Direct Action Gear – Dust
These days, there are hundreds of options out there for tactical packs. If you’re like me, you have a lot of stuff to carry around on a daily basis, but you hate the larger, bulkier packs. I needed something I could fill to the brim with my EDC essentials (and non-essentials) while maintaining a small footprint and still be durable enough for field use.
I tried the small Rothco packs everyone sees on Amazon for $40, the somewhat larger 5.11 Covert, and other packs that share its likeness, but ultimately settling on what I personally believe is the best EDC pack out there, the Direct Action Gear “Dust.”
Direct Action Gear offers three sizes of backpack: The large Ghost, the medium Dragon Egg, and the small Dust. I liked the features and appearances but it took me a while to settle on which size would fit my needs best. I took a gamble and went for their smallest offering, the Dust in Multicam, and was not disappointed.
My initial bag arrived damaged and I’d made quite a stir about how irritated I was with this. I contacted the company and discovered that the vendor knowingly sent me a damaged bag that had been received on return. I was issued a refund and ordered a replacement bag from another vendor. DAG was quick to respond and were quite helpful during the entire ordeal.
The bag is quite small but despite the size, I can fit my 15-inch laptop along with all the books, tools, and other knickknacks I use on a daily basis with ease. In the field, it can hold a set of ACUs minus boots as well as a toiletry bag and snacks; the perfect amount of space for a day trip.
The bag is water resistant but not waterproof. I’ve trusted it to protect my laptop in a light rain but I wouldn’t take it any further. Water does not appear to easily penetrate the fabric but the zippers are somewhat leaky. The interior of the bag is untreated so I would expect that if one compartment were to be compromised by liquid, it would soak into the others as well.
The clips and buckles are all made from Duraflex plastic, while the zippers are over-sized and made for easy gripping even while wearing gloves in wet environments. The bag is made for true field use, not for mall-ninjas to carry around their high school.
The Dust has two main pouches. One deep pouch containing a laptop sleeve and a zippable net and a smaller pouch for all your gadgets. I’m astounded at how much I can fit in here. There’s a rear pouch and cutout to slide in a hydration bladder, with a hooded hole for the hose. There is a slim front pouch that’s perfect for a small tablet or, in my case, a Kindle. The smaller of the two main pouches unzips and flips down, revealing a large clear panel that could be used for easy access to maps or other references.
Straps on the side allow for profile adjustment and tightening, while two bottle pouches on the side have zippers to fit items as small as 12oz or as large as a one-quart Nalgene. When not in use, the pouches zip up and velcro to the bag itself to reduce profile and minimize the chance of snagging.
The bag has a tasteful appearance. The laser cut MOLLE combined with the angular curves of the bag give it a tasteful yet practical appearance. The bag is offered in a variety of colors including Pencott and Kryptek patterns. The Multicam, Pencott, and Kryptek versions are all NIR treated for those of you who care about that sort of thing. For those who do not want a camouflaged backpack for EDC, there are also Ranger green, grey, and black options.
The main concern one may have with an EDC bag is comfort. While this bag does not have a frame, it has two large padded foam backings that allow it to keep its shape. The bag is made to be worn for long periods of time and is quite comfortable. I’d go so far as to say that this is the most comfortable backpack I’ve ever worn. Included is a removable waist strap. The shoulder straps are the perfect width and have enough adjustment so they can be comfortably worn with a large plate carrier and FLC, as well as without.
My one complaint is that the laptop sleeve is just barely large enough for my 15 inch MacBook in a protective sleeve; any thicker or wider and it would not fit at all. My 15 inch Thinkpad, for example, was too large for the back pouch.
Overall, this is a phenomenal bag. The quality is superb and while it is expensive than many other choices at $120-$140, you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for a small EDC bag that you can use for go-fast stuff too, look no further. If you want something a little bigger, I recommend you check out DAG’s other offerings.