This is the gear review for the Advanced Special Operations Bag or ASO Bag manufactured by RE Factor Tactical. I will discuss the bag in five categories…Cost, Durability, Weight, Function, and Comfort. Here are some of the manufacturer’s specifications:
- Quick-access MOLLE/Velcro lined “Fight Pocket”
- RFID blocking pocket
- Extra-large main opening compartment
- (7) Interior mesh pockets & MOLLE/Velcro mounting panels
- Removable backpack straps & concealable duffle straps
- 1000D Cordura exterior w/vinyl waterproof base
- Sized for carry-on travel – 25″x15″x10″ (56L)
- Made in the USA
Cost– The ASO Bag has a retail price of $275.99. Depending on your budget, this may be high. For the quality of materials and construction, I would say this price is decent. The old saying “You get what you pay for” holds true in this facet. The company who manufactures the bag, RE Factor Tactical, offers a 6-month manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase. More details can be found on the company’s website RE FACTOR Tactical
Durability– Appears durable. High quality 1000 D Cordura nylon, and quality zippers are used in the construction of the bag. This is a category that would require more time using the bag, to see how it wears. A one-week review isn’t long enough. Several months would be a better timeline to test this category. The bottom of the bag is also constructed of a durable waterproof vinyl that enhances the life of the bag and adds a level of moisture resistance when setting the bag down in a wet environment.
Weight/Size– The weight of the empty bag is about normal for a bag of these dimensions. The added waterproof rugged bottom adds a bit more weight, but it makes up for that with added durability and moisture resistance. A big reason I am a fan of this bag is the dimensions. I am one who favors short bags with a lot of surface area as opposed to deep bags where you must dig around to find items. This allows me to reach in to the bag and grab items from the top quickly because it is a bit shallower. I like this feature, especially in range bags. This bag is also capable of fitting on board aircraft as a carry-on piece of luggage. I was able to pack this bag with a Crye Precision combat uniform with knee pads, large assault plate carrier, helmet with accessories, Peltor head set, Safariland holster with Glock 17, googles, 5 each H & K 5.56 magazines, and an assortment of other assault kit normally used.
Function– This category is where this bag makes a lot of points. The use of this in bag as the manufacturer intended would suggest that it serves the user well in a reduced signature or low visibility operational environment. Without getting into the tactics, techniques, and procedures of ASO operations, I will discuss some of the functionality of this equipment regarding its intended use.
Starting with the appearance of the bag. The choice of colors available are black, tan, Ranger green, multi-cam, foliage, and Navy blue. The one I was sent for this review was black. The construction of the bag itself does have a hint of a “military-ish” look. This is due to the high quality 1000D Cordura construction. The use of non-military looking colors such as blue, or foliage I believe would alleviate this.
Externally, this bag has 4 pockets. There are 2 long pockets that run the length of each side of the bag which can be used to stow the shoulder straps when not in use. At one end there is a fast access “fight pocket”. This compartment lined with PALS webbing/Velcro for organization of pouches, patches, and medical equipment. It opens using one-hand pull tab design and contains flexible ties to keep the pocket from flapping when in use. The fourth external pocket is located on the opposite end of the Fight pocket. It is the RFID (radio frequency identification chip) pocket which protects phones, passports, and credit cards from electronic remote access and identity theft. All the pockets are closed with a zipper.
This bag also has 7 large internal mesh pockets to organize your gear. Three on the inner side of the opening flap to the main compartment, one at each end of the bag, and two on one side of the bag’s interior. There is also a section of PALS webbing/Velcro for additional attachments on the other side of the bag.
This bag has 2 padded shoulder straps with quick connecting hardware to carry like a back-pack. It also has integrated duffle straps to carry in your hand. The handles have a sewn in Velcro wrap to connect the duffle handles together for ease of carrying.
You can see in the photos I have packed the ASO bag with some common items used in mission sets throughout the Special Operations realm. I have common assault kit, ASO kit, even a K9 training application, this bag has tons of functionality.
Some of the uses I found this bag worked well for were ASO specific scenarios, urban sniper/recce operations, a good all-around range bag, especially for larger items, general kit bag, as well as a K9 training bag.
ASO Specific Kit
K9 Training Kit
Comfort– The comfort level of the bag depends on the person who packs the bag and what items are in it. The provided shoulder straps are padded and appear well built. I had no problems carrying the pack on my back. I would say however; comfort level would be the least important category for this bag due to its purpose and the fact that it’s not a “back pack” per say.
In closing, The Re Factor Tactical Advanced Special Operations bag is a great piece of kit and I would highly recommend it even for a general use kit bag. I have used dozens of different types of kit bags and many of them are sometimes too big. This bag fills that gap for a smaller kit bag when all you need is some more common gear.
Back pack configuration
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