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View Full Version : Tough choice... Express, Marauder, or X-Ray - Help!



bigfoot
10-23-2009, 09:02 AM
The Kifaru bug has bitten again. Still waiting on my G1 E&E and Organizer in black, and already I am wading through the internet and the forums here doing more research. At 5'9" with about a 20 or 21" torso length I'm having a little trouble settling on which smaller (1,500-2,500 cu. in.) pack. It would primarily be for day hikes and urban & rural travel. Maybe even a little EDC use if I need the extra clothing, 2L water, and gear. Probably skip the waist belt for now, as I just don't carry heavy loads.

I intended for the E&E w/Organizer to be my EDC setup. Small enough to take traveling for work or play, but just big enough to hold the essentials.

* The G1 Express seems great for a simple, basic pack. Not a huge fan of top loaders, but it looks very streamlined. I could use the incoming gear, but I'm not sure how it carries with an E&E (and even an attached Organizer) on the back. Black = $190

* The G1 Marauder looks like a good choice, too. But I don't see me needing to use much of the PALS. I could use the incoming E&E and Organizer with this, though. Panel loading is a definite plus. Black = $237

* The G1 X-Ray probably duplicates the E&E role, but the extra organization features are really nice. Another plus being that it's a top and panel loader. Wouldn't leave me much to do with the E&E, but the Organizer could be attached. Weight seems a little high for a smaller pack. Black = $230

Any help appreciated!!

steveb
10-23-2009, 09:52 AM
OK, here is my opinion of the packs mentioned:

X-Ray; best of the 3 for 'EDC', but just as heavy as the other packs. Good for as a travel pack if you don't need that much room. Fair as a hiking pack due to short stays and lack of lifter straps (really they are more for pack stability in the omni-packs)

MollExpress; a little tall for EDC. Good as travel pack. Outstanding pack for hiking..very comfortable, trim, and comfortable. Get a belt w pals even if your loads are light..adds stability and a place for small pockets (stash-it) which are VERY useful.

Marauder; a little chunky for EDC but can compress very well. Excellent travel/range pack due to panel access, ability to organize, and shape suited to travel. Good as hiking pack. Versatile design.

So, it depends on your primary use for the pack. For hiking, the MExpress. For travel/range/car camp, the Marauder. For EDC, the XRay.

Since you have the E&E, I'd get either the MollExpress or Marauder, depending if you want panel or top/bottom access (the E&E mounts well to both, but not the XRay). Heck, get em' both (MExpress and Marauder) and return or sell one later if need be. But get a belt. Even if you don't use it that often, you will be glad you did!

AndyL
10-23-2009, 10:14 AM
A kifaru pack seems a waste without the waist belt for normal use. If I'm carrying a really light load (jacket, lunch) I'll use a lighter bag.

I have the G1 marauder and it's great for the organisation which I require. It wouldn't be my choice for a hiking bag though, the taller slimmer express would be best for that (unless your doing something like photography where the panel access would be very useful)

bigfoot
10-23-2009, 10:29 AM
Thanks! Hmm... do I go the "one pack to do it all" route, or the separate EDC pack and hiking/travel pack route.

Between the three packs (Express, Marauder, and X-Ray) it sounds like the Express is the most comfortable while day hiking. This is probably going to be my primary use, with short trips around 10 miles. I'd prefer it to ride a little higher on the shoulders and back, sounds like the advantage is to the Express here, too.

Can anyone comment on how 1L Nalgene bottles ride in the Express pack? I have a bladder, but honestly, prefer good ol' bottles.

straps
10-23-2009, 11:01 AM
The Marauder is too big for urban EDC IMHO. I use it when I'm away from ANY office.

You are rightly skeptical of top loaders for EDC. The MOLLEx has that bottom zipper, which is nice, but still not the same...

You like panel loaders. Advantage X-Ray.

As I've said before I bought my X-Ray, let it sit, and recently "re-discovered" it. Carries well without a belt, slightly better than a MOLLEx. That front panel offers up to 500 CI that you'd have to be a lot more careful in packing a MOLLEx to get.

Hope this helps...

steveb
10-23-2009, 11:36 AM
I too prefer bottles most of the time...unless I'm going to be out all day in the bush (bladders are a PITA for shorter excursions). On the packs you mention, I use a pair of Mini-longs with the zips facing forward. Can fit any bottle and easy to access with pack on. Because they are 3 pals wide, they are stable too. And, can use them as utility pouch on the packs or the E&E. For the Omni packs, you can't go wrong with a pair of mini-longs and an organizer (also a pair of stash-its for the belt). This setup is often depicted on the X-Ray, but works just as well on the MollExpress, Marauder, Zulu, Pointman, and even the ZXR.

bigfoot
10-23-2009, 12:22 PM
Okay, well now I'm leaning towards the G1 Marauder or the G1 X-Ray for a "do it all" solution. Hard to ignore the panel loading and better organization. This may be the end of my pack buying and selling madness. Well, maybe. :D

A little more detail on usage: Hiking would be short day hikes, travel would mostly be by vehicle (minimal by comm'l. airline), and a good amount of EDC use thrown in.

