At a Glance
The Condor-II is designed for hauling gear on long treks. The pack is popular among military, law enforcement and other professionals. The pack is also pretty popular among hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts.
When searching for a backpack, remember the lesson from Goldilocks. You’re not looking for the biggest pack you can carry. You’re also not looking for the smallest pack on the market. Rather, you want the pack that’s just right – big enough to hold all the gear you need but small enough that you’re able to carry the pack easily in harsh conditions.
Since 1988, Maxpedition has manufactured a variety of MilSpec gear, including backpacks. The Condor-II is their attempt at a “Goldilocks bag.” The bag is technically medium-sized but with an internal storage capacity bigger than most of the bags in the same class
I used the Condor-II for three weeks and tested it for strength, durability and more. Is this pack the perfect blend of form and function? Check out my full review below:
- The pack is 14.5” (L) by 9.5” (W) by 16” (H). This is considered a medium-sized bag, but the unique use of compartments, pouches and webbing holds a surprising amount of gear. Despite carrying a full load, the pack is also designed to be comfortable in any condition.
- The most unique feature of the Condor-II is the amount of webbing. This pack has more external PALS webbing than any other Maxpedition backpack. Plus, the load carrying capacity can be easily upgraded with a variety of Maxpedition attachment straps, external pouches and other MilSpec accessories.
- The pack comes in six colors: black, foliage green, OD green, khaki, dark brown and wolf gray. For military use, these colors will fit major theaters around the world. For civilian uses, I’d recommend the foliage green and the dark brown. The OD green in particular looks very tactical.
Here is a list of Bags related to Maxpedition Condor II
Both the left and right sides have three rows with two channels of PALS webbing on the top, three rows with three channels of PALS on the lower. These two PALS are aligned, making a total of six rows and two channels available. Each side also has two compression straps, each made from 1” webbing and with SRM closures.
The rear of the pack is well padded, but the padding is very breathable. While obviously nothing can prevent heat buildup on your back completely, I did find that the Condor II kept me cooler than most other packs I’ve used.
The backpack is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable even when the pack is filled to maximum capacity. The foam-padded double shoulder straps contoured to my chest without an issue. The sternum straps helped distribute the weight evenly across my upper body. I wore the pack for hours at a time while carrying about 20 pounds of gear, and the straps of the pack never bit into my neck or shoulders.
The backpack straps are 2.5” with five channels of PALS webbing, a 2” webbing loop and a 1” D-ring attachment point. The sternum strap is made from 1” webbing with a 1” quick release buckle. The strap also has an elastic shock absorber. The waist strap is made from 1.5” webbing and can be easily removed with a quick release buckle. There are a total of about 80 channels of PALS webbing throughout the entire pack.
The pack does seem to defy the laws of nature. It really feels like there’s more space on the interior than the exterior! This is because the Condor II is designed to maximize every inch. The overall size of the pack is 14.5” (L) by 9.5” (W) by 16” (H). The main compartment is 14” (L) by 6.5” (W) by 15.5” (H). Clearly, Maxpedition knows how to maximize the design in order to get the most usable space possible.
The front side of the main interior has a slip pocket which measures 9” (L) by 8.25” (H). There’s also a 10” (L) by 6” (H) zippered mesh pocket in the rear interior.
The front exterior is loaded with eight pouches and pockets. There are two large zippered pouches – an 8.5” (L) by 5” (H) by 2” (W) upper and a 9” (L) by 7.5” (H) by 2” (W) lower. There are also six internal slip pockets. Four are 3/4” (L) by 5” (H). One is 3” (L) by 5” (H) and the other is 7” (L) by 6.5” (H). The front also has a Keyper.
Note that because no space is wasted on the inside, I sometimes found it hard to see inside the pack, especially at night. This isn’t really a design flaw; I’d prefer great organization over unused space. Still, a small clip light is probably a helpful addition, especially if you’ll need to access your gear in low-light conditions.
The main compartment is 14.5” (L) by 9.5” (W) by 16” (H) with a storage capacity of 1400 cubic inches or 23 liters. Additionally, the bag has a 13” (L) by 14.5” (H) zippered hydration compartment with a bi-directional tube port. This compartment can hold a reservoir up to 100 ounces (3 liters).
Additional storage for either a CCW or other hook-and-loop accessories is possible with the two 2” by 6” loop strips on the underside of the pack. Actually, many optional add-ons are available for the pack as well. That’s one great bonus of buying Maxpedition products.
The bag will hold mission essentials, hydration reservoirs and other MilSpec equipment. For more non-tactical uses, the bag is large enough to hold a laptop, textbooks or camping gear. Personally, I carried about 20 pounds worth gear with no problem or discomfort.
Durability and Product Life
I’ve owned Maxpedition packs which I’ve used heavily for at least five years with no issues. While I only tested the Condor II for three weeks, the pack is made from the same high quality materials I’ve come to expect from Maxpedition.
The pack is made with 1000-Denier ballistic nylon fabric. This material is both water and abrasion resistant. On top of that, Teflon fabric protector helps prevent grime build-up. The pack is held together with high tensile strength composite nylon thread. This is stronger than standard nylon thread.
Gear is protected by #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding. The inside seams are taped and finished. Also, stress points are either double stitched, Bartacked or Box-and-X stitched. There are also paracord zipper pulls.
Overall, I felt completely confident that my gear would stay dry and undamaged, even in harsh weather. I even took a tumble with my camcorder stored in the side pocket and everything was fine.
Clean-up is pretty easy, too. You simply wipe the bag down with a damp cloth. The Teflon and ballistic nylon fabric prevents most dirt and grime from ever building up in the first place.
Here is a video of Maxpedition Condor-II for more information and review
There aren’t many packs out there which can directly compare to the Condor II. Typically, other bags in this medium-size range are going to be much simpler and far less durable. The Vulture II is a somewhat similar bag. While there’s a lot of like about the Vulture II, the Condor II has more Molle straps on the back.
There are plenty of Maxpedition packs with the same high quality craftsmanship as the Condor II, but those other packs are generally larger or smaller. For instance, their Falcon II is a great smaller pack, but the Condor II has a larger storage capacity without a drastic increase in size.
There’s a lot to recommend about the Condor II, although the two features which really won me over are the storage capability for the size and the overall high quality materials.
I was able to store enough gear to make this a 3-day BOB. There are plenty of separate compartments to make retrieval quick and simple. You can easily store and have access to ammo, a CCW, first aid supplies and other necessities. For military and law enforcement uses, you simply won’t find a more appropriate pack at this size.
This bag also works well as an EDC in the civilian world. While some of the color choices do make the bag look very tactical, there are still plenty of options for someone who wants to use the pack without appearing military. This bag would work well for professional photographers, college students and frequent travelers.
There’s really no ambiguity here. The Condor II is my favorite medium-sized pack. The search for a medium sized pack with a large storage capacity really does have a fairy tale ending.