Trying to find a backpack that can meet the requirements of being an EDC bag or be equally at home out in the wilderness can be difficult.
Not every bag is designed the same way and some bags can leave you in tough predicaments when they fall apart.
Maxpedition produces some of the top talked about packs today, but they didn’t achieve their almost celeb like following from being ordinary or like the rest.
These bags are trusted by hundreds of hunters/hikers and even regular folk who just want a pack that can accompany them to work and back.
Below we’ve covered their similarities, differences as well as some other things to be aware of.
|#1. Maxpedition Faclon 3|
Our Best Pick
|2160 cu. in. / 35L|
|#2. Maxpedition Falcon II|
|1400 cu.in. / 23L|
Maxpedition Falcon 2 Video Review
Maxpedition Falcon 3 Video Review
The Maxpedition II comes standard with 1000 denier nylon which makes it nearly indestructible for EDC and hunting/hiking situations. At the very top of the Falcon II is a grab handle that is tough and secure with both double and triple stitching.
The material isn’t waterproof per say, but it’s pretty water resistant. We’ve noticed in light rains that the water will bead off but submerging the pack in a river or lake would not work out so well.
Of course, this makes cleaning it easy.
Just let mud or dirt dry on the pack and brush it off. Your pack will look good as new.
The Maxpedition III comes with the same sturdy nylon materials that seem immune to light rain and dirt.
It’s not a lightweight bag by any means, but we chalk that up to the overall durability of this particular bag.
Aside from that, there’s hardly any differences between the two packs.
The Maxpedition II is pretty basic as far as comfort goes. The backrest is quilted and smooth, but there is no cushioning and it’s pretty bare bones.
The shoulder straps are well padded but do have a tendency to cut into the shoulders if you’re not careful.
There’s MOLLE webbing up and down the shoulder straps and some plastic D rings to attach any additional attachments that you need close at hand.
As far as breathability goes, we were happy with the mesh fabric that allowed air to pass through and helps wick away any sweat that does form.
The sternum strap is comfortable and can be adjusted easily. There is no belly strap, so keep that in mind when comparing it to the Falcon III.
The Falcon III has a mesh backing that allows for airflow but there still is no additional padding or cushioned backrests- which is kinda disappointing. The shoulder straps are padded with mesh material to allow your skin to breathe while wicking away sweat.
MOLLE webbing runs up and down the shoulder straps in addition to two D rings on each side.
You do get a sternum strap across the chest which can be adjusted easily but one difference we noticed between the two is that the Falcon III actually comes with a belly strap.
We think MOLLE webbing should come standard with every tactical/hunting pack just because of how easy it is to customize the pack to the user. Want to add a first aid kit without taking up pocket space? Find a MOLLE compatible kit and just attach and go. Same goes for water bottle holders or anything else you can think of.
The Falcon II and III both have the MOLLE webbing up front and on the sides, so you’re pretty much unlimited on what you can do with each pack.
The back compartment for the Maxpedition II is zippered and perfect for a water bladder complete with a loop attachment to secure either the water bladder in place or a concealed carry weapon. The tubing for the water bladder will come up through the top up by the handle for convenience.
There are compression straps on each side to help keep things locked into place and just give the bag a neater appearance. But we also want to point out the Y shaped compression strap at the top and front of the pack. When engaged, it can help keep people from reaching into the pockets without, or rather makes it more difficult to do so.
There’s also a snap type loop at the very top as well.
You can use this to secure misc items like paracords, but we like to run the zippers of the pouches through that loop to further secure it from being messed with while unattended.
Let’s talk pouches on the Falcon II.
On the front most part of the pack are two pouches. On the very bottom is an admin pouch that can be used to store your keys, pens, multi-tools, etc without having to worry about rummaging around for them.
The pouch directly above it slightly smaller and would be perfect for storing your sunglasses or other things you just want to get to pretty quickly.
The second main compartment pouch has a clamshell design that allows you to completely spread this pack open for easy access. On the back is a mesh pouch that will hold small items, but there’s no way to secure them, so if the pack is tipped upside down chances are they’ll become dislodged.
The main pouch has a mesh net pockets on both sides of the pack with one being larger than the other. This is the perfect compartment to store a smaller laptop/tablet and the pockets would keep the battery and cords organized while also allowing you to throw in a textbook/notebooks or whatever else you want to carry.
That said, it’s pretty roomy.
The Falcon III has the same MOLLE webbing/compression setup on both the front and sides of the pack so you can attach your patches or MOLLE compatible accessories with ease.
Compartment wise you’ll get two main compartments with two extra pockets including the admin pocket.
The admin pocket at the front of the pack is well organized with several pen sleeves that would be suitable for pens, multi-tools and other odds and ends. There is a key keeper that can hold either a key set or a compass.
Above the admin pocket is another small compartment that is ideal for sunglasses or accessories you want to get quick access to without fussing with a bunch of straps or zippers.
The middle compartment itself is deep and perfect for storing larger items like a laptop, clothes, textbooks, etc. The velcro backing allows you to attach compatible accessories like concealed carry holsters, first aid kits, etc.
The main compartment is just as large and has a clamshell design so you can completely open up the pack for easy access. On one side is a mesh pocket that can be used to store beanies, gloves, etc. On the other side is a pocket with a strap that secures the top of it shut. This makes it the perfect pocket to store and secure a water bladder if you have one.
The hose pokes up through the top in a small opening on either the left or right side and can be secured to the shoulder straps to keep it into place for easy access.
On the bottom of the Falcon III pack is two additional straps that can be used to carry a bedroll, paracords, etc.
What We Don’t Like
The Falcon II could use an upgrade in the comfort department. The backrest has no extra cushioning, so it pretty much rests against your back as-is. It also has a sternum strap but there’s no belly strap- that should be standard for any backpack you intend to take out in the wilderness.
Considering the Falcon III was supposed to be an upgrade from the Falcon II, we were hoping to see some upgrades as far as comfort goes, but we still have the same complaints minus the belly strap.
The Falcon 2 bag makes a great bag for anyone who wants a smaller EDC bag to carry to/from school or work every day. The smaller size is better suited for smaller framed men or even petite women, but anyone else that is larger than 5 foot or with broad shoulders will probably be uncomfortable due to the straps cutting into your neck/sides/ and shoulders.
The Falcon 3 is a slight upgrade from the Falcon 2, but the size is still small.
Still, we think that if the Falcon 2 still appeals to you but you fit into the larger sizes then the Falcon 3 would work best for you.
Let us be clear in saying that you’re not getting a huge jump in size, as the Falcon 3 is still relatively compact, but if you need a little more room with all the same features of the Falcon 2 bag then the Falcon 3 is your best bet.