Which do you think (Marauder vs. X-Ray) rides a little higher on the back and shoulders?

Pardner
10-23-2009, 12:36 PM
In my opinion, it's just a matter of time but anybody who uses Kifaru packs extensively (you-all) will eventually own a Marauder so I'll set that aside.

If you will use the pack 35% or more for EDC, get the Xray (low profile, organization, access). Otherwise get the Mollex (longer stays, higher capacity). The belt and organizer are highly recommended.

I too prefer bottles for shorter trips. I find buckles/open top pouches more convenient than zippers. I use the multi-configuration Eagle Industries 1 Quart Canteen Pouch seen here: http://eagleindustries.com/product.php?productid=296&cat=24&page=2. I wish Kifaru made a similar product (flap secured with buckle/velcro when needed but with stowable flap for open top use when needed).


Which do you think (Marauder vs. X-Ray) rides a little higher on the back and shoulders?
First, I agree with Straps with regards to Marauder and EDC -- the 6 buckles to undo on the G1 is also worth mentioning for in-out EDC. The Marauder has 1" longer stays than the xray but it's a moot question in my experience. With a belt and fitted properly, they sit at the same spot on your lumbar area. Take out the belt and it should still be at that spot. Depending on the design, packs with less than 21 inch stays do not provide any shoulder lift at least for me so both sit about the same (mid-lumbar).

steveb
10-23-2009, 03:49 PM
Tactical Tailor also makes a canteen type pouch w buckle lid, about $25. The Mini-Longs work better than one might think for bottles. I can fit 2 bottles of of water or gatorade (16-20oz), or one standard Nalgene in each pocket. I leave the zips toward the bottom..just reach around and zip one up about halfway. Pull bottle out, drink, stow, and pull zip down. As long as you mount them low and forward (with zippers forward), they are easy to reach without undue contortion.

straps
10-23-2009, 04:32 PM
Off original topic, but I've taken a liking to the CamelBak bottle pouch shown below:

http://www.camelbak.com/government-military/accessories/bottle-pouch.aspx

Available in UCP, Coyote and Foliage.

Big enough to swallow a bottle with neoprene sleeve (elastic retention also), lighter due to 500D construction (an associate tested CB's 500D line; they researched durability and approaches to stitching to ensure good service life), PALS loops for a small pouch to store purification gear or power gel, etc. and extended PALS that interfaces perfectly with the G2 E&E on up. Compacts when empty.

The opposite extreme is the Spec Ops PUP:

http://www.specopsbrand.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductID=60#

Smaller PALS attachment grid, but interfaces perfectly with E&Es of all vintages. Padded like the Liter Plus but Fastex top entry, which is cool. Padded, for insulation and protection. Holds shape when empty, which can be a good thing. US made by a reputable manufacturer.

I'm waiting on some printed tape to commission a couple custom Liter Plus pouches, which I use more for storage of fragile equipment these days...

rhunter424
10-23-2009, 08:18 PM
Off original topic, but I've taken a liking to the CamelBak bottle pouch shown below:

http://www.camelbak.com/government-military/accessories/bottle-pouch.aspx


I have 2 of those in my gear bin that have a little dust on them. Almost a year and a half ago in the summer I ran 2 of these on the sides of my G1 E&E and it was nice to have cooler water on a hot ass day. Never used them after that but I might have to change that.

Onto the original topic. I started with an express, then got a multicam marauder (for Urban overnighters oddly enough). Ended up selling both and getting a Mollex. My E&E was my EDC. I liked the small organization of the mollex and PALS which allowed me to add an organizer.

Now that I'm actually using my G2 E&E a lot more instead of simply carrying it I'm taking a liking to the panel loading ability. Foliage G1 Marauder is inbound now. I don't think I'll end up selling my Mollex because to me its filling a role the marauder can't really do for me. The taller stays and slimmer profile make the Mollex very nice for day trips.

I think if you do get an xray you'll end up using either it or the E&E more, and buying another pack to fill the role you're looking to fill now.

revelation2012
10-23-2009, 10:39 PM
I had a mollex I was using. It was a little deep and was carrying it in the summer so it was a little big for EDC. I usually like to carry it a little slick with an organizer. I usually carry a nalgene inside along with my Bible, FAK and other stuff I use on a daily basis. In my area layers are necessary in the winter and would usually by mid day shed my jacket and carry it in there. The thing I did not like about the Mollex was having to dig in the top loader to get at what I wanted and limited organization.

