There seems to be some misunderstanding of the term “low-vis,” within the tactical community. Plenty of packs advertise themselves as low-vis, yet are camo’ed out or covered in Velcro. A guy walking around with tactical pants, a Suunto watch and a Velcro-covered backpack stick out like a sore thumb anywhere in the world. You literally might as well wear a sign that says, “I’m probably carrying some kind of weapon.” True low-vis in a civilian urban environment requires civilian equipment. Civilian clothes, not wearing military-looking watches, and not humping an assault pack around town.
Gossamer Gear is a lesser-known small backpack brand that was formed to fill a void that existed in the technical backpack world. On their website, it states, “Back in 1997 Glen Van Peski went on a backpacking trip with his son and decided their packs were way too heavy. So he decided to invent a lighter one. None of the fabrics on the market were light enough so he had one custom made. He sought out the lightest fasteners and zippers.” This mindset shows in the Vagabond pack, as it is made from a 210 denier Robic/Extrema Grid material. This material is a custom-made material that is extremely lightweight, durable, and seems relatively water resistant from my usage of the bag.
The Gossamer Gear Vagabond has a 23L main compartment, as well as a stretch laptop/hydration sleeve, a small zippered inner compartment, and a stretch external pouch as well. On the sides, there are water bottle sleeves made from the same stretch material, that sit flush with the pack. The main compartment is accessed via a zipper that only runs across the top of the pack. I enjoyed this feature as you don’t have to worry about things falling out of the pack if you need to open it while mobile. On a recent trip to an indoor climbing facility, I loaded my climbing kit into the Vagabond. While I was belaying, I asked someone if they could grab my bag, and they immediately grabbed it by the tote handles on the top of the pack. They commented on it and seemed to enjoy that feature, as did a few others. I never thought much of the tote handles, but apparently, it is a feature that people like, so that is definitely a sustain for this pack. The Gossamer Gear Vagabond has lashing and tie-down points external and internal to the pack. It features cinch down straps on each side, as well as a removable chest strap.
Overall, I enjoyed the opportunity to test out the Vagabond. Gossamer Gear definitely puts some thought into this bag but did not over-engineer the pack. It has exactly the amount of space a day-pack needs and doesn’t have anything you that you don’t. It is extremely lightweight and sits well under medium weight loads. The pack isn’t overly padded and would be a great bag for an outdoorsman or someone who just needs a bag that doesn’t scream tactical. Its priced right at $119 which is fair, given that the material used in building this bag is custom to the brand. Gossamer Gear has many other items in the inventory, so give these guys a look as they seem pretty innovative in their development of quality gear.