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.
Triple Aught Design Litespeed V2 (EDC Use)
- Spot on sewing and stitching
- Lots of MOLLE for external pockets
- Looks amazing
- Made in the USA
- Rarely if ever in stock
- Would kill for 1″ more depth
Used For: Every Day Carry (EDC)
Tested For: Three Months
Conclusion: Great pack. Just be sure it’s deep enough for your needs.
Brian – first, your reviews are OUTSTANDING!! Please keep it up. Second, as one of the few (only?) folks who has reviewed the TAD Lightspeed, the TAD CP-1, and the Shaddox Tactical weight plate pocket, I have a question for you (but you can probably smell this one coming).
I’m interested in your thoughts on utilizing heavy (45#) weight plates in the Lightspeed (I just pulled the trigger on a TAD LS, but have not received yet). I envision strapping a CP-1 (if I can ever find one) inside and either using that to compress the plate as high and flat against my back as possible, or tethering a Shaddox weight pocket to the CP-1 for the same purpose. The newer CP-1 panels look like they strap to the top rather than the sides of the inside of the Lightspeed, so I’m not sure if I could make a pocket out of the CP-1 if the ‘top’ of the pocket is blocked with straps. If not, the top suspension could at least keep a Shaddox pocket as high as possible.
Full disclosure – ultimately, I would like to add additional weight to the 45# plate. Probably by adding another Shaddox pocket either to the CP-1 (if I am able to use it as a pocket for the first plate) or to the first Shaddox pocket (if I had to go that route.
I think you’ll say the internal Molle on the GR1 would have probably been a better choice – but I really like the modularity of the TAD LS. Plus, I already puled the trigger. :) I get the Military discount at both places (TAD and GoRuck), so it was easier to do than if I was paying full price.
Oh, also – you motivated me to sign up for the 2020 1k mile Charity Challenge. I’m doing most of mine ‘encumbered’ (with ruck plates, baby!!).
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks again for providing such an outstanding resource!!
I just thought of something else… If I can’t find a TAD CP-1, what about using a GMT RIP-M panel instead? Could I strap that high ENOUGH to some internal anchor points in the TAD LS and and then Malice clip a Shaddox pocket (or two) to that?
Carm DG says
How do you get the attachment straps off the sides?
I’ve been trying for ages but I cant twist the end through????
Thinking about using my TAD Litespeed for a GORUCK Challenge. 1) I’m assuming it’s tough enough 2) am I going t get crap that’s it’s not a GORUCK bag?
Brian Lohr says
You won’t get crap that it’s not a GORUCK bag and I’ve seen a number of TAD packs out there before. One thing to note is that whatever bag you bring will get beat up pretty good so if it’s the love-of-your-life irreplaceable pack it might not be the right one to bring. I’ve got some packs that I’m still finding sand in crevices over a year after the last event I did with them.
I just ordered the litespeed. The depth is perfect for my use. Everything was perfect except the shoulder straps and they are too wide. Have you had any feedback on the way the shoulder straps and chest strap fit? Maybe it is just me but as I said they seem to sit wide apart and the chest strap is too low.
Brian Lohr says
It was pretty much a perfect fit for me especially after cinching up the should straps on top. The sternum strap was a little low initially so I slid it up along the should strap to about the midway point that it allows.
Hey Brian –
Love the review. Given you’ve had extensive experience with both this and the ASAP. Would you suggest one over the other for traveling (Plane, Hotel, Larger cities)?
Thanks a ton!
Brian Lohr says
That’s a tough one! Both definitely have their advantages but it really comes down to preference. Is there one you like the look of over the other? Some like the “tactical” look of the Litespeed and some really like how the ASAP carries. I don’t think you would go wrong with either of those choices. Good luck!
Great review, pictures and evaluation. I had the first version but could never warm to its utility and complexity. I’m considering the second version and I think your review has helped me decide against it. I’m going to stick with my GR0 for EDC.
Brian Lohr says
Sounds good Alan! If you’re a fan of the simplicity of the GR0 then I’d recommend staying away from this.
I reversed myself out of abject curiosity and bought the V2. As well-made as it was it carried even smaller than the previous version and I sold it immediately.
A V1 came up at a steal-this-bag price so I picked it up and tried it again. I think the V1 straps are much better than the new generation but I still came up against the overly complex nature of the bag.
The GR0 was still better for EDC but I also dumped it and went back to its bigger siblings for EDC and travel.
Brian Lohr says
I picked up a V1 at a steal-this-bag price as well and haven’t given it the love it deserves yet. Probably for the same reason you dumped it and the V2… there’s just so much going on.
