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Tactical Tailor Tahoma Tote Rucksack Review

Author’s note: This pack appears to have been renamed the “RR2600 Assault Malice Pack” according to Tactical Tailor’s website. There appear to be no differences according to their descriptions and display images, however this has not been confirmed by Tactical Tailor as of the time of this publishing. 

There’s no place like home, and if you are one of those people that often carries “home” on your back, then you know  that you are always looking for a better place to live. In my ongoing search for that perfect unicorn, I came across the Tahoma Tote. It had a lot of features I was looking for:  lighter weight, medium sized ruck with an external frame, the ability to stow/carry a rifle, modularity, and a load profile that rode closer to the body and spread the weight vertically versus horizontally.  From the horse’s mouth, the description is as follows:

“Features

  • RTO Zipper pass through
  • 2 external side zips allowing for access to interior of ruck
  • 3 side compression straps w/G hooks on each side
  • 1×5 name tape loop panel on top pocket
  • Internal attachment points for TT PRC 117G Radio pouch
  • MOLLE attachment points on lower left and right side of E-Tool and/or 2QT
  • Oversized pocket on left and right side of pocket sized to accommodate buttstocks, 84mm rounds or other odd sized objects
  • STRLLS and H Harness Compatible (check with your S-3 Air to determine if pack meets your ASOP requirements)
  • Recessed air mesh drain flap on bottom of ruck
  • Stainless drain holes on bottom of ruck
  • Reinforced carry handle on top of ruck
  • Incorporated load lifter buckles for use with TT Low Profile Adjustable Super Straps

Measurements:

  • Main Compartment: 2337 cubic inches
  • Removable Top Pocket/Flap: 255 cubic inches
  • Inside Pocket: 192 cubic inches
  • Approx. Total Capacity: 2,592 cubic inches
  • Weight (Bag Only): 3 lbs”

Additionally, I measured the actual dimensions for the above at (approximately):

  • Main Compartment: 23″H x  15″W x 10″D (45″ inside circumference, measured at the top opening)
  • Removable Top Pocket/Flap:  5″H x 12″W x 9″D (39.5″ inside circumference, measured at the base of the flap)
  • Inside Zippered Pocket: 7″H x 12″W x 2.5″D
  • Inside stuff pockets: 9″W x 15″H

Once I got the ruck I was pleased to see that it was indeed made of 500D nylon as opposed to the more common 1000D. I had assumed this to be the case based on the advertised weight of 3 pounds, but the description made no mention of fabric weight. For those that are unfamiliar with those terms, nylon fabrics commonly used in combat load carrying equipment are listed by their denier (D) weight. Without getting into the complexities of measuring the differences (and it is complex), the simple answer is that a pack made of 500D nylon weighs significantly less than 1000D, while only sacrificing a small amount of strength*. Many manufacturers have begun figuring out ways to engineer their products better utilizing lighter weight fabrics instead of relying on the brute strength of heavier fabrics, and Tactical Tailor seems to be on board. Coupled with the 500D is the use of a laminate material similar to Blue Force Gear’s Ultracomp in strategic places.

Starting from the top, the pack has a removable top cover that has two zippered pouches that open opposite of each other, the top of which is covered by PALS webbing. The entire top cover is secured by 3/4″ ladder lock buckles on one side, and 1″ field replaceable (very smart move) side release buckles on the other. The 1″ SR buckles also act as the rear adjust points for vertical compression straps.  Between the four adjustment points on the top cover, there is a lot of room for stowing larger objects horizontally, like an AT-4,  sleeping pad, etc. There is also a loop panel for a standard Army sized name tape.

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Top cover, shown with sleeping pad stowed

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Top Pocket of cover, shown with some mission essential pogey bait (mag pouches sold separately)

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Main compartment of top cover

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Front attachment point (3/4″ Ladder lock on the right)

The main compartment of the pack has a typical drawstring closure with integrated rain fly (also drawstring closure) as well as a center compression strap with SR buckle. On the top front of the pack there is a zippered pass through opening for hydro tubes, antennas, etc.  It is also large enough to where you can access a radio faceplate, such as the PRC-117G.  Ladder lock buckles for load lifters and a carry handle round round out the top of the pack.

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Top of main compartment

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RTO zipper pass through

Inside the main compartment there is one zippered pouch and two stuff pouches. The zippered pouch is made of high visibilty orange nylon (which also runs down the length of the pack), with PALS attachment points as well as tri glides for interfacing with a dedicated radio pouch.

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Top view inside ruck

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Zippered internal pouch

The two internal stuff pouches are coated on the inside with a water repellent finish, and are large enough to carry a 100 oz/3 L hydration bladder. Again, smart thinking, as having your bladder pop and soak all of your stucks, especially when you forgot to waterproof all of your gear.

