TAD FAST Pack Litespeed
Reviewers Paid: $240.00
A slimmed down, lighter weight version of Triple Aught Designs Fast Pack series of backpacks, while still maintaining all the great features of its larger sibling.
- Too many strap adjustments
- Can look too tactical for some
I sold my TAD Fast Pack EDC a few months ago and replaced it with a Foliage version of the Litespeed. I've been very happy since. There was nothing wrong with the EDC, but I didn't need that much space.The Litespeed offered the perfect capacity for my day hikes while reducing the weight substantially.
As with all the TAD backpacks, the fit is great. They have a very unique shoulder strap design that curves around your shoulders, chest and back down to the pack in a way that I haven't seen surpassed as far as comfort goes to date.
The structure of this pack relies solely on the sewn in padding that sits against your back when worn. It's not as stiff as the EDC bag, but it's still very comfortable, and one of the reasons for its lighter weight. The bag does include a webbing only waist belt that is better used for stability when jogging with the bag on rather than carrying a load. It does help in that regard.
Compared to the EDC, this bag loses the zippered side pockets and the light cave pocket, but it does gain an important feature—accessibility. The bag opens like a clam shell revealing all contents for access. Much better option than the EDC's main pocket that only opened half way.
The bag uses MOLLE panels across much of the front and sides of the bag which allows use of a near infinite amount of pockets and pouches to be attached. Inside the bag are two mesh pockets along the back of the front flap. On the top front of the bag there's an admin pocket with several small slots and pockets for pens and other items. Be careful because as you load this pocket, it will be more difficult to use the mesh pockets opposite on the inside of the flap and vice versa.
One of the few complaints I have about this bag is the amount of straps and adjustments that are available. This is a plus too as you can really customize for what you're carrying. The beavertail panel on the front can be used to carry big loads like a helmet or large jacket. But it takes time to undo the velcro strap keepers and adjust all four buckles that hold the panel to the rest of the bag. These four buckles also serve as compression straps for the whole bag. A welcome feature to really cinch the load down and keep you nimble.
The two other straps and buckles are the load carrying straps on the top of the bag. I'm not really sure if these are necessary, but they do help compress the bag to your back more than they help carry any kind of load. For me they get in the way of the frequently accessed admin and main zipper pocket.
This bag, like the EDC, uses 1000D cordura fabric across the board along with a very strong and breathable mesh for the back panel. There's also a few touches in key wear points of a material called Hypalon. It's used on Zodiac boats. Specifically on the top grab handle and the portion of the back panel that would rest against your belt when wearing. The bag is all but bulletproof in my opinion.
Triple Aught Design pays extremely close attention to detail, and the build quality, design, and material durability all attest to that fact. I'm also please to report that the availability of these bags is much improved since years past and you can usually find these U.S. small batch made bags in stock several times a year. I highly recommend this bag and this company.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $240
The Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed is my go-to pack for almost every excursion that does not require overnight equipment. Made in the USA of very durable 1000 Denier Cordura, the Litespeed really lives up to the term bombproof. But as with most gear, durability comes with a weight penalty and the pack weighs in at 56 oz. which is a little heavy. But in my opinion, the small weight difference pays massive dividends in the durability department.
The standard capacity is 1300 cu. in. and allows for good organization with two zippered internal mesh pockets, one zippered external admin pocket, and an internal hydration sleeve which can accommodate bladders up to 100 oz.
The overall shape of the pack is quite narrow and allows for a wide range of arm motion which is a major plus when doing anything other than walking. PALS webbing on the outside of the pack allows you to attach various additional pouches for gear that needs to be easily accessible such as GPS units, cameras, cell phones, batteris, etc.
Also included is a removable "transporter tail" which is designed to carry gear such as trekking poles, fishing poles or maybe even a tripod. I use it for trekking poles and must say that it does a great job.
Some of my favorite features include the use of Hypalon in key areas of stress, padded and ventilated back panel, compression straps to secure the pack to your back and some velcro loop on the outside of the pack which allows for various patches or reflective tape. The reversed zippers are quite beefy and the wide shoulder straps are quite comfortable as well.
Clearly quite a bit of thought and engineering went into the designing of this pack and it shows with the long list of features. Mine has accompanied me on countless hikes from the boulder laden landscape of Joshua Tree to the Sierra Nevadas and even overseas to Europe and is still as solid as day one.
As previously mentioned, the Litespeed may not be for the gram counters out there, but for those who want a tough pack that can easily adapt to various activites, the Litespeed is worth serious consideration.