This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
Any dedicated carry bag will be a slightly less covert method of transporting a rifle simply due to the advertising around its intended purpose. However, the VERTX EDC Gamut Plus does not overtly market the backpack as a rifle bag and does an excellent job of staying low profile while offering a feature-rich backpack.
When transporting firearms to the range, this bag can allow for easy transport without catching the eyes of your neighbors. The great feature of this pack is the ability for it to quickly adapt and transition between covert and overt while truly filling both rolls.
Construction and Observations
The EDC Gamut Plus comes in Greener Pastures, Smoke Grey, and Black and retails for $219.95. The bag appears very durable, constructed of 220/310 Cordura material, and uses YKK zippers. I purchased the bag for a low profile means of transporting SBRs and pistol AR’s. The dimensions are 24”x16”x9”. The 24” dimension is very important as many bags do not offer this great of a height and therefore significantly limit your options for carrying a rifle. After testing I found that up to a 14.5” upper would fit inside the bag when broken down.
The bag held an assembled PWS Mk107 with a 7.75” barrel. This did require the use of a Maxim PDW brace as that shortened overall length by 1.545”.
This brought total overall length to just under 22.75”. While I do not have a LAW Tactical folder to test folding AR’s, a 10” AK with a folding stock fit well with approximately 1.5” to spare when in the bag at an angle. This 1.5” should make up for the length added by a LAW Tactical folder.
All measurements above pertain to the large main pocket in the bag. The main compartment also has a zipper stop on both sides to allow for added privacy when searching through the main compartment. These can also be readily unsnapped to access content in a timely fashion.
Mesh pockets and micro Velcro line the interior of the largest compartment. The mesh pockets are divided by zippers and offer great storage options for medical gear, extra magazines, laptop chargers, etc.
There is also a well-padded laptop compartment that was designed to fit up to a 17” laptop. I have used this pocket primarily for extra rifle magazines and it has worked well. Inside the pocket is more micro Velcro that can be used in conjunction with other Vertx accessories for better organization and retention.
The quick access pocket in the back of the bag is a cool concept but difficult to match with a larger weapon system. A standard pistol would work well in this compartment, however, a stabilized pistol often is too long or too wide if using a folder.
A folder does work, but is uncomfortable on the back and pushes out the pocket in a way that the pocket was obviously not designed. There is a zipper that allows access to the backing panel.
This panel adds structure and stability to the bag but can be removed and replaced with a ballistic plate for added protection.
There are also two water bottle pockets on both sides. Inside the pockets is a cinch cord to retain the bottles by placing the elastic cord around the bottle. These were designed for 27oz (to 32oz) Nalgene bottles can be stowed but are difficult task to fit.
Side pockets are also available beneath the water bottle compartments on each side. These work well for cell phones, pens, wallets, and other flat items.
On top of the bag is a zippered pocket Vertx refers to as an admin pouch. This pouch is a nylon pouch without padding and is great for carrying small items you need to have in a convenient location without searching deeper into the backpack. I like to keep an extra set of Surefire Sonic Defender earplugs, sunglasses, compression bandages, or a cell phone charger. It also includes a small lanyard with a clip to attach keys, identification, etc.
A key component of any backpack system is the shoulder straps. The shoulder straps on the Gamut Plus are well padded, with 1919 straps that run along the shoulder straps and allow for attachment of added tools or pouches if needed.
There is a removable sternum strap included. Keepers are also included at the bottom to manage the excess straps at the bottom of the bag once the straps have been fit to the user. A waist strap is attached for those wanting added stability.
An incredible design feature of the Gamut Plus is the outermost pocket. The outmost pocket can be unzipped and the shell of the pocket can be stuffed into the bottom stow area. This allows for an overt package with quick access to gear attached to the molle and provides identification patches to be attached to the Velcro.
A medkit or magazines could be attached to the MOLLE segments, but there are minor stability issues if the large pocket is not filled.
Since there is not a firm backer to the outermost pocket, the weight from the mag holders or other accessories can pull outward instead of remaining perfectly vertical. The “shell” also has G hooks that can be attached to the loops on the side of the pack.
Other large items can be then retained such as a ballistic or motorcycle helmet thanks to this sling load system. The outer shell is also able to somewhat expand in an accordion fashion while also compressing down to a small size when not in use.
While many bags only do one job well or many things poorly, the VERTX EDC Gamut Plus seems to break the rule. I experienced no durability issues, SBRs and stabilized pistols were retained well, and the only issue with the pockets is that you may lose gear due to the multitude of pockets! The outer appearance is definitely disguised well and could truthfully also be used for standard school or office activities as well. Next time you are looking for a backpack you should definitely check out theVERTX EDC Gamut PLUS.