A couple of months ago I received the Legion Elite with helmet carry for review and could not wait to put it through the paces. During that time, I carried it as a daily go bag, used it on a few deer scouting adventures, and finally, it accompanied me on several hunting trips. Now it is time to tell you how it fared.
This pack is the latest upgrade to the earlier released Legion Daypack, now with an easy-to-access, front-mounted pocket intended to hold a helmet. The main compartment offers 21 liters of storage accessed via a top opening, while each side of the pack contains an additional pouch – on the right a zippered magazine pocket and the left an open top auxiliary pocket. A third pouch, also zippered, is mounted to the top front. A full-width laptop/tablet sleeve is included within the rear of the main compartment, while a similar sleeve is also found on the rear of the pack. Finally, a small side zipper pocket is found on the front of the helmet carry body and two compartments can found in the front interior.
The entire pack is constructed of heavy-duty 500D Cordura nylon, YKK zippers, and Duraflex buckles and hardware. The outer surface is covered with wide MOLLE straps while the interior surfaces include loop-side pile for attachment of hook-backed accessories. Elastic paracord lacing is attached to each side of the helmet carrier and compression straps encircle the exterior- both of which allow the fully loaded pack to be drawn tight for easier management.
Finally, there is the carrying system. The entire back of the pack is covered with EVA foam with molded air circulation ridges included. Dual yoke-style straps are the main means of securing the pack when carried, with a sternum buckle for added comfort. A hideaway waist belt is available for longer trips, especially when fully loaded. As with the main body, the straps include MOLLE webbing for additional storage and a D ring for items you wish to keep close at hand.
A closer look
The main body is simple, but as many far smarter people have said before, there is something to be said about keeping it simple. Although this section includes two small pockets (one mesh, one solid) and the laptop/tablet sleeve, it is otherwise wide open and unobstructed. This was a welcome feature, or more accurately, a welcome lack of features. Unlike many other packs with numerous interior dividers and pockets, the Legion Elite allows you – the user- to decide where and how to store your items. Furthermore, it allows for easier storage of more items without competition for space or squeezing those items into ill-fitting spaces.
The laptop/tablet sleeve is built into the rear wall of the main compartment, with a single elastic Velcro strap for closing. Access is easy and able to be had even when the remainder of the compartment is full. As for the smaller pockets to the front, they are ideal for storing items such as keys, small tools or even cash that need to be extra secure and able to be found easily. The mesh pocket is convenient for those items you want to see and find quickly.
The top access, opened by dual zippers, provides fast entry by either the top flap or removal of the entire front panel on three sides. When using the bag for day to day carry, I found the top flap method of entry ideal, allowing me to place the bag on the adjacent seat where I can reach in when needed while ensuring the contents remained secure. I found the ability to open the front in a drop-down manner exceptionally useful when packing for a hunting trip; it allowed me to lay items in place rather than stuff them down onto each other. Not only did this permit me to make full use of the available space, it also avoided potential damage to those items. Likewise, when camp was made and items were needed, this provided removal of specific pieces without unloading the entire contents.
Although I have tested the helmet carry for serviceability, I have not used it for the intended purpose in a real-world scenario simply because the need has not presented itself. However, when tested, I found the easy to use elastic paracord lacing to be a nice addition – no fumbling with buckles or straps, simply loosen the cords and pull out whatever you need. I have found this feature useful as a large pouch for either odd sized or thick items and have tested it with trail cameras, archery quivers and even a pair of extra shoes for camp wear. Each was held securely when hiking and well protected by the large front flap.
The larger pouch mounted to the top front of the face is the easiest of the pouches to access, and I have decided to use it for the storage of first aid supplies. It is large enough to house a pack of quick clot, rolled bandages, a bottle of pain reliever and numerous similar items need for self-treatment – except for the CAT which is strapped to the side MOLLE webbing.
The pocket to the front of the helmet carry is not large enough for large items, and with its side access secured by a zipper, was most likely designed for storage of a wallet, passport or similar important but small item. I did, however, find it as also a useful and convenient location for my 5 shot snub-nosed .38. The makers also envisioned the need for concealed carry and have designated the large exterior rear pocket for this purpose. Although I have used it for that purpose, specifically when taking my Glock 27 in the field, I did find the compartment a bit too large for the purpose. Yes, it was secure and offered space needed for not only a sidearm but also additional magazines, but it was so deep that some items became lost within it. This area is also well suited for the carrying of a 2-liter hydration system as well.
The zippered side pocket was designed for extra magazines and as such, includes the interior loops need to keep each secure. I personally use it to ensure extra pistol magazines are close at hand, along with extra handcuffs and flashlight, but it could also accommodate up to four AR magazines as well. The opposite side pouch is opened to the top, thus not suitable for small or loose items. I have successfully utilized it for both a large water bottle and a portable radio.
• 500D Cordura Nylon
• Duraflex Buckles and hardware
• YKK zippers
• Top Opening: Full or Vertical Access
• Helmet Carry Quick Access Compression Pouch
• Side Magazine Pocket
• Laptop/tablet sleeve
• Top grab handle
• Rear hydration/concealed carry compartment
• 37 Molle attachment points
• 6 exterior D rings
• 6 compression straps/tie downs
• Open side compartment for a water bottle, radio etc.
• Tuck away waist belt
• Fully padded back and yoke straps
• Wide, easy access top opening
• Protective laptop/tablet sleeve is easy to access even when pack is full
• Comfortable, padded yoke strap
• Waist belt can be tucked away when not needed
• Compression straps allow for smallest footprint possible
• Zipper pulls smaller than I would prefer
• Hydration pocket a bit too large for concealed carry
• Carry handle mounted to flap rather than the main body – causes contents to spill if zipper is open
• Would prefer metal rather than plastic buckles and hardware
Overall this is a well-designed, well thought out day pack. It is not big enough for multiple days uses but just large enough for its intended purpose. The top access makes it easy to pack gear and get to specific gear when needed, and the lack of dividers or multiple interior pockets lets you customize it for your needs rather than the designers’. However, I find there are a few areas that need improvement. First, the MOLLE points had a tactical feel but are for the most part useless. Adding additional items to the exterior would result in the pack being too large and counter the well-designed compression system. Second, and most confusing, is the placement of the carry handle. The strap itself is heavy duty and comfortable, but by placing it on the flap, rather than the main body, makes it useless when the flap is open. All in all, I enjoy the bag and believe it makes an excellent choice for anyone looking for a similar sized day bag.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.