On the market today are quite a few tactical messenger bags. Each has minor differences, placing each one in it’s own niche. Pantac’s offering in this arena hopes to be basic enough that everyone can afford one yet remain adaptable for even the most demanding uses. Let’s look into the details of the Pantac Messenger Bag.
Versatility and Features
This bag really finds itself in its simplicity and ability to integrate modular pouches. Many manufacturers cover their messenger bags with pockets but this bag gives you the option to remove them as needed. This bag is ideal for school, work, travel, the range, document transport and finally as a bag to fight out of.
June 6 2013 update: This bag makes a great carry on! I recently used mine along with a 3 day pack to enable me to go on a week long trip without checking any baggage. A small medical pouch attached to one end kept all my electronic goodies organized and quickly accessible for passing through security checkpoints.
Pantac states this bag is 15 inches long, 6 inches deep and 8 inches tall. As such, it is smaller than some of the other tactical messenger bag offers and it is not near as cumbersome to carry. I find this to be a great size for multiple applications, and I found it very comfortable to carry.
Durability, Quality and Materials
This bag is made from Teflon coated 1000 denier Cordura which is very durable and gives the bag some water repellency. The stitching is straight, tight and has not shown any signs of loosening through my testing.
At first glance, the Pantac Messenger bag looks just about like most other tactical messenger bags on the market. It has a nice Velcro area on the main flap for patches and two adjustable straps securing it to the bag. A great feature is the addition of small elastic bands to secure the lose ends of the flap closure straps which allow you to maintain a professional look. A wide shoulder strap with a sliding shoulder pad provides a comfortable way to carry the bag. I am not entirely sure why Pantac chose swivel clips to attach the shoulder strap over large buckles but they held up to the weight of a fully loaded bag with no problem.
The ends of the bag are covered in MOLLE which is a perfect use of that space. If this was my every day carry bag I would probably run a Nalgene pouch on one end. On top of the bag is a double ended zipper that allows access to the inside of the bag (this is NOT another pocket). Props to Pantac here. This is a very useful feature and it gives you immediate access to most items inside the bag’s main compartment. this is especially important if you are using the bag to carry a concealed weapon. I did wish that the zipper pulls were a bit longer to make them easier to grab when wearing gloves, but this is a very minor quirk.
Also on top of the bag is a small handle (barely visible in the photo at left). I found that when the bag was loaded, it hung at a strange angle when held by this handle. I would love to see this handle moved to the top of the bag next to the “immediate access zipper” so the bag would hang more evenly when it is used. It would be easier to grab the handle it it was enlarged as well.
June 6 2013 update: This small handle has become more of an annoyance than a help the more I use this bag. Even if it was simply enlarged would make it much easier to use.
The back of the bag (the side up against you when it is worn) is stiff, which is wonderful for this bag. This not only protects your items inside but it also provides support for items you may have stuck or hung to the inside wall (more on that later) and it prevents items inside from digging into your side. On this portion of the bag there is a large flat pouch secured by a zipper. I assume this is supposed to be a concealed carry pocket as it is not large enough for a laptop. I did not find this pocket to be necessary as it does not work well as a concealed carry pouch . This is because the weight of the bag smashes your hand if you try to grab your weapon while wearing the bag. Also, if bulky items such as guns are stored in this pouch they tend to dig into the wearer’s side.
June 6 2013 update: This pocket actually works well for a small tablet.
I would suggest that some belt loops be added to the back of the bag so that it can be secured to a belt or other items during movement. A sleeve that would enable the bag to fit over the handle of a suitcase would be a welcome addition as well.
Currently the bottom of the bag has only a single grommet in the center for drainage and I think this space could be put to better use. If the flap closure straps were brought across the bottom of the bag and secured at the rear of the bag it would enable them to act as compression straps and secure the contents of the bag during travel. If they also were threaded through webbing loops near the location they are currently sewn into the bag, the user could also use them to attach a spare article of clothing to the bottom of the bag.
Under the Flap
Opening the main flap we immediately notice a large clear panel on its underside. This is a excellent place to stash a map or important documents. However, it’s too narrow to fit a normal 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper. An ideal fix would be to lengthen the main flap to accommodate this. Doing so would also provide more protection for items stored on the front of the bag under the flap. Underneath this panel is a slim pocket which is another great place to stash documents and maps. Fantastic use of space here!
The front of the main bag is covered in MOLLE. I am a bit confused by this as I expected to see some sort of an admin panel for notebooks, pens and other quick access items. The inside of the bag has elastic loops for 4 pistol mags and 8 shotgun shells on it and I would like to see these moved to the front of the bag. In their current position these items are hard to get to when the bag is full and if you need to reload under stress the last thing you want to do is fumble through your bag looking for ammo. These loops also work well to hold pens and tools which are always good to have readily accessible. A couple small pockets sized for a phone or rifle magazine would compliment this area well along with a bit of Velcro to temporarily secure the main flap when it falls closed.
June 6 2013 update: I currently attach an EOD panel to the front of this bag when I use it for business purposes. I still miss a large admin area and have yet to use the pen loops on the inside of the bag.
The top of the main compartment of the bag is secured with a single zipper running the length of the bag. Because of this, I was unable to load large items such as full size books or binders into the bag even though the bag has more than enough room for both. My laptop with a 15 inch screen would not fit through the opening either. This pouch closure needs to disappear altogether as the main flap does an excellent job of securing it’s contents provided it is wide enough to keep out precipitation. This secondary closure merely gets in the way especially if we are trying to access a weapon quickly. In my opinion the simple deletion of this zipper in and of itself would enhance this bag significantly.
The first thing I noticed when opening the interior of the bag is that it is very spacious despite the constrictive opening. It would be easier to see the inside of the bag if it was made out of a lighter colored material but I wouldn’t consider this a necessary addition.
Inside the main compartment of the bag there are 2 pockets that take up each side of the bag, and each is secured with Velcro. The pocket against the back of the bag does not expand in width when opened but would probably hold a tablet computer. This pocket is covered in Velcro which provides a perfect place to put the included “elastic band panel” to secure your weapon. Any other Velcro compatible holster or pouch including Pantac’s own Messenger Accessory Pocket could attach here as well. Mounting a weapon in this location provides a very quick draw when using the “immediate access” zipper even with the bag loaded. There is also a small clip hanging on the interior of the bag. It is ideal for hanging keys or dummy cording other gear to your bag.
The other full sized pocket is against the front of the bag and it expands to an inch or so in width. This would be perfect for carrying a tablet or small laptop, though it would be nice to see it enlarged to fit more laptop options or even a small ballistic plate. If this pocket were to be stiffened and covered with MOLE, it would give the user the option of adding pouches to organize the inside of the bag. This would be useful for managing numerous small items or for adding magazine pouches without broadcasting to the world that you are ready for a fight.
Track Record and Warrenty
As with all my reviewed items, this bag will continue to be used and evaluated for long term durability. After a month of testing I have had no problems with anything ripping, tearing or coming lose. Pantac USA offers a lifetime warranty on their products should you have any problems with them.
This bag is currently priced at $82 for solid colors and $141 for Multicam or ATACS. I consider the solid color bags to be a good deal, but I also feel that with a few tweaks this bag could become a much better value. With the current features, I would recommend this to those looking for a readily configurable messenger bag, but I do hope to have the chance to own the 2.0 version of this bag.
For my latest update, click here.