ITEM: Assault 10L Hydration Pack
MANUFACTURER: Source Tactical
DESCRIPTION: A small assault combination assault pack with inbuilt facility to carry a 3L water bladder and 10L of cargo capacity.
This item is kindly provided by Crossfire.
Despite acting as something of an agent for Crossfire, I have received no financial compensation for this review. Like any previous review with supplied equipment, I have conducted the review with the proviso that I will be painfully honest in my assessment of this item.
The Source Assault pack will be returned to Crossfire on the completion of the review.
ATS RAID on the left, Source Assault 10 on right.
Main body is 1000D cordura.
Webbing straps for MOLLE.
A wicking mesh material is on the back of the harness against the wearer.
YKK zips are fitted, and these all have cord pull tabs.
Harness straps are slightly contoured. There are plastic rings for routing hydration bladder hose and hang radio handsets off. The running ends of the shoulder straps have finger loops to allow easier adjustment.
There are plenty of loops along the harness straps to adjust the height of sternum strap, as well as other elastic straps to secure such items as hydration hoses.
There is a lightweight hip belt fitted, which has webbing loops fitted to allow accessory pouches to be attached.
A well designed drag handle is fitted to the top of the pack. A simple, yet comfortable design.
All harness straps have elastic keepers to control loose ends.
There are three main compartments. The first compartment runs the entire length of the pack and is secured with a zip. It has an internal pocket and a Velcro loop to secure the hydration bladder. There is a small port to allow the hose to be routed through to the outside.
The second compartment is also secured with a twin tab YKK zip. This compartment mirrors the first compartment in size, extending the entire length of the pack, and is approximately 10-15cm deep. A manpack radio could conceivably be fitted inside this compartment.
The third compartment is for admin and sundry times. It has a small zip-secured pocket inside, and a couple of smaller pockets for smaller items like rifle magazines.
The outside of this third compartment is a very small zip secured compartment that would hold a wallet, steri-tabs or other small loose items.
The outside of the Assault Hydration Carrier has a small amount of MOLLE/PALS rows on the lower surface of the outside of the external pocket and the lower portion of the external surface of the pack. There is a Velcro pile area on the back of the external pocket for IFF/morale patches.
There are four fastex secured compression straps on the side of the pack, two on each side. They bring the load closer to the back if the assault pack is not fully loaded. The compression straps also allow long items like M72 LAAW’s to be attached to the pack for ease of access and storage.
There are also another two fastex secured compression straps on the bottom of the pack for securing external stores, such items as raincoats and poncho’s come to mind.
The Source bladder continues to impress me as I keep using it.
Like most hydration bladders, it has a screw top lid approximately three quarters of the height of the bladder.
It also has a fold-over seam covered with a bracket to allow ice cubes to be added to one’s water supply and easier access to clean the bladder after use. This fold over access also acts as a designed fail-point should the bladder be subjected to excess pressure. If the bladder was to be crushed, which is entirely common in a military environment, this fold-over feature will simply blow out. So that the water may be lost from that bladder, but the bladder doesn’t suffer a catastrophic failure, and can be simply re-filled.
Even in normal life, with my amazing propensity to find concealed creek lines with my head, I’ve burst hydration bladders when going for a tumble. Yet, the fold-over feature is sufficiently robust to withstand most abuse that could conceivably be thrown it’s way without failing. Very nice, simple design.
The inside surface of the bladder is very smooth. According to the company, this is a glass based coating to retard microbial growth on the bladder surface. My knowledge of microbiology gained from the food manufacturing industry suggests this would be very nice in a field environment, since microbial colonies tend to gain stronger anchor points on a surface that is full of holes and a rough surface that is inherent in many plastic films.
The QMT (Quick Mate Technology) system is very impressive feature.
This allows hoses, bladders and other accessories to be quickly and easily detached or added to the system as required.
Currently, Source lists six options for integration to the system:
1. CBRN gas mask (Avon or M40) – not reviewed by myself. The only time I could possibly need such equipment nowadays is if stuck in a confined space with my baby brother again.
2. Pressure pump – not reviewed by myself.
3. UTA (Universal Tap Adaptor) – reviewed by myself.
The UTA is a rubberised attachment that allows the bladder to be filled from common water receptacles, such as water bottles, and taps (faucets for my Northern Hemisphere readers).
It allows the bladder to be refilled, without taking it off the body, or having to access the bladder itself, which can reduce the amount of possible contaminants being introduced into the drinking supply.
4. Storm/Helix drinking valve – only Helix valve reviewed.
The Storm valve allows a bite valve more like that supplied by other market competitors such as Camelbak.
5. Inline filter – not reviewed.
In addition to being able to add components to the system, it is an easier method to refill the bladder, or replace broken/damaged components as needed.
I have had opportunity to wear this hydration carrier/assault pack on my training walks. I have been up and down Castle Hill in Townsville, as well as several day walks around the North Queensland region. \
It can carry a useful load for such short range tasks. Such items as extra ammunition, clothing for harsh conditions, manpack radios and other mission essential equipment can be accommodated.
It will fit into a large patrol pack’s main compartment or under the main lid quite nicely.
With the QMT system, individuals can hook up their personal hydration bladders to fixed structures, to replenish personal supplies. This would have been a great thing to have when my patrol would be mounted in the back of an APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier) after some of our dismounted tasks. Whilst the car would be rolling, we would be replenishing our consumed stores from supplies we held in the back of the vehicle. So, water, rations, and ammunition would be topped up whenever we mounted up.
Water of course, is a difficult substance to handle in confined spaces that happen to be bouncing in a random manner whilst travelling cross-country in an armoured vehicle. The ease of which the QMT system joins to other components would have reduced our spillage and wastage.
I can see where refilling water supplies whilst wearing armour carriers with hydration bladders on the back would be an extremely difficult exercise to achieve quickly as well.
With this docking system to a larger water source, this gets much easier.
The ability to join different components to the hydration system, such as in-line filters and pumps, whilst also being able to customise how the end-user consumes their water supply is a very nice capability to have.
The UTA really makes what can be a fiddly and annoying task a great deal simpler. I don’t have to take off my pack to refill my water supply. Should this bladder be attached to a fighting load, or time is very short, refilling water in a convenient manner such as this is a life-saver.
In terms of size, it’s a little bit bigger than my Kifaru E&E, so that may be a draw-card for those who may still want a compact pack, but not too big and unwieldy.
The Source bladder design is very nice for convenience of re-filling. I like the design for being able to replace components when they break or fail. The fold-over feature on the bladder is particularly impressive. As mentioned, it can act as a designed failure point should he bladder be exposed to crushing damage. The fold-over will act as a pressure relief valve, losing the water, yet the bladder will not be permanently damaged. Simple, effective design – I really like it.
The UTA is one of those simple accessories that makes one slap themselves in the face and ask “Why didn’t I think of that?”.
The pack is well made, and capable of carrying a decent load.
The lightweight hip belt is good, but there is no real capability for being able to fold it away for those times where it may not be required. Whilst the side compression straps reduce the strain on the main compartment zips, I’m not sure how they would go for long term heavy-loading of the pack.
Quite a nice little pack.
The Source bladder and it’s QMT is a really nice system.
Posted in Civilian, Crossfire, Military, Military Gear, Packs & Webbing, Short Trip by 22F with 10 comments.