Disclaimer: This item was provided free of charge by Platatac for testing and evaluation purposes. There has been no exchange of money, and the terms of the item being provided are that if I like a product, I review it, if I don’t like a product, it gets sent back. With this is mind I always remain as unbiased as possible, my thoughts are my own, and the sole purpose of this blog is to provide helpful information to someone who might actually need it to find the right solution for their problem.
Getting hands on the PlayPlus pack came as something of a surprise to me, but was a welcome one for sure. Arriving in a pile of samples at first I thought it was just another daysack, but having actually taken the time to look at it it quickly became clear that it fits into its own specific niche.
The interesting thing about the PlatyPlus is that instead of simply adding another rugged pack to the long list of available rucks for using in the field, it targets the many other tasks that a squaddie’s daysack has to carry out when not covered in cam cream and sleeping in a muddy hole.
Cutting around camp, travelling, going on classroom based courses or even being used as the duty BOO/BOS daysack are all tasks that the likes of the Camelbak Motherlode are all used for but are a long way from designed for. The PlatyPlus leans the other way, with loads of internal features to make in-camp admin easier, but still retaining the toughness needed to chuck 1000 rounds of link into it and tab up the nearest high feature in an emergency.
The PlatyPlus comes stocked with a lot of little features that all add up to make a well rounded and easily organised pack. Externally it is really slick, with a shape familiar to those who have used the Platatac G2G pack, Direct Action Dragon Egg or Tactical Tailor ROP. There isn’t a hint of MOLLE to be found on the outside of the pack, and the only “military” feature is the conservative square of loop velcro embroidered with the Platatac logo. Making up for the lack of external hanging capability are two low profile water bottle sleeves, that can hold anything up to a 1L Nalgene and lie completely flat when not in use.
Carrying the pack is done either through the simple grab handle on top of the pack, made of 3/4 inch webbing with a cordura wrap, or by the super nice padded shoulder straps. On the front face the straps are slick 500D colour matched nylon, but on the inside things are a little different. For starters, there is around half an inch of padding throughout the strap which makes for an incredibly comfortable pack. The inside is then faced with a stretchy, neoprene like fabric that while I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, provides grip without bunching or causing undue sweating underneath. Anyone who owned one of the Eagle Industries MOLLE Becker packs will be familiar with the fabric as it was present on those shoulder straps too.
On the back face of the PlatyPlus is a horizontal sleeve again showing that this pack is not intended solely for dashing about in the field, but instead wants to be secured to the handle of a roller bag or peli case. To make sure that when carried in this way the pack doesn’t slump, the rear face of the pack is stiffened, meaning it will have some ability to stand up on its own.
Not only are there a myriad of external bells and whistles, the PlatyPlus also contains a lot of internal tricks designed to make life easier. Firstly in the top of the daysack there is a soft pouch made of a microfibre-esque jersey fabric and with a zippered closure, perfect for sunglasses or PEDs with glass screens. The zipper here, and throughout the PlayPlus, is reversed to help in keeping shit out of the pocket, and the zip in working order.
The main pocket of the PlatyPlus is next, and is of a generous size considering that this is a small daysack, somewhere around the 20-30L mark. Lined throughout with the same low abrasion cordura you would expect to find in civvie camera bags, anything delicate you throw inside the pack has several layers of fabric protecting it from outside bumps and scrapes. Also inside the main pocket is a padded laptop sleeve, again lined with the same glass safe jersey fabric to allow large tablets and laptops to be kept safely inside without a case.
The padding of the pouch, and stiffening of the back face of the pack makes for a relatively safe home for your PEDs when in transit, and is certainly a better option than slinging them in a regular daysack before climbing aboard whatever transport you happen to be going on and cramming your pack into the overhead storage. Finally inside the main pocket there is an internal zip pouch large enough to hold wallets, keys, portable chargers and headphones etc.
