Friday, May 29, 2015

Random Photos: Rusty old broomhandle

Old pictures from 2009 that I never uploaded when I migrated this blog from WordPress.  Also pictured: A Bulgarian WW2 helmet and a Gewehr 1888 Commission Rifle that I paid 20 bucks from Old Western Scrounger back in 2004.  Photographed on a cheap Kodak pocket cam.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Worthless Gear: KMNW Tiberius Molle 10x10x4 Pouch

I thought I should start reviewing some of the many worthless pouches, packs and other add-on crap I've accumulated over the years since first being introduced to the MOLLE system during my training days at Fleet Marine Training Battalion.  Also I wanted an excuse to do closeups with my new 50mm Prime lens which is fun to take pictures with and makes anything mundane look amazing, I think.

Note: This isn't really a review - more of quick product overview and rant about how worthless it was for my intended purposes.
This bag has seen some shit.

 The first worthless pack I'm showcasing here is the Tiberius MOLLE 10x10x4 XTRA Large Hold All Pouch manufactured by a UK company called KMNW.  10"x10"x4" refers to the external dimensions in inches.  You can loosen the straps and expand it vertically to 15"x10"x4" making it one of the largest molle pouches I've seen available.  I ordered three of these back in 2013 in preparation for the dreaded trip to ITX at 29 Palms, CA for two and a half months.  I wanted something that I could add to my main pack and store extra soft gear like tarps, underwear, socks, coats, PT Gear, etc.

Here is a summary from the official website:
 The Tiberius MOLLE Extra Large Hold All pouch is designed to accommodate just about anything from extra clothing, ammo or ration packs. The pouch was initially designed to be worn high on the rear of the LBV as a back pack but could just as easily be worn on the front of a chest rig for medics and also on a belt as a large "bum" bag.
Approx size 10"Hx10"Wx4"D, adjustable to 15"Hx10"Wx4D", drain holes, Internal drawcord with nylon rain cover. MOLLE attachment straps.
Sounds good so far.  However, my issue was this - and this is a problem with other large add-on packs of this class - is that it has six MOLLE attachment straps on the back (the side that is opposite of the two buckles).  The main pack issued to me by the USMC has an odd number of columns, at least on the front, which looks awkward when attached to the front of the main pack.  When attached to the side, it just adds ridiculous amounts of bulk and makes it impossible to insert your rolled sleeping mat.

Drawstring for rain resistance.
I should have researched this before purchasing, so none of these issues are the fault of the manufacturer, mind you.  As for the pack itself, my initial impression was that the material had a cheap nylon feel that I've come to associate with Chinese knockoffs of tactical accessories, but otherwise everything is held together tightly.  The MOLLE loops seem pretty strong and the stitching looks nice and tough.  It smells Chinese though - that is, it has an odd chemical odor that literally smells like the dollar store.  Not The Family Dollar or the Dollar General, but those "Everything-One-Dollar" stores.  It would probably go away if you washed it.  I never washed it, though, for fear that it would tear apart in the washer. Those fears were unwarranted, however, as it survived multiple trips, being tossed and stacked with 300 other mainpacks into the back of a truck in a haphazard manner.  In my opinion it passed a significant torture test without any tearing.
Tough enough!
But my flak vest has seven columns!
If someone makes some kind of cheap, light-weight, back-only MOLLE carrier - i.e., some type of modular backpack that just had MOLLE loops, like this awesome thing here except not as overbuilt - then I imagine this could be useful.  So far nothing exists that is cheaply available - which is too bad, because that combination would make a cool backpack for carrying a macbook and two or three textbooks.

Naughty internal view.
Not really sure what you'd use this for.  It's far too large to be used as a drop pouch, a waste pack, or an add-on to an assault pack.  If you used it as a backpack for serious storage on your load bearing vest or flak carrier, it makes it uncomfortable for long convoys, leaving you leaning forward or perhaps sitting on the edge of your seat.  If you just used it for an MRE or two, you might as well have just put a Camelback carrier on there instead.  I suppose if you wear your LBV or Flak for long periods of time while hiking, don't ride in vehicles, intend to put more than a few things in there, which indeed it is capable of, AND have an even number of molle columns, then I suppose it would be useful.  On a positive note, I should mention that it is rain resistant.   That's gotta count for something.
200-300 rounds of 7.62x39
I took one of them I had home with me on leave and used it to store ammo (which does a shitty job at that).  Pictured here it holds about 200 rounds of 7.62x39 in 20 round boxes and 2 magazines.  There is a lot of extra unused space around the 20 round boxes since the sidewalls curve due to the rounded nature of the bag.  You can gain more room by extending the straps and loosening the string.  I added a 100 round box of 12 gauge on top of that just to see.  It would probably fit more ammo if you arranged everything properly.  The other two I used for long-term storage of uniform items that I never wear.

100 round 12 Ga box for size comparison.
100 round 12 Ga box strapped down.
 If I could make changes to this product to make it overall more useful:
-Add a carry handle, either one on the top towards the back, or two on the side.
-Velcro for name tape.
-Give it seven straps instead of six?  It seems the majority of flaks and mainpacks have an odd numbers of columns.
-Metal clips for detachable carry strap to use as a purse shoulder bag.
-Internal pockets for storing loose things like coins, patches, buttons, batteries, etc.
KMNW slogan: "We're pretty OK, I guess!"
Basically, take a look at the Condor Utility Shoulder Bag and add those features.  The Condor Utility Shoulder Bag is a more useful product of equally good quality which can be centered across seven molle collumns, the only downside is that it is not as big or as expandable as the KMNW Tiberius bag and has only four molle straps with a space between them which I think makes it less durable.

Still want this?  You should buy it NOW at 10 GBP, which is 50% cheaper than it ever was.  The company is apparently going out of business and getting rid of all their inventory.