It’s a great bag, well made, and I still think one of the better bags out there IF you like the overly complex nature and details of it. Since I’m a more minimalist person when it comes to details I’ve continued to put them back on the wall to try again at a later date.
Thanks for all the work you do here and I will now have to bug you with another question about the FAST Pack EDC. Do you think it would be good for a goruck light or heavy? Could you use the brick panel that Todd Forkner desgined in this bag?
Brian Lohr says
I have a friend who has used the EDC for multiple challenges and heavies and he swears by it. He’s sometimes on Twitter and if he’s around I’m sure he’d answer some questions… although I think he’s taking a social media break. The brick panel designed by Todd won’t fit in either of the TAD packs because they have no internal webbing to attach them too unfortunately.
Thanks for the review, Brian!
Have you had any personal experience with the Fast Pack EDC, or how it compares to the Fast Pack Litespeed in practice?
I’ve been a happy GR0 user for the last half year, using it for everything from day hikes to simple travel, but lately I’ve been wishing that the pack was a bit more versatile in the way that the Fast Packs seem to be, especially because the EDC has about 10 L more capacity than the Litespeed or GR0.
Brian Lohr says
Thanks for the comment!
The Fast Pack EDC definitely appears to be versatile (and it is) but the cons that I’ve experienced with it for every day purposes outweigh the benefits.
I should mention that I do own a TAD Fast Pack EDC and use it as my hiking backpack. It has great load distribution and is a wonderful bag. However, for every day use I find the lack of a clam shell opening combined with how “tactical” it looks to be a pretty big negative, in my opinion.
I’m hoping to have a review of the bag up in a month or two but we’ll see :) In the mean time my friend Blane has some good articles for the pack on his site. Pack config has a good one too!
Thanks for the links!
What would you say are the major differences for usage between GR and something like the Fast Pack Litespeed, given their similar capacities?
Brian Lohr says
I’d say they both target the same market but the GR brand has always gone after the “professional” segment while TAD usually tackles the outdoors enthusiasts.
The only times I could see myself leaning towards one or the other would be based on environment. I’d taking the Litespeed hiking with me in a second but I’d never take it to a board room for meetings with Sr. Leadership/Management. The GR line of packs don’t look out of place in that environment though which is nice :)
John Cuntripper says
Can you tell the dimensions of your laptop? Could something 10,5″ wide fit into the main compartment?
Brian Lohr says
A 10.5″ wide laptop might be a little too big for it. On the TAD website it says that the pack is only 10″ wide so it would definitely be a tight fit.
While the pack is of superior quality the company is not. If your going to sell a good product then sell it. Playing childish games by limiting the inventory so it gives the appearanc of a highly sought after item is assinine. Truth is Goruck, 5.11 and others make just as good packs and they want people to buy them so they have a competent business model.
You have added patches and modified your pack to make it unique. Requiring customers to beg for their products does not. Having to wait around on a Friday morning at sometime around 9 only makes smucks out of people wanting to purchase their product.
I think it speaks to the character of the owners of the company and their childish business model
Come on triple aught, at the end of the day it’s just a bach
Brian Lohr says
I completely understand where your coming from on that one. The Black OP1 and GPP1 pouches sold out this morning in under 6 minutes. There’s clearly a demand for them so it would be nice if larger quantities were made and sold.
I agree Goruck is a great company but 5.11 doesn’t even use Cordura they use 1050D nylon which is much cheaper. And just because a company may have low inventory does not mean they are trying to scam the buyers. If people are willing to worship them for their work and products let them I’m sure they are doing something right. To me, it sounds like you missed out on a pack and are trying to blame them. You wouldn’t be here reading the review if you weren’t interested in them.
Trevvor Clark says
Thanks for this thorough EDC review on the Litespeed! It’s the first I’ve read on the V2 evolution of the pack, and your observations + the pack’s inherent features really sold me on it. I especially like how the transporter tail has the attachment options *inside* the pack, as well as outside, and your tip to install it “upside down” for the interior attachment is one I’ll try out if I ever get my hands on one. Cheers!
Brian Lohr says
Placing the transporter tail on the inside was an awesome feature that they added! What I really want now is the sterile transporter tail (the one with no webbing) to put on the outside to cover up the OP1 that I have attached.
Do you think the “mystery ranch stick it” would work with this pack?
Brian Lohr says
I can’t say with any certainty but it appears that it would. There’s six column of webbing on the bottom of the Litespeed to attach the Stick-It to so it would probably work. Maybe some day I’ll pick one up so that I can give you a definite answer but there just aren’t that many pics on the Mystery Ranch website.
Jerry Carlson says
or search on”mystery ranch stick-it” if the link doesn’t work
Check out this video on You Tube it shows a clear view of how the Stick-It attaches.