This summer I got a G2 E&E and was using that. I really like the panel loader for frequent in and out access. It is a little on the small side for my daily carry load. The E&E for carrying for any distance find it extremely uncomfortable but it is okay from car to office carry.

I just sold my Mollex and ordered one of the last G1 Marauder's still available. I definately like a panel loader for this size of pack and if I am going to be in and out of bag through out the day. With all the pals inside I can see outfitting it with Lock and Loads on the inner panels. I may be little large in the summer months but in the winter it may be good.

I can see me holding on the Marauder and being glad I got a panel loader in this size of pack. Now for multi day expedition I would like a top loader for the back country but am really trying to decide between the AG1 or the AG2 bag with MMR frame for back country because I really like the panel loader but not sure about the larger packs in that config.

bigfoot
10-24-2009, 08:54 AM
Is it wrong to sit around thinking about packs all day? Boy, it sure is hard making a decision. I think I am leaning more towards the Marauder now, with an unpadded plain belt. The panel loading and versatility is really attractive. Plus, it can grow with me.

Brainstorming here... I'll already have the E&E / Organizer for EDC day use, and can dock it to the Marauder if needed. Or separate the Organizer and attach it to the Marauder for travel use.

But the X-Ray still looks good, too. One thing I keep coming back to is the weight / size ratio. Somewhat heavy for a smaller pack, limited load carrying, although I don't plan on carrying the kitchen sink anyway.

Color-wise does anyone have a black Marauder? I see the black ones and the foliage ones are still available on the Kifaru web site. Should I stick with black to match my E&E / Organizer, or go for foliage to avoid the SWAT look?

One last question (I swear) -- occasionally I'll get lower back pain, in the Sciatic area. Anyone with back trouble use a Marauder successfully? Or is it wiser to seek a different pack with longer stays?

Many thanks!! :)

steveb
10-24-2009, 09:29 AM
I really think you will get more out of a Marauder or MExpress than the X-Ray. They weigh and cost about the same, but you can do a lot more with the bigger two. IMO, Kifaru products really shine when used as designed; hauling loads sometimes for miles in rough, austere environments.

Unless of course you plan to use the pack extensively in a 'sheeple-rich' environment...like in modern civilised environs (school, base, office, etc). Here, however, cheaper packs (Maxpedition, Camelback, etc) work just fine and sometimes better. One does not need (or even want) an expensive, sophisticated ruck optimised for load bearing and rough handling when all you do is carry the pack on one shoulder for 100 metres to and from your car/cubicle.

So where does the X-Ray really fit-in? IMO, perfect for situations that combine the need for a somewhat compact tough pack, occasional hiking/patroling, and frequent access. (i.e. construction contractor, law enforcement, military vehicle operator, command post, etc)

ppfd
10-25-2009, 11:10 AM
I have a G1 x ray, I'm thinking real hard on moving up to a MOLEX and a Scout package. My "EDC" is usually what I put in my pockets each day so I don't even need an E&E. I do have an E&E style pack so thats covered already.

I spent some time taking with Pardner, as he has the packs I'm interested in. So here is my opinion:

XRay - I work fire/ems so this is my "overnight" bag. Stuff sack with t shirts, socks and a few drawers. Small shave kit with mostly travel sized brand name stuff from WM. 1 liter Nalgene, odds n ends scattered though all the pockets, (extra small flash light, batteries, knives, etc.

With this the pack is almost full. This is not a big pack!

Panel - hardly used. I go through the top 99% of the time. I have a #10 DnL on the inside, empty.

If it was me, I'd give the Express line a look a little more. If I had the need I'd keep all 3. For me, I think the Scout Molle Express combo is going to work better.

Belt - get the belt!!!!!!! I can carry the xray with just the belt on! Pretty neat!

bigfoot
10-25-2009, 11:51 AM
:) :) :)

Okay, well, I just ordered a G1 X-Ray in black with a plain, unpadded waist belt. I am like a kid at Christmas, can't wait!! I think it will be perfect for EDC / hiking / travel / work & admin.

Many thanks for all of your help! Some support group you all are... :D

(Where is the twelve-step program?)

Pardner
10-25-2009, 01:42 PM
:) :) :)

Okay, well, I just ordered a G1 X-Ray in black with a plain, unpadded waist belt.

Now you can start planning for the Marauder, or the Pointman, or the ZXR, oh my...

