Maxpedition Operator Tactical Attache (#0605)

I have been in the market for a new briefcase after my venerable piece of junk brief bit the dust a few months ago. Enter the Maxpedition Tactical Attache! It is designed to conceal a gun in a large pocket, but as I do not own a gun (outside a long unused Tippman paintball gun), I cannot comment on this feature.

Like all Maxpedition bags, this one is built to last through a nuclear war. Also like other Maxpedition bags, there is no soft lining in most of the pockets…but the main compartment is not only lined, but padded as well! Same goes for the rear compartment. This makes a nice departure from the usual pure, stiff, scratchy ballistic nylon I have come to expect from Maxpedition.

Looking at the front of the bag, you have four pockets and a few sleeves, all fastened with (gasp) Velcro. No stealth here…opening one of these pockets makes enough noise to rouse a whole forest of enemy combatants to your presence. I like zippered pockets, because they keep items securely in the pocket, but if the items are large enough to fill the pocket, then it should be secure enough.

There are two small pockets measuring 3 ½” wide by 3″ tall by 1″ deep. These pockets are OK for USB keys or dongles, but be careful lest they fall out from the openings in the sides at the top of each pocket. A Bluetooth GPS unit would also fit well in one of these pockets, or a stack of Post-Its. It’s one thing to protect your gadgets from slashing bayonets, rain and mud, but without significant shock protection, the outer pockets are of limited use.

Below these two pockets is a long pocket 7″ long by 4 ½ “ tall by 1.5″ deep. Inside this pocket, in the back, is an elastic band that is sewn in such a way to create four loops 1 ½” wide. These could be used for keeping batteries, USB dongles, memory cards, or any other small item you want to keep secured. The rest of the pocket is bare and unlined. The flap has a strip of loopy Velcro across the front of it.

To the left of these pockets is a large pocket, this one zippered. 9″ tall, 6″ wide by 1″ deep, it is completely open save for a slash pocket against the front side of it. Perhaps maps, notepads, calculators or other like items can go in here. I used it to store the remote presenter control and hall passes. In front of this pocket is a flat pocket, the flap has an ID window pocket sewn into it. There are so many pockets, you might have to make a map to figure out where you put what! None of these pockets is particularly useful if you want to organize things, due to the lack of internal compartments. This large pocket is difficult to open, as, when closed, the single zipper pull is right up against the side of the pocket next to it, so you have to dig for it a little.

The front panel of the bag that these pockets are sewn to is the front of the concealed weapon pocket. There is Velcro inside this pocket for putting a holster (not included). It opens up pulling a plastic D ring at the top of the pocket. It is held closed by, you guessed it, Velcro! It could be used for keeping a slim notebook, if you want to use this for less tactical purposes. It is 15″ wide by 9″ tall, and is flat in depth, but you could fit something up to an inch thick in this pocket and still have no trouble closing it.

The main compartment is padded, with a stiff and lightly padded divider that is held in place by yet more Velcro. It closes with a nice, big zipper with a nylon cord pull. One side of the divider has two slash pockets, one large enough for holding a CD in a jewel case, the other too small for a CD. The inside of this compartment is lined and padded, and fits my 14″ laptop just fine. It would fit a 15″ laptop without a problem! In order to access this compartment, though, you have to undo the grab handle, which comes apart simply by pulling on Velcro. I really think Maxpedition has a lot invested in Velcro…

The back compartment is accessible via zipper, and it offers the only real organization in this bag. There is a large rear pocket, which can be secured with a plastic clip. The clip gets in the way of letter-sized paper or folders when closing, though. The upper part of the clip tends to mush the center of the paper a little. There are three flat pockets sewn in front of this, each one too small for a CD. They look like they were designed for floppies, but I honestly can’t figure out what I am supposed to put into these pockets. The back panel is thickly padded and lined.

There are water-bottle pockets to either side of the main compartment. One is designed exactly like the one on the Jumbo Versipack, with a grommeted hole in the bottom. Both retract against the side of bag with a cord that is accessible from inside the main compartment.

The shoulder strap is a nice, 2″ wide job that is pretty comfortable. It has a wrap-around shoulder pad that is removable by, yep, more Velcro.

So, how do I like this bag? Well, I have mixed feelings about it. It is full of pockets, which is good, but they could have better organizing capability and less Velcro. It makes a nice bag for my laptop, but I stopped using it after about three weeks. Why? I switched back to my 9″ laptop that fits in my Ellington Europa Field Bag. I have had three Maxpedition bags now, and though they come close to being excellent bags (they certainly are indestructible), their general lack of real organization and heavy reliance on Velcro make them unappealing to me. If you want a bag that will get you through the toughest situations, if you are in law enforcement or are in the middle of a battlefield, I can’t think of a bag better suited than a Maxpedition bag. For a civilian gadgeteer, though, there are better options with more organization and protection for our little gadgets.

