SOG TOC 20 Backpack

  Most people have heard of SOG knives. Well, SOG has now gotten into the backpack market. They are offering a pretty good selection of different size and use packs. They sent me one of their smaller ones, the TOC 20 in gray. The "TOC" stands for Tactical Operating Center. Thanks to SOG's website I now know this. When the pack first got here, there was very little info in the web about it, now SOG has plenty of info on their packs.

  I have lugged this TOC 20 pack for about 3 months now. It went to a couple trade shows with me. I used it as a makeshift range bag on a few occasions. But I didn't drag it behind a truck. The pack is very useful. Not the largest, it is stated as a 20 liter pack, but a nice size for day hikes, concerts, trade shows, or just lugging around town. The padded straps are a nice touch, once the pack is loaded with stuff. The straps are also quickly adjustable with pull straps at the bottom. There is also an adjustable strap that goes between the two shoulder straps, that latches them together at about chest level. I am sure there is a name for it, but I can't think of it. These straps will also slide up or down on a little rail system for best comfort and fit. The little buckle also has a built in whistle. Also on the straps are various Molle straps and some eye loops.

Looking Inside Main Compartment

Looking Inside Protective Pocket

  Now on to the pack itself.  The TOC 20 has 2 main compartments and 3 smaller ones. The main compartment, as I will call it, opens up at the top with the zippers going about a third of the way down the sides. Once open, one has access to the full depth and width of the pack. Inside the main compartment are 2 other zippered pockets, one on the front and one on the back. The front zippered pocket zips in the center and has a little lanyard loop inside. Probably for your keys. The other one zips all the way across and is about 5" deep. Along with the inside zippered pockets, there is also one that is just open. But on the front of this pocket are little inserts to slide pens, knives, etc into. Now behind the main compartment is another full size one. This one is for either a laptop or a water bladder. This compartment is what they call a pass through. It has full length zippers, one on each side of the pack. On the front of the pack are two zippered pockets, one on each side. These pockets are really nice to store bottled water, etc. I carry medical stuff in one of them. At the top of the pack, on the front, is a hardish padded dome pocket. This pocket is used to protect something like a cell phone or sunglasses, etc. Also, inside the padded pocket are some other little pockets to store stuff in. The only real problem I ran into with this protective pocket, was that it is easy to accidentally open it when trying to open the main compartment. Then everything in it falls out, defeating the protectiveness of the pocket. On the outside of this "safety compartment" is some hook and loop to put your Patriot Patch Co, patches on. All the pouches/compartments have dual zippers with finger pulls. The pulls are actually pretty sharp at the bottom of the half circle, but are big enough to work well without any problems. 

  Now on the front of the pack, they put this pannel with slots in it. This panel makes it possible to attach Molle gear and other such items. It is made from Hypalon. Hypalon is a durable synthetic rubber used on inflatable boats and such. I pulled pretty hard on these slots. It didn't even stretch them. It also has some other cloth Molle attachment points on the pack bottom. 

  Now that we have covered just about everything. The TOC 20's outer shell is made from 500D nylon. They also coat the nylon with polyurethane to give it a water resistant coating. I never dipped it in water, but the coating should help when it's raining. There are also two carry handles, one on the top, and one on the side. So if you don't want to sling your pack, there is another option. 

  So if you're looking for a new pack, look into SOG. Not your normal pack maker, but the TOC 20 is a good pack. And if you want something larger, they make those too. 

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Tactical Day Pack

Target Market:

Day hikers, students, or anyone looking for a small well organized daily carry pack

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product): 

  • 20 liter capacity
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Adjustable sternum strap w/whistle  
  • Molle attachment points
  • Impact resistant top storage compartment 
  • Pass through access to laptop/hydration area
  • Plenty of pockets and compartments
  • Large zipper pulls
  • Water resistant  
  • 20.1" x 11" x 7.5"
  • 32.5 ounces 

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?


What others are saying?:

Scratch at 5 /5 stars.

Thoughtfully designed and real good quality

I've long been a fan of SOG products so I had high expectations for the TOC 20. I wasn't disappointed. The quality of materials and construction is high and attention was paid to smaller details like zipper pulls and straps. The bag has multiple compartments allowing for separation of wet/dry and hard/soft gear, all of which are easily accessible. The ability to access the main areas through side zips, and the side handle are especially useful when traveling. The impact resistant top pocket is cool because when you open it, it acts as a tray - something I've liked on various fishing gear I've owned - which gives you good access to the contents without the risk of your stuff falling out. Finally, comfort - I'm over 6 feet tall and 250 lbs. with broad shoulders. Most day packs have straps that are either too narrow, too short or badly angled. The straps on my TOC 20 fit comfortably, even when the bag is fully loaded. It also feels good against my back while hiking or even jogging. If you're looking for a well-made, versatile day pack with with quality construction and features, the TOC 20 is a solid choice.

Link to other reviews:

None Found

Price point:

(MSRP versus actual retail)

MSRP = $159.99 at

Retail = $113.86 at Amazon 

I need it now! Availability:

Amazon or SOG knives 

Our Rating:


  • Padded straps
  • Adjustable sternum strap
  • Molle attachment points
  • Water resistant  
  • Side and top carry handles
  • Pass through compartment  
  • Hydration compatible  
  • Protective compartment


  • Zipper pulls are sharp
  • Easy to accidentally open protective compartment when trying to open main one
  • Big SOG logo
  • Too tactical looking

Score: 7.5 Good


Chad's favorite link: Axelson Tactical

Allen Company Recon Tactical Backpack

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

Technically, all backpacks could be considered tactical. After all, tactical means "of or relating to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage." Having an efficient storage solution that can easily be carried on one's person is a pretty distinct advantage over say, a plastic grocery bag or just your pant pockets. Heck, even a bindle (picture the classic cartoon hobo with a sack tied to a stick) is a human invention that could be considered a distinct advantage for carrying your stuff. What I'm getting at, is when a product is marketed as "tactical" I try to focus on what it does that provides a distinct advantage over the other products in it's category. 

