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Arc’teryx Khard 45 Pack

One of the things we don't like about dedicated range bags is that they're a single-purpose item. They're also bulky and don't tote well if you have any sort of distance between your vehicle and the firing point. Backpacks are an OK alternative, but just throwing your gear in the main compartment leads to frustration as you inevitably have to dig through several strata to find the thing you're looking for.

We had the opportunity to test the Arc'teryx Khard 45 at the Bianchi Cup last week and while it's neither cheap nor perfect, it's a whole lot better than anything else we've used for fly-in matches.

Externally, it looks like every other high-quality medium-sized pack. It isn't until you try to get into the thing that you have an “Ah-ha!” moment, as you notice that instead of the usual flap- and-Fastex arrangement, the designers opted for a zipper that runs from the bottom, all the way up and around then back down the opposite side. What this means is that you have a couple of ways to access your gear. Partially unzip it and you have a conventional flap for easy access to stuff on top of the load, or to limit how much rain gets in. Run the zipper all the way and the entire back panel opens out to give unhindered access to everything inside the main compartment.

Problem. Now that you have this unfettered freedom to get at your gear, how do you prevent it spilling all over the place? A neat touch is the Velcro interior which allows the user to stick pouches (in this case from London Bridge Trading) all over the inside, so that your kit is both easily organized and secure.

We stuffed everything required to shoot the entire three-day match inside the Khard and had plenty of room to spare. Admittedly, we didn't need a ton of stuff, but the peace of mind that came with knowing we had to pack only once and that everything was both easy to find and readily accessible was comforting.

We plan on using this pack as a long-term test item and will subject it to the usual ass-kicking. So far, so good.

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