Despite recent increase of lase cut gear’s popularity (vests or bags or pouches) including latest premiere of the Massenger Direct Action bag by Helikon, tacticool society is still sceptical to such innovations. Main reasons are, of course, uncertainty about its durability (despite tests provided by Surivaltech) and high prices according to regular projects made with cordura/nylon/polyester which are on the level of 70€-95€. So as we can see, gear in MOLLE system with traditional webbing still remains as the most universal, cheapest and what connects with it – the most popular.
I have been using big Utility Bag for few years until now. I was searching next bag for myself and waiting for premiere of the Small Massenger Bag when Helikon just sent Wombat gen.2 in Camogrom for some testing.
Wombat is made by Helikon in standard “colors”: black, olive, coyote brown (all for approx. 35€) and camouflages like wz.93, CamoGrom ( 43€) which are made in polyester and A-TACS AU(45€) whichis anexception and is made in Cordura550D. For people whining “ooohhhh, polyester/nylon again?!” I remind that Cordura isn’t cheap and Wombat isvery complicated bag with lots of pouches, stitches and not everyone wants or needs Cordura made bag which costs more than nylon one. Due to attractive price, polyester bag will find more owners especially when for EDC use will fit very good and will last for few years.
Wombat has been described many times, on Equipped as well as on Survivaltech where its legendary capacity was presented as a B.O.B – blow out bag.
Wombat is typical appropriable bag and due its construction it can be compact size (zipped up and puller tighten) perfect for travelling in urban transport or when the bag is empty or “maxi” size (closed only with totally loosen buckles) when we have huge amount of stuff to carry like groceries or when we go into the woods or even on airsoft game. Due to its maximum capacity and ability to make it even bigger by attaching MOLLE pouches Wombat may compete with 20L EDC backpack like Sparrow.
Wombat isn’t such a simple construction as its ancestor –Utility Bag/Extra Utility Pouch. Wombat consists of bag, arm belt with comfortpad, carry handle and hip belt – one of the new things in gen.2.
Comfortpad is very comfortable, stuffed with thick sponge so even with the big weight of the bag it is comfortable to carry around. I mean stuffed with 9kg in the form of 6 bottles of mineral water (yes, they fit) but of course with that weight backpack is more comfy. It wonders me why the comfortpad doesn’t have any heat mesh underneath as it is on the hip belt but skin doesn’t sweat under it when we have temperatures like now. Comfortpad is covered on the front and rear with the single MOLLE webbing with two cells and it tends to slip off the arm, especially when we try to find something in it or just to set it right.
As we are at arm belt the biggest and the only in my opinion problem of the bag reveals. Bag creaks. To be precise, not the bag itself but D-Rings where arm belt is attached.
This type of attachment was supposed to help fitting bag to the user and not swinging on the side. Frankly, due to used materials, buckles during rotations are creaking and scratching, louder with the every kilogram in the bag. After week of using creaking decreased but it’s still the important affair and for now we can forget about stealthy moving from place to place. What is interesting that it doesn’t occur in A-TACS version because other buckles were used. If someone has very sensitive hearing he has few solutions – change those parts for creaking-free or to just remove them and put the belt straight through D-rings ( it could be done in during production) or just to disable those buckles in some way (silver tape, glue, melting them or whatever you can imagine).
Carry handle is different but I would prefer it sewn directly to the main chamber. In the current version bag banks to the side. But does it affect in something? To be honest, no. Just my personal opinion. Handle can be detached, regulated and there is soft sponge sewn in the middle of it so when we grab it, it’s comfortable J This part looks like someone else has sewn it because stitches aren’t very neat, threads protrude everywhere and are stacked in one line but in many rows. But still, it’s just carry handle.
Hip belt main objective is to stabilize the bag when it’s stuffed but it is not necessary. On the other hand, it helps during running, jumping, and it blocks the movement of the buckles so it decreases creaking as well. It’s is very comfortable, soft, doesn’t slip very much and holds on one place. Belt has 4 cells on the comfortpad but not in the MOLLE standard. It’s a pity because we could attach something small in there. Only ALICE clips fit in there without problem. Soft MOLLE ( polyamide webbing like in MIWO products), Polish 20mm standard, MALICE clips go through – if the cells are made equally. In my bag only 3 of 4 were made good enough. “Hard” MOLLE (polyester webbing) doesn’t go through at all. But there is wider webbing with 3 cells which allows attachment of every king of pouch we desire – but know your needs 😉 Two-row panel would be a nice thing here. Keep in mind that this belt is to stabilize not to become another place for ammo pouches. It will fit a canteen pouch, both MOLLE and ALICE standard.
