Review: Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45 plus

Introduction

A few months back I had the opportunity to be one of the first users to get a look at the Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45+ pack. Since I already did a review on the Modular 30, I was curious on the upscaled version and what made it different. After some months of use I am finally able to get you a more detailed look into this interesting pack. To be honest, I was not very convinced at first, but learned to appreciate the pack nevertheless. If you are curious about my insights, what made me sceptical and where I was wrong, bear with me and let’s take a look.

Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45 Plus


Overview

The Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45+ is the largest full clamshell design in the line up of the company. It is designed as a modular and universal backpack for military operations and features a detachable top lid and removable bellow pocket on the front section. The pack itself is covered with laser-cut MOLLE slits and features a hip belt, which can be used as a warrior belt. The inside is fully lined with velcro and features laser cut MOLLE as well. Just like the Modular 30, the pack comes with 3 velcro accessory pouches and a velcro based weapon mount, featuring hypalon straps. The V2 Plus load distribution system can be adjusted to the users height.


Specs

  • HxWxD: 66 x 28 x 22 cm
  • Weight: 2,55kg / 2,85kg
  • Material: 700den Cordura, YKK zippers, Woojin hardware
  • Volume: 45l

Set up

The Modular 45+ is set up as a full clamshell design. As a result the zipper runs all around the main compartment of the pack from top to bottom and not only to the front, as with older assault packs. This way you can use the pack as a top- and front loader and get easy access to the entire content of the pack. By now almost every major backpack company in the military sector is offering at least a model like this.

The Tasmanian Tiger 45+ with disassembled.

Full Clamshell Design of the Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45+


Top Lid

The clamshell design of the Modular 45+ is combined with a top lid usually known from regular top loading backpacks.

Top lid attached to the Modular 45+

What makes it even more interesting is the option to detach this top lid. In order to do so, you can release two buckles on the backside and also detach the two straps to the front.

Side release buckles to detach top lid

Detached top lid

Since there is plenty of strap material, you can also adjust the lid in height, making it possible to carry a sleeping bag or other bigger items underneath it. Excess straps can be easily stowed away by elastic webbing so it doesn’t get in your way

height adjustement of the top lid to carry sleeping bags etc

The zippered compartment features some basic organisation options for the user. There are two D-Rings in the upper corners, two pockets for A6 sized items, one of the two being made of mesh material. Attached on top of the nylon pocket you will find a smaller pocket, closed by a velcro flap. This is large enough for batteries, SD-Cards etc. The compartment is quite roomy and offers enough space to just drop in other items or organizer pouches if need be.

Top lid compartment

D-rings on the inside


Bellow Pocket

The bellow pocket to the front is attached by 4 Hypalon straps that interlace with the laser cut MOLLE on the front. Two additional attachment points can be found in two webbing loops through which the paracord of the bellow pocket is laced through.

Bellow pocket to the front

Said paracord acts as compression method to the pocket and can be adjusted by a cord lock on each side. If you want to detach the bellow pocket you have to get one strand out of the cord lock and lace it out of the two loops. More on that below.

Hypalon webbing for MOLLE attachment

Above the opening of the bellow pocket you will find one strap with a side release buckle and a hook which attaches to a webbing loop on the pack itself. This acts as compression and security for the content. Excess webbing can be stowed away through a laser cut slit.

strap to compress and secure the bellow pocket

You will also find a velcro area for your morale patches or unit identification etc.

 


Outside Features

The outside of the pack features plenty of laser-cut MOLLE . To the front you will find 4 channels with 14 effective rows.

MOLLE panel to the front with zippered compartment underneath

Underneath this MOLLE panel you will find a flat zippered pocket, large enough for documents larger than A5 (but not large enough for A4) and other items with a flat profile that you might need quick access to. This pocket features a large drain hole to get rid of water, in case you get your pack soaked.

On either side you will find 5 channels with technically 12 but in reality 10 rows of MOLLE each. The reason for this is the fact, that on top the rows are interrupted by the compression straps. You can lace webbing underneath though, so technically there is room for 12.

The laser cut MOLLE on the sides

There is also an additional row of MOLLE below, but it is positioned diagonally, so it can hardly be combined with the others.

diagonal MOLLE on the bottom. Also take note of the hypalon flaps

Since I already mentioned the compression straps. These are an upgrade to the paracord solution of the Modular 30, but it is still a strange one. Nearly half of the straps are underneath the cordura to keep a low profile, and they are attached to a ladder lock buckle and not a side release buckle. So you can adjust quickly, and stow away the webbing in the section underneath the cordura, and that’s it. Although there is no need for side release buckles in this design configuration, I see some missed opportunities here nevertheless (more on that later).

Closer look at the sides and the compression straps

The topside of the pack features plenty of laser cut MOLLE as well. The Modular 30 had shock cord on top, here you will find a different approach by using 6 channels and 5 rows of MOLLE. As a result you can still lace shock cord through here, but also have the opportunity to use MOLLE based accessories. Next to this, you will also find a dragging handle.