Next up is the larger of the two front pockets, which is of a far flatter nature than the main space behind it. Inside are three sewn in sleeves, the centre of which is the perfect size to hold a passport, and the other two making great slips for torches or other small EDC items. Crucially these sleeves do away with the typical and often totally ignored notepad and pen specific holders seen on packs like this, instead aiming for more flexibility and simplicity. On the outside of the front pocket is a large mesh pouch with a zip closure and internal key hook allowing you to keep important items segregated and easily retrievable.
Finally on the front of the pack is a 3rd and final flat pocket, similar to that seen on LBT 3 day assault packs. Inanely simple this pocket is good only for flat or potentially “dirty” items you want to keep away from the remainder of your cargo. Should you choose to ignore this pocket altogether the closure zip is covered by a hefty storm flap keeping shit and detritus out of the zip itself.
Put to use
So how have I found the PlatyPlus to use? Well, obviously I’ve not done a great deal of flying with it thanks to the ongoing pandemic, but for the last few weeks I have been using it as my go to daysack for day to day use and weekend wanderings. The primary takeaway I have is that it is fucking comfortable. The combination of rigid back and almost overly padded shoulders makes for a pack that while lacking ventilation, won’t be sticking to you and folding in all the wrong places.
Even though it is a compact daysack I’ve not been able to outpack it, and have been able to load enough food, water, wet and warm kit for 2 people and a dog spending a day on the hills along with ancillary items like maps, compasses, spare batteries etc. While I wouldn’t say that the great outdoors is the intended environment for the PlatyPlus, it can definitely hold its own out there.
What this does translate to though is that a squaddie carrying the standard flight loadout of laptop and charger, 24 hour wash kit and spare clothes backed up by some warm kit should be able to comfortably pack it all inside the PlatyPlus, with enough room for and easy access to important documents and of course the standard frozen sausage roll and off brand packet of crisps.
Other regular tasks like camp guard are also a great calling for the PlatyPlus, allowing the soldier to be seen carrying a “military daysack” that is actually carrying enough sugary scoff to keep them awake throughout the 24 hour shit tasking.
For me personally I actually see having the pack in Multicam as something of a negative, as had it been in black or grey it would have been a permanent daily driver. I would also love to see an XL version in the future that is able to hold my mammoth 17″ work laptop. If Platatac can make that happen then I’ll be completely sold on buying another for myself. Luckily for those reading this you have the option of 6 solid colours to choose from, or Multicam if your unit requires it.
As stated above I’ve not had a chance to “field test” the roller handle capability, but I have found that it works well in the confines of my own home on my Peli 1650. For those regularly rolling gear into and out of South Cerney I would strongly suggest that having your carry on in a PlatyPlus will make life easier, removing it from the usual juggle of bergen, box, daysack, bedding and whatever other shit you get handed on your way in.
Where do I land on the PlatyPlus? On first glance I really thought it wasn’t reinventing the wheel, and I still feel that way now, but it has approached the task of making a wheel from a totally different angle. There are many occasions where I personally have had to take a daysack on a tasking that simply hasn’t needed the more “operational” daysack, but would have been well served by something like the PlatyPlus.
One very attractive feature of the overall package is the price. At just $79 Australian, these come out at around the £40 mark which pocket change when you consider the cost of a new Camelbak or up into the dizzying heights of Mystery Ranch. Slapping one of these on an order will give you an inexpensive pack that will prove to be useful on a multitude of surprising occasions, without any of the eyebrow raising from the senior ranks that normally accompanies civvie type daysacks being worn in uniform. And should the crap hit the fan, you also have an emergency jack sack that will hold its own in the field.
Thanks for reading through my blabberings on the Platatac PlatyPlus Daysack. If you want to grab one for yourself I’ll leave a link to them here. I’d also like to say another massive thanks to Platatac for sending it over, it’s one of those items that I doubt I’d have picked up myself, but having had hands on it, I would be very open to the idea of picking up a lower visibility one for myself.
If you have any questions about this or any other article, or if you just want to call me a cunt, head over to my Instagram @thegeardocrow. Cheers.