If you need quality kit and are actually going to use and abuse it, Trident Tactical should be on your radar. SEAL founded and maintained, their gear is pretty intuitive, and fills a lot of gaps without re-inventing the wheel. Their attention to detail on the little things goes to show that they listen to the end user. Part of this is probably due to the fact that they are based out of Coronado, CA. They are minutes away from the West Coast teams, and basically the epicenter of the SEAL universe. Getting feedback from the source has clearly helped them develop such great equipment. This isn’t my first rodeo with T3’s equipment. Plenty of guys in the Ranger Regiment use their hydration packs, including 2 that were in the first squad I was assigned to. They all seemed to hold up well and the guys that used them loved them.
Let’s go ahead and start with the most obvious feature, the mags sticking out of the top. This is probably the most desirable feature (to me) that T3 puts into some of their hydration bags. It’s pretty commonplace to have guys rock extra mags on the back of their plate carrier. Some of you guys have seen it and are probably guilty of it. Guys having all 7 mags directly in front of their body sticking out in a big mess. If you are in a gunfight long enough, with no lull, to have the need to individually access your 6th or 7th mag, you are pretty screwed. 99% of the time, this probably won’t be the case. You’ll more than likely have a lull in the fight at some point, or at least be close enough to someone to have them grab the extra mag off of your back. Most of the time, I didn’t even carry a full 7 mags, but when I did, they were on my back. It keeps your kit streamlined and gives you room on the front and sides to place things you are more likely to use during the mission. T3 clearly gets it, as they are the only company that I have seen that do this. The mags are held in place with a kangaroo insert, standard Velcro, with bungee retention. It’s a solid platform, and if you don’t need the extra mags, you can take out the kangaroo pouch and use the area for something else.
There are 3 pockets on the T3 100oz Reload Hydration Backpack. The main, (designed to carry a 100oz bladder as the name states,) is pretty large, and you wouldn’t have too many issues throwing some extra stuff in that pocket on top of a full bladder. A few things stood out to me when I opened up the bag. For one thing, the interior is a padded, slick nylon material. Despite the already water-resistant properties, I can think of one other thing this helps with…. BROKEN BLADDERS. If you’ve humped around with a hydration bladder long enough, you’ve probably experienced a broken bladder. If you haven’t, you are do for one. Nothing sucks worse than having a busted bladder in the middle of a long movement. The padding on the inside of the main compartment definitely serves to help prevent that. Another great feature is the Velcro tab on the top of the main pocket. This helps you hook in your bladder, so it stays upright. A small feature, overlooked by most unless you have experienced your bladder sliding and bending all over your pack when it becomes less full.
There are 2 other pockets on the outside of the pack, both of which are pretty large. Each one could easily fit an MRE and then some. Whether you are hitting a target, or out hiking for the day, this pack could easily hold your daily water and food requirement’s x2. The inside of the top exterior pouch also has an internal zippered compartment for valuables, small items, etc. Another feature that really stood out to me on this pack are the zippers and zipper pulls. The zippers on this bag never get hung up. And the pulls are a super durable cordage. One assault pack that I was using from a very reputable brand, had the exact opposite result. The pack had to have decent tension to keep the zipper from catching, and the zipper pulls broke constantly, to the point where I replaced all of them with 550. It was definitely refreshing to use the T3 100oz Reload Hydration Backpack after dealing with that nonsense. Attention to detail goes a long way, and little things like a smooth zipper and durable zipper pulls make a difference.
External to the pack, is obviously plenty of MOLLE and Velcro. Definitely a good feature to have on a bag designed for assaults. The shoulder straps are wide but thin, with minimal padding, just how I like. The padding that the bag does retain, however, is mesh, which means it will dry quickly if wet. Another valuable feature. Running down the shoulder straps, are multiple elastic retainers, which are great for running your hydration hose, or mounting a compass, etc. The bag comes with a sternum strap, and a waist strap, both of which are removable. It also comes with a 100oz Hydrapak bladder, which is definitely one of the better bladder brands on the market.
Overall, the T3 100oz Reload Hydration Backpack is an awesome piece of kit. Every little detail was given the right amount of attention on this bag. With every company out there trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to gear, it has been a while since I was genuinely impressed with a piece of tactical nylon. Trident Tactical is definitely up there in the top tiers, and if you are looking for a solid piece of gear, check them out. They make tons of kit, and you won’t be disappointed.
Author – Tim M. is an Army Ranger who has served in Afghanistan and is currently a K9 handler for ARSOF. In his free time he enjoys shooting, working out and hitting the trails with the dog.