Brotzie
10-25-2009, 02:45 PM
... I just ordered a G1 X-Ray ... I think it will be perfect for EDC / hiking / travel / work & admin.

It will :) I still think it's the best all-round EDC do-whatever-you-want pack ever built :D Bombproof, accessible, good integral pockets, carry-on compliant, big enough to carry all your stuff (or, if you've got too much stuff, there's always pods and a Cargo Chair if all those compression straps aren't enough lashing for you) but not so big that you end up cinching it down all the time.

bigfoot
10-25-2009, 04:28 PM
One thing I didn't know was how does Kifaru size the belts -- on a good day I'm a 33" waist but hopefully there's a little range in the belt.

And so starts the addiction...

AndyL
10-25-2009, 04:42 PM
Mel explained recently

in short the medium waist belt goes from 33inch to 38inch waist

bigfoot
10-25-2009, 05:01 PM
Well perfect! Thanksgiving is coming soon anyway, might have to expand things... :D

bigfoot
12-02-2009, 07:07 PM
Just wanted to post a quick follow-up... the brown truck of joy showed up today with my new G1 X-Ray in black and matching unpadded plain belt. Another early Christmas courtesy of Kifaru. :)

In a word, WOW -- I am impressed! This is my first "real" Kifaru pack (sans E&E) and the built quality is nothing short of bomb-proof. Very roomy, and with plenty of spots to stash gear. I attached the Organizer to the front, so I should be all set for a while now in my perfect pack quest. (Ha ha, yeah right).

When I get a chance I'll try to take some photos and get them uploaded.

poi dog
12-03-2009, 12:34 AM
Hey, right on! Congrats on your acquisition! I was sold on the "bomb proof[ness]" of my x-ray when I loaded up my kids (especially my son) in the cargo chair and witnessed the stitching hold up to the weight of my kids as I thrashed around with them. I know you'll love your x-ray as I really love mine. I've had mine for about 2 years now and look forward to many more :cool::cool:

AndyL
12-03-2009, 01:22 AM
I just go a G1 E&E and organiser to go on my Marauder (also G1)

A lot of the time I just use web dominators to keep the compression straps out of the way. The E&E rides very well on it, in the past I've had a mediumpod on the back which covers the same area but is deeper so looked a bit odd (though it was just a bulky coat so no problem)

SnWnMe
12-11-2009, 03:18 PM
In a word, WOW -- I am impressed! This is my first "real" Kifaru pack (sans E&E) and the built quality is nothing short of bomb-proof. Very roomy, and with plenty of spots to stash gear. I attached the Organizer to the front, so I should be all set for a while now in my perfect pack quest. (Ha ha, yeah right).



Haha. The perfect pack doesn't exist (but you don't need me to tell you that). I've hardly scuffed my Xray and I am already looking into replacing my standard OD Navy sea bag with a Zulu or a ZXR :)

bigfoot
12-11-2009, 06:04 PM
Quick, somebody pass the Kifaru crack pipe around. :D

Here's a picture after removing the waist belt, the bottom compression straps, and installing some web dominators and the Organizer. TAD Gear patch up top. Still working on getting the contents loaded up... should give me something to do this rainy weekend. More pics to follow that. Will probably be running the pack half-full (or is that half-empty?) for EDC use. So glad you all convinced me to get the waist belt -- that is going to be very handy for day hikes come summertime.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2573/4177126211_d4732e0097.jpg

SnWnMe
12-13-2009, 12:26 AM
I like how you lined up all the zipper pulls. I get OCD like that sometimes.

How are you liking that organizer? I find that putting anything significant on the panel without compensating for it inside the pack makes the balance weird. For this reason I only have a small Haffafug on my panel.

bigfoot
12-13-2009, 08:16 AM
Haha, yeah, I must've been having an OCD moment. The Organizer is pretty nice (and a perfect fit), but I haven't loaded it up with very much weight. I could definitely see that if you overloaded it the pack would want to tip forward.

For right now there's just various crap stored in there -- compass, lighter, small notepad & pen, Leatherman Micra, cell charger, and a few spare batteries. Not full by any means.

bigfoot
12-13-2009, 09:47 AM
Few more quick photos... still a work in progress.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2741/4182045956_e825c83732.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2539/4181282909_eb1a3a43fc.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2730/4181282837_4caaba8f37.jpg

SnWnMe
12-15-2009, 07:10 AM
Welp, I just pulled the trigger on a couple of small items. A L&L #10 and a Med Ultralight pullout. The item I am storing in the pullout is 5.5" across so I am hoping that the published Med Pullout dimension of 6" across is good. My chamber pocket was short about half an inch from the published depth of 5".