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Kifaru Tailgunners



2/6/06 - A new addition to the Kifaru line is their Tailgunner series - adding 2 more lumbar packs to the existing Scout. The series consists of the Tailgunner I (TG1), Tailgunner II (TG2), and Tailgunner platform. Visit those links to the Kifaru website for additional information. The TG1 and TG2 are more than just large fanny packs and incorporate features not found on other lumbar packs, which I'll get into. Although similar in volume, the TG1(900 ci) and TG2 (1000 ci) differ in the WAY the volume is handled. In the pics below, you can see that the TG2 is more rectangular/box shaped, and wider, while the TG1 is more rounded, deeper and narrower. Both are about the same height.
Both the TG1 and TG2 feature a web carry handle (grab loop), and two vertical compression straps. Tab loops on the side allow for quick-attach shoulder straps and a small Pod can be attached to the tab loops on the bottom.

Front view of the TG2 and TG1

Top view

Side profile
Both the TG1 and TG2 come with a standard 1" padded shoulder sling/strap - the same one as the bandoleer kit strap. It attaches to two ladder locks at the top of the packs. A wider shoulder strap can be purchased if desired. Optional and purchased separately, but recommended for optimum stability (as that's what they were designed to be used with), is the same Omni belt system that is used by some of the other Kifaru packs. If you have one already, you don't have to purchase another as you only need one belt to switch from pack to pack. The Omni belt (which is optional) is attached to the back of the packs by opening up the velcro wrap flaps, mating the velcro on the Omni belt to the velcro on the pack, then folding the flaps over the belt. It doesn't budge. The side and top delta straps (which are attached to the belt) are then routed through the ladder locks at the each of the corners of the back panel.

Carry attach points on a TG2 (TG1 is the same)

Omni waistbelt wrap

Omni waistbelt attached and secured.


The TG1 has a zippered top opening lid, with a zip closure mesh pocket on the underside of the lid. 14 channels x 3 rows of PALS webbing adorn the outside of the pack, wrapping around to the sides.
To provide some shape to the pack, and padding on the back side, is a removable 3/8" foam pad in its own pocket. A chamber pocket comes standard and is suspended from the two common loops at the top of the rear panel. Under the chamber pocket is a full size compartment, divided by a fabric divder with a mesh compartment on the outer side. The mesh compartment has a zip closure, and is slightly pleated so it can hold some volume. Around the inside perimeter of the pack are a series of slot pockets (3 large, and 2 pen/lightstick). 1.5" wide black elastic webbing is sewn on the outside of the slot pockets, forming loops to hold items (see photos below). To get an idea of the internal volume of the TG1, I was able to place 5 1-qt USGI plastic canteens inside and zip the lid shut. I was pretty surprised, as the TG1 looked smaller than that to me.

Outside of TG1

Internal compartments

Slot pockets and elastic loops

5 (!!!) USGI 1-qt canteens will fit inside the TG1

Makes a great ammo/mag bag at the range. 17 M4 mags and room for more


The TG2 is the more rigid/shaped of the two packs. Instead of the top opening lid of the TG1, it has a full wrap-around zipper that allows you to open the pack completely.The TG2 is wider than the TG1, with the same 3/8" foam padding on the back of the pack to provide shape and some comfort. It's non-removable though. 10 channels x 4 rows of PALS webbing are sewn to the outside panel, which has a flat nylon sheet insert that makes it rigid. Opening the zipper allows the front panel to swing down. How far it swings down is determined by two adjustment straps, which can be disconnected via SR buckles if the panel is to be opened completely.
There are two flat slot pockets behind the rear panel. On the front of the rear panel are 10 channels x 4 rows of PALS, just waiting for Kifaru's new 'Lock 'n' Load' lightweight internal pockets.
Dividing the main compartment is the pack is a removable, reversible, full size panel insert, with 8 channels x 4 rows of PALS on one side, and 2 rows of 1.5" wide black elastic loops sewn on the other. I'm sure some of the medics out there reading this are already thinking about what they're going to put in those loops just about now. It'd make a great med case.
When my wife and I were at the SHOT show, she used the TG2 as a laptop case. If your laptop is no larger than 12.5" x 9", it'll fit (in the TG1 as well). She has a Sony Vaio and it fit perfectly with room to spare on the width. The elastic loops on the panel insert came in handy for organizing all the 'computer stuff' like power supply, cables, phone etc.
On the inside of the front panel is a full size mesh pocket with a zippered compartment behind it.
Kifaru's website estimates that the TG2 has slightly more volume than the TG1, but it just didn't 'feel' that way, due to the TG1 being deeper and able to 'stuff out' more because of its rounded shape. I was skeptical, so I tried so see how many USGI 1-qt canteens I could fit in the TG2, after removing the center panel insert. I figured it'd take three canteens. Much to my amazement, it also fit five! Only arranged differently. All I can say is that looks are deceptive, and I guess I'm not very good at estimating volume. The panel insert WILL take up some space, and the rigidity of the TG2 prevents it from being 'stuffed out' like the TG1, but that's what the PALS on the outside are for - additional pouches if you need more volume.

