CamelBak TriZip Pack

Scott Smith reviews gear from CamelBak, Insight Tech-Gear, Woolrich, and the Mako Group.

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One piece of gear that we all seem to take for granted or never have enough of is a bag or backpack. CamelBak has been offering GIs, cops, and civilians numerous pack options that carry a hydration bladder for years. CamelBak's line has progressed from simple hydration bladders in simple packs to include major pack systems built for duty use.

CamelBak's TriZip is one of the company's latest designed for those who wear a uniform. As the name implies this pack has three zippers. They allow you fast access to the main pocket of the pack and reduce the pack's overall profile. Inside the main pocket are two mesh pockets, a cinch pocket, and two clothing/gear straps to keep your larger items from shifting. Its bladder holds 100 ounces of liquid.

The TriZip's pockets are designed to be low profile and smooth like the rest of the pack. They do not bulge out like a traditional pocket but open into the main area of the pack. Padding in the left pocket will protect a GPS or camera, while the right pocket has numerous slots for pens, keys, and other small items.

To give the user comfort, CamelBak installs heavily padded shoulder and waist straps. A new feature of the TriZip is its semi-rigid frame, which will allow you to carry a heavy load without warping the shape of the pack. This system is all part of the Futura Harness which allows you to customize the fit of the pack.

Another piece of new technology used in the TriZip is Cordura 500. This material reduces the weight of the pack by up to 37 percent compared to Cordura 1000. Cordura 500 doesn't sacrifice toughness or durability, just weight.

If all this isn't enough pack for you, fear not. You can attach more pouches to the MOLLE/PALS straps. CamelBak's TriZip is designed to fit your needs and to fit you. Consider it when looking for a daily use bag or callout bag.

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Insight Tech-Gear

H120 Proxima Covert Flashlight

Over the last several years I have used a number lights from Insight Tech-Gear, both weapon-mounted and handheld. On all of them the quality of the finish and ease of operation has always been excellent.

Insight's H120 Proxima Covert is a departure from the company's full-sized lights I have used in the past-in a good way. It's designed to give you maximum output in a versatile concealable flashlight.

The H120 is made from hard anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, its maximum output is 120 lumens, it has a 90-minute runtime, and it's waterproof to a depth of 15 feet, and. It also offers numerous light options: high or low output, strobe, and S.O.S. function. All this can be had in a light that is 4.5 inches long and runs on a single CR123A battery.

With its compact size you might think the H120 wouldn't work well in combination with a handgun. But I found I was able to use the light with the Roger's or Harries methods. It also stayed conveniently clipped to my pants or belt so I could keep it always at hand.

Insight Tech-Gear's H120 Proxima Covert will serve the user on or off duty without sacrificing light output or function.

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Woolrich Elite Tactical Series

Waterproof Breathable Parka

I was pleased to see Woolrich Elite Series Tactical offer its Elite Waterproof Breathable Parka. While the name of the parka isn't flashy or "sexy," it does say exactly what this parka is and how it functions.

Unlike other outerwear on the market this parka is designed for one purpose: to keep you dry and keep the wind out. You will have to wear a sweater or fleece layer under this jacket if the temperature drops, but I find this to be a plus; it is easier to dress for the weather.

The Waterproof Breathable Parka has numerous pockets to carry all the gear or small stuff you desire. It even has several security pockets to stow ID and wallets, and unlike several parkas on the market it has hand warmer pockets. This is a nice touch on a chilly day when you don't have gloves handy.

You will also find pull-out identification panels on this jacket; there is a badge holder, chest panel, and back panel. The panels provided with the parka are blank so you can have them customized or attach other panels with Velcro.

For comfort the liner of the parka is 206T nylon taffeta. This is soft and supple against the skin. Additionally, a storm flap over the main zipper closes with Velcro to allow you to vent air. If this is not enough ventilation, the side (armpit) zippers can be opened. These zippers also will zipper around your weapon or radio.

The Woolrich Elite Series Tactical Waterproof Breathable Parka would be a fine choice if you are looking for a new duty jacket since it is available in black. It will also serve well for casual/undercover wear with coyote tan and olive drab green being the other color options.

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Mako Group

Bipod and Magwell Grip

The segment of the shooting and law enforcement market devoted to accessories for AR-15s has become one of the fastest growing. One of the newest manufacturers of parts for sale in the United States is The Mako Group. As the name implies this is a diverse operation with its divisions manufacturing Kydex holsters, EOD equipment, weapons accessories, and military gear. Its equipment is manufactured by FAB Manufacturing and its products have been used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

I chose to look at the Mako Group's Tactical Foregrip Bipod, or the T-Pod as it is known. It is a vertical foregrip that attaches to a Picatinny rail. What sets the T-Pod apart form other vertical foregrips is its bi-pod feature.

When you push the two buttons on the T-Pod, individual adjusting legs deploy from each side of the grip. This gives the operator a solid bipod to shoot from. This is the first foregrip/bipod that can be adjusted to match the terrain, giving the shooter a level shooting platform.

I found that the polymer ends of the legs grip well to pavement, wood, and gravel: common materials you find on duty. This is an ideal attachment for a designated marksman.

The other item I found from The Mako Group is the Magwell Grip, or MWG. This two-piece polymer grip/magwell fits over the magazine well of an AR-15. It will insulate the grip for those who prefer to use the magwell as a grip. It will also enhance the size of the magazine well for faster reloads should the need arise.

I found the MWG to work well and I like the feel of it on the magwell/receiver of my AR. One thing to note: You will need to sand the lip area of the MWG to fit your AR because there are variations in the outer lip of AR receivers and magwells.

The Mako Group's gear was born in combat in Israel. It will serve you well during the fights here on the streets. 

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About the Author
Scott Smith Bio Headshot
Retired Army MP
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