At first, there was Maxpedition… Then nothing, until Hazard 4 came around. Maxpedition is an icon – the precursor of modern design in bags, backpacks and low-profile/EDC organisers (still tacticool, but less on the military side, more urban). Maxpedition had a strong position on the market, until Hazard 4. But can a strong competition change that? Every market is divided into pieces, like a birthday cake, but how much of that cake will Hazard 4 take…
Some time ago guys from Military 1st sent us three products: the SECOND FRONT backpack, a tablet case and a pouch for a camera. After using the backpack for a few months it’s time for a review!
DESIGN AND QUALITY
Let’s start with saying, that Second Front (later called SF) is a brother of the SWITCHBACK backpack, that had just one shoulder strap (sling pack/gearslinger style). SF has a pretty traditional design – it has two shoulder straps, like 90% of backpacks. The only difference between them is the carry system.
On the back, there are profiled shoulder straps with spacing mesh. On their outside, there is a vertical MOLLE strap and horizontal straps with Velcro for the end of a hydration straw. There also is a chest strap with a buckle.
On the top, where shoulder straps are sewn into the backpack we can find compensation straps (sewn in under the carry handle). On the bottom, they are connected with fastex buckles for quick and easy release.
It has an integrated waist strap, with two rows of MOLLE and D-rings for accessories, like a hook for dead beasts’ heads killed as ordered by the farmer/civilian population. It’s closed with a large fastex-type buckle.
SECOND FRONT has three carry handles:
1. on the top with a soft, rubber grip,
2. on the right side- just a single strap- turns it into a carry bag,
3. on the bottom- a single strap.
What immediately strikes the eye is unusual MOLLE system on the front panel of the backpack – they were sewn vertically, and which is a standard, horizontally. Moreover, we find there a flat pocket with zipper and a velcro panel.
The flap has two straps that keep it horizontal, so we have a small work space. On the inside of the flap, there is a flat pocket with a see-through plastic to keep our maps or other documents dry and clean.
The main chamber is designed in a way, that it can be opened when horizontal (on the left side) – just like a suitcase. When vertical, the flap can be opened down to 1/3 of its height. On the backside, there is a mesh pocket, divided into two sections (2/3 and 1/3 of the flap).
In the chamber itself, on the back, there are two flat pockets for documents and four small loops for stabilising the contents with for example shockcord. On the top there is a hole for a hydration straw (the bladder can be carried in the main chamber or back pocket and a 10-cm zipper for quick access (good feature when we’re carrying a radio and we want to have an antenna outside or we really want some spam). The last thing is a drainage hole on the bottom (they’re everywhere…).
Next part is the flat pocket on the very back (between the main chamber and the users’ back).
USAGE (PERSONAL OPINION)
We’ve been outdoors, in the city and travelled together. Second Front was great everywhere.
Thanks to the wide-opening main chamber, just like in a suitcase it’s very easy to pack, and we can put everything exactly where we want it. Comfy? Comfy. The weight is well distributed between shoulders and the waist, and it can be somewhat adjusted with the straps on the front.
What kills the customers’ interest in Hazard 4 products is the price. But are they so high, considering the quality? It’s perfect, not a single thread sticking out, no bad seam; instead top materials – no compromises. Everything is very high-end. Also, very important is the design – their products are thought through and despite their tacticoolness they blend-in really well when used in the urban environment (when we have a single-colour version of course) and they just… look good.
Our stuff is well-protected thanks to the lining and the ability to be secured with shock cord which shows that the producer is well aware of what it’s used for. It’s pricey (around £150 in the UK), but it’s top quality. Keep that in mind when considering a purchase of Hazard 4 products.
The backpack was kindly provided by Military1st, the official provider of Hazard4 in UK.