Designed to serve as an advanced 72-hour bag, the Tour of Duty by TRU-SPEC® is a variant to the original “Gunny Approved” pack. It provides an alternative to the Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack by providing a more durable internal frame, compartmentalization, and a removable waist belt for hours of wear, while minimizing stress to the upper torso.
Introduced in 2018, the Tour of Duty is made from either 500D Cordura (Multicam Black) or 1050D polyester (Olive Drab, Black, or Coyote) that offers mid- or high-end abrasion resistance. At 18” (H) x 10” x 10” (D) its overall carrying capacity is approximately 37 liters of cubic space and features an included internal frame to maintain its structure.
On the exterior of the main compartment, is a 5” (H) x 8” (L) document pocket (with a hook-and-loop/MOLLE compatible exterior) that includes; a key lanyard and ID card window. Below that is a larger 9” (H) x 9” (L) storage pocket that has a zippered accessory pocket. Both exterior pockets are secured by dual zipper drawstrings.
The center compartment is secured via dual zippered drawstrings and has a hook-and-loop secured pocket, a MOLLE field for mounting accessories or pouches, and a mesh pocket on the internal side of the opening.
Around the exterior are four 5” (H) x 3” (L) accessory pockets (one with a bonus 3.5” (H) x 2.5” (L) accessory pocket riding sidecar) secured via drawstring zipper for immediate access to essential items. Additionally, there are two hydration/communication cable access tabs secured via hook-and-loop that give allow passage into the main storage compartment.
Around the exterior of the Tour of Duty are three integrated nylon carrying handles to maximize handling in an aircraft, bus, or transport.
The adjustable, contoured, dual harness retention system features a dual shoulder strap design with integrated accessory pockets and adjustable sternum strap. Air mesh padding is segmented throughout the pack’s rigid back panel, and both sides have zippered access behind the support frame.
The 4” waist strap is padded on all sides and secured with a large 2.25” wide slide-release buckle. The waist strap can be removed and because of MOLLE fields on both sides can serve as a stand-alone impromptu utility or range belt.
Throughout the exterior of the Tour of Duty are multiple MOLLE straps for added compatibility.
The internal storage compartment to the Tour of Duty is reinforced on either side of the exterior with side cinch straps to ensure the stored items remain secure. The main storage space includes a laptop sleeve and internal administrative organizer that includes; three zipper-secured pockets, a hook-and-loop pocket flap, a business card window, and three pen sleeves.
- Available in 500D Cordura or 1050D polyester (color dependent)
- 37 liters of combined storage space
- Heavy, reverse coil zippers throughout
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): Priced between $145.95 (for polyester colors) and $177.95 (for the Multicam Black in 500D Cordura) the Tour of Duty Backpack (TDB) has a significant amount of material and hardware for its price, which is reflected somewhat high. For this review, the 500D Cordura version was tested. In comparison, popular alternative versions of backpacks with a similar storage volume include Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder 2.5 Backpack ($119 @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack ($129.99 @ 37L storage space). These alternative backpacks, while having comparable storage capacity, lack the compartmentalized design (externally and internally) of the TDB which may explain its somewhat higher price. Ultimately that is a decision the consumer must make.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): As with most packs, their comfort level is best determined by how the design was able to distribute the weight across the upper torso and waist (if including a waist belt). When attached, the width of the TDB’s waist belt was very comfortable against the hips, but lacked means of stowing the belt when not in use (so it was an all or nothing use) other than complete removal. For its design the TDB used both shoulder straps and the removable waist strap to effectively distribute the weight out across the upper shoulders and waist. And while not as thickly padded as the Pathfinder 2.5 backpack in the shoulders and backpanel, the TDB foam padding did allow for some heat dissipation and airflow. The compression straps helped keep the weight of the pack close into the body, and during stressor drills the TDB shoulder and waist straps kept the pack tight.
- Durability – Good (4/5): In the variant tested, the 500D Cordura material gave the TDB a good level of abrasion resistance despite being thrown around in a truckbed to/from the range. Significant levels of bartack, X-pattern, and double-line stitching was noted throughout the pack at stress points, MOLLE fields, and over the internal frame. All of which gave the TDB good marks in durability for testing, and over the long-term. As like the Pathfinder 2.5, the hardware is more likely to wear out before the pack’s material will.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): The TDB is clearly designed for those on the move, with significant compartmentalization and readily accessible pouches. The multiple storage compartments made it a good fit for EDC use, air travel, or use in the field. All zippers had weatherized overlap material to limit moisture penetration, with cord pull tabs (would have preferred to see rubberized tubing or something a little more durable). The bottom compression straps didn’t fit completely between the side accessory pouches so when cinched, it did pinch the top of the pouches slightly and inhibited immediate access. The padding material to the backpanel and shoulder straps was notably thinner than other backpacks on the market, which did inhibit wear on the user over an extended duration (2+ hours).
- Weight – Average (3/5): At approximately 5 pounds for 37L of combined storage space, the Tour of Duty Backpack made for a good-sized 36-hour backpack, more than capable of storing items for a day travel or hike. In comparison, Tru-Spec’s Pathfinder Backpack (3.35 pounds @ 39L of storage) or 5.11’s Rush24 Backpack (3.79 pounds @ 37L storage space) reflect the differences in design and materials, with the Tour of Duty having more pouches and compartmentalization—and thus weighing slightly more.
Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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