I purchased the Direct Action Ghost backpack around a year ago, and since then I have put it through it’s paces. This review is a summary of my experience with the pack, hopes for the next design, and more.
Description of the Direct Action Ghost backpack
The Direct Action Ghost backpack is a workhorse. It’s a 31+ liter pack, which is about an ideal size. A typical day on the move for me includes around 30 pounds of equipment and many miles of rough terrain. The Ghost handles this very well.
The pack comes in a variety of colors and camouflage patterns to match your environment. I chose the black color to avoid drawing attention in an urban environment. This color is also usable in forest and woodland settings without disclosing the location of the operator.
How much will it carry?
The pack is the size of a large day-size backpack. During non-emergencies, I use the Ghost to carry the following with no problem:
- 15” laptop (in the laptop sleeve)
- Full-sized notebook and pens
- Knife, keys, wallet, utensils, lighter
- Hefty lunch and 1L water
- Rain cover
- Extra warm layers
- Full-sized headphones
- Change of clothes
During a mission or training exercise, I may include the following kit in this pack with no problem:
- First aid kit
- 2L water
- Knives (2)
- Fire starting kit
- Notebook and pens
- Extra warm layers
- Map and compass
- Blanket or sleeping bag and small tarp (rolled and strapped onto the pack)
This pack includes a removable back pouch that’s about 3 liters in size—enough room for a couple lightweight layers or a handful of MREs.
Increasingly, I find myself using the pack without this attachment in place. The size of the pack declines, but the weight carries better since there is less stuff sticking out from the rear of the pack. It encourages more minimalism. The whole package is more streamlined this way. This is also a plus for maneuverability.
However, when you need to go big, it’s no problem to attach the rear panel. This expands the pack significantly.
The Ghost pack has plenty of pockets for organizing your gear, but doesn’t go overboard like some packs do. The main backpack has the following pockets:
- Main full-zip pouch (accounts for 95% of space, includes a sleeve and waterproof port for water bladder.)
- Laptop pouch (enough space for a thick 15” laptop or thin laptop and notebook)
- Sun/glasses, keys and wallet pouch (located top and lined with microfiber. I find it unsuitable for sunglasses when the pack is full.)
- Outer thin pocket (located behind the removable pouch on the outside of the main pack body. This pocket is wide and tall but thin. Ideal for a tablet, thin books, maps, or other material that needs to stay flat.)
- Inner mesh pocket (located inside the main pouch opposite the outer thin pocket. This is ideal for small odds and ends like knife, lighter, and so on.)
The removable pouch features a number of pockets and functions as an organizer for pens and other small items. This is ideal for organizing electronics, cables, and other small supplies.
Water bottles and attachment system/MOLLE
The pack features two pockets for water bottles or similarly-shaped items on the sides of the pack. These feature a zipper for expandability, and contents can be strapped into place via two straps.
However, these are among the worst-designed elements of the pack. They work well for shoes, tools, and items, but water bottles tend to slip out. This encourages one to keep water bottles inside the pack and keeps things streamlined.
The pack also features multiple Velcro patch attachment points, one of the top rear of the pack and a second on the removable pouch.
The laser-cut MOLLE system across the sides and rear of the pack, as well as on the waist belt, make it easy to attach other items, pouches, and so on. The system is tight, durable, and clean in appearance.
How it carries
One of the main selling points for me was the full-size waist belt found on the Ghost. Frankly, the Direct Action Dust backpack looks a little bit better. I would have purchased that pack over this one but for the fact that it only comes with a thin webbing belt. When you’re carrying 30 or 40 pounds over rough terrain for miles and miles, you’ll appreciate the hip belt on this thing. It’s just a lot more practical as soon as loads cross 10 pounds.
Durability and rain performance
The Ghost is a heavy-duty pack made of 500D Cordura with heavy-duty YKK zippers and sturdy Duraflex buckles. Materials appear like-new after one year of heavy use. The stitching is extremely strong and has held out well. I appreciate that the compression straps remove stress from the zippers when the pack is filled to capacity. This should increase the lifespan of the product.
The Direct Action Ghost Backpack is not advertised as waterproof, but it is highly water resistant. As I often carry sensitive electronics and live in a very wet climate, I carry a rain cover purchased separately.
The Direct Action Ghost Backpack is an excellent pack for Everyday Carry (EDC) or as a Bug Out Bag (BOB). It’s durable, carries well, and should last for long years of heavy use. I highly recommend this kit for anyone looking for a good pack.
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Direct Action Ghost Mk II Tactical Backpack Shadow Grey