Dec 08

Gear Review: ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Frame Plus Pack Bag


Choosing the proper equipment can be a tedious and monotonous process.  You hear this product is better and that product has a particular thing that makes it better than it’s competitors.  Then of course there is the price.  You always want the best product for the best price that you can find, but where is that line that dictates what is acceptable to spend for a product in order to get the features that you want and need?  The final part of the selection process of course is versatility.  When selecting a product you want a product that can fulfill more than one process to figuratively and literally, “lighten your load”.  When selecting the equipment that will have to sustain your life and your well being, you want items that will do as much for you as possible.

The bugging out process all starts with the “Bug Out Bag”.  The Bug Out Bag will determine what else you will have with you.  The Bug Out Bag will dictate what configuration you will need to store and organize your equipment.  Additionally the Bug Out Bag will become your best friend once you are forced from your dwelling.  So it becomes clear that selecting a Bug Out Bag should be a well calculated, well thought out and educated decision.  It should not be a decision taken lightly, or by simply grabbing the closest back pack and trying to configure it to meet your needs.

Luckily there is one BOB that will take all the pressure off you while trying to find the perfect bag.  There is a BOB that will give you piece of mind in knowing that it will meet your needs and will fulfill many functions, not just a bag to put your stuff in but a bag that will  give you the advantage of having a “system” that will benefit you as a survival tool.

ALPS Outdoorz Commander Freighter Frame Plus Pack Bag pic 1The ALPS Outdoorz Commander Freight Frame with Pack Bag is that system.  This BOB is not merely a bag, it is a much much more.  The Commander boasts 5250 cubic inches (86 Liters) of internal storage space with a large external compartment for storage, two small external compartments on one side and a larger compartment on the other side.  It also incorporates a rifle carrying system with an elastic gun butt sleeve and cinching straps to secure your rifle, thus leaving your hands free to carry your defensive weapon. The main compartment is large and is closed with a cinching cord with an adjustable top flap.  There are webbing loops on the front to accommodate lashing of equipment to the exterior of the bag.

All the above are great selling points and while other bags can lay similar claims, what separates this bag from the others is the Freighter Frame.  The Commander is an external frame backpack, and arguments can be made comparing internal versus external frames.  However, after seeing the benefits of this external frame most will probably see that for the purposes of survival the external frame’s benefits outweigh any conceivable drawbacks.  The Commander Frame is well constructed and tough.  It has a removable shelf and it’s own strapping system.  The pins holding the Commander Bag to the frame can be easily removed allowing the frame and bag to be separated to utilize the frame as a carrying device.  The frame, with it’s own strapping system, can be used to carry fire wood and harvested food back to your base camp.  Once complete the bag can be easily and quickly replaced back on the frame.

ALPS Outdoorz Commander Freighter Frame Plus Pack Bag pic 2

Just like items sold on television: “Wait, there’s more.”  You don’t only get the large and well constructed Commander bag that is capable of carrying all your needed items and the versatile well constructed Commander Frame.  You also get an earth tone BOB (since you probably don’t want a blaze orange bag for this purpose), wide heavily padded shoulder straps and waist strap that you will find to be a great addition.  You also get a sternum strap to hold the shoulder straps in a comfortable position.  Finally the Commander is equipped with a camel back pouch and port which accepts a hydration system.

Now what do you expect to pay for this great item?  $400.00?  $300?  $200?  Nope.  During this promotion, you can get the Commander Bag, the Commander Frame, the padded shoulder and waist straps, the sternum strap, with hydration capability and it all in an earth tone color for the low low price of $129.99.

If you have priced a BOB then you have probably became painfully aware that most of the bags you want (or have) come at a premium price.  Even the very capable ALICE pack will cost you close to $100 with all the necessary components.  Other cost effective packs will fall in the range of between $60 to $100, with the higher end packs going for well over $200.  The Commander offers comparable features which all those other packs offer and supersedes a great majority of packs with it’s many features and affordability.

The Commander is well designed, well constructed, very versatile and is quite cost effective. If those criteria are what matter to you during the selection process of your BOB than this is the bag for you.

This gear review was contributed by JM, a certified Paramedic who is also a local EMS Coordinator.  Look for more gear reviews from him in the future.


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  1. A

    Good job on this very informative article.

    -From a fellow paramedic, former EMS coordinator and currently a firefighter. Thanks!

  2. Mac

    Hi. I just received the pack but I am having a hard time finding the hydration pouch and port. Any chance of you filling me in on its location? Thanks so much.

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