“The Chief” is Recycled Firefighter’s standard everyday carry backpack. It’s made in the USA from USA materials and is built sound. It’s by no means what I could call “overbuilt” but it is definitely built well. Recycled Firefighter refers to it as both “The Chief” and “Chief” on their website. I’m going with Chief here because it’s easier to write around.
This first look will detail the features of the Chief and provide some first impressions. It’s a very interesting pack doesn’t seem to have the same following as either the Battalion 12HR (first look) or Battalion 24HR.
Unboxing “The Chief” from Recycled Firefighter
“The Chief” Unique Front Panel
The premise behind the Chief is an interesting one. Each front panel is made from re-purposed firefighter coats and pants which means each backpack is unique.
Although you can choose the color you’ll receive the front panel could vary wildly. You may receive a fairly basic front like the one I received…
…or yours may have writing or other markings on it. Each bag is randomly selected when shipped so you don’t have any input on what you’ll receive.
If you’re looking for a unique backpack then this might be perfect for you. If you’re in the market for a clean pack for work then you might want to look elsewhere.
“The Chief” First Look
Starting on the outside each Chief has a horizontal strip of Velcro loop. You can load this spot up with patches or leave it bare.
My Chief has a reflective band running horizontally across it.
If you zoom in on the reflective band you can see some of the wear and tear. All of the front panels are from re-purposed firefighter clothing. Re-purposed means USED so don’t expect this front panel to be in pristine condition.
The front panel is also a pocket that runs from the zipper to the bottom of the pack.
There’s a nice rain flap over the zipper which actually helps obscure the pocket. If it weren’t for the paracord zipper pull I may not have initially noticed the front pocket at all.
The base of the pack is made from 1000d Cordura. You can also see the zippers running to the bottom which confirms this is a clam shell opening pack.
Moving to the top of the bag we have the carry handle. It’s one piece of webbing folded and sewn over on itself.
Here’s another view of that top handle where you can really see the handle.
Here’s how the handle is sewn into the pack. It’s sewn in there well and I don’t anticipate it coming loose.
Moving to the back of the pack there’s the shoulder straps (with webbing) and the 1000d Cordura back panel. No padding here so humid & hot locations should consider that.
There’s webbing on the shoulder straps but there’s no hydration port on the backpack. Maybe attach some hand sanitizer? I don’t know… the only thing I use these for are GrimLocs.
Here’s a look at the full back panel. You might notice that there’s no zippered laptop area here.
Final outside picture (for now) is the USA made zipper hardware.
Opening the pack there’s a pocket area with webbing and a buckle to secure whatever you put in there. If you’re bringing a laptop with you then that’s probably the best spot for it.
On the side (of the inside) you’ll see the only Recycled Firefighter branding on the bag. Not awful at all.
Just to confirm there’s no hydration port exit hole on the pack as shown by the above picture.
The other side of the pack features two zippered pockets. It’s interesting that the zippers meet in the middle which means you zip the top pocket up and the bottom pocket down to open them.
There’s a small piece of webbing between the zippers to prevent them from ramming into each other.
Both pockets are made of 1000d Cordura and open on the side. This can make it a little difficult to get in and figure out what’s going on.
First Look Assistance
Creating these first look posts are fun but they’re also work! Thankfully, I had an assistant this time around.
It’s tougher than you might imagine to get some of these packs to stand up on their own. It requires some timing…
… a good deal of luck…
And even then it doesn’t always work out.
I’m excited to use this bag. It feels like it’s built with quality in mind but not overbuilt like most of the backpacks I’m used to. My son is currently using it to carry toys to and from the hospital… there’s some great pictures coming in a review (soon) of him in action.