A week with the @tadgear EDC

Recently, TAD released an update to their EDC pack (the larger of their two rucksacks). It took its ques from the Litespeed update in the form of straps and internal attachment points for the Control Panel, and added an innovative, separate roll-top compartment (think an integral dry bag), as a nod to those of us that carry laptops, and the paracord routing for easy jacket storage.

I was lucky (or clicked refresh frequently enough) to get one of the first wave of mail order EDCs, receiving it on the Monday after it was available.

Monday & Tuesday

The pack was delivered on Monday afternoon, a sad deflated version of the plump photographs shown on the site, ready for me to make my own. The first thing I noted was the weight: like its smaller relative, the EDC is a heavy bag, at 2.04kg. This weight will come from the very durable materials used, and all of the webbing sewn on the outside. The roll-top compartment is an obvious and welcome addition, making for the first easily accesible laptop storage on a TAD rucksack. Two ‘flashlight caves’ (aka upside-down pockets accesible without taking off the pack) are neatly hidden on the underside of the side pockets.

Given the extra 10.77l of space in the EDC over the LS, the only customisation was the control panel from my LS: I wanted to keep this minimalist, and more importantly keep the dry weight down. I had an overnight trip to London planned, so I packed it with cycling gear, a laptop and set off.

The side pockets are well sized for a thermal flask on one side, and a 532ml Klean Canteen on the other. The bag holds itself upright when off the back, and, thanks to the lifter straps is easy to put on. As the above photo shows, they hold themselves open and apart , which put me in mind of a space suit in its gantry waiting for an astronaut.
I found the pack very comfortable and stable to wear while cycling (my longest ride with it has been about 6.1km), and it is easy to maneuver around in the narrow confines of a coach despite its size. This is thanks again to the lifter straps.

Thursday

Originally I planned to be away from home for seven days, and packed everything I’d need (normal clothes, laptop, cycling and running togs, and a D-lock) into the EDC. Picking the bag up, I changed my mind: the weight was 13kg. Just because I can move with 13kg, doesn’t mean I ever want to, and especially not perched on a tiny bike saddle. I split the load, and decided on three shorter trips (overnight in London again, two nights in Germany, a night at home and another three in London).

Looking at my overnight load, I opted not only to change my travel plans, but to also change my pack: I picked up the LiteSpeed. This is telling: at 2kg, the EDC was making up 15% of my load. Considering that the D-lock counted for 13%, two items on my back made up for 28% of the actual load.

Saturday

New bag’s first flight! I filled the pack with its new, trimmed cargo, including laptop and iPad (I hope you’re paying attention here), activated my house’s defenses and left for the airport at 0520. Passport in the outer pocket at the top (there’s a section just the right size for a passport), laptop and iPad in the roll-top, everything else in the main body.

Going through airport security with my LiteSpeed has always been a bit annoying: either laptop and iPad have to be packed next to the outside of the pack (load away from back), or, a lot of rummaging at security happens. Remember when I said I had my laptop and iPad with me? When it was my turn at security, I unpopped the clips that close the compartment, put the electronics in their own tray, and done. Through the metal detector I went. A very efficient process.

On the other side, retrieving my items, there was a slight snag: taking the electronics out of the roll top also takes some of the dry bag out of the bag, half turning it inside out. Great for removing biscuit crumbs and sand, less good for day-to-day use. Anchoring the dry bag inside of the pack would solve this.

Boarding was smooth: despite being on a full flight, the agent at the gate asked no questions about my (rather large) pack, which she had about the two people infront of me, who had considerably smaller/ligher hand luggage. I think it’s probably a bit too fat to fit comfortaly under the seat, but went into the overhead locker perfectly, and without being selfish.

Monday

Back home in the UK, the bag had earned 2500 Avios and 80 tier points. The new EDC offers an excellent pack for four days, or at a squeeze seven if you’re not taking bulky running shoes or heavy D-locks. It travels well, both on the back on foot, on a bike (a stable load is important with dynamic cycling around traffic), and flies well. A lighter dry weight and attaching the drybag to the inside of the pack would be welcome, as would supplying dummy cord for the flashlight caves/upside-down pockets.

In summary…

Owning both the LiteSpeed and EDC works well, with neither pack overshadowing the other. In a market where manufacturers have a tendency to make every variation they can think of (Goruck, I’m looking at you), it is refreshing to have clearly defined roles for separate products.

If one is already in the TAD ecosystem, and has a control panel from their Litespeed, the cross-compatability with the EDC is welcome: I can’t see myself needing two control panels of the same type. The outside pockets are also excellent, and it’s good to see the paracord routing from the LiteSpeed. Altogether an excellent pack.

Ze Stuart

Ze Stuart