Mission First Tactical 22l EDC Backpack
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“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

Just a few days ago, Mission First Tactical launched a new lineup of discreet-carry backpacks. Named the Achro series, these bags aim to provide a heavy degree of durability and storage space while remaining achromatic, or without color. Gray man, in the common tongue, meaning one who looks outwardly unremarkable, but possesses hidden skills and abilities.

The three bag sizes in the Achro line are the 10 liter Sling Bag, the 22L EDC Backpack, and the 30L EDC Backpack. While they vary significantly in size, the Achro packs share a number of important commonalities.

What sets a good low-profile, concealed carry bag apart from some average big box store backpack? Primarily, it’s the ability to securely store a firearm, while allowing quick access.

Multi-Mount Platform

MFT’s Multi-Mount Platform is essentially a plastic triangle with either adhesive backing, or hook-and-loop. The other side has a quick-release plastic strip that simulates a small section of 1.5″ belt, allowing you to attach holsters, knives, lights, tourniquets, or anything else that uses a 1.5″ belt mount or pocket clip.

Mission First Tactical Multi Mission Platform
The backside of that triangular mount is hook-and-loop (“Velcro” to most, even if not Velcro brand)

When the Multi-Mount Platform released recently, it looked to be a useful accessory that will find regular use with a handful of people. Now that it’s included in each Achro bag, it makes even more sense.

Mission First Tactical’s Achro packs aren’t overtly advertised as being able to double as an impromptu plate carrier, but I’ll note the tablet pockets are about the same size as many soft armor plates.

1000 Denier Nylon Kodra

My wife and kids happened to be hanging out in the living room when I opened up the box from MFT. One of the first comments I heard was “Cool Dad, you got leather backpacks”.  The Nylon Kodra Carbonate material looks enough like leather that it’s tough to distinguish until you get close enough to see the uniform weave pattern.

Mission First Tactical 22l EDC Backpack

The Nylon Kodra (and the similar Cordura) have been used in fabrics within the gun community for quite some time, to include in plate carriers. The durability of this fabric is well documented, but it seems people keep coming up with ways to make it better, including making it more water resistant.

How resistant? It’s telling that MFT added YKK’s AquaGuard zipper. I loaded the medium (22L) EDC bag and sprayed it with the garden hose with a strong blast from two feet away.  After a full minute of attacking the seams and zippers from every angle I gave it an inspection. One single droplet had penetrated, despite a deluge far greater than any torrential downpour I’ve seen while living in a rainforest.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack

Running down the specs list these features are also of note: fleece lined sunglasses pocket, water bottle pouch, quilted back padding, padded straps.

All three bags also have a very heavy duty carry handle on the top. It’s strong enough to lift a 115 lb. kid wearing the loaded 30L pack, when getting that much weight into the bag would be a challenge without using lead ingots.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack
Padding? Check. Comfort? Check

As I started packing all three bags, my eye kept coming back to the Kodra fabric exterior.  It looks really nice. Once I loaded down these bags, the quilted back padding and padded straps stood out immediately. This is about as comfortable as you can get without going “full rucksack” and adding a frame, hip bumper, and waist belt.

10L Achro EDC Sling Bag

Mission First Tactical 10L Achro Sling bag
Photo by MFT, used with permission

The sling bag works well for concealed carry, and the four separate pockets means there’s plenty of room for organizing your gear. A few of the zippers (including the concealed carry pocket) are pretty close, so I’m planning on adding a little red monkey’s fist (a knot) or a red, rubber tab to highlight which string gets pulled in an emergency.

Going from “sling bag” to “front-mounted pistol draw” adds two to three seconds compared to drawing from my concealed carry holster. Considering there are a few months a year where it’s too hot to use my holster, a sling bag with water, keys, stuff for my kids, and a gun handy sure beats heading into the city of “mostly peaceful” protests sure beats going unprepared.

