DESCRIPTION A PH SEAL 3-day assault pack in tigerstripes camouflage pattern where the color variation is distinct to the Philippine Naval Special Warfare Group. The pack was designed based from the classic Lila Outdoor backpack, a local outdoor gear manufacturer which eventually ventured into supplying the local military Special Operation Group for their combat gear needs and thus, all of their military products were classified into what is now known as GEAR MAX Series. Obviously, I would like to think that this is in accord with the initiative to provide our local armed forces especially its various Special Operations, access to commercial off the shelves (COTS) solution for a sturdy and functional military combat gear.
MATERIALS The tigerstripes version of this pack was limited due to the scarcity of this specific tigerstripe material supplies and availability, which I believe is made of Condra or Kondra Nylon. Hence, this specific camouflage variety is no longer available. Last time, I got an opportunity to visit them with a good friend back in 2nd quarter of 2010, there were only last four pieces left and already on reserved. Black color in regular supply though and also commonly used by PH SEAL Operators if one really dig this 3-day pack.
WORKMANSHIP & QUALITY The pack is well built using industry standard tools and acceptable materials with very good workmanship quality. As a matter of fact, all Gear Max Series comes with a lifetime warranty. Nonetheless, having said earlier that the TS fabric material is made of Kondra Nylon, I am not sure though if these TS variety were constructed using 500 or 750 Denier but for sure not the heavier coated 1000 denier to make it more affordable.
VARIATION DETAILS To note, in the photo above is the same batch of their 3-Day version prototypes with a subdued low profile NAVSOG insignia beautifully embroidered on the upper front, just above the black MOLLE webbings (rightmost closed-up photo) with no GearMax markings anywhere in the pack at all. However, in the subsequent productions, upon instructions from NAVSOG, the subdued embroidered NAVSOG “Wing” or insignia was taken off. Consequently, even as this had been subdued in the prototypes or in the test phase, this may well still call unnecessarily attention and somehow take away the unassuming nature of these fine operators… But noticed on my other TS pack that although they are exactly the same less the wing, a GearMax label is now on the shoulder strap and replacing where the embroidered wings was once positioned, is now a black 2” x 3” fabric hook-and-loop fastening tape (similar to VELCRO® brand) for flexibility to attached/detached a patch. Though, there was other early version whereby, instead of the embroidered wings on the same position, a large GearMax Series label was on it.
OTHER MANUFACTURER There is a local popular maker of this specific pack design early on in various sizes whereby, a larger 5-Day version were also popular among the local armed forces elite units made by Tactics; incidentally started as a hobby and became an outfitter of the Philippine Navy’s elite NAVSOG Team Uno (Team One) and the Philippine Air Force 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing.
MISLABEL COPIES On the other hand, unknown maker copied this pack model with a little modification commercially available in most military camp’s concessionary milshops. Modification in terms of adding an elastic rigging cord in the front pocket but unfortunately, what could have been a nice variation actually, of this original classic design, I think was totally ruined by a CAMELBAK label visibly sewed up in front of the pack. Personally, I don’t like the idea as this definitely passed itself as fake Camelbak product and detrimental to the representation of our professional soldiers.
PROOF OF AUTHENTICITY Photo below of the Certificate of Appreciation presented to GEAR MAX during the 50th Anniversary of the unit for their “generous support and cooperation extended forwards the advancement of the Naval Special Operations Group”.