The other day I was driving from work, and realized something, kind of out of the blue. I was wearing my old Propper pants, my tried and true Propper hoodie, and next to me set a Propper OTS bag recently sent to us for review. There is definitely something to be said for brand loyalty, especially when that loyalty is earned through hard work and customer trust. True story time. My first working exposure to the brand was several years ago, when Propper sponsored our association’s training event. I was introduced to a certain Irish gentleman from the company, who was one of the best sales reps I have ever met. Not only was he pleasant and knowledgeable about the products, he ran laps around the base, while younger SWAT guys looked in amazement and curled their beer cans.
I pretty much confronted him on my disappointment that some of the brand’s products were made overseas. Having been issued Propper products before and always believing in them as an all-American company, I was pretty strong-headed about my views. We had a good chat about manufacturing, quality and price points, and while Propper remains an American company in my opinion, I understand the need for and the potential benefit of taking some production overseas. What kept me loyal over the years is that in this case the quality control is just as consistent and stringent, regardless of where the sourcing comes from, and everything we’re issued and take downrange is still made in the USA. A huge part of outsourcing, is the ability to maintain a consistent quality product. The OTS XL is true to Propper from: solid and functional.
I should mention that in all the EDC fanfare, I am not the type of guy who carries a man purse, satchel, briefcase, fanny pack, sling pack, or any varieties of the above. I carry either a pack, or everything goes somewhere on my person. This was the case until I got the OTS XL. This thing has taken a beating by me for over a month, and I haven’t gone back to anything else. Part of the reason this bag faired so well with me, is that it doesn’t look like any of the forms of semi-tactical fashion. But it also doesn’t look like a super high speed tacticool bag. It is a low key, very functional carry option, which kind of fits the bill of tactical, recreational and business needs.
The first impression of the Propper OTS is that it has a shape all its own. The roomy main compartment and rear hidden pocket which runs the length of the entire bag, give it its unique shape. That rear compartment is a flat, Velcro-lined space, which can accommodate your concealed carry, several magazines, small laptop, or a number of organizational components. A Velcro holster attachment inside will hold a firearm secure, but even a holstered handgun of any frame sits in there snug and quiet, and is easily accessible through a double-pull zipper. All of the zippers on the bag have unique “rubber molded” plastic pulls which are comfortable to grab and easy to manipulate in gloves, in cold weather, and under stress. I’ll explain why the latter is important in a little bit.
A heavy duty shoulder strap is attached behind the concealed carry compartment via two large corners, and double box stitched. I didn’t try it, but am very confident you could do a downed casualty extraction just by that. The strap is easily released from the main bag by depressing a large buckle, and has a comfortable shoulder pad. The non-slip pad is secured by two Velcro wraps, and can be taken completely off and easily repositioned. This allows for the weapon, if carried in that way, to be as close to the body as possible.
One side of the strap has a deep pocket, which runs up and down the side of the bag. It can accommodate a folded umbrella, 24” baton, perhaps your favorite submarine sammich. The strap itself has some significant adjustment options. Not only is it adjustable for different height users, it can go from high and tight, to low and relaxed depending on why you’re using the OTS. Again, more on this later. There are three more tiered compartments going outward from the main. Two are zippered, and one open. The zippered ones get successfully smaller. The larger one again has a smooth side Velcro on one side, and can accommodate any number of organizational or carry options. The following pocket also has a nylon divider, which is handy for separating smaller flatter items. The outer open pocket has another smooth Velcro lining, and several organizer sleeves for things such as pens, tools, or lip balm. I would be perfectly fine just tossing a pen into any of the open pockets, as they open wide and are neat enough not to impede any organization, but having the little pen sleeves is a nice touch. All four compartments are covered by one large flap, which secures with a large buckle. The bottom end of the buckle is adjustable for length.
A decent size Velcro patch is on the outside of the main flap, as well as a tasteful Propper logo. The same logo, which looks like it is made in leather and adds a touch of class to the OTS XL, is also on the shoulder strap. One thing immediately noticeable, is that there is only a shoulder strap and no carry handle. I think we’ve been conditioned by product design too look for one, but none is needed on the OTS. The strap alone allows for ease of grabbing and carrying the bag, and eliminating the handle makes it look cleaner and lees like a briefcase. The large main compartment also has a drawstring rain cover, which I think is genius. The size of the bag can accommodate gym clothes and sneakers, or a change of clothes on your way from work. This simple feature not only keeps everything dry, it compresses the contents if you tend to over pack.
One side of the bag has a mesh with a top draw string attachment, which can accommodate a large water bottle, coffee mug, or some rolled up rain gear. The opposite side has about a 4×6 inch zippered pouch, with a MOLLE outside. Behind this pouch is an open top pocket, which is quite discreet. It perfectly fit a Phokus Research pocket IFAK. MOLLE can also be found on one side shoulder strap, where it attaches above the mesh water bottle pocket, and along the bottom of the outer pocket. The amount of MOLLE and its placement is not only very functional, it keeps the bag looking low key at the same time. The bag also comes with a little carabineer, which can accommodate a set of keys, but isn’t nearly as solid as the bag itself.
I know I said I would get back to some things “later”, and here it is. Behind the padded back of the OTS XL and adjacent to where the water bottle mesh pocket it located, is a concealed compartment which holds another strap. Having adjusted the main shoulder strap so that the bag is about your waist level, this additional strap – tucked away when not needed, secures the bag around your waist. If you carry a full duty load, working plain clothes, or have any uniformed assignment where you need a go-bag, the OTS XL freaking shines. It still looks low key and professional, but allows you to grab and go, and have immediately accessible any medical, weapon, or rescue gear.
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Even when loaded full, the extra waist strap will keep the OTS from flopping around at a sprint. It is slick enough to fit under vehicle seats, behind headrests, in the gunner’s nest, or look good with a suit – if that’s your work space. As mentioned, the zipper pulls are very easy to manipulate, which becomes key under stress. They are easy enough to identify without looking, and are very smooth. The back of the OTS has smooth padding in areas where it is likely to rub most on your body. The bag is made of what feels like 100D nylon, and comes in black or olive. If you hurry, you can pick it up at quiet a discount of $29.99, versus the regular $99.99 price. The original OTS and the OTS XL, can also be found at Amazon.
The Propper OTS XL is one tough and versatile bag, which can accommodate a lot of mission and off-duty environments. It is clear that there is some end-user input for the design section of the Propper line, and we thank them for giving us an opportunity to contribute.
- Quick-release ergonomic straps at shoulder (up to 53”) and waist
- Rubber-molded zipper pulls
- Non-slip shoulder pad
- Zippered compartment is optimized for use with a hydration bladder and includes loop field for concealed carry
- Mesh pocket in front compartment
- Internal key retention clip
- Mesh cinch pouch for water bottle or radio
- Exterior loop field for patches
- Breathable rear padding conforms to the body for added comfort
- 100% nylon
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.