Two years ago we’ve published our Great Waistpack Test. Since then we’ve noticed a lots of new designs appear on the market, which we try to review as they appear. And here’s another one- custom made ECHO for Koner, which has been living on my hip for last couple months. So here we go!

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ECHO is quite a slick design.

ECHO is, right after MOD 02 form Survivaltech and Baribals mini waistpack is the smallest “tactical” waistpack on the market. So keep it in mind as it’s competely different from WTTG’s or Spearpoint’s designs.

DESIGN AND QUALITY

 Let’s start with some dry facts:

  • FABRIC: Cordura 500D (Ranger Green),
  • WYMIARY: 19x10x15cm,
  • POCKETS: 2 main +one internal and an organiser,
  • BELT: width 4cm; adjustable up to 130cm;  National Molding buckle,
  • Compatible molle,
  •  Velcro panel 10×4,5cm.

Price: upon contacting the store.

Materials look really good and i can find a thing to complain about. It’s made out of 500D Cordura- luckily times when everything was made out of 1000D cordura are over, and designer was rational and chose a fabric that is durable enough, lighter and at the same time stiff enough.

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500D is enough to keep it’s shape and at the same time prevents edges from wearing down.

The main compartment is closed with a two-way zipper. It’s not splashproof, but it has flaps that protect it from dirt preety well. It also makes it more aethetic and means that we don’t have to worry about lack of cover, as it often is with “waterproof” zippers. The zipper is also wide- makes it less likely to catch the fabric when the compartment is packed. in th e second, smaller pochet the same kind of zepper was used, but only one-way. Zippers have paracord with heat-shrinkable tape grips which makes them easier to use in gloves and when not looking as wells as makes the paracord stiffer which makes it harder to catch on things.

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Zipper grips.

There is no waistpack without a belt. In ECHO it’s thought out really well. There are “wings” on both sides which stabilise rhe waistpack and make it more comfortable. they also have two molle slots each which enalbe the user to add pouches. Despite only one row pouches still are attached quite well. On the bottom of each wing are loops for carabiners etc.

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A quick way to expand the ECHO.

The belt is a 40mm Poliamid strap. the 4cm of width makes it really comfortable to wear- any narrower would dig itno your stomach and be less stable. It is only one- way adjustable. addotional rubber prevents it from sliding down. The belt can be up to 130cm long, whuch meand it will fit a wider group of people 😉

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Max lenght od the belt is 130cm, which should make members of the Tactical Belly Owners Club happy.

There are no suprises from the back- just a black back wall of the main compartment – a standard and actually a good feature. There are no, in my opinion, useless drainage holes on the bottom, but there is another interesting feature- 6 loops with shockcord weaved through them with a stopper at the end. Thet solution has one con and two pros:

– there is a risk of it catching on tree branches (not big though, it can be compressed as shown below)

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After compressing it is about 4cm wide.

+ elasticity,
+ good quality shochcord.
It enables the user to carry a bottle of water, a softshell jacket or something much more important:

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And this is what real magic looks like.

So we know what ECHO loos like from the outside, so it’s time to take a look inside. I’d like to start with the back wall- There i a foam padding there that makes the whole thing stiffer, and coushions all the stuff inside. there is also a elastic tape there, divided into 3 slots. The middle, widest one is about a size of a 5″ smartfone.

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Thanks to the foam, things carried in the elastic tape are held way better.

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Lumia 830 is 71mm wide (wider smartphones will also fit), but thereis a problem with height- my Lumia is 140mm tall and there is not much space left.

On the opposite side there is a mesh pocket that can be compressed on the top. Above it there is a loop, similar to those on the “wings”.

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The height of the mesh pocket is just right to not make teking things out harder.

It’s about 6-7cm deep, but despite that it’s preety spacious. It’s not too complicated,  but is deas everything you need it to. Placement of the organizer means that the heavier stuff is going to ble closed to the users body, so it should be more stable during sudden movement. Also, nothing is going to fall out when we open the pack. On the other side of the flap there is the second compartment. the fabric flap makes it look a bit small, but it’s actually quite big. There is one restriction though- the zipper is about 10cm long, so it’s really narrow, even for my not so big hands. Also, it means that putting anything too big in there makes it really hard to take out. It might be good for a smaller smathphone, some documents or slim cigarettes.

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The whole design is really well thought through, so that zipper is a real mistery to me. Just 1cm more would do the job.


USAGE

I’ve used the ECHO mainly in the city to carry some basic stuff, but also on some bicycle trips, kayaking and even running. It’s compact design makes it really comfartable to wear, even when it’s packed full you could forget that it’s even there. And, because it’s not too wide, it’s great for driving a car -no need to take it off.

The size was just right for me- it held everything i needed it to, when i didn’t want to carry a huge box. And if i ever neede extra space i could use molle

ECHO allows us to carry all that stuff and some more.

The wide belt and wings are great in stabilising the ECHO and it can be comfortably worn preety much anywhere on the waist. It can jump around when running and jumping, but nothing out of the ordinary and it depends on what we put in it.

I have no issues with quality- after a couple of months it still loks like the day i got it. I have nothing to complain about in terms of quality- it still looks new after a few months. There are no rips, tears, zippers work perfectly. I don’t have much to say about velcro- i didn’t realy use it, but i wouldn’t expect any problems.

Despite quality being A-grade i think that the design has two major issues. the first one is the front pocket wich isn’t using its full potential. despite the flaps making it bigger, the zipper is the issue- i ended up using it only for things that would fit in it.

The second on is the belt- despite the rubber holding the end it could still get loose. It’s not too much of an issue but still worth mentioning. It makes up with simple and quick adjustability.

I’ve had no issues with the buckle, but the belt could be less slippery.

Despite the front pocket i think that it’s a complete and well thought through design, but i would personally add some little improvements. First of all, i would add a small strap of a grippy material to make it more stable. The second thing would be to change the compression strap in the mesh pocket, but i know there will be a lot of fans of it.


SUMMARY

For many year it thought i didn’t really need a waist pack. It never really go to me, i always prefered a bag or just pockets. Maybe  frequent encounters with Tracksuit Knight and their waistapacks worn on their chests changed my attitude. The usefullness of ECHO made me recognize it’s practicality and comfort, but i don’t think i will wear it across my chest any time soon. Because i always carry a lot of stuff with me, now i usually leae a bag at home and just take a waistpack. It’s just enough to carry all the stuff i don’t leave my house without. It’s all you’d want from a waistpack. t’s not really high-tech, but it’s small and makes your life easier.  can easily recommend it as a well made, practical, not too tactical looking, universal waistpack.

ADVANTAGES:
+ well thought through design,
+ high quality,
+ compact size,
+ Made in Poland,
+ability to expand with extra pouches,
+ quite “civilian” look,
+ you can carry a beer.

DISADVANTAGES:
– small front pocket zipper,
 i would prefer a zipper in the mesh pocket,
 a bit slippery belt.

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