First of all, A disclaimer: Military 1st provided this bag to me for the purpose of review over a year ago at no cost and with no guarantee of a positive review.
Now, many reviewers can (and do) smash a review out within a matter of days or weeks, I’ve always preferred to take my time where possible and ensure that I’m passing on genuine and earned knowledge about the product, not just throwing up yet another “unboxing review”.
Still… 18 months is probably a little longer than I and most definitely Military 1st had planned, so let’s get to it.
The main section of the bag is accessible via an elongated clamshell zipper that runs from the bottom of the bag to the top, and back down to the other side. This allows the bag to be laid flat when fully undone, making each internal compartment instantly available.
This allows complete and unrestricted access to the entire bag, useful when carrying items that you might need access to at short notice. Four zippers along a single run provide an option to open the bag at any particular point or at the end of it’s run, certainly useful if you happen to need something at the bottom whilst on the move.
A single compartment encompasses the entirety of the Zipperfox’s 25 litre volume, with PALS/MOLLE on the outside to expand the bag’s carriage if required. The lack of side pockets gives the pack a tall and relatively narrow profile, but this does mean that the pack sits very comfortably between the shoulders, and well out of the way of your arms’ natural swing.
A mesh pocket for storage of small vital items such as keys/tools sits within the lid, big enough to carry a wallet/phone/keys etc. Another pocket sits against the inner face of the bag, giving you another similarly sized pocket for small items.
Lower down on the flap, an in-line sleeve provides additional storage for OS Map sized items. It adds zero bulk or weight, which is always the best case scenario when it comes to additional features.
An elasticated sleeve sits against the rear face of the bag, large enough to fit an iPad or similar sized item.
In the left of the main compartment, a band of material allows longer items to be held captive within the bag, this same band has a 4×3 PALS/MOLLE grid you can use for attaching pouches or small items such as pens or chemlights. At the bottom, a smaller open topped mesh pocket can be used to secure the bottom of any aforementioned longer items held in the band or for smaller items in their own right.
A mesh pocket divided into two sections takes up the entire right hand side, both being accessed by a single zipper. The stitching could be picked out to make this into a single pocket if desired, but I’ve kept mine as supplied for smaller accoutrements.
Moving onto the outside of the pack, there’s MOLLE… Lots of MOLLE. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of MOLLE for MOLLE’s sake, it does provide this particular bag with an abundance of options for carrying additional items.
Webbing straps along each side and on the bottom of the pack allow stowage of items that might not be suitable for internal carriage, such as roll mats, entry tools or the occasional LAW.
A carrying handle is incorporated within the top, with an additional heavy duty strap/handle on each lower flank of the pack.
At the bottom of the pack, a hidden compartment contains an included rain cover. A fantastic addition that provides enhanced protection for the bag in adverse weather conditions.
Straps And Frame
The shoulder straps are sewn directly into the back panel of the frame, with load lifters at the upper end providing a way to keep some of the weight off the shoulders. A length of webbing continues all the way down to the bottom of the padded section, terminating in a quick release buckle with enough webbing on the other end to allow for adjustment.
A sternum strap helps keep weight off the shoulders, vital when travelling long distances. The whole strap can also be taken off the pack if not required.
A padded waist belt is joined to the pack via a pass-through sleeve, with a 3 x 2 panel of PALS/MOLLE on the outside. This allows yet more expansion of the pack, ideal for items you might want to access without taking the pack off such as a water bottle or navigational aids. This belt can also be completely removed, making the pack incredibly slim overall.
A 2” waist strap can be adjusted equally on each side with the excess webbing stowed in a pair of dedicated keepers. A quick release buckle finishes off the waist strap.
As for the back; Well thought out use of micro mesh, air-spacer mesh padding and stitching create a comfortable back panel with plenty of airflow. Overall, it does exactly what you need it to.
And last but not least, Wisport have incorporated a partial frame into the Zipperfox 25. A removable 16.5” fibreglass bar provides a semi-rigid support for the pack, complimenting the already rather substantial padded back section.
I’ve been using this pack regularly for over a year and a half. I’ve used it almost daily for work, but also regularly for airsoft and shooting trips. It’s carried my lunch, it’s carried a weekend’s worth of clothing and food… It’s carried everything you can think of, without so much as a creak or twang from the pack itself.
Are there things I would perhaps change on the pack? Well not much. I’d like a pair of bottle sleeves on the flanks, and I’d also have liked a little bit of adjustment in the back. The fibreglass bar is adjustable insomuch as you can take it out, but it’s not really adjustable.
Overall, I can’t knock the pack. It’s comfortable, hardwearing and most importantly of all, it’s built like a tank. I didn’t find a stitch out of place, and despite giving the bag a damn good thrashing, it doesn’t actually look that used at all.
For around the £200 mark, it’s not exactly a cheap bag, but I do genuinely feel that you’re getting your money’s worth. Whilst it’s difficult and perhaps unfair to make comparisons across brands, I’d go out on a limb and say that this bag will serve most users just as faithfully as a top of the range bag at twice the price.
Thanks again to Military 1st for providing the bag, which as of now is available is a wide selection of colours alongside the rest of the Wisport range (Which are worth looking at if you’re in the market).