8.8 tech score Bags like the Sneaky Bag may be better as “go” bags, but the Sherman is ultimately more versatile.
I’d been carrying the Hazard4 Kato to work for a while. It worked well on days when I only needed to take my usual EDC stuff, or as a carry-on when I had to get on a plane. I liked its functionality and the arrangement of compartments. But the Kato was a little too small if I needed to pack papers, books or files.
On the other hand, Hazard4′s Messenger of Doom and Defense Courier messenger bags were a little big for my every day carry needs. I wanted an “in between” sized bag for my everyday trek to work. Enter the Sherman: a mid-sized messenger-style bag, bigger than a tablet messenger with enough room to stow a 13″ laptop and then some, but smaller than the MOD (which is more like a range bag or ammo mule) and the bike-courier-sized Defense Courier.
So does the Sherman live up to expectations? Here are the pros:
- Lots o’ Features. Most everything I liked about the Kato, I like about the Sherman. The Sherman has all of the features of the Kato essentially but is rough twice as wide.
- Layout is basically the same, with the handy, velcro-lined, lockable CCW pocket on the outside of the flap, the zippered pass-through on the flap, the top mounted grab handle, drop-down organizer pocket on the front, with a clear map-pocket on the inside and rows of MOLLE webbing on the outside, roomy main compartment with removable padded divider, dedicated padded computer pocket on the back with a small vertical pocket on one side and more MOLLE webbing on the other.
- It also has a nice patch of velcro on the front flap for an ID patch, along with the same rubberized panels on “high-wear” areas for abrasion-resistance.
Despite all the features, the Sherman is still pretty unassuming. With the exposed MOLLE webbing kept to a minimum and some judiciously limited exterior placement of Velcro, the Sherman manages to avoid looking too “tactical” (or tactic-cool) on the outside.
To your average passerby, the Sherman will probably sound like any other computer bag.
- The Sherman does some things better than the Kato. Being larger than the Kato, the pass-through actually works when you’re trying to get at stuff inside the bag without having to lift the flap (this is particularly handy, since the flap can get kind of heavy and cumbersome if you put enough stuff in the flap pocket, and it needs to be buckled down if you’re going to lift the bag using the grab-handle). The main pocket is also easier to access overall, again because the Sherman is much wider than the Kato.
On the other hand:
- The Sherman still doesn’t have a dedicated water bottle pocket. You can always attach a modular water bottle pouch like Hazard4′s Flip Pouch or the Skeletonized Bottle Holder from ITS Tactical, but I just like the idea of an integrated water bottle pouch.
- No strap-pad. The Sherman has a super sturdy, 2″ web shoulder strap. It does not, however, come with a strap pad. I found this a little strange, considering the Kato comes with a pad. Unless you don’t mind the shoulder strap biting into your shoulder, you’ll have get your own separate strap pad.
- No key-ring loop inside the flap pocket. This is a small point, but another one that had me scratching my head. The Kato had a small loop on the inside of the flap pocket. I hooked a Civilian Labs Gear Retractor to it, and the front pocket became the perfect place to stash my keys. The Sherman doesn’t have that little loop. I can’t figure out why, since it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to add it on.
No stabilizer strap. I’ve noticed many messenger-style bags as well as most sling-style bags come with a cross-body stabilizer strap to keep the pack from moving around too much. This could be handy if you’re on a bike, motorcycle or running away from hordes of the undead. That said, its not a feature I typically use, as I neither ride a bicycle nor motorcycle and I haven’t had to run from zombies on my way home from work.
So what does another bag have to do with zombies? Well, imagine you’ve got just a few minutes to get out of your house before that mob of walkers comes breaking down your door. Your EDC bag has a bunch of your essential gear in it already, so you grab that. Now if you’re using the Sherman as your EDC bag, you dump your papers and files out (because lets face it, you’re probably not going to work tomorrow) and using the velcro fields on the inside of the main pocket, stick in a hook & loop modular magazine pouch.
The Sherman easily holds six AR-type magazines with lots of room left over for first aid supplies, a light jacket and some emergency food.
You secure the flap with the two jumbo side-release buckles, sling the bag across your shoulder and bug out with your rifle in hand. Once on the street, should you need to load a fresh magazine, just unzip the pass-through and reach into the main pocket to pull out a magazine.
Unzip the flap pocket and toss your empty in there – the flap pocket can serve as your dump pouch. It may not be ideal (with nothing to cinch it shut, your empties could come spilling out if you have to hit the deck), but it will do in a pinch (alternatively, you could strap a similar magazine pouch to the MOLLE field on the outside of the bag and dump your empties into the main pocket).
As useful as it is for your daily commute, the Sherman can quickly be converted into a fighting go-bag.
Many thanks to Hazard4.