Wombat from the outside
Wombat has MOLLE on the sides and on the flap made from the same material as the rest of the bag. Material is folded underneath what doesn’t affect in attaching pouches from the top but attaching them diverted may cause some minor problems. Webbing is sewn very regular and in fact in MOLLE standard.
The most important part of the bag is side MOLLE webbing because it doesn’t make bag any bigger and provide extra space for bottle pouch, canteen pouch or even a small hydration like Source Kangaroo.
Flap is simultaneously a number of pockets, placed very clever. First zipper from the top gives us an access to not too big pocket when we put few items like gloves or neck gaiter. The lowest zipper leads to the bigger pocket which takes whole front panel and gives us access to the buckles mount. It allows us to replace them in future if we would have them damaged.
At the end of the “outer” part, frosting on the cake, zipper in the middle of the main flap which allows us to access main pocket without opening main flap and unzipping it.
Main part of the bag is covered with the flap, closed by two buckles. Main pocket is closed by a bug and solid zipper. After unfastening buckles we gain access to the flat pocket(perfect for notebooks, books, dictionaries) and 2 smaller pockets (will fit perfectly a small IFAK, folding knife, multitool, GPS; each holds also 5 AR magazines). After unzipping we have access to the main pocket.
Main pocket is in fact… 5 pockets. So there is the biggest one – 38x25x18cm (producers says size of whole bag is 38x29x19cm) and inside it there is a “safe-pocket” and two hydration pockets and the last – closed with zipper and made from a mesh.
“Safe-pocket” is destined to hold electronic stuff with the diagonal of 10 inches so mostly netbooks, e-readers and so on. Walls of this pocket are stuffed with foam to keep our valuable stuff safe. It is closed with the flap and the Velcro.
CamoGrom is like you can see. Nevertheless it do its job at the autumn-spring period, blends in quite good. It’s not pinky as you can maybe saw at the photos, just one w the brown shades is weird.
Both left and right-handed users should be satisfied because bag is symmetrical.
FEW WORDS ABOUT LEGENDARY CAPACITY OF WOMBAT
As an EDC bag Wombat has a lot of space. In a super minimalized version with a bands tighten and zipped up it is still bag with big capacity, perfect for every day usage. But when it comes to make big shopping or take a lot of something or something big – loose the bands and close the bag only with buckles. What did I manage to put in the Wombat and still close it?
– 6×1,5L bottles,
– PC-4 Orlik plate carrier with 4 hard plates, ammo, pistol and a holster,
– 5 liter beer can,
– 5 liter wine demijohn,
– 4 liter canister after gainer,
– 8 bottles (2×1,5L, 4×0,7L, 2×0,5L)
– MICH 2002 and other stuff
– MP jacket and other stuff.
Even though Wombat isn’t from Direct Action line you can improvise 🙂
To buy or not to buy? Buy for sure! Don’t think that they gave me a bag and I’m making an advert for it. If you read carefully you should noticed that I it to it very decently and has number of points but still trivia. Wombat is a great bag, done well but “just” from impregnated polyester. How will it be with durability of the material and stitches? Time will show. My earlier Helikon’s bag lasted few years and I had never spared it.
Wombat is one of the most interesting EDC bags on the market now due to its numerous pockets, good construction, comfortable carrying system (main belt and hip belt), regulated capacity (humongous at the maximum) and low price – in my opinion 35€ for an olive version is a bargain. The biggest disadvantage an the most noticeable are creaking buckles of the main belt but just everyone can solve this problem (oil them!). Wombat can compete with EDC backpacks. You can convert it even to a travelling bag by just adding cargo pouches or SAW 200rnd pouches on the sides. For me, with that utility, quality, comfort of the usage and price – none of the other products on the market can compete with Wombat
This article was made by dint of Helikon Company who aided us with this bag. It was very nice surprise that even big companies are interested in small blogs and they can aid them so much. And Wombat is a great piece of gear.