Specops Brand THE (Tactical Holds Everything) Backpack

Note, the order form is at the bottom of this page

Spec-Ops Brand is a small but growing company in partnership with Best Made Designs that is producing some of the best new field gear on the market.  

One of their new flagship items is the THE pack.  This is a field tough backpack made from 1000D heavy duty nylon fabric with plenty of heavy nylon web reinforcement at all of the stress points.   The internal frame is semi-rigid closed cell foam.   The pack is 19" high by 13" wide with the back tapering 13" at the bottom to 9" at the top.   Overall capacity without added compartments is 2,550 cubic inches, or around one and a half cubic feet.   This is just right for a go fast bugout bag or patrol pack.  

Retail on the THE pack is $149.95 and they come in four colors, black, desert tan, olive drab and Woodland camo.   Three color desert pattern is set for release in 2003.   We sell this pack at for $140 including shipping  (some foreign orders have a small shipping surcharge) and occasionally run sales on overstocked colors.  Contact to purchase.    This pack is not the cheapest of its kind, but it is 100% made in the USA and is of the highest quality found in tactical nylon with a comprehensive warranty.   Many other items made by Specops are currently in use with elite US military units.   The packs are offered by the better stocked AAFES stores that sell gear, but as many military personnel are now aware, AAFES is seriously diminishing their gear selections these days and only bases that have large infantry and special operations units are likely to carry the THE packs.   Many smaller AAFES stores will carry the smaller Specops brand items.  

The pack has several attachment points for additional pouches.   These attachment points are re-enforced nylon webbing and are engineered to be compatible with the MOLLE and ALICE system gear.   The bottom of the pack has attachment points that work with the MOLLE sleeping bag carrier or the excellent Specops buttpack.  Attaching the buttpack will add three pouches and give you a good overall summer pack since the buttpack is large enough to hold a "ranger roll" or the lightweight component of the ECWSS sleeping bag.   The expandability of the pack enables the user to attach pouches to the side of the pack which can nearly double the capacity when combined with the Specops buttpackalone, not to mention the X series pouches by Specops.   These pouches can also be removed and then worn on the load bearing vest or even newer body armor like the Point Blank Interceptor OTV.

UPDATE, Specops has an updated version of the THE pack just entering the pipeline.   It differs from the older models in that is has more of the MOLLE/PALS type webbing on the back and sides so that it will be compatible with a wider range of add-on pouches and pockets from the many manufacturers that are quickly going to the new standard.   There is no price increase in the new model, and not all vendors will have it until later in the year as older stocks get rotated out.   All of the packs in the dealer network should have this upgrade by the end of 2003.

This improved feature gives a lot more versatility to an already versatile pack.  Using the various available add-on pouches, it is easy to expand the carrying capacity of your THE pack to match a Medium Alice pack without giving up any of the easy access features found in the THE pack.  It also updates the "look" of the pack to match some of the newer semi-custom packs on the market like the proprietary RAID pack from

The webbing is useful for adding foliage for camouflage in addition to add-on pockets and tie down or attachment points for items like carabineers.   The pack is engineered for integration with extra pouches and the pack organizer also made by Specops brand.   Tthe X-6 pouches will hold a single belt of M6/M240 ammo in the cardboard box or can be used to hold a 1 quart GI canteen.   The glossy sheen on the OD green packs will disappear after the first trip to to a real field environment.   In my opinion, the OD Green THE pack is probably the most versatile of the bunch when it comes to military use, while the Black version is most practical for everyone else.  Still, the availability of the pack in Mossy Oak, Desert tan, desert camo, and Woodland Camo makes it easy to integrate your THE pack with gear from other manufacturers who use the same standard USGI camouflage patterns.   There is even a very limited distribution version of the THE pack in MARPAT, but it is only available on a limited basis at USMC installations.

The pack can be fairly easily adapted for use as a company level medic bag.   The pack is great for patrol use once you have set up a patrol base or campsite, but it is not so great for large heavy loads mainly because the semi-rigid foam frame will not distribute the weight like a real frame pack will.   The zippered compartments and box shaped pockets give better access to contents than a standard ALICE pack.    The pack comes with a waist strap, but I removed the one on my personal THE pack to uncomplicate my gear load when using a load bearing vest.   I also moved the sternum strap to a lower position on the shoulder straps to keep the sternum strap from choking me while wearing body armor.  

