HOME Marauder Zulu Pointman Other Products Tailgunners ZXR Koala/XRay Woobie Pack setup OTW

Kifaru Express Pack


8/22/05 - The Express pack was first glimpsed by envious onlookers (me) at the 2005 SHOT show in Las Vegas, as the first prototypes were worn by Patrick and Mel as they paced the exhibition floors. Reminiscent of the Spike Camp from Kifaru's hunting line, but adapted to rugged military use, the Express was designed as a low profile assault pack that would haul a good sized load in a very streamlined package.

Bag - The Express has an internal volume of 2300 cu. in, slightly less than the Marauder. Instead of the rectangular outline of the Marauder and Navigator, the Express follows the shape of the Pointman - somewhat cylindrical and widening at the bottom. Departing from the military 'signature' of the other Kifaru military packs, the Express is devoid of the PALS webbing so that it's as much at home in a crowd of granola-munching hikers as it is on the back of a soldier fighting house to house. Of course, the granolas would probably pick a colour other than the MultiCam shown here.
Even though the bag has no PALS webbing, it still accepts the Kifaru Dock 'n' Lock pockets or Pods, with tab loops on the lid, bottom, front and sides of the bag. On the front is a 7" x 9.5" flat map/document pocket with velcro-secured flap. It's not really flat, but can expand as the pocket material is larger than the footprint. I was surprised to find that I could fit a GI 1 qt canteen in it. Even with a canteen in it, the pocket retains its low side profile without intruding too much into the volume of the pack. A loop of shock cord on the front of the pack can be cinched up to compress the pack slightly or be used to carry a light jacket.
There are two compression straps on each side. Located by the upper compression straps are the dual triangles for use with a cargo chair.

Overall front quarter.

Back view

Front pocket and shock cord/bungie

Front pocket fits a 1 qt canteen

The Express shares the same optional (it's not included) Omni Belt System as the Marauder, Zulu and Tailgunners. Any Omni belt can be used (shown here is the padded PALS with Powerpull) and it's easily attached and removed. A rectangular flap which is attached to the bottom of the bag swings down and the Omni belt put in place. A large area of velcro on the inside of the flap mates with a corresponding patch on the Omni belt when it's folded back up. On each corner of the flap is a metal 3-bar slider, which slips through plastic common loops on the back of the pack. The upper and side delta straps extending from the Omni belt are then routed through the ladder locs on the bag.

The bottom of the pack has 4 common loops for lashing stuff on the bottom with straps. There are also four tab loops for attaching a Dock 'n' Lock pocket on the bottom. The bottom compression straps wrap under the pack to the front and are snugged up via side-release buckles (I replaced some of the original black hardware on the Express with tan hardware, so that's why the buckles are different in some of the photos as they weren't all taken at the same time) and can also be used instead of a lash kit. The bottom zipper allows access to the contents at the bottom of the pack. Inside the bottom are four common loops and tab loops to which a Long/Side pocket or Pod can be Dock 'n' Locked or a sleeping bag strapped in.


Omni belt system

Waist belt removed

Bottom of pack

Bottom opening

Bottom inside of pack

The top lid looks similar to the Pointman's in shape, but lacks the rows of PALS webbing on the top and the chamber pocket access zipper. It has tab loops desinged for attaching a small Pod. Opening up the zippers and flipping the lid back, you'll see tabs/common loops located inside the front and back. As standard with most Kifaru military packs, a chamber pocket is included and hangs from the back common loops. A large 420D hydration sleeve with drawstring closure lines the inside back of the pack.

Although the Express shares the Omni suspension (belt and shoulder straps) of the Marauder and Zulu, the stays are 2" longer for more shoulder lift (depending on your height, of course), same as the Pointman. The stay pockets are accessed from inside the hydration sleeve at the top of the bag. The stays are 1" wide and 21" long. The hydration bladder is roomy and will easily accomodate any of the current bladders. A hypalon hose port is located at the top of the pack, just above the drag handle.

Top opening and chamber pocket

Stay pockets and hydration sleeve

20" Aluminum stays

Hydration bladder in sleeve

Hose port
The photos below illustrate how streamlined the Express is. Like all the other Kifaru packs, it's very comfortable and distributes the load well between the hips and the shoulders. Due to the longer stays and height of the Express, the load feels like it's carried higher than the Marauder. For reference, I'm 5' 7", 155 lbs

Front view

Side profile

Rear quarter

Although the Express lacks PALS webbing, it'll accept the Dock 'n' Lock pockets as shown below. Even with a Long/Side pocket on each side, the Express stays relatively low profile due to its narrow width. It's still possible to add pockets on the top and bottom as shown on Kifaru's website here.

2 Long pockets

2 Long pockets, back pouch

How does it compare in size to the Marauder? The Express is about 22" tall, and the Marauder 19". The Express is 15" at it's widest point (the bottom), and 12" at the top while the Marauder is 14" wide its entire height. The Express is 6" deep and the Marauder about 7". All measurements are approximate.

Front of Express and Marauder

By offering a top-loading pack similar in capacity to the Marauder amd giving the consumer yet another option, Kifaru has made it easier (or is it harder?) to select a pack to meet the user's needs. Just like people would email me and ask 'which should I get? The Marauder, Pointman or Zulu?', I'm getting the same questions now: 'Marauder or Express?'. Well, if you need frequent access to the contents or need internal organization using pouches, the Marauder would fit that need better. If you're out on short-medium duration hikes, and don't need PALS webbing inside or out, and can live with bottom and top access, then the Express would be a better choice. Either way, it's hard to go wrong. It's a Kifaru, man.

9/10/05 - Went on our little hike today - 6000' to 10,000' then back down in 7 miles. Brought the Express along as I knew it might be chilly and windy up at the summit, which it was. Didn't put too much in it, since it was just a half-day hike, and the whole pack weighed about 20 lbs. I stuffed it with extra gear like a sleeping bag just to add a bit more volume in addition to my 100oz bladder, food and jackets for me and my wife. Since it wasn't loaded up with much weight, I can't say I put it to a real test, but for what it's worth - it rode really well, and didn't affect any agility or balance. Just a joy to carry. But that's what it shines at - being a great day pack when you DON'T have to carry the kitchen sink.

My head's in the clouds - or above them

I'm on top of the world...(actually there was a lot more climbing left)
With DropZone Recce smock



©opyright by MilitaryMorons.com. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, Duplication, Distribution Strictly Prohibited.

Unless mentioned otherwise, content and images are the property of militarymorons.com and are not in the public domain.
They are not to be used without permission. Please Contact me for permission to use any images or content herein.