This review is for the second iteration of the Triple Aught Design Litespeed. This is an EDC review which stands for Every Day Carry. This means that the pack was not used for training or events but instead as a work/life bag. I purchased this bag at retail price and have no relationship with Triple Aught Design which means I’m both able to deliver a non-biased review in all aspects and slightly poorer. If you’re interested in what the bag looked at when it showed up look at my door then check out the pictures in the TAD Litespeed V2 Preview post.
The first modification I made (after taking pictures for the preview post) was remove the Transporter Tail and re-attach it on the inside. As many of you know I’m a software developer and need a backpack that does not scream tactical and a Transporter Tail and extra straps scream tactical.
I attached the Transporter Tail on the inside for three very good reasons. First, it creates a nice area to store a laptop… which is something I carry with me almost all the time. Being able to separate the laptop from the rest of the pack is important to me so I’m glad it’s something that can be achieved. In addition, if your hiking you can use that pouch created by the Transporter Tail to store a water bladder.
Second, it creates an internal wall of MOLLE that you can use to attach pockets to. I’m not a huge fan of attaching internal pockets because it takes up room in a pack. This isn’t an issue if you’re dealing with something larger (like a 26L GORUCK GR1) but with smaller packs like the 22L TAD Litespeed bulky pouches can take up some much-needed space.
The third reason I made the switch was so that I could give the pack a lower profile. By removing the Transporter Tail I was able to transfer four straps off the outside of the pack. Removing the Tail and the four straps, in my opinion, gives the pack a leaner, slightly more business-friendly, look. I hear that TAD will be releasing a low profile Tail in the future which I’m excited for… covering more external webbing is always a positive in my opinion. I’m not an operator and I sure don’t want to look like one. In addition adding an OP1 Admin Pouch covers some of the MOLLE webbing which helps.
One hint to mounting the Transporter Tail on the inside is to do it upside down. If you do then you can use the opening (meant for the butt of a rifle) as a storage pocket. You can’t fit much in there but a Kill Cliff bar or something similar always works.
The second change I made (first being removing the Transporter Tail) was to weave the Elastic Retainer Straps through the side webbing. I considered removing them entirely but I found that weaving them made them near invisible and still allowed me to have them on hand in the event I needed them.
With those modifications made I set out to use the pack. Before writing this review I used the Litespeed as my main pack for three months (from 11/1/2014 to 2/1/2015). This time-frame included the Arden Tough Range Day event and the trip I made to SHOT Show 2015. The above picture is from the Arden Tough Range Day event and is a great image of what this pack looks on a 6’2″ person. For reference I’m wearing a Large TAD Ranger Hoodie.
This bag is built tough. It uses 500D and 1000D Cordura throughout and I never felt like it was going to give out on me. I’m in no way a materials expert but everything used on this bag feels quality. It’s a little strange but when people are near it they kind of gravitate to the bag. Something about it gives the impression that love was put into making it and only the finest materials were used.
Oddly enough the handle is one of the pieces people first comment on. It’s made of Hypalon (trivia fact that’s what’s used in Zodiac boats) and has a very distinct feel to it. Honestly I’m not sure if that means the handle is more reinforced or not but it’s definitely a cool feature not seen on (as far as I’m aware) any other pack.
The pack is very sturdy and, thanks to the new HDPE frame sheet, doesn’t collapse on itself like the V1 did. Now I can’t show you that there’s an actual frame sheet in there because it’s sewn in… but I can show you the above picture. Good luck ever doing that with a pack that doesn’t have a frame sheet or support in it… it won’t happen.
The stitching is all incredible which is something that I’d expect from both Triple Aught Design and a pack that costs $245. There’s just nothing that I’m able to knock on the quality front… the materials used are very durable and the bag really feels like a nice piece of gear. If you pick up this bag you’ll feel like you’re picking up an expensive piece of gear.
The design of the pack is pretty straight forward. There’s a top pocket which features some slots for pencils, pens, and other small items. I used it as a quick-grab pocket and stored writing instruments, a snack, and a phone charger in there. Anything that I needed to get quickly was stored in that location. The opening on the area is tight which was a little rough on my large man hands but it wasn’t awful.
The shoulder straps are sewn into the pack this time around so they’re no longer removable. The new shoulder straps are the most contested aspect of the pack in terms of if people like them or not. There’s a decent number of people who prefer the V1 shoulder straps to the V2 and it’s a little unfortunate that these aren’t removable. If they were then that contingent could just remove the V2 straps and replace with the V1 ones. It would definitely make for some nicely customized packs.
There is a ton of MOLLE webbing on this pack. From the previous pictures you can see how it runs up the front and sides completely but, in addition to that, it’s present on the bottom. I haven’t used it but I’m guessing that it would work for attaching a sleeping bag or dry sack if you were hiking. Those straps on the bottom can be extended to support a smaller bag or can be cinched to maker the pack narrower. It’s already a very narrow pack so I never used them for that.
