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What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with the SOG Surrept 24 CS Daypack? Sure, you’re thinking Mexican food and tasty cold beverages are in order today. And you’re not wrong. But on May 5th, Utah joins several other states in recognizing permit-less concealed carry. Which brings us to the Surrept 24 CS Daypack, a pack that not only carries your essentials, but even has a dedicated “Covert Storage” (CS) pocket. So it’s the perfect place for your EDC CCW. (But please don’t drink and carry).
This ($149.95 MSRP) 24 liter pack is 18″ tall, 13″ wide, and has a depth of 9″. It weighs 31.2 ounces empty. Waterproof construction of 4200 Nylon Ripstop ensures a long service life, while keeping contents dry. Zippers are waterproof and lockable. My test sample is Steel Blue with Frost highlights inside. Other options include Charcoal with Bright Grey. Note that this is part of a group of products designed to work together. The smallest of them fit inside the larger packs, making it easy to mix and match as your needs vary.
Inside, there’s plenty of pockets for items like pens, glasses, or even knives and spare magazines. The light, Frost-colored material offers better contrast than your typical black, making it a little easier to find things quickly. Of course, no pack is complete without a padded laptop pocket. Although, it’s sized more for a compact Apple laptop, given the overall size of the backpack. And that Covert Storage pocket is ready for some hook and loop fasteners to hold your CCW or other emergency gear.
Interestingly, the zippers don’t have a loop with some paracord, as might be expected. Instead, they have a grippy surface, with a hook for grabbing. This works well with or without gloves. The shoulder straps are padded and vented, with a sternum strap. A contoured surface on the back panel also helps with a little extra cooling. Expandable pockets on either side hold a water bottle or similar-sized objects. On the bottom is a generous zippered pocket which accommodates the smaller Surrept bags for extra organization. Low profile top and side straps round out the exterior.
Life with the Surrept 24 CS
One of the first things I noticed was that the 4200 Nylon Ripstop is a bit stiff, as are the waterproof zippers. Not a deal-breaker, though I am not sure they will break in too much. So if you’re looking for a soft pack with really smooth and quiet zippers, this might not be for you. On the plus side, the smaller front pocket is really handy for staying organized. Because its depth doesn’t extend to the bottom of the pack, things don’t get lost quite so quickly. Anything not in the organizer pockets is easy enough to find.
From a fit standpoint, I feel like I’m nearing the limit. At 5’10”, and around 250 pounds, I’m not little guy. If you’re bigger than that, definitely try before you buy. Speaking of weight (well, I wasn’t really), I decided to overload the pack for a test. With more weight in beverage cans and bottles than I am ever likely to carry, the straps and back were still comfortable. For an every day office or school loadout, it should be more than comfortable enough. And for an overnighter or a day trip, it will work great, if you’re someone who only packs the true essentials. We have adult kids, and it’s just right for spending the day exploring a new city with them.
I guess that every backpack today is probably viewed as containing something valuable. Whether that’s a laptop, tablet, camera, or a phone and wallet, they are all targets for thieves. At least the Surrept 24 CS doesn’t scream “laptop bag”. Nor does the subtle logo and branding give away that it may contain a firearm. Which is expected, as it draws its name from a Latin word for stealth. But unless you’re a 4th grader, consider that your pack is probably going to disappear the moment you leave it unattended. That’s the only reason I am wary of off-body carry. Otherwise, with a hook and loop holster of some sort inside, this is a nice option.
Ordering the smaller 24 liter pack over the 36 was an honest mistake on my part. Because my wife saw the value in the Covert Storage for herself. Had I gotten the bigger pack, she wouldn’t have wanted it. Yet the Surrept 24 CS is sized just right for her. She can carry all her usual stuff (everything most women carry, plus diabetic supplies), and a compact CZ. Another plus for keeping the branding low-key. So she’ll be doing the long term test, I had it for the short term. Which is fair, since I’ve been working from home anyway.
I’d like to thank SOG for providing their Surrept 24 CS Daypack for our testing and evaluation. They continue to produce quality gear that fits an active lifestyle in today’s sometimes volatile environment.