I recently received a new bag called the Paladin Mission Pack Expedition. This is a larger capacity bag which could serve many purposes – from backpacking, camping, to a full-fledged “bug out” kit.
Let’s get straight to the bag’s dimensions. The Paladin Mission Pack, Expedition is comprised of:
- (1) large capacity main compartment
- 6 in. x 5.5 in. x 20 in.
- (2) large external pockets
- 3.5 in. x 11.5 in. x 7.5 in (upper external pocket)
- 5 in. x 13 in. x 11 in (lower external pocket, accepts a Paladin Mission Go Bag)
- (1) optional drop down pocket that can be retracted when not in use
- 9 in. x 13.5 in. x 10 in
- (2) internal ventilated mesh pockets
- Removable Back panel stiff board
- Double strap adjustment points (for easy use w/ Body Armor)
- Hydration: 100 oz (3 Liters) – bladder sold separately
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Material: 1000 Denier Nylon
- Weight: 5.4 lbs
- Color: Coyote Brown and Black
On with the review –
Purpose: As I already stated – this pack can be used for a variety of purposes. The manufacturer suggested use is as a 3-day to 5-day assault pack with its unique drop down mesh panel on the bottom.
With the size and carrying abilities – I see this pack as a great candidate for a survival kit or bug-out bag.
Construction: Constructed of 1,000 denier CORDURA® Nylon – which is very tough. All straps and surfaces that come in contact with your the body are padded.
The Paladin Mission Pack Expedition is a versatile pack designed as a 3-Day assault pack, a task that it excels at.
But for more mundane but no less exciting use it performs wonderfully for backpacking, mountaineering, and winter camping.
It’s chock-full of features to make your life easier in any climate while in the backcountry, including ample MOLLE webbing, an extendable main compartment and a 3L hydration reservoir sleeve.
You’ll also have plenty of room for smaller tool and commonly used items thanks to two generously sized and smartly organized outer pockets, one admin up top and another, larger GP pouch at the bottom.
The main compartment is a full 3/4 zip arrangement that opens wide to allow easy loading, unloading and repacking. An extended zipper pull makes for quicker access when every second counts.
When not in use, the top can be cinched down using the side release buckles. This also allows you to compress the pack contents and make better use of the available space.
Internally, there are several mesh organizational pockets on the reverse of the main panel as well as a clip leash for a lanyard or key ring.
The mesh pockets are ideal for gear that needs to be accessed rapidly once the pack is dismounted, such as a headlamp, multi-tool, medical gear or compass.
The pack can also utilize an included rigid insert that will make your life easier when hauling heavy loads. The insert has two compartments, each with their own zipper closure.
The insert cannot compete with an actual full-frame pack for stability or endurance but it’s a nice addition that can come in handy.
Probably the standout feature of the main compartment is the extendable bottom, allowing your to increase the nominal stowage of the compartment to that rivaling a 5-Day assault pack.
The extension is built in and solidly attached, and features a mesh panel that allows air in and moisture out, a design perk that SO Tech advertises as ideal for draining wet or muddy gear.
A hydration reservoir sleeve is located at the back of the main compartment and features a hose management system to keep things tidy. An external ambidextrous port allows you to route your tubing up through the shoulder straps for easy access while on the move.
The front of the pack sports two large pockets, one admin/organizational with quick-access items like a notepad and pens as well as an internal key ring attachment point.
The second, larger general purpose (GP) pouch is great for things like gloves, a hat, snacks or other gear that you need to get to quickly. Both of these pockets close with heavy-duty zippers and feature molded, permanently attached pulls for quick opening even with gloves on.
The aforementioned MOLLE webbing is conservative on this pack, unlike the cargo net look of many competitors in this sector. Running halfway up either side of the pack and across 3/4 of the lower external compartment, this ensures you have plenty of room for truly mission specific additions or attachments but you won’t be able to go too crazy.
The bottom of the pack has a cinch system (when the expansion is not in use) that can be used to attach a sleeping bag or other gear, as well as loops.
The shoulder straps are 3D spacer mesh for comfort and breathability, and are adjustable to fine-tune the fit. The sternum strap is also fully adjustable though it is no padded.
I am particularly impressed with the entire back side which is covered in a padded mesh material:
The back panel is likewise padded fully with spacer mesh for comfort and airflow and features a lumbar support pad that can be removed if desired. Both the shoulder straps feature straps and D-ring clips for attaching smaller pouches or other gear.
The exterior cinch straps and adaptable outer panel also make for interesting cargo configurations. You could utilize the straps as an attachment point for a large tripod, tent poles, or an ice axe.
The expandable panel is great for attaching large and awkward cargo like snowshoes or other gear to the outside of the pack.
Sure, you don’t want to utilize exterior cargo if you don’t have to because it throws off the balance of the pack. But it’s nice to know you have the option if you need it.
Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to like about the Paladin Mission Pack Expedition. The overall quality, both materials and stitching, is quite good.
The extendable bottom is a clever feature, as is the external cargo panel and the overall organizational layout of the pack. The shoulder straps are comfortable and the back panel breathes well, even when hauling a heavy load. It just works, and makes my job easy. That is all I am truly concerned with!
That said, there are a few drawbacks worth mentioning. First, the lack of true frame means that this pack is not ideal for truly heavy loads, loads which you might be inclined to try considering it can be expanded to accommodate.
Speaking of the main compartment expansion, the mesh side on the expansion is just a bad, bad idea: I don’t want wet gear in my main compartment, and I have serious concerns about the longevity of the mesh when it is exposed to the elements.
Not to mention it lets people see what is in the pack. Probably not the right choice for carrying an SBS or SBR unless discretion is no concern! There is no good reason for it to be there. File it under “nice idea, poor execution” then.
Second nit pick, the MOLLE webbing is relatively limited compared to other packs in this category. This might be an aesthetic choice for some, but if I don’t need to worry about the appearance of my pack I want as much as I can get for maximum flexibility.
All likes and gripes calculated, the Paladin Mission Pack Expedition is a solid choice for those looking for an extendable, comfortable and well-organized daypack with some external cargo capacity. If you don’t mind the lack of a frame and are okay with a limited MOLLE footprint, this pack will serve you well.
Value/Price: At a $135.00 (current sale price) this is not the cheapest bag around. Is it worth it? That depends on what you are looking for.
This bag is for someone looking for versatility, adaptability, durability and quality. You will not find a bag of this quality at Wal-Mart.
Heavy or Light, the Paladin Won’t Let You Down
All in all, the Paladin Mission Pack Expedition is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile and feature-rich backpack. It’s large enough to handle extended trips but can also be compressed down for day hikes or other shorter excursions.
The included insert is a nice touch and the expandable bottom is perfect for hauling extra or bulky gear. The hydration sleeve and hose management system are well designed and make it easy to stay hydrated on the go.
If you’re looking for a do-it-all backpack, the Paladin Mission Pack Expedition should definitely be at the top of your list.
last update: 03/26/2022