The pack almost completely opens up which is excellent for getting to items that are at the bottom. After owning both this and a few GORUCK packs there’s no way I can go back to a bag that doesn’t open at least near completely.
From the above picture you can see where the opening ends. It goes down to the front of the pack and stops right around the bottom. It doesn’t lay completely flat like the GORUCK packs do but it’s close… very close.
The patch strip on the Litespeed V2 is just like the rest of the Triple Aught Design packs. I’m glad they didn’t change it because it just looks right. Plus, it gives you the ability to show off some of the patches you love from companies and organizations you want to support. If you’re interested the All Day Ruckoff Dog Logo patch (middle), the MOTUS Standard patch (right bottom), and the Rogue Dynamics Tab patch (right top) available in the ADR Shop. That’s the only plug I’ll make in the review… thanks for supporting what we do here.
There’s the location for a belt on the pack but TAD isn’t selling one yet. Hopefully they decide to release one soon (belts come with with Fast Pack EDC and came with the Litespeed V1) because it will be nice for hiking. There probably isn’t enough space in the pack to put enough weight to need a waist belt but with enough attachments I could see it being useful.
I’m bringing this picture back to point out a new system built into the pack. There are Anchor points spaced throughout the pack both internally and externally which will be utilized by TAD in the future. Right now I’m running the Transporter Tail through four of them internally which is how it’s staying attached. TAD has mentioned on numerous occasions that they’ll be expanding this system to include items such as photography storage, gear organizers, and a slick Transporter Tail. I’m very excited to see what they end up releasing for it and that alone will keep me coming back to the TAD site at 9 am every Friday.
You can easily fit a laptop, lunch, and a few other items in there comfortably. There isn’t a ton of room and you certainly can’t bring the kitchen sink along with you. I tossed in my very thin laptop and two textbooks that I needed in college and the thing was full. For those curious the front book is on computer organization and design and the back book is on forensic accounting.
From this second picture you can tell that those two books + laptop push up right against the edge of the bottom. Toss a charger, laptop mouse, and few other items in those mesh pockets and the thing will be stuffed.
I needed to add some external pockets to the pack to make up for the lack of depth. The first pocket I added was a Mesh Water Bottle Holder from GORUCK. When empty it lays flush against the Litespeed and holding a water bottle it’s full and cumbersome. You have to be more aware of you surroundings with that as you can easily bang it against people, corners, or doors.
On the other side I attached a GORUCK Side Pocket. I would keep a notebook and a pen or pencil in here for easy access. It’s nice to be able to slip the pack off and get things out from the side. Since there’s no side pockets built in you might as well attach your own… there’s definitely enough MOLLE for it.
The webbing on the shoulder straps is perfect for attaching a Ruck Works PatchPALS patch. I like having something on my pack customized at each angle so that if it’s sitting down somewhere I can easily tell that it’s mine. Having one of these on the front definitely satisfies that.
The webbing also allows for a Peak Designs Capture Clip Pro to be mounted on there. This piece of gear is perfect for holding a camera if you’re hiking or at a convention. I used it a ton at SHOT Show 2015 and it securely held my camera… no complaints there.
The pack costs $245 on the Triple Aught Design website. This prices it $50 under the GORUCK GR1 and $20 under the GORUCK GR0 which are the competitors that I’m most familiar with. The Litespeed is made in the USA and definitely executes on its advertised points.
I know it’s difficult for some people to find “value” in a $200 – $300 backpack but when compared to products made in the USA of similar materials it definitely falls in line with the rest of them. At $245 the backpack seems like it’s priced right and competitively for the market it’s being sold in. The only negative towards the value is the warranty which is somewhere between 2 and 3 years and only covers factory defects, not normal wear & tear.
This is an awesome backpack. It builds upon the solid foundation of the Litespeed V1 and removes everything that made that pack frustrating. The pack is made out of high quality gear and definitely feels like you’re getting what you paid for. It’s designed incredibly well and the modular aspect of it really allows you to customize it to your ever-changing needs. The sizing on it is nice but I just wish that it was a little deeper… even just 1″ would make a world of difference. At $245 it’s priced reasonably for the market it’s being sold in and, in my opinion, is a great buy if you can find one. Since Triple Aught Design released the V2 they’ve sold out online within 20 minutes every time they have been restocked.
If you want to add one of these to your collection I’d recommend checking out the TAD Litespeed V2 product page every Friday morning around 9 am and hopefully there will be one waiting for you.
Triple Aught Design Video
When this pack was released Triple Aught Design released a promotional video with it that displays some of the features talked about in this review. Check it out for some customization ideas and to get more views of the pack.