As an airsofer, I always buy stuff on a whim, and today’s whim got me a Arcteryx Khard (45L). The only reason I bought this was because I saw it in a video and was window shopping today – talk about impulse buying. Below is the video.
I will be doing a quick little comparison between the Arcteryx Khard and an Eagle AIII assault pack.
Here you can see a side to side comparison between the two, and as you can see the Khard is longer than the AIII. Though the Khard is longer, both the Khard and AIII have very similar dimensions in terms of storage capacity. The Khard has 45L capacity while the AIII has a combined total of 43L (approx) – note that the AIII’s capacity is calculated from the main compartment and the front pouch.
These are profile shots of the pack, pretty self explanatory here. One nice feature is that both sides have handles so it is “easier” to grab and hold in situations where you have another pack on. After an initial wearing of the pack, I found that the padded straps are fairly comfortable, I will know after doing some extended load testing. There are also 2 side pockets. one on each side for small things to put in. Note there are no slits on the back for ventilation.
On the top of the Khard, there is a small pocket for small items that you want to throw in and not have to ruffle through the main compartment to access.
This is a snap shot of the side pocket I talked about above, as you can see it is a fairly large pocket for you to store stuff you want for quick and easy access i.e. water bottles/documents (when traveling).
The zippers allow the pack to be opened up all the way. I think this pack can also be used for a medic role as it allows for quick and easy access to contents inside when compared to the Eagle AIII. If you look at the Eagle AIII Medic version the zipper layout for the main compartment is the same.
This here is what I think is one of the most important things in a pack – GOOD BACK SUPPORT. This pack comes with a board that helps the pack keep its shape and also prevents hard sharp objects from poking into your back. From my experience and cheapness, this is a pain in the ass when it comes to my Eagle AIII. Don’t get me wrong, the AIII has a pocket in the back where you can add a board, but me being me I was too cheap to buy it and thus I suffer from hard jabby things in my back.
2 holes that allow for your comm wires or hydration tubes to be put through.
And now, onto my old Eagle AIII. This has been with me for over a decade.
As you can see here, the AIII has been completely zipped open, the zippers only go down to about 5 inches from the bottom. For my needs, this is only a nuisance, but for some who use these packs for work this pack may not be for you.
As I said above, the AIII allows for the installation of a board to help with back support and prevent things from sticking into your back. I have also used this pocket for putting my hydration bladder in.
Hole for hydration tubes or comms wires. This hole is normally covered by a piece of velcro when not in use.
A snap shot of the front pouch – this pouch has a capacity of 6L. When I use it for traveling, its perfect for putting things I need for easy access, like my handheld electronics i.e. netbook.
Slip pocket, which I use to hold documents when I travel or small things when traveling to airsoft games or milsims.
I bought the molle version of the AIII, with the molle it allows for expansion of the pack unlike the Khard. Eagle came out with accessory pouches that you can add on the side for an addition 5L each. This allows for extra carry capacity if needed. I have seen photos of guys in theater attached rolled up sleeping mats or rolled up ponchos at the bottom of the pack, the molle for the pack has been laid out very effectively and thus adds to the usefulness and the modularity for it.
Note the slits for ventilation purposes.
After watching another review of the Khard on YouTube, I found out that LBX also makes compartment pouches for the inside of the Khard. This I feel is extremely useful for organizing the cargo in your pack.
Link below for LBX Khard pouches:
To conclude this I feel that both packs have their uses in everyday and in the tactical world, but it would take more time to know whether or not this was a good buy. My favourite part of the Khard is that it allows for modularity inside the pack, hopefully I will be able to acquire internal pouches for it. Comparing these 2 packs though my favorite is still the A3 since it has lasted me for over a decade of hard use. More to come after a couple weeks, I will write a more in-depth review after using this for airsoft and everyday use.