Front outside of the TG2

Inside of the TG2, without panel insert

Panel insert installed

Elastic loops on the panel insert

Sony Vaio laptop in the TG2

An office-to-go on the panel insert

5 USGI 1-qt canteens!


Both the TG1 and TG2 share the same carry options. Note that the Shoulder Sling comes with the Tailgunners - all other options are purchased separately.

  1. Over the shoulder with the supplied shoulder sling/strap. (A wider shoulder strap can be purchased). Simple and convenient.
  2. With Omni belt only - For light to medium loads, the Omni belt used by itself is very stable. Loosen up all the adjustment straps, bend forward slightly and tighten the Omni belt, ensuring that it is centered on the hip bones, NOT around the waist. The buckle will be a couple of inches below your belly button. Tighten the side deltas, then the upper deltas, sucking the pack into your lower back.
  3. Omni belt and standard shoulder sling - With a slightly heavier load, the addition of the standard shoulder sling makes a world of difference in support. The sling is attached to the top ladder locks on the packs, then worn over one shoulder. It does not cross the front of the chest, and will not slip off the shoulder. Snugging it slightly helps prevent heavier loads from sagging and pulling back on the waist belt. This is probably my favourite option as you can loosen the waist belt, and rotate the pack around to the front, with the weight of the pack supported by the shoulder sling.
  4. Omni belt with accessory shoulder straps - These optional accessory straps are used in conjunction with the Omni belt for the heaviest loads, like the Scout pack.

"Light", "Medium" and "Heavy" are subjective terms when it comes to carrying loads. But as a rough guide, I loaded up different weights in the packs and determined which carry options felt best, and talked to Mel Terkla from Kifaru about it. This is what we felt were the maximum loads that the Tailgunners were designed to carry. Your mileage may vary of course.

  1. Over the shoulder - that's up to you. Until your shoulder and lower back hurts.
  2. Omni belt only - about 10-15 lbs comfortably. Maybe up to 20 lbs. More than that, and you'll be tightening up the Omni belt pretty tight to accomodate for sag. The Scout can carry up the 35 lbs, but it's got aluminum stays, while the Tailgunners don't.
  3. Omni belt and shoulder sling - Up to 25 lbs.
  4. Omni belt and accessory shoulder straps - Up to about 30 lbs. Any more and you're pushing the limits of the design.

TG1 over the shoulder with standard shoulder sling (included)

TG1 with Omni belt only

TG2 with Omni belt only

TG1 with Omni belt and shoulder sling
TG2 with accessory shoulder straps/harness
Which one to get? Both, of course. But if I had to make a recommendation, I'd say that if you have lots of smaller items that need to be organized/segregated, and you want internal modularity, get the TG2 and some 'Lock 'n' Load' pockets to take full advantage of the internal PALS webbing. If you don't need internal modularity, go with the TG1 - I find the internal layout of the TG1 very well thought out and accomodates most of my needs without wanting to change anything.


2/26/05 - For those who don't want to buy a Tailgunner (or would rather create their own configuration), and already have an Omni belt, the TGP (Tail Gunner Platform) is a rectangular, semi-rigid platform with 8 channels x 3 rows of PALS webbing, which attaches to an Omni-belt exactly like the TG1 and TG2. It has attach points for the side and upper delta straps, and shoulder/carry strap. Basically, you can create your own 'tailgunner' by attaching any molle compatible pouches to it. Unlike a regular web belt, the Omni belt conforms to your hips, and the upper delta straps support the weight in the rear and keep it stable. The shoulder strap and accessory shoulder harness can also be used to further stabilization and load distribution.

Tailgunner platform

Rear view

Installed on an Omni belt

Shown below is the TGP with a molle canteen pouch, Reccegear sapper pouch (the multicam one), a 100 rnd SAW pouch mounted to the platform. Mounted on the Omni belt are a Maxpedition pouch on the left, and a Blackhawk double M4 mag pouch. The shoulder strap is used.

Platform worn

With various pouches installed

8/14/05 and 8/20/05 - Went on a 7 mile hike in the mountains starting out at 6000' and going up to 10,000' (round trip 7 miles) - did it twice within a week and both times using the tailgunner 1. The TG1 is perfect for a day hike when it's warm and you want your back ventilated. I was able to stuff a 100oz bladder in there, food, small med kit, level 4 wind shirt and other small items. For most of the ascent, I left the Omni belt loose and snugged it up on the way down. The second time we went, I carried my wife's Camelbak HAWG, as she was getting tired, and it wasn't uncomfortable to wear with the TG. If I can fit everything in the TG that I need for a day, it's a tough setup to beat. It's extremely comfortable and I could switch back and forth between the shoulder straps and the Omni belt.

1/7/06 - I brought the TG1 to S.E. Asia with me and it's shown below on the right in a jungle setting.


8/20/05 with HAWG

TG1 in jungle




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