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

There are plenty of "tactical" backpacks out there, and typically the quality and capacity improves the higher the price point. If you are looking for a dependable bug-out bag or EDC bag that will outlast the zombie apocalypse (heavy sarcasm) then you may be in the $200+ range. There are some of us who are just looking for a fairly inexpensive bag that has expanded useful features, as well as looks cool. After all, the first rule of Tactical is if you aren't looking cool, you are doing it wrong. Or so I've been told! In shopping for an inexpensive tactical backpack that would serve well during day outings or travel, I found the Allen Company Recon Tactical Backpack. For only $25 it seemed like a decent pack that was casual but looked the part. Black: check. MOLLE webbing: check. Hook & Loop panel for the sweet PVC morale patches from Patriot Patch Co.: check!

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

It has 3 zippered compartments ranging in size. The largest main compartment has a partition sleeve that holds either a laptop or tablet device,  textbook or magazines (the reading kind) or even a hydration bladder, with a covered port in the top where the bladder's drinking tube can come through and then be secured to the strap. Outside of the aforementioned sleeve theres room for loosely putting anything else, a small jacket or several ham sandwiches. There was clearly room to accommodate more pouches, pockets or an interior MOLLE system but Allen left is pretty minimalistic and bare here, which I guess is why it's under thirty bucks.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The second compartment has more to offer as far as utility, and short leashed keyring, admin/paper pocket, and some smaller stitched pockets for pens or smaller items. The third forward most zippered pocket located directly behind the front MOLLE webbing is completely bare, just  big enough for a small book or two magazines (the shooting kind). Once again, pretty bare minimum and really not useful as a range bag, bugout bag, or survival bag.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The exterior has MOLLE webbing on the front, sides, and sling of the pack so you can expand the pack with your own tactical accessories. A dump pouch or admin pouch would go along with the whole traveling student role. You could be "that guy" and put pistol mag pouches on the sling and sides, but it wouldn't earn you many credibility points at the gun show. There is a synch-able net pouch for a water bottle on the wearer's right side, and a slim, narrow zippered pocket on the left that will hold a couple energy bars.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The comfort of the Recon Tactical Backpack is what's the real hero of its price point, as the back panel and the single sling are padded as well as slightly aerated for reducing sweat spots after wearing it all day. It is a single sling design like a messenger bag / backpack hybrid, so if you weigh it down with heavy contents (ie: dozens of manufacturer catalogs from SHOT Show) you will definitely feel it in your left shoulder after awhile. The downside to hybrid single strap bags like this is the inability to switch shoulders to reduce that fatigue if your pack is too heavy. There is a smaller strap with plastic M-buckle  on the right side which snaps into the main shoulder strap to keep the bag from shifting around, and that helps stabilize the load.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

In all honesty, I bought this bag from a local gun shop the week before SHOT Show 2015 because I didn't have the time or budget for a more expensive and comprehensive backpack, and I thought a more minimal pack would be useful with all the other camera and recording equipment slung over my shoulder. I quickly found out how overloading the pack with heavy magazines and catalogs lead to pain at the end of a whole day spent on the showroom floor, and I really wished I had anted up for a more conventional double shoulder strap bag with better use of its interior space. If it had better use of internal space with more pockets or pouches on the inside, you wouldn't need to snap on more MOLLE pouches on the outside. Admitting all that, I would still vouch for the Recon Tactical Backpack for a student or just someone on the go looking to travel light but still have some "tactical" features. If you are looking for a full capacity backpack with more features and double straps like a 5.11 pack but more affordable, don't hesitate to check out Allen Company's other tactical backpacks.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The Recon Tactical Pack is ready for the field, the range, or duty use. The single should sling is nicely padded for comfort, while the interior pockets and exterior MOLLE loops allow for easy organization and the ability to add MOLLE compatible accessories.

Target Market:  Day-trippers, Casual Hikers, Students

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 600D cosntruction
  • Single, padded shoulder strap
  • Exterior MOLLE web system
  • Interior organization compartments
  • Water bottle pocket, plus hydration bladder sleeve
  • Air mesh padded back
  • Hook and loop patch for adding name tape or logo patches
  • Padded compartment for laptop
  • Dimensions: 17.5" x 11" x 7.5"

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black only

What others are saying?: "The Recon Tactical Pack is ready for the field, the range, or duty use. The single shoulder sling is nicely padded for comfort, while the interior pockets and exterior MOLLE loops allow for easy organization and the ability to add MOLLE compatible accessories."

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Amazon

Our Rating:


  • Minimal price, minimal footprint
  • Hydration bladder compartment and hole
  • MOLLE webbing for expandable capacity
  • Stitching holds up for light - medium use
  • Strap and back panel are padded and comfortable
  • Price Point is low for minimal features


  • Lack of internal pouches / pockets
  • Design limits carry to left shoulder only
  • Did not include hydration bladder

Score: 5.5 Mediocre



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