Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Quick Review: 5.11 Covrt ZAP 6 gear slinger

Well, Dear Reader, I've had a chance to trial my recent purchase of 5.11's Covrt ZAP 6 and I'm of mixed opinion on it.

I'm not entirely sure who 5.11 have marketed this product for but the online blurb at their website states: 

Originally designed to provide support for covert fire teams, the COVRT™ Z.A.P. (Zone Assault Pack) has become a popular off duty concealed carry pack for law enforcement officers across the country.

And the features include:

  • Rugged and versatile concealed carry pack
  • Storage compartment holds tablet or netbook
  • Internal organizer pockets for small accessories
  • Hydration compartment
  • Coms pocket with mic cord pass-through
 Well, here's my rundown.

While I like the idea of an ambidexterous bag, in principle, it doesn't necessarily do anything for me in practice as I am right-handed and unlikely to be swapping which side the bag is slung. And the problem with an ambidexterous construction, in this case anyway, is the placement of zips - particularly on the comms pocket (which I will get to shortly).

The construction of the bag itself seems okay, I'm not sure what the thickness of the nylon material is, but seems relatively akin to other bags. I don't know if it would be particularly durable in harsh conditions or frequent use - possibly the bag could have been made of a thicker nylon.

There are three compartments (one is slightly smaller and might be intended as an admin pouch or similar), a small pocket (maybe for glasses or small items), and two pouches for water bottles. And the comms pouch. All the pockets are zipped from the bottom on both sides so that access can be easily obtained no matter on which side the bag is slung. Nice idea in theory. 

To be clear, this bag is not big. I don't have a ruler to give you precise measurements but it is probably around the same dimensions of a child's first school bag. While that doesn't sound very big, it is big enough for any  surveillance gear I might need to carry or to have at hand.

As I stated earlier, I got the slate/charcoal colour choice and I do like that it doesn't have that macho "look how tactical I am" air about it. It is a reasonably nondescript design.

The only real gripe I have is the comms pocket. IT IS TOO SMALL TO FIT AN RT!!! Yep, not only can I not fit in my Motorola handset without the antenna sticking out, which would be fine if I could zip the pocket shut, but the placement of the zips won't allow me to. So either I have the RT half-hanging out (okay, a slight exaggeration since there you can clip it in place in the pocket) or just not bother using it at all. The pocket is just large enough to accommodate my BlackBerry Z10 in it's Otterbox Defender case - which would be of no use in the pocket since I wouldn't be able to make any calls or use a PTT app.

Also the pass-through for mic cord is a bit small. If you have an RT that does fit into the pocket nicely, depending on what kind of mic setup you have, you might have some issues getting it through. Seems to me by "comms" the designers were really thinking of something like an iPod or some other personal music player because that's about all it appears to be good for.

So, my verdict?

The Good

  • Greyness. It doesn't look like a tactical bag yet has the features.
The Bad
  • Comms pocket. Too small for its intended use. Poor choice on zip placement.
The Indifferent
  • Ambidexterous design. Not really an issue, not really a draw point either. 
  • Durability. Appears to be okay but room for improvement. 

Overall verdict?

To be honest, I think this bag is a sum of its parts and one crucial part, to me anyway, is a complete let down which compromises the over-all usefulness of this product. As such, I can only give it a C+ in its current form but make that comms pocket larger and I would have rated it a A-  (and make the bag out of tougher nylon and the grade would be higher).

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