I was the lucky winner of the Paladin Go Bag during the last ModernSurvivalOnline.com guest post contest. Rourke asked me if I could do a review of the bag after receiving it. Upon receiving the bag, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I made my Paladin Go Bag a portable toolkit for emergency repairs on vehicles.
Before we start, a bit about me, so you can understand my “qualifications” for reviewing this bag, and identifying its strengths and weaknesses. I am an Eagle Scout, and spent all of my school years in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. I have been on many hiking and backpacking trips, and know how backpacks and other bags will fail after extended use. These trips were in a variety of conditions…rain, snow and heat. Some of the bags used by my Scout Troop during these trips were hand-me-downs, possibly older than the Scouts who used them. We even used to test the limits of the backpacks by putting rocks in each others packs while hiking (okay okay, that wasn’t the REAL reason we put rocks in each others backpacks while others weren’t looking). The elements, not to mention Boy Scouts, are not kind to a backpack, and eventually all bags will reach a failure point. The cheaper bags will only last a few years; the more expensive and well designed bags will last a lifetime and then some.
Here is my review of the Paladin Go Bag, and a detailed description of my toolkit, designed to perform emergency repairs on the go.
First, a bit about the quality of the go bag. The bag itself has one main compartment, four side compartments, and three bottom compartments. All compartments are zippered shut, instead of snapped, to ensure all contents are secured.
The main compartment features a double zipper, with Velcro to secure the end. This is a common design in many duffel bags, and provides for better strength to retain the contents, should the bag become inverted or suffer a shock such as a fall.
Attachment webbing allows you to secure to the outside of the bag, as well as the bag’s carrying strap, any additional items which won’t fit inside, and you’re not too worried about getting beat up by the elements. As you can see here, I have clipped fast several items, which will be discussed later. The webbing stitching is excellent, and will not come loose from the bag quickly. This webbing should last a long time.
The handle on the end is double stitched, to prevent the handle from tearing loose. Cheaper bags only use a single row of stitching to secure handles, allowing the handles to detach from the bag over time. A grommet on the bottom of the main compartment and each of the bottom compartments allows moisture to escape from the bag, should your bag become accidentally submerged. You could also run a tube from a hydration bladder out of the grommet.
The four side compartments of the bag have double zipper sliders, allowing you to open one or two side compartments at once. The double zipper sliders are also nice should one of the side zipper sliders ever fail, a second slider is already available to keep the contents of the side compartments secure. A flap covers the zipper and slider to prevent damage.
The three bottom compartments each feature a single zipper slider, double stitched to the flap of the pocket. The pocket flap itself securely covers the zipper and slider to prevent damage.
The carrying strap is of excellent quality, and is stitched to the bag using a boxed X pattern for maximum strength. The strap unhooks for easy access to the contents of the main compartment. This strap should last a very long time.
While examining the bag, I identified only one failure point, which I do not deem a critical failure point. A secondary strap (pictured above) is not attached using the same quality methods as the rest of the bag. This is not a carrying strap, and appears only for securing the bag in place during transport.
This strap, unlike other straps on the bag, is attached to the bag by stitching it into one of the seams. This appears to have been secured by only a single stitch line, not double, and as you can see here the edge of the strap has already started to come loose. Once again, I do not consider this a critical failure of the bag, however, it should still be noted that this strap should not be used to carry the full weight of the bag. Using the strap to secure the bag to the inside of a vehicle would be acceptable, as long as the bag itself is on a shelf, floor, or other support.
It’s important to note that while I did not test the water resistance of this bag, I do believe that if properly treated with waterproof spray, this bag should keep its contents relatively dry, as long as all grommets are pointing downward while wearing the bag. The flaps covering the zippers will help protect them from the elements.
Now let’s discuss what I decided to do with the bag, and the true test, see how much I can fit inside. I decided to use the bag as an emergency tool kit for carrying with me every day. This kit could help in a pinch under normal circumstances. In a survival situation, with my bug out vehicle broken down, this kit could be a life saver.
I was very impressed by just how much stuff I was able to fit into this bag. Every time I thought I was going to run out of room, I found yet another compartment. I was actually able to fit my entire mechanical and electrical kit into this bag.
Inside the main compartment, I was able to fit the following tools and supplies:
- Three large SAE wrenches
- A SAE socket set and ratchet
- Wire Cutter/Stripper/Needle Nose Pliers Combo Tool
- Butane Fueled Soldering Gun
- Alternator/Battery Tester
- DC Multi-Device Charger with interchangeable tips (Cell Phone, etc)
- Magnifying Glass
- Mini Mag-Light
- Multi-LED Flex Light
- One can of WD-40
- An Umbrella (because working in the rain sucks)
Inside the first bottom compartment, I was able to fit the following:
- Two pairs of work gloves
- Speaker Wire (works good in a pinch for most small electrical jobs)
- A screwdriver bit set
- A magnesium starter (for lighting the soldering gun)
Inside the second bottom compartment:
- My trusty Boy Scouts pocket knife
- A metric hex wrench set
- A SAE hex wrench set
- A head lamp
- A screwdriver which also works with small sockets
- A small socket set
- More screwdriver bits
- A set of zip ties
Inside the third bottom compartment:
- Epoxy aka Mighty Putty
- Canvas Sealant (One of my vehicles is a Wrangler, it would really suck to have a leaking roof)
- Trim Adhesive
- Two rolls of Electrical Tape
- Needlenose plyers/knife/screw driver multi-tool
- Super Glue
Inside the front side compartments:
- Two pencils (So I can do math, mark lengths for cutting, etc.)
- A full set of Metric wrenches
- A full set of SAE wrenches
Inside the back side compartments:
- A set of small screwdrivers for eyeglass repair, small electronics, etc.
- More screwdriver bits
- More sockets
- A “Swiss Army Card” which has a knife, ruler, tweezers, and a few other things.
In addition to all of the items above, I have clipped to the outside a tire pressure gauge, another pocket knife, and a clock with more screwdriver bits attached to it. These items aren’t really needed for this kit, but I wanted to demonstrate the versatility the outside straps offer. Furthermore, I still had a small amount of room in each compartment, and could easily fit these items inside the bag. Once you finally run out of room on the inside of the bag, there’s plenty more room to clip fast items on the outside.
Please note that my kit is far from complete. Some items which I’d like to eventually include in my kit, but haven’t had a chance to purchase:
- Hose Clamps
- Hose Tape
- Duct Tape
- Shop Towels
- Magnetic “Grab” Tool
- …and that’s just a few items.
Eventually, I will outgrow this bag with all of my tools and supplies. However, I currently have some duplicate items in my bag, and these duplicates can be replaced with other needed supplies.
While I did not weigh the bag, I would estimate I have approximately 30 to 40 lbs inside the bag. I put the bag over my shoulder, and after a little adjusting, barely noticed it was there. The strap is extremely comfortable, and should not put much burden on the wearer, even under heavy loads.
Overall, despite the minor strap failure point, I believe the Paladin Go Bag to be of excellent quality, and it should be able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time. I would highly recommend it as a versatile, multi-purpose bag.
As for my purposes, it will definitely meet my needs as a portable emergency toolkit.
– Ken B