Laser cut MOLLE on topside

Just like the Modular 30, will also find two Hypalon flaps on one side of the pack. One flap on top, the other at the bottom. Usually you lace a short shock cord with a cord lock through them, to be able to carry ice axes or similar items.

Last but not least, on each side you will find a Hypalon reinforced port for hydration tubes, antennas or cables.


Main compartment

Just like the Modular 30, the interior of the main compartment ist fully lined with velcro. While the velcro area on the front lid is not modified, the one on the inner sides and back features laser cut MOLLE slits. As a result the main compartment offers plenty of options to either attach velcro or MOLLE based accessories.

Fully opened main compartment of the Modular 45+

On the sides you have 2 channels with 12 rows of MOLLE (14 slits). However, in the middle runs a seam through one of the rows, so you lose this one to lace webbing through. If you mount your MOLLE webbing smart, this is not an issue since MOLLE always changes between the attachment points when lacing the webbing the right way.

The laser cut MOLLE velcro on the sides of the main compartment

The backside of the interior compartment features two panels with each 2 channels and 15 rows, although the upper row is hidden under a flap that opens the compartment for the framesheet. Just like the Modular 30, I do not count these two panels as one with 4 channels, since these are interrupted in the middle by a velcro area without slits.

Coming to the framesheet compartment: This is not equipped with a framesheet but with two aluminum stays left and right. They give the backside of the pack a pronounced curve, therefore supporting the load distribution system. More on that later.

Aluminium stays in the framesheet compartment

Above the framesheet compartment is a horizontal zipper that opens to the outside. If you do not want to use one of the two hypalon ports to route cables or hydration tubes outside, you can use the zipper to create an opening where you need it. Since it is a two-way zipper with two glides, you can adjust the size of the opening in the back as well.

Zipper on the backside of the main compartment

Right in the middle of the zipper you will find a velcro tab and a cord loop to hang a hydration bladder into the pack. There is also a buckle attached here, which can be attached to the front lid to stop it from opening completely.

Strap to prevent opening

Last but not least the inside of the main compartment also features a zippered mesh pocket to the front on the lid. This opens on the bottom side so that you have the opening on the upside, if you open the pack like a toploader. As you can see, lots of features are just like the Modular 30.

Zippered mesh compartment on the inside of the front lid

 


Load distribution system

The Modular 45+ uses Tasmanian Tiger’s V2 Plus system to distribute the weight of the pack to the body of the user. It is adjustable to the user’s height by using different laser cut slits to move the shoulder straps up or down.

V2 Plus load distribution system by Tasmanian Tiger

The shoulder straps themselves are heavily padded as one is used with packs this size. They are contoured, feature a sternum strap, which is also adjustable as well as the obligatory D-rings on each side to mount accessories or lace cables and hydration tubes through. The sternum strap is not only a simple strap, but also features elastic webbing for more comfort and mobility.

The upper adjustment straps for the V2 Plus System are long enough and reach to the front so you can also grab them with your hands in case you are the type that doesn’t know what to do with his/her hands while marching.

Sternum strap and upper adjustment straps

On the bottom of the straps you will find side release buckles to quickly discard the the pack if need be. These buckles are protected by elastic webbing. That way they cannot be released easily by mistake, and are also silenced, since buckles in this area tend to squeak sometimes.

Quick release option with the shoulderstraps, hidden under elastic webbing

The backside of the pack is heavily padded and also features a distinct curve, provided by the aluminium stays that are hidden in the frame sheet compartment. The padding runs along the should plates and leaves room for ventilation in the middle.

Around the hip you have heavier and also two kinds of padding: finer mesh and also larger mesh, to enhance ventilation.

 


Warrior/Hip Belt

The Modular 45+ comes with a very decent hip belt. Even better… you can actually use it as a warrior belt if you remove it from the pack. Since the belt is an integral part of the V2 Plus system to carry the pack, it is however tightly fixed into the back padding.

To be specific: the belt is laced through a tunnel, fixed with velcro on the inside and also held in place by one strap on each side that runs through a ladder lock buckle. So – no quick detachment.

The warrior/hip belt detached (yes… the red spot on the upper left velcro is blood)

The warrior belt features 4 panels with laser cut MOLLE. The two on your 2 and 10 o’clock feature 3 channels with 3 rows of MOLLE. The ones on the back, which are usually hidden when attached to the pack, feature 4 channels and 3 rows.

The belt is closed by a huge Woojin buckle to the front and has plenty of webbing left. Quite a lot actually.

 


Additional Accessories

The Modular 45+ comes with the same accessories like the Modular 30 to organize the pack to your specific needs. The scope of delivery encompasses 3 velcro backed pouches (2 with a mesh top, 1 closed) and 2 pieces of loop panels with 2 webbing loops each:

Velcro based accessories

The velcro pouches are zippered and feature identification tabs, to name the content for quicker identification. These feature no internal organisation, but are very useful to store and transport individual items of your kit, ranging from IFAKs to cables, tools or magazines.