Mission First Tactical
Drawing is quick, considering it’s from a pack.

My favorite feature on the sling bag is one I didn’t see coming: the strap attachment. It’s a flat, quick-detach swivel mount, with about 110 degrees of movement. That keeps the sling positioned where you want it, and makes swinging it to the front of your body easy as well.

Mission First Tactical Achro Sling Bag

The Sling Bag makes an excellent EDC bag, big enough for you handgun plus a bit more, and discreet enough that it doesn’t stand out.

Mission First Tactical
That’s a lot of goodies in a small bag.

Achro Sling Bag $89.99

30L Achro EDC Backpack

Jumping to the largest Achro EDC Backpack, the 30L, is like going to the wide-open forest from the city. There’s space galore. How much space? Well, I started off by putting in my PSA JAKL (with ACOG and one of MFT’s custom printed magazines, with art donated to me by Weapon Outfitters/Paigeosity).

I tossed in a suppressor, first aid kit, 8″x10″ Crye soft armor plate, holstered GLOCK 43x, Quik-Clot, breach pen, large water bottle, lockpicks, glow sticks and flashlights. With all that stowed, I still wasn’t close to filling the 30L Achro.

Mission First Tactical 30L Achro Backpack

This thing is roomy.

There are four main compartments in the 30L Achro EDC Backpack, with another four sub-compartments. Some of those (like the concealed carry pocket) are only accessible from one side.

Mission First Tactical 30L Achro Backpack
Photo by MFT, used with permission. Yes, their photographer is much better at it than I.

This is a great backpack if you’re going to use it often enough to get familiar with it, but as a “twice-a-year” type of bag, you’ll likely find yourself checking the wrong pocket before finding the smaller items you’re looking for.

Mission First Tactical
MFT makes much more than backpacks and holsters.

I’ll say it again. Even when the 30L is weighed down, the straps and back-padding perform well. Weight distribution, moisture wicking…the Achro series of packs is built for comfort.

Mission First Tactical 30L Achro Backpack Mission First Tactical 30L Achro Backpack

The 30L EDC Backpack makes for a great “get home bag” with room enough to hold a significant amount of goods, including a small rifle.

30L Achro EDC Backpack $179.99

Achro 22L EDC Backpack

This one right here…this bag is my kind of bag. The 22L Achro is my Goldilocks bag.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack
Photo by MFT, used with permission

It has a large main compartment, a well-organized utility pouch, and an ambidextrously accessible concealed carry pouch. Plus you get two water bottle pouches. The 22L bag is more symmetrical and streamlined in my view.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack

I like the organizational layout. The utility pouch is wired tight, meaning your flashlights, chemlights, pens and more will stay just where you leave them. The laptop pouch has an easy angle-of-access, and the dimensions are perfect for the 8″x10″ soft armor insert.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack

Being a little smaller than the 30L, the 22L Achro can still just fit the folded JAKL. It fits, but if the Achro packs weren’t using YKK zippers I wouldn’t do it often due to the stress on the zipper. It’s a matter of less than an inch though, and swapping to a more vertical grip or a smaller optic than the ACOG would totally negate this.

Mission First Tactical 22L Achro Backpack

I’m definitely using the 22L Achro bag as my daily truck bag. When I’m running errands all over the homestead and the surrounding mountain, I like to have a bag with a folded rifle (usually a 10/22 charger) since coyotes, quail, and more provide ample reason to be ready at short notice.

Achro 30L EDC Backpack $149.99

While I like to use soft goods for at least six months before settling my final opinion on durability, it doesn’t take half a year to detect sound choices in the design and manufacturing stages. Heavy stitching, 1000D nylon, and YKK zippers all speak to a process dedicated to quality over bargain-basement pricing.

My one wish for the Achro line would be to have more color options.  Black doesn’t hit “gray man” as much as gray does.  Gray would also minimize the visual effect of the laser cut molle, though I’ll admit it’s far less conspicuous than standard sewn molle.

