Early on, I doubted the security of this pocket, as the zipper has no locking point when the expansion panel is open. My skepticism was erased by the end of this and other subsequent days of carrying the pack for miles, which included some rough use, scraping against boulders and not always maintaining upright orientation. Into this pouch went different sizes of water bottles, only one of which allowed full closure of the zipper. Even a liter-size bottle stayed in place all day.

Exploring_Utah_s_Valley_of_the_Gods_with_the_Mobius_2.0_VPacker.

Exploring Utah’s Valley of the Gods with the Mobius 2.0 VPacker. (Photo: Team HB)

Climbing or sliding down steep inclines, with either ease or utter clumsiness, the bag never interfered. With the waist strap loosely secured, it naturally slid around to my belly during climbs, which helped me to balance. While walking normally up and down less severe inclines, I never felt pulled backward or pushed forward as a backpack of the same weight would do. Fatigue on the load-bearing shoulder was minimal, with none of the expected soreness being present on the second day of hiking.

The_bag_stayed_secure_during_all_kinds_of_hiking_fun.

The bag stayed secure during all kinds of hiking fun. (Photo: Team HB)

The medical pack is Vanquest’s 4×6 inch model, and the smallest choice of three. It has two elasticized tourniquet loops on each side, which easily accommodated a CAT tourniquet. Inside, it has room to secure liquid containers inside its criss-cross cord liner, plus more pockets. I carried moleskin, ointment, small bandages, and a SWAT tourniquet with much room to spare.

The_Fatpack_is_quick_to_open._Patch_is_a_Vanquest_add-on.

The Fatpack is quick to open. Patch is a Vanquest add-on. (Photo: Team HB)

Thoughtful features on the Fatpack first aid kit include a grab strap that allow gross-motor access to contents, a strip of red Velcro tape around the handle, marking it as a source of first aid items, and pull straps to make closing it easy, even when stuffed. Vanquest’s price on the pack is $29.99. I added their glow-in-the-dark cross patch, which fits on the loop material on front and eliminates any doubt as to the pack’s purpose, and the Vanquest blood type patch that’s visible when the pack opens. The patches are $3.99 and $4.99, respectively.

The_first_aid_pack,_attached_to_the_bag,_makes_a_handy_armrest.

The first aid pack, attached to the bag, makes a handy armrest. (Photo: Team HB)

Carrying a handgun and magazine is made more practical by Vanquest’s $11.99 CCW Plus hook insert, which can be attached inside either section with loop material. It’s a good idea and could even be useful to keep other tools in place. It is not a device that will guarantee that any other objects sharing the compartment won’t impinge into the trigger guard, and it is somewhat gravity-dependent in terms of keeping a gun in place. It’s always a good idea to keep gun and mag separate from other items in off-body carry rigs.

CCW_Plus_insert_in_place

CCW Plus insert in place. (Photo: Team HB)

So much has been done right with the Mobius, Fatpack, and accessories that I cannot recommend them highly enough for outdoor ventures. Their sensible features and ergonomics deliver value one would expect in much more expensive bags. But, there’s one feature on which I disagree with the company’s claims, and that’s access to the Mobius for concealed carry use. Accessing the gun requires either reaching past one’s midline to unzip the rear pouch, or undoing the squeeze buckle on front to open the main sections. Neither action is very subtle.

The_padded_shoulder_strap_kept_the_bag_comfortable_for_hours.

The padded shoulder strap kept the bag comfortable for hours. (Photo: Team HB)

Based on this, the only improvement I’d recommend to Vanquest is the addition of zippered sides that would allow easy access to the holster compartments. That would provide cross-draw capability and make the bag a real contender in the off-body carry market. But, as a day pack, rucksack, or small range bag, it’s hard to beat for user-friendly construction. At $86.99, it’s priced less than similar gear from big-name companies, with commensurate quality.