The loop panels have laser-cut slits to configure the webbing the way you need it. These are designed to transport weapons in your pack, but you can obviously use them for everything that is long and needs to be fixated, like a tripod etc.

 


Manufacture

If you follow my blog you will know by now that Tasmanian Tiger excels at quality control. I cannot remember a single TT product that was badly manufactured or broke down on me. The same applies to the TT Modular 45+. All the seams are straight and tightly sewn. The materials used represent quality and there is no room to complain. Original Cordura, Woojin hardware, YKK zippers. You name it. And my pack could be considered prototype status, since it was on of the first of the actual production cycle.


In use

Coming to my actual experiences when using the pack. I have to admit, the first thing I did when receiving the pack, was removing the top lid cover and the bellow pocket. I simply had no use for it at the beginning and the bellow pocket itself looked rather useless at first glance since it was not exactly the kind of beaver tail I am used from packs.

Removing the top lid is quite easy: buckles on the back opened, the same with those in the front and you can easily remove the two straps from the front. Easy peasy.

Removing the bellow pocket is not so easy however. Definitely not the quick detachable type, so you need to plan 3-5 minutes, depending on your MOLLE skills and fine motorics. Because you have to loosen up 4 MOLLE straps and also undo the paracord at the top, which is laced through the webbing loops. This includes opening a knot and pulling one paracord strand each through the cord locks. Also… the loops through which the paracord is laced are not fixed on the inside, so technically you can lose them into the interior. Enough said.

The detachment of the bellow pocket takes some time

Adjusting the pack to the users height is very easy, thanks to the V2 Plus System of Tasmanian Tiger. What struck me though was that there are plenty of slits to adjust to smaller persons, but basically none for taller ones. I had only one slit left to adjust it for my 180cm height, and with that I am just right, even though I wish I would have one more slit. That way I have to make the shoulder straps longer, in order to have the hip belt on my actual hip and not my belly.

Plenty of slits to the bottom, not that many to the top

The shoulder straps are wonderfully contoured, but they are definitely not designed to be carried over body armour. For that they will be too short. I had not the chance to try it out and there is plenty of length in the straps, but this defeats the purpose of the contoured shoulder straps in my opinion… I am seeing this more often with Tasmanian Tiger packs and wonder why. So if you are above 180cm, try to get a chance to try it on first.

Coming from some design observations to actual experience when in use: The pack rides comfortable on the back, when packed right. If you have heavier items in the bellow pocket, it starts pulling you back. The hip belt is a really decent belt that transfers the waist to the hip, if you correctly adjust the back to your height.

45l volume is already quite a lot for a full clamshell design. I noticed that as well with the KarrimorSF Odin 40. Tasmanian Tiger incorporated a strap in the main compartment to keep the front flap in check, but I wish the compression straps would actually be attached by buckles to the front.

The compression straps are a huge improvement to the Modular 30, and represent the slick design of the Modular 45+. However I see an opportunity lost here, just like with the smaller version.

If the straps would have had attachment points to the front lid, using side release buckles, you could use them to release stress from the zipper, use them to block the zipper from opening in order to use the pack as a toploader and last but not least, you could use them to carry loads on the side. Nevertheless they are a much better and cleaner looking solution to the paracord compression of the Modular 30.

If you want to use the hip belt as a warrior belt you have to understand that it cannot be detached in a quick manner. You can only do that when you have no stress, because you have to de-lace two straps (no buckles) and you have to reach into the tunnel of the back padding to get in between the velcro. This takes time and some convincing and cost me a scratched and bloody hand.

And speaking of the hip belt. With a pack this size I wonder why there are no clasps additionally to the buckle so you can tighten the straps more easily with a hoist.

The bellow pocket to the front proved to be a neat transportation tool for my Swagman Roll. So smaller sleeping bags should not be a problem. Helmets fit in there as well. Fully packed the pack gets some size and moving in narrower spaces becomes more difficult. The bellow pocket adds to that as well.

Bellow pocket to the front can create additional bulk


Conclusion

The Tasmanian Tiger Modular 45+ is a successful attempt to take the Modular 30 to a higher and larger level. Offering improvements and additional features, it enhances the capabilities of an already versatile pack.

I have to admit that I was skeptical at first and still see room for improvement. These aspects represent my personal view however and don’t have to match others necessarily. So far the pack has proven very useful to me and certainly did not disappoint.

The option to modify the pack to your specific needs, add or detach parts depending on your use is highly valuable. Need some more room? Add the below pocket. Don’t need a top lid? Remove it within a minute. Simple as that.

With that being said, I hope I could show you once more that Tasmanian Tiger knows to deliver and give you a decent insight into the pack.

Thank you for reading and also many thanks to Tasmanian Tiger to give me the opportunity to do this review for you guys!

Take care!

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