There are two zippers that run the full length of the main compartment vertically, one located on each side of the pack,  at approximately the 4 and 8 o’clock positions when viewed from the top. They have pulls on both the top and the bottom, so you can open them either direction. These are handy for accessing things in the pack without having to open the top or remove any gear that may be stored on top of the item you are looking for.

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Left stuff pouch with  empty hydro bladder. Note inside vertical running zipper

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Right vertical zipper, partially opened from the top

The center rear of the pack is covered by modified PALS, a method used throughout the pack. Instead of using spec 1″ nylon webbing, TT has opted to use 3/4″  nylon webbing, ostensibly in an effort to save weight. On both sides there are three 1″ compression straps that use G hooks,  and are long enough to double as lash straps for rifles, tripods, barrel bags, etc.  These are a welcome change from packs that only have two vertical compression straps, as it compresses the load closer to the wearer thereby reducing the amount of leverage that the load creates by being carried away from the body. They also relieve the strain of the pack from the access zippers, so the compression straps should always be secured and used. There are also two strips of 1.5″ inch wide strips of laminate material running vertically the length of the pack, covered about 2/3 of the way up by the vertical compression straps.

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Back Panel, laminate material is the tan section

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G hook

 The bottom sides both have pockets that accommodate carrying of a wide variety of equipment. They measure approximately 7.5″ H x 9″W x 2.5″ D. Here they are shown carrying a both a Remington 700 and an AR. The AR has a wider VLTOR EMOD stock with both side compartments and it fit in nicely, so just about any stock should be able to fit.

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Moving on to the frame and suspension system, the Tahoma Tote kit comes equipped with the MALICE frame, Ergo Super Belt, and Low Profile Adjustable Super Straps.  The shoulder straps are a yoke type strap system, which I had reservations about initially as I had not had good experiences with the yoke type suspension. However, the system fits me very well, with or without armor on, and I am very pleased with the contour, amount of padding, and length of the straps. They are equipped with load lifter attachments, a removable sternum strap and laminate reinforcement points. It also has a quick release buckle system, which releases in a very similar manner to the traditional ALICE shoulder straps.  Still, if the yoke type suspension sin’t something you prefer, the pack and frame are compatible with all ALICE type shoulder straps that interface using 1″ webbing attachments.

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Ruck suspension system

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Strap attachment, metal rings are hard sewn to the front of the ruck and interface with shoulder straps

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QR buckles

The waist belt is also another success in design. I liked TT’s older super belt, and they have improved upon the concept. It’s now more ergonomically contoured and has ladder lock buckles on each end of the padded portion, so that you cinch the belt down pulling forward which is much easier than the old method of pulling back. The padded section also has two rows of PALS, this time with 1″ webbing.

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Ladder lock adjustment, with laminate reinforcement point visible

While the MALICE frame is difficult to see with everything mounted, it is vastly superior to the original ALICE frame that it is derived from. It features larger diameter tubing, welded joints as opposed to being riveted, and a tubular cross support instead of flat 1/8″ aluminum strap. Even if I wanted nothing to do with the rest of the pack, if I was running a pack that utilized an ALICE type frame, I would upgrade to the MALICE frame.

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Shown above with additional pouches mounted

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As worn during casual Fridays

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Side by side with a MALICE V2; looks are deceiving, the MALICE has more carrying capacity

I’ve been using this pack for about 6 months now and I wanted to make sure I had put it through its paces before I formed an opinion of it, and it hasn’t disappointed. As expected, the improved load carriage form makes the same loadout from my old MALICE feel subjectively “lighter” and more stable. It also rides very similarly with or without body armor, but of course individual results may vary. Organization is good, the pouches are nicely sized for mission essential items like binos, LRF’s, spotting scopes, batteries, and the like. The outside view of the pack can be a bit deceiving, as it is on the smaller side as far as rucks go, so you may have to prioritize some gear, and it wouldn’t suffice in extended cold weather ops. However, my requirements were that it would generally be intended to be used to carry medium to heavy loads on 24-72 hour sniper/reconnaissance missions, so again YMMV. Construction quality and materials are superb, with all stitching uniform and strait, measuring at 7 SPI.  When it is used to carry a rifle in the side pockets, the weapon is very secure and does not flop around, even with a 12.5 lb rifle. The top cover compression straps are long enough to secure large objects but still get a good grab and pull down. So far the most weight I have had in the ruck has been about 75 LBS, which isn’t a lot as far as heavy rucks go, but will give you a good idea how one will perform. Carrying a lot of weight on your back always sucks, but carrying it as efficiently as possible can make it suck slightly less,  and this pack does accomplish that. For it’s size, features and quality, it is reasonably priced at $487 for the full kit (in Multicam).

Rick Labistre
Contributor at Primary & Secondary
Rick Labistre is a 14 year Army veteran and has served in every position in an Infantry platoon from rifleman to squad leader, as well as scout to platoon sergeant in a light Infantry reconnaissance platoon. He is a 2011 graduate of the ARNG Sniper School and is currently a sniper section leader with the California Army National Guard

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