Words and Pics: Rich Norman
I bought a Ferro Dangler a couple of years back and although I was well able to deliver an objective review (it was an innovative product, after all) it wasn’t an item I kept.
In fairness to Ferro, “dangler” has become widely used as a generic term to describe any number of similar products, which have followed in its wake.
A few months ago I bought a FirstSpear Waist Pack, which features the ability to be used as a dangler. You can read my review here. Using it as a dangler isn’t optimum and while outfitting my Crye CPC I decided to take another look at the market.
It didn’t take long for me to narrow things down to Spiritus Systems’ Sub-Abdominal Carrying Kit – or SACK. If you ever needed a text book backronym, that’s one right there. Having said that, I’m pretty sure they could have gotten something much better out of ‘Sub-Carrier Robust Optimised Tote Unit/Military’.
What attracted me to the SACK wasn’t just the pun in its name, but it’s size. Without digging the hole any deeper, it was its compactness that appealed and you can see that best in these comparison pics:
It’s basically a horizontal utility and it’s diminutiveness makes it lower profile than The Dangler – or FirstSpear’s Waist Pack in dangler mode.
As usual with a Spiritus item, the SACK is really well made (as is FirstSpear’s nylon). If the Crye 6x6x3 had a central nervous system, I think its proximity to the other pouches would have made it feel inadequate. The build quality differential is really quite shocking.
The SACK’s salient features are as follows:
- Horizontal medium utility format
- Attaches to bottom of plate carrier under Velcro placard or flap
- Attaches to compatible front or rear plate bag openings
- Attaches to rear of compatible chest rig
- Two double zipped compartments
- Main compartment features loop Velcro attachment surfaces, cordlocs and hardpoints
- Front compartment expands outwards via four way stretch nylon face fabric
- Base drainage grommets pull double duty in securing items to SACK’s underside via bungees, and cordlocs (previously mentioned)
- 500D Cordura construction
- Made in the USA
The interior of the pouch is feature-rich. The standout feature is the SACK’s ability to carry an additional item externally, via a system of cordlocs and bungees (provided).
In the pics below you can also see the SACK turned inside out, featuring:
- Loop Velcro surfaces upon which hook-backed items can be attached
- Hard points at each end of the interior, near where the zips terminate
- Cordlocs, which work in synergy with the drainage grommets and bungees for additional, underslung capacity
In the following pictures you can see how the various features mesh to provide the the underside storage facility. Carry a TQ? This is a great place for it – although not having one to hand I used an alternative essential.
Needless to say, the cordlocs allow the bungee tension to be varied and they are highly effective.
Using a Spiritus Hook, and a Divider (available separately), the pics below demonstrate the utility of the loop Velcro internal to the main compartment- to which both items attach.
Evil Eye also available separately…
Spiritus’ signature feature in their pouch line is perhaps the four way stretch fabric which forms the face of the SACK. This means the slip pocket can accept larger items than expected, without robbing internal space by protruding into the main compartment. Instead, the items project outwards.
And, where else would you carry Pritt Stick?
The thought Spiritus puts into its products is reflected in even the smallest details, like the textured paracord used for the zip pulls.
For me, the simpler the better – but this is simplicity enhanced with a tactile grip.
With the sterile overview dispensed with, its time to consider how the SACK works in practice.
In terms of plate carrier use where you normally have a choice of locations, I placed the SACK under the CPC’s front flap.
Because of the CPC’s Velcro orientation, it wasn’t possible to fit the SACK to the base of the front plate bag.
I run fairly slick up front so that I can easily go prone, therefore access to the SACK is easy. This may not be the case when using double mag pouches, for instance.
My only gripe? The SACK could do with tabs either end of the zip, so that you don’t have to grip the pouch itself while operating one zip.
If you change your method and open both zips at once, this isn’t an issue.
Read more of my Spiritus Systems reviews, here.