Quite simply this is one of the best investments I feel I ever made throughout over a decade of airsoft.
In my earlier years of playing I tried numerous different styles and constructions of tactical gear, including entirely custom assembled efforts from webbing straps and QD buckles to try and get exactly what I wanted.
After experimenting with various offerings from Viper and Warrior - wraparound tactical vests, front panel only chest rigs and PLCE webbing systems, among others, I came across the South African Assault Vest.
Some good friends I played with at the time introduced me to them as they wore them for their lightweight, comfort and convenient rear storage space for hydration and GBB gas & ammo. I instantly found them more comfortable and breathable, as well as better distributing the load on my back, which gives me lots of problems when carrying weight for prolonged times.
But not quite there
For all the comfort and practicality of the SAAVs, something was missing. I always loved the modularity and customisation capability of MOLLE systems, and felt that of they made the SAAV with MOLLE PALS on the front (especially the lower sections where the large dump pouches are which I found cumbersome and too loose for carrying magazines) they would be much improved. Alas, my efforts to find such a thing bore no fruit, so in my typical fashion I thought 'screw it, I'll do it myself then’.
The search for a viable solution took some time, and in the end I happened upon RoyalTigerGear based in Hong Kong (I was actually predominantly looking for a source of modern Chinese PLA uniforms to go with my Real Sword QBZ97 at the time) and I realised they had a vast selection of FLYYE gear.
The FLYYE EDC Hydration pack caught my eye as a good base for creating my own customisable or modular version of the SAAV; all the comfort and weight distribution benefits, coupled with lots of rear storage capability for the 3L Camelbak Hydrotanium hydration bladder I bought to accompany it, as well as a separate pouch for valuables such as phone, keys, wallet etc, for those larger events such as the National Airsoft Event, where I would need such things on me due to the scale of the site and event.
I purchased on in Khaki along with a range of PLB Belts and pouches, Gen 2 Fastmags and 'Tac Link' Karabiners and eagerly awaited everything's arrival.
Upon arrival it was clear that FLYYE gear in general is of a very well constructed and heavy duty nature, the stitching and materials in general seem somewhat superior to a lot of the viper gear of my earlier playing experience, which surprised me from an all Chinese manufacturer.
The EDC Backpack on its own is very light and comfortable to wear, with a good level of adjustment in its straps, as well as very handy velcro retainers to help roll up the excess and contain it - anyone who has played in warm weather with just a vest on will know the struggle of annoying dangling webbing straps or chafing tactical gear getting in the way of comfortable play.
The main hydration compartment is hidden under a flap/upper pouch which is zipped both sides and has a single QD clip retaining it at the bottom as well. Thus it stays firmly closed regardless of what you get up to in the pack. This hidden section is padded and has a convenient cut-out at the top for fitting the rotating locking filler port of your hydration bladder in, as well as having an adjustable QD clip retainer strap across the top.
Thus you can fill your hydration bladder and slide it into the pouch but have the filler cap hooked into the retaining slot and clipped in place from above, so the bladder is held up and kept in place, preventing any movement or folding or sagging, which maintains a good balance of the weight and keeps the water flowing as you drink from it throughout the day.
With the bladder filled and installed you can then feed the drinking tube through either the left or right opening at the top just where the two main straps are attached at the shoulders, and then use the multitude of PALS loops to keep control of the tube as it makes its way over your shoulder - I tend to double mine back so it rests across my sternum to prevent it leaking everywhere too much and have it sit naturally where I can grab it with my mouth in a largely hands free manner to prevent me having to let go of my primary weapon.
At the bottom end of the pack are small dangling loops which I used to attach tac links through; these would serve as very convenient mounting points for quick release PLB Belts used for my pistol rig around my waist.
Just above this is the permanently placed bottom pouch with zip access for the aforementioned internally divided and net constructed storage space for valuables, including a handy little strap with a flap-clip for attaching the key ring of your key bundle to.
With the valuables pouch closed and secured you are presented with a reasonable little 4 column wide by 3 row deep area of PALS to attach a radio or utility pouch to - I tend to leave my radio on there as it is a difficult place to reach once wearing the backpack so better for something you don't have to get at often. However I have fitted a warrior 'M249' mag pouch there in the past for storing my digital camera or a load of snacks when using the backpack in a hiking setting instead of in game. The aforementioned flap-pouch which covers the hydration bladder opening can also be used for a radio if needs be, and is just sealed with a simple horizontal zip, again, unless you have a buddy to access it for you it's largely a 'fill and forget' storage solution as you can't comfortably reach it without removing the backpack in game that easily. This also has a velcro patch for affixing a nametape, flag patch or similar across the back, and a drag handle just above that at the base of tour neck.j