The Maxpedition Falcon III is an update to the company’s popular Falcon II backpack. While the main upgrade is the pack’s expanded size of 28 liters, some modern touches make the Falcon III a versatile outdoor and tactical pack. This bag is at home in a variety of environments and fits into a multitude of roles.
The exterior of the Falcon III is 1050 denier nylon. The fabric provides a high degree of abrasion resistance. I was impressed with how it performed on concrete drag tests while only showing slight wear on the outside webbing. The fabric is also treated with a Teflon coating, which gives the pack more water resistance.
I was impressed with the pack’s ability to shed water. For testing, I dragged the front of the pack across the surface of a river near the Shadow Fox HQ. The water beaded and rolled off the outside of the pack. However, the pack is not impervious. After opening the pockets, I saw that some water was able to get in through the stitching that held the webbing to the pack. While the pack isn’t entirely waterproof, it will keep things safe in a short drizzle or while trekking on a snowy day.
Webbing on the front and sides allow for attaching pouches to fit whatever your mission. Four side and a top compression strap keep the pack neat. For the top, I would like to see a longer strap to allow for carrying rope or a jacket when the pack is fully loaded.
The Falcon III comes with a mesh back panel and shoulder straps. The Falcon II had mesh shoulder straps, but a nylon back panel. The Falcon III uses a more open mesh that is well padded. Another item is the quick release buckle on each strap. This allows for easier and quicker removal when wearing thick layers.
Unlike the Falcon II, the Falcon III does not have a dedicated hydration pocket. A pouch in the main compartment will hold up to a three liter bladder. The hose can be routed through a port on either side of the pack. The bladder will bulge out into the back a little, but not enough to make it uncomfortable. The hydration pouch can also fit a 15-inch MacBook Pro with sleeve.
Overall, the pack is comfortable to wear. There is no frame, so loads over 30 pounds may be uncomfortable over long distances. The straps are well cut and a sternum strap helps keep the weight from bearing into the shoulders. Load lifter straps on the shoulders also help pull the weight towards the back. A webbing hip belt also secures the pack to the body.
The Falcon III carries a basic administrative pocket that can carry pens, a multi tool or folding knife, along with a phone and light. A key fob is also sewn into the pocket. While it does carry the essentials, I prefer a dedicated pouch for my phone to keep it from moving around and easily accessible. A few more organizational features would help the pack fit better into the EDC role.
The pack’s secondary compartment is lined with loop Velcro. This compartment can carry your hook-backed holsters and pouches. The Falcon II had loop Velcro on the hydration compartment for this purpose.
The Falcon III functions well in the outdoors, but can also be used as a travel and daily carry pack. I was able to compress the pack down to keep the profile low when carrying a light hiking load, but the pack was also large enough to carry what I needed for an overnight snowboarding trip. The 28-liter size also allows for carrying more equipment for winter hikes or gear for the tactical professional on a callout.