Clamshell style tactical packs - worth the hassle?

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Jun 29, 2014
I have a cheap normal daysack that I use for walking/hiking, filled with a days gear it only weighs a little more than my 5.11 clamshell type pack does empty.

The 5.11 pack is great if you are not carrying it far or as a macho handbag but all the zips and buckles do make it a bit too heavy to lug around all day.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 13, 2009
I think alot depends on YOU and how you intend to use a pack.

I think they are great for admin of smaller items and quite OCD in being able to keep all of of certain kit together.

For heavy duty stuff , even the bigger bags - I don't think carry weight very well.
OCD, I think you have hit the button there. Like many folk here I seem to have and have had an infinity of packs over time. I quite like these various Molle packs as you can add all manner of stuff to the outside, from cameras, to water bottles, to whatever. Many years ago I made myself a clamshell pack, as it seemed a good idea at the time, and perhaps I was ahead of the time.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
In my opinion such multi zipper rucksacks are practical for indoor use. Yes, indoor!

House to car, car to office or work shop to car, to coffee shop to car to house.

That are civil rucksacks for use in everyday life that look like an adventure bag but aren't.

I personally use a 34 litres rucksack that has 1 draw string, 3 flaps and 4 click buckles, but no zippers. 2 side pouches, 1 internal inner pocket in the main compartment.

Yes I use a few zippers too, but they are sewn into seperate internal smaller bags.

In my opinion a zipper is always a weak point in a rucksack.


Full Member
Oct 19, 2006
I tried a 5.11 RUSH pack but really didn't get on with it. There seemed to be so many sections, pockets and pouches, each of which would only weaken the overall pack. It carried poorly and, even with things cinched down, seemed to stick out beyond the average day pack. I remain rather sceptical about the strength and 'weatherproofness' of the zip, too: if that fails, you have little chance of keeping things dry (obviously an impossible ideal in any pack...) but you also stand to lose things when busy, out and about. I have got rid of it and returned to a standard, top-loading sack, organising my bits and pieces into a series of dry bags. If the clips fail on my pack, there is still the possibility of keeping things both dry and together with the drawcord around the top.

As with everything - and I mean 'everything' - it's a personal choice/'horses for courses' but I am not convinced about the merits of a clam-shell type of pack.

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