First off a thank you to Military 1st for the backpack for review. We like it when we’re able to write honest reviews and not have censors our thoughts to potential buyers and end-users. The Helikon-Tex Raider backpack is billed as an EDC pack that is capable to handle small hikes and some tactical uses. When I received the pack I was in need, and in search of a new EDC pack. I did not know anything about Helikon-Tex, so I did a little research and below is a description of the company. (Taken from their website):

Over a decade since Helikon-Tex was established our business activity was mainly concentrated on military surplus sales. However, changing trends and market demand in the mid-nineties set a new development direction – in 1999 we decided to start our own military and paramilitary clothing production.

Our range is a proof that the decision was right– we are proud to offer you a wide range of uniforms, tactical clothing, backpacks, boots and equipment that have gained recognition among soldiers, policemen, law enforcement officers, survival and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.

Helikon-Tex is a combination of professional employees and faithful end users who constantly motivate us to expand and modernize our products.

Thank you for your interest in Helikon-Tex® products.

The company offers a very wide array of product ranging from “Urban” to “Surplus”. The Raider backpack is one of four offerings in their backpack category and is new. The pack comes in a variety of colors/patterns, eleven (11) to be exact.

First Impressions:

The Raider I received came in Olive Green and right out of the box I liked. The shade of the color and the look of the pack is eye-catching. The material is Cordura, zippers are YKK and the buckles are Woojin. The look and feel of the pack are very good, there are a lot of features yet the pack doesn’t look cluttered at all. The placement of the pockets, storage pockets, molle, Velcro, and buckles are well thought out. Everything seems to flow and look symmetrical, I like that in packs and EDC items in general.

Pockets and outside storage:

Starting at the top of the pack there is a storage compartment sealed with a YKK zipper. I have found this small, yet deep, compartment very user-friendly. It has three (3) storage sleeves sewn into the back of the pocket that are just the right size for Glock or 2011 mags. I also used these storage sleeves for miscellaneous gear and sheathed knives, just to see what would fit. They aren’t quite big enough for modern smartphones though. The pocket itself is very useful and was my main go-to storage compartment for items I generally need often.

On the front of the pack, you have a compartment designed for sunglasses. It is lined with soft hook material that can also be used to attach hook and loop accessories. This was a nice addition, although I didn’t have any immediate use for this, I could see attaching Velcro mag carriers or the like in that compartment. I typically used that compartment for my truck keys or secondary cellphone.

The collapsible tail in the front of the pack was something I used quite often. I really like the functionality of a tail. I really liked how this tail didn’t completely detach from the pack. It opens just enough to fit anything I needed it and I was able to cinch it down snugly. I mostly used this feature when going to the gym or when heading out. Carrying clothing for layering in the Colorado winter is a must. The tail kept the items I wanted separate and prevented me from putting dirty gym clothes, shoes or wet jackets inside of the pack.

The buckles at the top of the tail are placed in the best place they can be. They still allow you to open the main compartment just enough for me to get my 15-inch MacBook Pro in and out of the pack. However, there are times when I had to unclasp one to gain better access when taking items in and out. The size of the tail was great for me; however, some people may want to see more room to hold larger or more items if they use the pack for extended use.

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On each side of the pack are two pouches with elastic bands at the top. I used these pouches for quick storage when on the go or to store a water bottle. They stay out of the way when not in use and there isn’t any excess material. At the bottom of each pouch is a drain hole. I didn’t test these, but I assume they function as designed as they are at the very bottom of the pouch.

Back padding, straps, and rainfly:

One complaint I do have about the pack would be the lack of adjustability on the top of the shoulder straps. Not having the ability to tighten the top of the shoulders to bring the load of the pack higher on the back was a disappointment. That being said, if you are not using the pack for really heavy loads for long periods of time, this shouldn’t be a big deal. I just like having the ability to adjust where the load sits on my back. I am hoping in future versions of this pack they add that feature.

The straps themselves are very comfortable and provide just the right amount of padding. The buckle placement and the adjustability are good and the excess strap management is a nice addition. On the body side of the pack, the padding is soft and plush. The material is breathable and very comfortable but not overdone. The pack also has sternum strap that does the job just fine.

One feature of the pack I was very happy about was the built-in rainfly. It is located at the bottom of the pack on the body side. When not in use it is hidden away very nicely, almost to the point where you would never know it was there. The rainfly deploys very easy and covers the pack completely.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the Raider. The pack was very well thought out and the size was just right for my use. It did everything I wanted it to do and was easy to use. I did not find myself wanting another EDC pack while using it exclusively for over a month. If there were two things I didn’t like about it, it was the waist belt and lack of shoulder adjustments at the top of the straps. However, the waist belt and be hidden away in small pockets and it is like they don’t exist, very good solution. At a price of $114.99 USD it more than delivers on Helikon’s claims.

Durable general purpose tactical backpack with hydration compatible main compartment, numerous smaller individual pockets and pouches and easy accessible front beaver tail flap. Perfect for everyday use as well as for Law Enforcement, First Responder and Military personnel.

  • Overall capacity: 20 litres
  • Durable padded top carry handle
  • Top organizer pocket with internal sleeves and access to the removable aluminium back support
  • Main compartment with oversized two-way YKK zipper, large internal hook-and-loop field for modular inserts, hydration compatible elasticated sleeve pocket, and large zippered mesh pocket
  • Front beaver tail flap with quick release compression straps, outer and inner MOLLE loops, elastic sides and bottom drainage
  • Front zippered sunglass pocket
  • Large hook-and-loop front field for patches or IDs
  • Side MOLLE panels for additional attachments
  • Hydration compatible side sleeve pockets with elasticated entrance and bottom drainage
  • Zippered bottom pocket with removable rain cover
  • Heavily padded back with airmesh and removable aluminium support
  • Concealable and adjustable quick release hip belt
  • Anatomically designed padded quick release shoulder straps with airmesh, elastic loops, D-rings and elastic sternum strap
  • EDC insert-compatible
  • MOLLE and PALS compatible
  • Heavy duty Woojin buckles and accessories
  • Genuine YKK zippers
  • Material: 500D Cordura
  • External dimensions: 18.5″x12.2″x5.9″ (47x31x15cm)
  • Weight: 1470g
  • Manufacturer: Helikon-Tex
  • Manufacturer’s number: PL-RID-CD-02

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Jason Silva

Jason Silva enlisted as an 0311 prior to 9/11 and served in OIF 1 with RCT-1, he also held secondary MOS’s of Range Coach/PMI and was an Assault Climber. Upon returning from Iraq he was hired at Richmond Police Department in California, there he served just over 10 years. While at Richmond he worked in patrol, street enforcement teams, the dirt bike unit, homicide detective and 7 years on the departments SWAT team. While with the department SWAT team he was the less lethal weapons instructor, entry team and sniper team. He also worked with the departments Marine Enforcement Unit which patrolled and coordinated with federal agencies to protect critical infrastructure within the San Francisco Bay Area. In January of 2015 he was officially retired from the police department due to a series of on duty injuries. Upon entering the private sector, Jason took his love for gear and quality, American made products and was hired to work at Triple Aught Design. While there he started a side hobby as a Cerakote applicator and his own brand of AR10/15, Echo Armory. After TAD he did security contracting with several tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to include Dropbox, Apple and Facebook. Since November of 2015 he has primarily contracted with Salient Operations Group for security, consulting and EP services and is now an account manager for the company as needed.

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