The Northern Ireland patrol pack: a textbook design for patrolling. MTP compatible and compliant due to the Multicam material as well as being IRRComprises of one large main compartment, two large side pockets and two zipped pockets on the lid, one being a flat pocket and one a box pocket.
Originally issued in the 1990’s and used by British forces in Northern Ireland, this patrol pack design has an impressive heritage to it, here the design has been taken and a massive load of improvements have been made, including the ability to expand on its potential with MOLLE additions and also to include an Aqua bladder for consuming liquids easily whilst on the move.
It has snow/rain protective covers sewn into the top of the main compartment and both side pockets, these are to prevent snow, rain, sand or dirt from getting into your pack and thus into your kit (soggy or gritty clothes are no fun whatsoever take my word for it).
The side pockets of the NI pack have drain holes on the bottom of the pockets to allow whatever gets in to get out once more; because of this it’s advisable to make sure you only have items in the side pockets that you are not concerned about possibly (it’s a very small possibility in all honesty) getting damp.
Both side pockets have clip-fastened lids as well as the snow cover drawstring so loss of kit is unlikely even if you forget to clip the pocket shut.
The main compartment is again spacious and allows storage of bulkier items like sleeping bag, bivi bag, warm clothing and the likes, as well as the drawstring snow cover it has another drawstring sewn into the exterior to pull the top of the pack closed.
There are two pockets on the lid of the pack, one on top of the other. The bottom one is suited for storing flat items like maps and compasses, notebooks or field guides. The box pocket on top of this has a little more flexibility and allows bulkier small items to be stored in it.
The pack has attachment points on the bottom of the main compartment, the front of the rain compartment, both side pockets and the lid to allow more equipment to be attached should the need arise. I usually attach a roll mat and poncho on the exterior of the pack I am using. The roll mat as it is bulky and an unwieldy shape to fit in a main compartment and the poncho as I may want it for rain cover and it often acts as my shelter when travelling lighter than usual
The straps for the main compartment have Velcro strap tidies to prevent the straps flapping around here there and everywhere and potentially getting caught up branches, brambles or scrub, all the straps are closed using easy to operate (even when wearing gloves) large fastex buckles.
The back of the Northern Ireland pack is padded for extra comfort as are the shoulder straps.
The pack is made from IRR (Infra-Red Reflective) 1000 Denier Cordura material so you should be aware it can take some abuse and shrug it off.
Loaded up with a reasonable amount of weight the pack sits comfortably on the back and it doesn’t drag the shoulders down or back, and with the padded shoulder straps cinched properly it’s hard to notice the pack is there. Obviously you have to follow basic packing rules and ensure that the pack is properly balanced.
It’s comfortable for long term wearing, it offers the possibility of attaching more equipment, has the strange ability to store more equipment that by rights it should and is a hardy pack capable of shrugging off mistreatment through tiredness or just the general rough and tumble a pack experiences through use.