More space is better was my general approach when I was carrying a pack in the Marines. I wanted the ability to carry more when necessary and didn’t mind toting a half-empty pack. I stubbornly kept that idea as I became a civilian and always went big. This creates some interesting excursions when you move from loading a 7 ton to loading a commercial plane. As I became a writer and started traveling more I discovered the joy of minimalism. That’s where we come to the Tactical Tailor Bantam pack. It draws an interesting line between minimalist and too small.
Smaller Is Better
One big lesson I learned on Day 1 of Shot Show is that smaller is better. I was that guy rocking too big of a backpack while trying to navigate the crowded halls of the Sands resort. On day 1 I downgraded to a cheap messenger bag a vendor was giving out as swag. It wasn’t near as functional but was easier to navigate with. This, and my flight to Vegas was my first lesson is that smaller is better in. Since moving towards smaller packs I’ve found them to be more convenient, easier to manage, and easier to store. I went from a full-sized Tac Pac for EDC to a simple Vertx Commuter.
For the last few weeks its been the Tactical Tailor Bantam pack. The question is as a backpack is it too small? It offers slightly more space than a sling bag and the support of a backpack. Before you order should grab a tape measure and map it out. It’s 15 inches long and 10 inches wide. It’s approximately the same size as my 6-year old’s backpack so it’s small. In Tactical Tailor’s Description, they even mention it’s a great tough pack for kids.
For simple everyday work carry it’s actually nice and handy. I can fit my computer, charger, cell phone charger, water bottle, my lunch, and strap my jacket or sweater to the front bungee straps. That being said I can do the same with my Vertx Commuter. What I can’t do with the Commuter is make it an overnight bag. The Tactical Tailor Bantam can carry a day’s change of clothes, and my computer, tablet, toiletries, and of course real coffee because hotel coffee sucks.
Is the Tactical Tailor Bantam Too Small?
Is it too small for an extended trip? Yes, of course, it is. Is it too small for a day bag? Not at all. For hiking, exploring, and hunting it’s actually pretty damn handy. It’s not for camping or anything where more than a day’s worth of goods is needed. It can tote all the necessities for a hike like water, a snack, a medical kit, an extra pair of sock, camera, all that good stuff. It beats a sling bag in this regard due to the dual straps that better support the pack, and keeps it more stable go over harsher terrain.
A backpack is always a bit more comfortable than a sling bag and I see the advantages of it for long-term use. Its small size can be a strength when it comes to maneuverability. This makes it easier to use in tight environments, especially tactical environments. When I carried a big bag in buildings on a deployment or when training it wasn’t uncommon for it to get caught and stuck in close quarters.
Going through windows, or climbing ladders often meant removing the bag and tossing it through. A smaller bag like the Tactical Tailor Bantam eliminates this problem. It’s much easier to work up and down ladders, through windows, and just moving in a building in general.
One of the big selling points for the modern tactical bag is the ability to organize even and every piece of gear to an obsessive point. The Tactical Tailor Bantam is no different. The four pockets allow you to easily sort and organize gear to keep the bag from getting crowded.
You get tons of hook and loop space, a mesh organizer, and a hidden rear pocket for more discrete organization. The rear pocket is great for a handgun, or a small armor plate. It’s good to separate somethings from most gear since you don’t want it spotted if you are just trying to grab your laptop. The hook and loop is perfect for used with gear like Blue Force Gear’s Dapper pouches. I’ve been carrying my Premier Body Armor Soft Armor 10×12 panel in the back and it fits perfectly.
The outside of the bag also offers two side pockets for gear you want to be quick at hand. Mine is used for carrying a water bottle and sometimes my hearing protection. The external bungee cords are great for strapping an outside layer on when its no longer needed.
Durability, Comfort, and Design
Like all Tactical Tailor’s gear, it’s well made and designed to last. Its design is simply a backpack that’s been shrunk. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s well constructed and well thought out. The straps are padded and it has a sternum strap to keep the pack in place when moving dynamically. The rear of the pack has nice mesh pads that keep whats in the pack from prodding you. This is especially handy when a gun is in the bag and you don’t want it jabbing into you.
The Tactical Tailor Bantam pack is a compromise. It falls in between a backpack and a sling bag and offers some advantages over both. If you are looking to move and groove for a long period of time with a light load then this is perfect. If you want the comfort of a backpack with the low profile nature of a sling bag then it’s for you.