Now on to what makes this pack so good.   Military packs generally differ from civilian packs in a few subtle but significant ways.   The picture to the right shows how the attachment points on the shoulder straps is in relation to the top of the packs on the two military style packs (on the right) and the quality climbing pack to the left.    Note the red lines indicate the approximate shoulder position, and the blue line indicates the waist strap position.   If you look at how much the civilian pack extends above the shoulders,  you can see how this pack can limit movement of the wearer's head, especially if the user is also wearing a helmet.   This situation becomes even more pronounced in the prone position.   That is where the average infantryman has problems with an Alice pack with items attached to the top, or a civilian pack that might wear very well on the march, but can be awkward in tactical action.   

The ALICE pack is a compromise that was designed to work for most people most of the time.   It is still fairly durable and versatile, but the design has been outdated by improved equipment over the 30 years it has been in service with the US military.   The ALICE pack is also thicker at the back than any of the modern tactical backpacks.   This has a lot to do with the need for maneuverability in buildings and movement in and out of vehicles.   This is especially the case with the smaller doors found on rear of  APC's.   Modern packs also make extensive use of heavy duty zippers instead of snaps and straps found on older packs.  This makes for faster access to pack contents and easier loading since zippered openings are usually larger than cinch strap openings or snap flaps. 

Note that tactical packs like the THE pack or comparable Eagle A-III packs are usually not large enough for a long range patrol unless you use expansion pouches.   A tactical pack by definition is a pack for tactical missions where speed and maneuverability are more important than long term comfort.   This means if you are heading out for several days of living out of your pack, you will probably need a larger pack.   Another way to work this out is for military personnel who will live and work out of a vehicle or base camp is to load out with a deployment bag and a tactical pack instead of the more common duffle bag and ALICE pack.   A deployment bag is larger than a duffle bag and can work as a locker of sorts while stored in a vehicle or base camp on a longer operation.  

The semi-rigid internal frame design of the THE pack saves on weight while maintaining comfort for longer patrols.  This also makes the THE pack less likely to damage other item or personnel when thrown around in a vehicle.   This is such a common problem with the ALICE pack that many armored infantry and engineers are ordered to remove the frames from the packs prior to going anywhere in the APCs.   Tank crew will almost never use an external frame pack.  

This Specops THE pack incorporates some features which are important for carrying some loads which are unique to military operations but can be relevant for a survivor, or even student.  One unique feature found on the THE pack is a pair of small access ports in the top of the pack.  These are good for drinking tubes used in several hydration systems, radio antennas, and microphone cords.  Heavy duty shoulder straps, a multi-layered lining and full size back pad mean that you can heavy items and items with hard corners.   This is often what wears packs out when they are used to carry larger amounts of hardcover textbooks.   It also makes the the pack suitable for carrying ammunition and explosives.    A survivor will often want to carry high performance electronic items which are more delicate than their military counterparts.    The survivor's bugout pack also needs to be small enough to not be overly obtrusive when carried on public transportation such as buses, airplanes, and trains.   The strong carry handle on the THE pack makes it easy and convenient to carry like a gym bag.    The extra padding and small access holes concealed under flaps at the top make the pack particularly suitable for use with radio equipment like the awfully heavy first generation SINCGARS and PRC-77 which are still in use with many US military units.  

In summary the Specops THE pack is good gear for the professional military man or serious survivor who wants  a no compromise mid size backpack for dependable use in harsh conditions.   It is not cheap, but it is arguably the best pack of its kind.   

Overall Dimension19" High 13" wide 12" thick at bottom tapering to 9" at top.  2550 cubic inches total

Main Compartment: 19" high x 13" wide x 7" thick - 1730 cubic inches. 

Top Pocket: 8" high x 10" wide x 2.5" thick - 250 cubic inches

Bottom Pocket: 10" high x 12" wide x 3.5" thick - 570 cubic inches


Click HERE to see other backpacks, pack organizers and accessories 


Suggested retail is now $159.95 plus shipping but here it's.....

Still just $140 shipped to just about anywhere in the world! 

(airmail extra for some foreign orders).   APO/FPO orders shipped at no extra charge.  


Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack BLACK

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack OD Green

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack Desert Tan
NEW Color: Coyote 

Coyote is the light brown / dark tan color found in the US desert camo pattern and also known as the original "khaki" color used by the US army in the North African campaigns of WWII.   This color is becoming very popular with those who are deployed to the middle east, but also want packs that are useful in the Mediterranean climates of the southern US and California where most US training bases are located. 

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack Coyote Brown/Tan

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack Woodland Camo

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack Desert Camo

Shipping included in the price (surface shipping on overseas orders, airmail on US and most Canadian orders)

THE Backpack Mossy Oak Camo



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