At a Glance
The Vulture II is designed to carry a lot of gear. Although billed as a three-day backpack, I’d say an experienced survivalist could get at least one extra day of use with proper packing (and training). On the same note, the bag is comfy and secure enough that it’s appropriate for even a casual day hike.
One thing to note: This bag looks very tactical. In my opinion, the colors, materials and general style all very clearly label the wearer as military, LEO or something similar. This is obviously not a problem for an operative in the field (unless he or she is trying to appear Grey.) However, the tactical look is something the general EDC customer should know about beforehand.
Maxpedition Vulture II Review:
Maxpedition has a reputation for high quality tactical back packs, and the Vulture II is one of their most popular models. The Vulture II is used around the world by active duty military, law enforcement and other jobs where lives are on the line. Of course, a durable, high quality backpack has plenty of uses in the civilian world, too. Hikers, campers, students and more use the Vulture II as an EDC and BOB.
I used the Vulture II for a few weeks. I put the pack through a variety of tests related to strength, durability, ease of use and more. While I mainly concerned myself with military practicality, I also considered the bag’s use as an EDC.
How did the Vulture II handle? Check out my full review below:
- This is a solid pack. The Vulture II features three large compartments (and additional smaller pockets), a wide bottom design and a 34 liter carrying capacity. Comfort is another major selling point. The Vulture II has back padding, curvaceous straps and concealable waist and chest straps.
- The pack can hold up to 3 liters of hydration with a bi-directional tube port. A water container is not included, but I have a pretty standard water bladder which fit into the pack just fine. Additional Maxpedition pouches and accessories are easily added to the existing exterior PALS webbing.
- Straps, seams and YKK #10 zippers could even be considered over-engineered. That’s good, however, because it promotes durability and longevity. When my pack arrived, the material was very stiff. After a few weeks of use, the pack did soften up a bit. I’ve had packs in the past which arrived a bit more “broken in” only to fall apart in less than a year.
Here is a list of bags related to Maxpedition Vulture II
The Vulture II has a front pouch, slip pocket and attachments points on the sides, back and bottom for PALS webbing for molle (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment). There’s also a hard-to-see zippered pocket which can hold either a 100 ounce bladder or a concealed weapon.
Both the left and right exteriors are made with five rows of two-channel PALS webbing, two side retention straps and two side compression straps. Both straps are made from one inch webbing.
The diagonal front pocket is 11.5” (L) by 15” (H). This exterior front also has two attachment loops made from one inch webbing. On the main rear interior, there’s a 10” (L) by 7” (H) mesh pocket.
The pack has two inch padded, breathable straps with 12 rows of PALS webbing and two D-rings. The sternum strap is one inch and the integrated belt is two inches. The belt has a two inch Warrior buckle. When not in use, the belt can be tucked into a side pocket.
I really liked the shoulder straps. Once I had them sitting comfortably, they never needed adjusting and they never bit into my shoulders or neck. The Y-shaped retention strap helps maintain the shape of the bag.
One downside I found is the pockets on the bag aren’t very easily accessible while on the move. The Y-straps and clips interfere with easy pocket access. This probably isn’t a big deal to military personnel – who will already have access to a weapon – but it might be an issue for someone who relies on quick access to the CCW pocket.
Still, the Y-straps and clips do perform an important function. My gear was secure and the bag kept its shape even while running across rough terrain.
The main compartment is 20.5” (H) by 16” (W) by 7.5” (D). The front pouch is 15.5” (H) by 12” (W) by 2.75” (D). Slip pockets are 15.5” (H) by 12” (W). The overall capacity of the bag is 34 liters or 2100 cubic inches.
The external front has a Y-compression strap made from 1” webbing. There are two rows with eight channels of PALS webbing. There is also one row with five channels of 2” webbing. Additionally, the front has a 5.5” (L) by 1” (H) loop field for patches or name tape.
The pack has a 12” (L) by 15” (H) by 2” (W) zippered pouch. There are five internal pockets. There are three internal slip pockets sized 1.25” (L) by 4.75” (H). There’s also a 4” (L) by 4.75” (H) pocket and another 7.75” (L) by 6” (H). The pack also comes with a Keyper.
The bottom of the backpack has non-slip nylons and is highly abrasion resistant. The bottom also has additional strap points for attachments. For attaching items elsewhere on the pack, there is plenty of webbing on the pack.
Maxpedition gear typically has room for Maxpedition attachments, which makes upgrading your pack pretty easy. The optional accessories for the Vulture II include additional Keypers, a JANUS extension pocket and OCTA Versipacks. If you’re utilizing the CCW aspects of the bag, some additional attachments you might consider include the SNEAK Universal Holster Insert with mag retention, a universal CCW holster and a triple mag holder.
Six color options are available: Black, OD Green, Khaki, Foliage Green, Dark Brown and Wolf Gray. They’re suitable for a variety of theaters. While the pack does look tactical, I found the overall look to be modern and stylish.
Durability and Expected Product Life
The Vulture II is made from 1000-Denier light-weight ballistic nylon with a Teflon coating. This makes the bag water and abrasion resistant. Seams are either double-stitched, bar tacked or “box-and-x” stitched. All internal seams are taped and finished. Zippers are YKK. UTX-Duraflex nylon buckles create low sound closure. The high tensile strength composite nylon thread is stronger than industry standard.
Overall, I found the bag to be extremely well-built and durable. The pack was comfortable even with a heavy load. My gear remained secure and dry even in harsh outdoor conditions, including rain.
Cleaning the bag is simple, requiring only a damp cloth. The Dupont Teflon provides excellent dirt and stain resistance. While I imagine there would be some wear and tear over a long period of time, as with any bag, I also feel confident that the Vulture II is able to withstand combat-level stresses without a problem.
Size and Storage Capacity
This pack hauls a lot of gear. The carry capacity is 34 liters, however the size never seemed to have a negative effect on the overall comfort. The complete dimensions of the pack are 15” (L) by 9.5” (W) by 20” (H). The main compartment is 14” (L) by 7” (W) by 19.5” (H) with a total volume of 2100 cubic inches or 34 liters.
Here is a video of Maxpedition Vulture II for more information and review
The Vulture II is larger than the typical JanSport bag and smaller than a typical Alice Packs. I found the Vulture II is similar to the Eagle Industries A-III Large. In this comparison, I actually have to give the slight edge to the Vulture. The Y strap and buckles on the Vulture can easily hold the pack together even in the event of a zipper blowout. Personally, I loaded about 20 pounds of gear into the pack and never had a problem.
At about $188, the pack is a certainly a bit more expensive than what you could find in a sporting goods store. However, I still think the pack is a great value. A cheaper pack will last you maybe a year. The Vulture II is sturdy enough to last for at least several years. Overall, this pack is worth the initial up-front cost.
I’d absolutely recommend the Maxpedition Vulture II for rucking, land nav and other military or law enforcement uses combat situations around the world. The pack is durable, dependable and able to withstand a variety of harsh conditions.
As for civilian uses, I’d also recommend this pack, but with a few reservations. Mainly, the pack is very tactical looking in appearance. This might not be appropriate for every situation around town. For camping, hiking and other outdoor adventuring, this pack will work well.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Vulture II. The pack is able to carry a large amount of weight but is also comfortable and lightweight. The high quality materials help ensure the pack will last for many years even under harsh conditions. Plus, the price is on the low end compared to similar packs. I recommend the Vulture II for anyone, both military and civilian. This is an excellent three-day pack.