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Review: First Tactical Crosshatch Sling Pack

Pack Articles

Review: First Tactical Crosshatch Sling Pack

Adam Teeter

Introduction

 Attached on the back side is a Teeter Pouch from OV Innovations. 

Attached on the back side is a Teeter Pouch from OV Innovations. 

Small bags can be difficult to get right. Sometimes they are over complicated and dysfunctional or sometimes they are simply too small. First Tactical sought to design a sling-type bag to suit your EDC and CCW needs in their Crosshatch Sling Pack. Read on to find out more. 

Manufacturers Specifications 

  • Main compartment: 9” L x 17.5” W x 6” D / 22.9cm L x 44.5cm H x 15.2cm D
  • Top front catch pocket: 7” L x 4.5” W x 1” D / 17.8cm L x 11.4cm H x 2.5cm D
  • Admin pocket: 7.5” L x 12.5” W x 2” D / 19.1cm L x 38.1cm H x 5.1cm D
  • Approx. Capacity 1165 cubic inches / 19.1 liters
  • Weight 2.45 lbs / 1.1 kg
  • Pockets: 4 external, 3 internal
  • 1000D nylon
  • 10mm closed cell foam
  • YKK® zippers
  • Duraflex™ hardware

Philosophy of Use

As a single strap, sling-type bag, I place this in the same category as messenger bags. It's good for light loads and shorted trips. I used it primarily for a commuter pack to haul supplies to the language school I attend daily. This includes about 3km walking and a 30 minute tram ride. The bag also saw some use in carrying my DSLR gear. 

Description

Outside Front

Here you can see the front of the bag. It features a simple zippered slash pocket and a fleece lined eyewear pouch up top. There are also two small loop covered PALS fields for pouches, patches or name tapes.  

Outside Rear

The rear of the pack is dominated by the wide and heavily padded single strap. It has some PALS webbing for a small pouch and an elastic strap to route wires or hydration tubes. There is a side release buckle at the bottom.

The back panel features a raised and ventilated design much like larger backpacks. There is a frame sheet under there too that stiffens the pack up quite a bit.

Not pictured is a stabilizer strap that will attach to the PALS and the free tri-glide in the lower corner. 

Side View

Each side of the pack has a narrow 2-column PALS field. 

The Crosshatch features the same top carry handle found on the First Tactical messenger bags I have reviewed here and here. You can see it in this shot. 

You can also see the CCW compartment access here. More on this below. 

First Tactical has cleverly added a small elastic loop on both sides of the pack to secure the off-side zipper when not in use. This prevents the zipper from inadvertently opening. 

Bottom

The bottom of the pack features a basic set of loops for strapping something to the bottom or attaching a pouch. 

There is a hook and loop secured flat pocket here that is designed to be filled with foam for padding or as a place to stash a rain fly. 

Admin Area

The admin pocket is pretty straight forward with a series of slot pockets for various items. There are loops for tethering gear and a zippered pocket in the back to secure things a little more. The pocket continues down another 2" or so to allow larger items to be place in the pocket. The standard First Tactical ID tag and detachable key fob make their appearances here. 

Main Compartment

 The patch shown here is NOT included with the pack. 

The patch shown here is NOT included with the pack. 

The rear wall of the main pouch is fleece line to all attachment of pouches. I did't have any on hand, so I stuck that patch there to demonstrate. 

 A standard A4 folder is shown here for scale. 

A standard A4 folder is shown here for scale. 

The front of the main compartment has 2 vertical drop pockets and a zippered pocket up top. Note that the zippered pocket has 2 zippers so it can be accessed from either side of the pack. The drop pockets have a simple strap closure. 

The zipper opening is over 180 degrees and the pack will lay completely open. 

CCW Compartment

 The elastic loop shown on the back wall is not included. 

The elastic loop shown on the back wall is not included. 

Here is the CCW compartment on the Crosshatch. It has a generous loop field on the back wall and is accessible from either side of the pack. Hook-backed holsters and mag carriers will be cozy and happy here.

It's worth noting that a 13" MacBook Pro will slide into the CCW sleeve and carries fine. There is no padding for such a device, however. 

Design Commentary

Pros

As with all the pieces of First Tactical Gear I have handled, quality is top notch. There should be no issues with durability. 

The size is pretty much perfect. I really appreciate the ability to get a couple of slim text books and folders in the main compartment and still have room for lunch and my rain jacket. 

Ambidexterity was a design goal with this pack and it shows. Right and left handed users will be equally satisfied with the layout. 

The admin pocket is well designed. The slots work well for most items a user would place there, and the bottom of the pocket is useful for something like a small book or pocket organizer.

The little zippered pocket on the outside front works great for keys and a pack of gum. 

The fleece lined eyewear pouch, while lacking heavy padding, works as it should. 

The large zipper opening on the main compartment makes the pack easy to load no matter your kit.

The top carry handle is great. Is is slick enough not to snag on stuff, but stiff enough to be easy to locate and grab. Well done. 

The CCW compartment is set up right. The way the bag rotates around front places this right where it needs to be for an efficient draw. And hey, it can hold a smaller laptop or tablet should you need that capability as well. 

Cons 

The shoulder strap is comfortable except at one point; the large buckle at the end is bulky enough that is causes a significant pressure point on the users chest. It was not so bad that I stopped using the Crosshatch, but it shouldn't be an issue at all. This was obviously less of an issue with lighter loads, but be advised this is a potential trouble spot.

The pockets on the inside main compartment seem like a good idea at first, but I struggled to find anything that would fit in them well. The two drop pockets are too small for a Maxpedetion Micro Organizer and the small opening on the zipper pocket relegates it to very small items like a business card case or a slim wallet. The latter is acceptable really, but the vertical drop pockets would be better consolidated into a single pocket. 

The included (but not pictured - doh!) compression straps add some flexibility in theory, but in practice they just clutter the pack up. Let's be real, this is a 20 liter sling pack; there is not much need to compress the thing or strap a jacket on there. I'm sure they were fairly inexpensive to include with the pack, but they might have been better left out of the package. I promptly removed them and never looked back. 

Conclusions

When First Tactical asked me to review this pack I was fairly hesitant. I had little experience with sling packs, and frankly, I do not appreciate their, er, aesthetic qualities. Some time under this little pack though changed my outlook. I appreciate the design and layout as a panel loader, and I see a huge tactical advantage vs a messenger bag in how the pack delivers critical items to the user when rotated from back to chest.

If you look at my Cons above, only one is really a concern. The pocket layout is not that bad and the compression straps are removable. So, if you can try this pack out and make sure the fit and comfort is good for you, I can recommend the pack without hesitation. It is a great size for it's intended use, is packed with features and simply delivers your goods when you need them. 

For more info on this bag, please visit the First Tactical Website.  

Disclaimer: First Tactical provided this bag in exchange for my unbiased review.