These bags aren’t as cheap as many designed/made-in-China options on the market right now, and that’s a good thing. Quality costs, and is worth it. All three bags in the Achro line are engineered in the USA, made in Vietnam.

Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer

@Rexnanorum

8/27 edited to add signature line and final notes which should have made final draft.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. what I am looking for is a good over the shoulder EDC bag that you wear more on your front and has good gun access and straps that are super reinforced, so that they would have to drag you down the street to even get it from you
    …and the quick detach buckles? I’d like to see if there was some way to lock those to keep pick pockets off ya!

  2. To each his own, but I’d prefer it in front. I don’t like the idea of carrying anything important (not just a gun, but money, laptop, phone, keys, ID, etc.) out of my view and control. To me, that’s the main point of carrying a sling bag rather than a backpack.

    I also think “MOLLE” is at odds with “discreet”. Sure, many won’t notice, but the concerning ones will. I searched high and low and found a waist pack (basically the bottom half of a small backpack with a waist strap an option to sling over one shoulder, but no backpack straps) that holds everything and doesn’t look “tacticool” in any way.

    • …“MOLLE” is at odds with “discreet”…

      Exactly this. So, I’m a pretty middle-of-the-run looking guy who can easily slip into a crowd and blend. My EDC backpack is a Vertx, and I deliberately chose one of their (many available) color schemes that looks more like a college sports theme than tactical. I appear to an observer more like an older university student or computer technician than a person carrying gunz-n-gear.

      There are two younger men I frequently see at the gym. We don’t know each other…I simply notice them because they’re the serious bodybuilder type who can enter a competition and possibly win. The seriously dedicated athlete type. Yet they’re in their late 20s and super immature. Foul language, wearing all the “cool” brand clothing, fully tattooed from neck to ankles, strutting around, etc. Their backpacks are the full MOLLE black variety with the usual “Come N Get It” velcro patches slapped on. These guys are total posers looking for attention and presenting an image of being cool. Totally tacticool, bro.

      I always smile to myself as I pass by them, as anybody in the gym would never guess *I’m* actually the one who’s ready to rock if things go sideways. Those posers attract attention to themselves…let ’em. I’ll continue to be discreet.

      Black MOLLE (or like variants) is, IMHO, never the way to go for true POTG.

      • Agree with everything you wrote above.

        >>>”I appear to an observer more like an older university student or computer technician than a person carrying gunz-n-gear.”

        Same for me. I bought a Maxpedition Prepared Citizen Deluxe last year & love it. Got mine dirt cheap as I guess they are discontinuing it. No MOLLE. Tons of storage. Looks like a basic backpack for going to class, commute to work, quick airline flight, etc. Highly recommend.

      • Counterpoint – Black rifle soft case does blend in very well on the floor behind the seat of my vehicle (black carpet). Near ideal.

  3. I guess you can call it gray man. Ok. But the only people i normaly see wearing back packs around here are kids in school and the homeless. I cant see myself at this point invluding any backpack as part of any edc setup. This would make someone stand out like a sore thumb. I could get a lot more use out of a duffel.

    Grown men with anime plastered all over things makes me just want to walk away.

    • I see people carrying laptops every day. Some use backpacks, some messenger bag/satchels, and a few old schoolers still use brief cases. It fits when commuting and such, but who brings their laptop to the mall or.grocery store?

  4. $150 compared to the less than $20 backpack I bought at wally world over 15 years ago. That is and has done the same thing numerous times with my 9mm Scorpion 7.75.

  5. Backpacks….great for hiking….but for business travel I still prefer a shoulder bag for my laptop, gear, and supplies. My EDC is always in a Sneaky Pete, never off body. The same for an extra mag.

    If I was hiking, maybe a chest rig for more EDC gear….readily available that way. OK…maybe the backpack for a cannon or a howitzer….

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