Gear Review: 3V Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack

I bought the 3V Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack a few months ago and now after using it I have enough feel for it to write a review.

These are the specs from the manufacturer’s website:

 

  • Built from heavy-duty 600D PVC nylon
  • Double stitched seams • Main compartment: 20″H x 12″W x 5.5″D ( 1320 cubic inches)
  • Top front: 13″H x 12″W x 3″D (468 cubic inches)
  • Two large MOLLE pouches attached to each side, (5″x 2.5″x 8″, 100 cubic inches)
  • Overall Size: 2890 cubic inches
  • Body contoured shoulder straps with D-Ring
  • Adjustable padded waist belt
  • External side compression straps
  • Heavy-Duty carry and drag handle
  • Two double zipper pulls on the main compartment for easy access
  • All zipper pulls threaded with para-cord for durability and noise reduction
  • MOLLE and PALs attachment point throughout
  • Includes VVV Gear Rapid Deployment pack
  • 3″ x 5″ Velcro ID panel w/VVV Gear 3D PVC patch
  • Hydration compatible • Sternum strap
  • Available in: Olive Drab, Black, Coyote Tan
  • Price: $65.98 (currently $86.61 on Amazon)

What is does not tell you is that the pack is Made in China, that is not a big deal to some but is to others. I take a middle ground approach and am anything but doctrinaire on this point. I like to buy American when I can and am even willing to pay a little extra to do so but not if that means sacrificing functionality or utility.

I have been using this bag on a daily basis to pack both my bob kit with room to take work related stuff and generally have about a 15-25 pound load in it. I tend to treat my bags pretty rough. To the pack itself:  The pack is made out of Cordura nylon and it was fairly stiff out of the package but loosened up quite quickly. It is ruggedly constructed but all the seams are not double stitched and I cannot see any reinforcing stitching on stress points such as where the straps attach to the main body or where the side compression straps are attached. The main compartment is divided into three sections, a hydration pouch, main compartment, and separate front zippered pocket. The zippers are not YKK, in fact I cannot find any brand markings on them but I have had no problems with them at all. There is no frame but the back is padded and at best semi-rigid. One thing I find nice is that the there is a sternum strap on the shoulder straps.  There is also a waist strap but I have that taped up as I rarely use the waist strap.  It has MOLLE/PAL racks on the side and a rack on the front bisected by a Velcro patch so you can put what you want there. I have a non-subdued 1ID patch on mine. Lastly, the bottom has a couple of loops on it so you could attach a sleeping bag stuff-sack if you wanted to. The bag comes with what amount to three removable pouches. Two box pouches on the sides and a detachable daypack/buttpack (what they call a Rapid Deployment Pack) on the bottom front. The daypack has four pockets, two small ones on the sides, a small one on the front, and a larger main compartment. So far, I am carrying nothing more than some pens and pencils and 150 foot roll of 550 cord in the daypack. I am currently using the two box pouches. One has most of my first aid kit components in it and the other has my fire starting and water purification equipment in it. I also have an MRE and minimal sustainment gear in the main pouch but that pocket stays mostly empty while I have the secondary front pouch filled up with what is essentially pogey bait and random crap. I have it configured so that both box pouches are on one side and on the other I have attached a small utility pouch with my IFAK and CAT and a ROTHCO bottle pouch for a 1 QT Nalgene water bottle; I have a compass pouch with a lensatic compass mounted to the bottle pouch. As normally configured the bag weighs roughly 15-20 pounds.

The front view of my bag as I have it configured
The front view of my bag as I have it configured
The back view of my bag as I have it configured
The back view of my bag as I have it configured

With the load I carry it is fairly comfortable to tote around all day without my arms going numb or my back hurting. (The back part is pretty important to me as I have had surgery on my lower back for a herniated disc and a fusion in my neck). The bag is large enough to carry everything I want to carry with room left for over for stuff I don’t need. In the three months I have been using this bag I have not had any stitching come unraveled and have not noticed any issues despite my tendency to toss the bag around when I take it off. All is not rosy however. The MOLLE straps on the removable gear are not the typical rigid straps with snap closure on the bottom that you usually see. Instead these are flexible straps with Velcro on them and snap on the bottom. The snaps on the pouches are about the only inferior hardware item I have found so far. They are cheaply made and have a tendency to come unsnapped with little pressure put on them. That has not been a huge issue with the side pouches yet but they have come undone a few times and one pouch fell off once so I have ordered Condor EMT Pouches to replace both of them. The bigger issue from my perspective is the tendency for the straps holding the day pack on to come undone. They came loose and the daypack fell off several times before I started using the compression straps on the daypack and the sleeping bag loops on the main bag to hold it on. I have not figured out a permanent fix for this yet although that seems to be working OK for now. My last complaint is that the MOLLE/PAL racks are not all correct. In a couple of places the loops are too narrow and the strips are too close together making it a pain in the ass to mount my pouches. This is particularly so on the rack below the Velcro patch on the front, I have not managed to mount anything there yet and I wanted to mount a small pouch there but that ain’t gonna work.

My Ratings:
  • Price – 4 Stars
  • Ease of Use – 3 Stars
  • Versatility – 4 Stars
  • Durability – 3.5 Stars
  • Overall Rating – 4.5 Stars

I give it an overall 4.5 mainly because of the issues with the MOLLE straps on the pouches/daypack and the improper MOLLE/PAL rack. I still think this is a good pack and for a day-use/BOB bag it is adequate. It is probably big enough for use and setup as a GOTH kit but my confidence level in its construction and the lack of a frame will keep me from using it as such. I recommend this bag but plan to keep looking for something that fits my needs, is more uniformly constructed, and is hopefully domestically manufactured.

Late Breaking Update – Fall 2017:

I Bought this bag in 2014 for use as an EDC BOB/hunting bag. I use it almost every day and tend to beat the snot out of it. It has held up extremely well. The only issue I had with it until recently was that the detachable waist pouch kept coming off but I replaced it with a Condor pouch and have had no issues since and I actually use the original pouch as my stand bag when deer hunting. About 3 weeks ago one of the zippers on the main compartment broke and I thought I was out a great bag. A little research brought me to the 3V website where I discovered they offer a lifetime warranty so I emailed them and told them about the issue. They got right back to me and shipped out a new pack the next day, all I had to do was pay for the shipping ($5 to an APO). They were super responsive and not only claim to have a warranty, they stood by it. I got the new pack in the mail within a week and have already started using it.

There are few enough companies that stand by their products no questions asked anymore and this is one of them. Not only do I love the bag I really appreciate the customer support and they now have someone who will definitely be a return customer. They have a great product that they stand by.