The name Blackhawk is well-known and generally associated with superior quality, and most guys I know have owned at least one of their products. Their big move to overseas production in Vietnam during the early 2000’s brought controversy and questions from their customer base, particularly over quality and craftsmanship. Since then they have incorporated several new features into their tactical line, but the question remains, are their products still worth the price tag in such a competitive market? Read for yourself in our Blackhawk 3-day assault pack review.
Being in the market for a new pack, I did some research and thought I’d give one of their products a shot. I looked for a pack I could use on a day to day basis if necessary, that would also hold up in more rugged outdoor environments. I searched around until I stumbled across the 3-Day Assault pack, and was attracted to the plain appearance. Within a few days I had my brand new pack, ready to accompany me on my many adventures.
Here is a list of backpack similar to Blackhawk 3-Day Assault Pack
• Total Volume – 2000 cubic inches
• Main Compartment – 20”L x 13”W x 6”D
• Front Pocket – 14.5”L x 12.5”W x 2.5”D
• 1000 Denier Nylon – The material is tough and holds up well, even in rugged terrain.
• Superior Stitching – After putting this pack through hell and back, it has held up with no rips or tears.
• YKK Zippers – The metal zippers are sturdy and well made.
• Easy Grip Pull-Tabs – Plastic tabs and cord offer “silent opening,” which is useful in situations where stealth is required.
• Intercooler Ventilating System (IVS) – The IVS proves to be nothing short of a miracle in heat and humidity, and has done an excellent job of keeping me cool.
• Hydration Reservoir – The ability to use the built-in camelback feature is an added bonus, and great for additional storage when needed.
• 4 Heavy Duty D-Rings – Multiple D-Rings are perfect for adding extra gear, and provides a great place to clip my 550 cord water bottle harness.
• Easy Care and Maintenance – The low maintenance nylon material wipes clean with a damp towel.
• Interior Water Resistance – The water resistance helps to protect gear from the elements and keeps everything dry.
• Available in Black or Coyote Tan – Solid colors to match your authorized boots
• No Molle Or Velcro – Plain design for a more civilian appearance.
• Reinforced Carry Handle – Durable stitching, for when your buddy needs to pull you from danger by your “Jesus Strap.”
• The padded shoulder straps are the perfect width, and haven’t dug into my shoulders once.
• The padded waist belt is both reversible and detachable.
• An elasticized sternum strap offers additional support and comfort. It is detachable, and features a silent release buckle.
• Sleeping bag straps offer additional storage, and have never failed to keep my gear firmly in place.
• Several compression straps keep the bag looking neat and orderly.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
A buddy of mine owns a few Blackhawk packs from when they were exclusively made in the U.S., and they still serve him well to this day. Comparing the overseas and domestically manufactured packs side by side, the initial differences are barely noticeable. The material on his bag is thicker, but I only noticed this after he pointed it out. The stitching also appears to be similar, with the main difference being the zipper tabs. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait several years to see if mine passes the test, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will have the same longevity and endurance his has.
Any pack can have amazing features (wouldn’t a refilling six-pack be awesome?), but unless it holds all of your gear, it’s useless. The 3-day pack has served me well, and I’ve loaded it with just over 40lbs. of camping gear with no issue. I imagine it could hold nearly twice that weight with careful packing, although I have yet to test it further.
The inside is surprisingly roomy, despite its lack of interior pockets or organizers. To give you an idea, I regularly use this bag for trips back home, and it comfortably fits four or five day worth of clothes, a pair of shoes, and my laptop.
Versatility is important to me, and I generally have a “favorite” backpack I stick with for most activities. I love that the smaller size makes this pack the perfect companion for airline travel, since it falls well within TSA standards. I’ve used this bag as my carry-on, and even my “personal item,” enabling me to bring an additional suitcase on commercial flights.
The various padded and detachable straps make it easy to tailor the pack to your particular needs. It is comfortable to carry, and doesn’t add any unnecessary strain to my back.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Directly from Blackhawk’s website and list of authorized distributors, the 3-Day Assault Pack retails for around $150, plus shipping. After searching around online, I’ve seen the bag on sale for as low as $80 with free shipping from sites like Amazon. Blackhawk does also offer a limited warranty to the original purchaser, although they require proof of purchase for the warranty to be valid. Unfortunately it won’t help me much since the likelihood of me hanging on to a receipt for any length of time is slim to none, but it is nice to know that a warranty is available.
• Plastic pull-tabs – The pull-tabs are ridiculously easy to pull apart from the cord, and nearly impossible to reattach.
• Ladder Buckles – The ladder buckles on both the waist belt and shoulder straps slip during heavy activity like running or rock climbing.
• No drain holes – The bottom of the bag has no drain holes, making it impractical for extended stays in wet climates or jungle terrain.
• Bladder compatibility – My Blackhawk bladder fit perfectly in the hydration reservoir, but for some reason my Fox brand bladder didn’t seem to sit quite right in the space.
Overall the Blackhawk 3-Day Assault Pack is a solid bag, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quality, durable bag. My main uses for it include hiking, camping, and travel, but it can certainly be used in most any situation where a backpack is required. The plain appearance makes it a suitable bag for just about anyone, from children to adults. Aside from my regular uses, I’ve thought of buying a second one to use as an emergency bug out bag, due to its low key appearance and larger capacity.
Although this has quickly become one of my favorite packs, I’m not sure I’d want to take it on deployment or into any situation where tactical gear is required. While it all boils down to personal taste and preference, I enjoy the use of Velcro and molle straps too much to give them up in a deployment bag, but that’s not to say this wouldn’t make an ideal bag for someone else.