 

Product Information

Price:121.99
Manufacturer:Maxpedition
Pros:
  • Tougher than Arnold at his toughest
  • Water repellent for running through a rainstorm…except for the Velcro-topped front pockets
  • Nice, roomy, divided main compartment with lining and padding
  • Collapsible water bottle pocket with accidental spill drainage
  • Wide, comfortable shoulder strap
  • Great place to hide a gun, if that’s what you are after
Cons:
  • Tends to flop over toward the front side instead of staying upright when set down
  • Velcro front pockets can allow small items to fall out and get lost
  • Large pockets do not have enough organization potential or lining to protect gadgets
  • WAY too much Velcro
  • Zippered pockets only have a single zipper
Posted in: Gear

7 comments… add one

  • Julie June 5, 2007, 9:36 pm

    Post your comments on the Maxpedition Tactical Attache review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/maxpedition_tactical_attache

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

    1
  • n8jsn June 5, 2007, 10:39 pm

    This bag is SWEET! As a person who has to carry a laptop, handgun, flashlight, camera, 2 portable radios and a bunch of other stuff I love it! I’ve destroyed other laptop bags doing less then what I put this bag through. I’ve even carried my work laptop with me at the same time as my personal laptop and it holds up to the extra weight with out even a blink! If I had to buy another bag it would definetly would be this one again.

    2
  • robertg June 6, 2007, 12:16 am

    I suppose its Ok, if you are going for the urban warrior look, but dont’ you think its kinda unfinished looking?

    For a better alternative, go to Duluth Trading [URL=”http://www.duluthtrading.com”][/URL]and look at the ultimate contractor’s breifcase. Has all and more of the same features without the cammo approach.

    Or better yet, I just got a Waterfield Cargo bag, based on your favorable review of their stuff. A lot more finished in its appearence.

    3
  • rossmeister June 6, 2007, 4:22 am

    I’m a big fan of Duluth Trading stuff. If only they made their own versions of many Maxpediton products…..Falcon and Pygmy Falcon backpacks, Fatboy and Thermite Versipack, etc.

    Say, has anyone done any reviews for Duluth Trading items here? And how does one go about becoming a reviewer for this website? It seems that the reviewers get to keep the products that they test. I’m a hopeless gadget kinda guy, I guess. But then again, what guy isn’t? LMAO!

    4
  • rossmeister June 6, 2007, 4:34 am

    I just paid a visit to the Duluth Trading website, and here’s the manufacturer’s description of their Fully Evolved Briefcase, very similar in size and shape to Maxpedition’s Tactical Attache, but with a little bit more functionality in the real world:

    [FONT=”Comic Sans MS”][SIZE=”3″]Laptop. PDA. Digital camera. Think of all the expensive gear you’re carrying around these days. How do you keep it from getting dinged and damaged?

    Shake hands with The Fully Evolved Briefcase. So tough, so protective, it’s like a 300-lb. bodyguard for expensive high-tech gadgets. Built of 1200-denier polyester — rugged as hell, ready to get banged, dropped, stomped. Stands up on a car or plane seat so you can get into it easier. Yet flexible enough for easy packing, easy carrying.

    Main compartment has dividers to keep you organized. Inside the other large compartment is a fully padded, removable laptop case – cushioned at bottom in case you drop it. Open the front compartment and there’s places for pens, pencils, business cards, keys, PDA – even padded pockets for cell phone and not one but two pair of glasses. Way in back, a near invisible zip pocket for passport and other “high security” items – 007 stuff!

    Stow away water bottle pocket. Grip-tooth carry handles. Flexing, shock absorbing carry strap. Zip-back pocket for tickets, newspapers. Even a back sleeve that lets you sling it onto the handle of your wheeled bag when you’re on the road. Everything you need in a briefcase, to help you survive and thrive in this fast-paced world. 17″W x 7-1⁄2″D x 13″H. Black. Imported[/SIZE][/FONT]

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  • Blue Horseshoe June 6, 2007, 4:43 am

    The Duluth Trading bag looks nice – sort of similar in style to a Tumi bag I had a while back. I wish they would post actual photos of the products instead of the drawings.

    6
  • Julie June 6, 2007, 2:42 pm

    rossmeister & Blue Horseshoe:

    I agree that Duluth Trading Co. has some really good looking products… and I’m a girl! :o) I’ve not contacted them yet but your posts have prompted me to do so. I’ll try to get some of their products to review really soon. Like you two, I’d like to see the products for real, instead of in drawings. Thanks guys!

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