I purchased the Vertx Gamut
Reason for Purchase
I needed a bigger bag to carry more stuff in, specifically tools for a particular application. At the time when I was looking Vertx released this bag and as I remember seeing many similar looking "plain Jane" type bags around my area I decided to get one to try out. I was frequently taking public transportation and I needed to make sure I had the tools I needed. The Gamut was probably just slightly bigger than I really needed, and I ended up putting too much stuff in it during the figuring out what works process.
When I first started carrying I carried a PWS 7.75" MOD1 upper'd pistol with a Sig Brace which was all the rage at the time, the one reason it worked well is because of the Law Tactical Folding Adapter which allowed the pistol to be folded and stuffed into the large compartment in the pack. It also had a laptop pouch which I initially carried an AR500 backpack plate inside of for a short time. With a few mags, medical tools and various other things the pack came in at right under 50lb full.
The Gamut has a lot of versatility even if it is is totally stuffed with tools. After carrying it around fully loaded for a week or so, I decided to start shedding weight, ounces are pounds after all. I prefer to do the put everything I need in the pack first then take stuff out as needed to make it comfortable formula. So I dumped the AR500 plate quickly, which put the pack at around 40 pounds. One of the best aspects of this pack is that is has a lot pockets and places to store stuff. This is good because not all the items are stuck in one specific area which sucks to wear for a long period of time. Weight distribution is important, this pack handles it like very modern Jansport
The side bungee pockets allowed for secure storage of water bottles or several AR15 magazines. Both pockets have those bungee plastic retainers, so you can cinch them down if needed. Both sides have these, which seems excessive at first but if you have a family and need to carry multiple water bottles and/or other things which require quick access they make life easy.
Right next to them you have large zippered pockets on each side as well. They are not big but can hold a fairly decent amount of tools.
I kept various medical tools and other items in those pockets as they do get smashed more than the other interior pockets. You could easily fit two or three AR15 mags in each of those pockets if needed.
The front flap is pretty big and hides a long MOLLE web.
As you can see it sort of sags if you add anything towards the top of it that is heavy. I assume this was designed for one large item to attach to it or several very light items in Vertx's tactigami
These are designed to attach to the outside of the pack and be pulled tight to secure whatever is too big to zipper. The concepts follows other, more tier-1 type packs, which are more so designed for the "operator" types and less the mass public transportation types.
Vertx added a metal riveted button to help secure the large compartment zipper and keep things flush. That is an interesting design concept, though I do not really know if it would have been easier/cheaper/just as functional with hook/loop, as I never had then snap open unless I accidentally got it caught on something.
For a short period I carried a broken down 10.3" MK18 upper'd pistol without a Law Tactical Folding Adapter which worked fine as long as you angled everything. You can see the inside pockets which are generous. The front large flap which has heavy YKK zippers can be completely opened up and it had two large mesh pockets to keep stuff inside. You can probably start to see how easily it becomes to over pack it, I mean why else would they put all those cool pockets?
One thing I could instantly tell is how much much detail and material selection was done when choosing what types to use. The material is of very good quality, which is indicative of Vertx quality at the time.
The divider between the back most compartment and the inner largest compartment has a plastic stiffener which comes with the Gamut. When I carried the AR500 backpack plate I removed the plastic and put the plate in there. It would probably work better with a thinner/softer armor plate, like something IIIA rated.
In the Field
I did not like having flip flopping AR15 mags all over the place, so I found a Maxpedition
Eventually I started to carry my PDW SBR equipped with a MVB Arc PDW Stock and a PWS Diablo 7.75" Upper. In the collapsed configuration it was the smallest package I could easily fit into the packs largest pocket.
I took the pack everywhere with me on numerous family outings and trips. I was going to use the Gamut for a Goruck event but decided against it due to its design nature.
Ownership and Usage
I carried this pack for about two or so years before retiring it and transferring the items to a Goruck GR1. I switched because three specific issues. First, as I stated previously, there are too many pockets. Good for a college or highschool student, not good for someone who does not need that many pockets. Sure, I could have just left them empty, but then what is the point of having the pockets in the first place? It is like an itch you scratch. Also some of the pockets were weird sizes and in weird locations. The side pockets for example I kept glow sticks in, but after activating (breaking) several, I decided to move them to the inside pockets. This was annoying because I knew I could not put anything that cannot survive an accidental kick or drop from arm level in those pockets, limiting the options.
The large center flap which covered the MOLLE panel was not very secure or retained securely. At first I put AR15 mags there, two of them in a blue force gear ten speed pouch
Lastly, the pack carried like your average school-type backpack. Even if I took out all the slack from the shoulder straps and clicked the chest strap in place tightly, it would still feel like a modern version of your average school backpack. We have all worn them during our schooling years, the type that are not very comfortable no matter what we do, especially if they are heavy and weighed down to one particular side with something which has hard edges.
During this time I had purchase a Goruck GR1 which I used for a Goruck light event and it performed the way I wanted this Gamut to perform with heavy weight. Which is why I eventually switched over to the GR1 from the Gamut.
The only piece that had any issues was the front chest strap male connector which broke one of the plastic pieces. It still worked fine with just one connector piece, other than that no rips or issues.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
I had a goal of carrying a .300blk caliber folded pistol in a pack and this pack would not accept a 8" .300blk barreled folded pistol. Had to have a smaller barrel length than 8" in order to fit if you consider the muzzle device and the Law Tactical adapter length(s) altogether. Also the fact that I wanted to carry it for long periods of time and not completely wreck my back/shoulders pushed me away from it. If I did not carry a rifle caliber pistol with mags, or various other tools, and used it solely for a gym-type, or daily backpack for clothing and maybe a pistol and some spare mags, this would probably do a very good job to that end. I know of a few people who have the Gamut and are very happy with it, but for me it fell short of my individual requirements. Obviously my experience and requirements probably differ from yours. If you are looking for a backpack which is essentially a 2-day pack and can hold a pistol, a few mags, some medical items, a laptop/tablet and clothings/shoes, you are probably going to be happy with this one.
I went to the Goruck GR1 from this pack because I needed a more "ruckable" pack which had a more simple design. The GR1 definitely fit the bill for me in this respect and depending on what type of mission you are looking for a pack to accomplish you may have similar considerations. The Gamut is definitely as a "one pack fits most" type of design and because of that most people will like it.
Read the full review here -> Vertx Gamut Plus | v d m s r