Improving the TAD FASTPACK Litespeed v2

27 Oct 2015

I’ve had my LS since 2015–05–16, and have flown with it, hiked in the Alps with it, and commuted by (pedal) bike with it. Stuffed into overhead storage bins, being rained on, sat on, packed with a silly — silly — amount of weight, it’s been through it. Before the v2, I had the v1, and I was pleased with the differences: the shoulder straps (that seem to divide people), were a big improvement for me, not having straps going over the zip, and the paracord routed at the top. I appreciate each change, but I think it has room to improve, called v3.

  • I have to start with this: I hate the name. L I T E does not conjure up images of anything good. Light does.
  • Ounces lead to pounds, and pounds lead to pain: this is neither a light, nor lite, pack at 1.72kg. I realise that rugged (and the look that TAD have developed) do not easily come in light, but for the size/volume, it’s weighty. After covering 15k on foot in alpine terrain in 28C heat, one starts to think about what lighter bags are like. Not cheating on TAD you understand, but casually appraising the field (hey, Mystery Ranch…). Lighter materials could be used, and I’m not convinced that at covering it in webbing is necessary. I don’t know who the average user is, but of the four bags I’ve seen ‘in the wild’, the webbing has been largely unused. Counting mine — five bags — I think I use the webbing the most, with a modest couple of pouches and a D-lock.
  • Not its marketed* purpose, but: having a laptop in this bag is a faff . It gets buried under everything else, and even with a Control Panel, is a lot more of a chore to find than with dedicated access. There’s a slowdown at every security (theatre) check. Whilst this has been elegantly fixed with the EDC v2, it would be good to see a solution in the LS v3.
  • Supporting ‘multiple mission profiles’ (hmm) provides great flexibility, but at the cost of great faff. Changing the configuration of this bag takes time — wrapping webbing rolls, unwrapping them, clips and buckles and and — and some streamlining would be good. Can TAD provide streamlining while still maintaining the look? I’m sure they can, as they can with the weight reduction.
  • The zips are still exposed. I spend most of my time in Northern Europe, where it either rains, or is generally damp. Water defeats zip. Contents gets damp. I pack in compression sacks, which is works around the issue, but a (more) waterproof zip would be entirely welcome. The Cordura, whilst not being waterproof, is fine with water, even if it does get a little heavier.
  • The chest strap on mine is a little small, and I gave up on it as it kept popping off. I have a 106cm chest, which I feel it should be able to accommodate. That said, once I gave up on the chest strap, I found the pack more comfortable, so perhaps it’s no bad thing? I notice that the strap on the 2015 EDC is more sensibly sized.

The Litespeed is one of my favourite bags: despite the faff, despite the weight, I keep coming back to it for both its style and its functionality.

*unless you include the laptop being slipped in at 1:02 in their video

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