This review was written by local milsim player Dave. Many thanks to his time and the use of his material.
Getting IDd in public as military is cool sometimes, but if you’re trying to go about your business it can be disrupting and draws unnecessary attention. Recent events, such as the murder of PVT Lee Rigby in May, have shown that even something as simple as a t-shirt supporting a charity can peg you as .mil. My old every day pack is a rather large camod backpack (3 Day UCP Pack; great pack BTW) and I have never made it through an airport without someone IDing me over the loudspeaker. I appreciate the support, but a humble guy like me (yep..) would rather talk offline and not have 200+ heads turn my way. After asking some .mil dudes who travel often how they pass through public places without the populace pegging them I was given a number of ideas. There are a number of indicators that I will not touch on, but a big one is anything camouflaged. Hippies rocking M81 can get away with it, but I’m lacking the hair/beard/chucks/stench to pass as one. With that being said, the UCP pack had to go. After extensive research, I zeroed in on Eberlestock’s Cherry Bomb ($250, black/grey, foilage/grey, brown) or the Secret Weapon ($350, same colors). There is a surprising lack of reviews online and it was difficult to figure out which I wanted, but the 100 dollar difference in price and a smaller outline landed me the CB over the SW. I don’t need to lug a broken down machine gun in my pack, so the size difference was unnecessary. For giggles, I broke down my M4 and was able to get it in. It’s a tight fit, but there ya go.
The pack is 24.5″ by 11″, features two main pockets with plenty of organization inside, a sturdy but comfortable hip belt, adjustable shoulder straps, drag handle, and a rain cover. There are pockets everywhere on it and a insulated pocket for the water bladder. The shoulder straps are thin but sufficient. Unless you’re rucking bricks, this pack doesn’t get all that heavy. Not 100% sure what it’s made out of and I don’t care since Eberlestock products are all bombproof. Pack weighs 4.5lbs empty.
This thing was larger than I expected. I was expecting something the size of a camelbak pack, maybe slightly larger. The example given shows a 7″ SBR fitting inside completely, but I wasn’t thinking spatially and though the pack would be smaller. Regardless, I’ve grown to appreciate it’s size. I especially like the narrowness of it as I’ve grown tired of giant framed packs peeking out from either side of me while shouldered. I like the color scheme, but I wish there were better photos of the other schemes when I purchased. Had a hard time deciding between the three and went with the brown as a safe bet. I like the way it looks. Girlfriend described it as “ew no, brown is ugly”. Go figure. The hip belt is removable and fits very securely using a separate sleeve with velcro. The padding on the back looks bulky but fits very nicely and allows air movement.
You can see all the stuff I dumped into it in the following photos. This pack holds a lot, but it will take some adjusting to get used to. I’m used to tossing everything and the kitchen sink in my 3 day pack and you cannot do that with the cherry bomb without planning. This certainly not a camping pack or anything of the sort, but a quick day hike or daily commute. I use mine for class everyday and it typically has appx 500 manuals in it at any given time. Not really. But really…
This pack owns. Pretty expensive, but it’ll outlast my need for it and most packs are around the same price range anyways. Not sure if you can tell, but I colored in the Eberlestock logo (three ring truss) on the lower black loops to meet uniform standards (sorta). They are white normally. No biggie. I like the pack and recommend it for anyone who wants a civilian looking pack with a military style build.
The water bladder sleeve is on the outside and cranes the pack backwards somewhat. I don’t like that the hydration tube port is on top and not on the side. Minor inconvenience.
My buddies all thought the pack was cool and wanted to know more about it. Some geardo ID’d it as a cherry bomb immediately and asked about it as well. I typically have the hip belt removed for EDC as no one uses hip belts. I haven’t been able to rock my laptop with it but it fits almost perfectly in one of the internal sleeves. Everyone around here is military so there’s no point in lowpro, but I’ll have a better idea about office life when I get back home in a few months. We’ll see!
Main body: 2 sleeves with 5×2 PALs on the outside (where the MG pouch is attached). Enough room for a folded MRE underneath. M4 fits snugly broken down. A 15″ laptop fits perfectly where the notebook/tan reference cards are.
Layout: Pack, compass, MRE, PVS15 (or binos), wallet, glow sticks, magazine, ammo, IR strobe, chapstick, M4, pair of socks, reference/cheat cards, notebook, flashlight, pen and pencil, multitool, batteries, and gloves. I can fit more in it but ran out of justifiable stuff. Snacks are always good~