U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)-I have two backpacks that I use regularly. The first bag I use for carrying my laptop when I am traveling, and the second bag I use for taking my camera gear on trips. Both are good bags, but they are also on the large side for everyday use in my daily life. I needed something a little smaller and a bag that would let me carry my gun securely and covertly.
Shark Tank alumni, Aaron Tweedie from Man-PACK contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out the Man-PAK Spitfire XL. I reviewed the Man-PACK Apollo Solar Powered CCW Backpack last year. I loved that bag, and since I was in the market for a new bag, I decided to try it out to see if it would fit my needs.
I didn't want a tactical looking bag for everyday use. When I am out running errands, I don't want to stand out. I want to be the “gray man” and blend in with the crowd, and you can't do that with a camo bag covered with morale patches. The Man-PAK Spitfire XL helped me pull the covert look off.
Man-PACK designed the Spitfire XL as a sling style teardrop cross-body bag with an auxiliary strap. The auxiliary strap gives the Spitfire XL an extra point of contact that helps the bag hold to the body more securely to prevent unwanted movement of the bag when doing things like hiking.
The wearer can remove the auxiliary strap when it is not needed. The extra weight caused by a gun that the wearer can carry in a hidden pocket at the bottom of the Spitfire XL does cause the bag to move around a bit. The auxiliary strap stops almost 100% this unwanted movement. In use without a gun, I didn't find that I needed the extra strap.
The hidden padded pocket that Man-PACK built into the bottom of the Spitfire XL allows the user to store a subcompact or a compact pistol in the bag. A holster is held in place by a Velcro loop panel sown into the concealed compartment.
I used the Man-PACK Universal Fit-All Pull-Thru Concealed Carry Holster, which was also provided to me by Man-PACK. The holster holds a subcompact or a compact gun and two extra magazines. The holster worked really well with my Glock 43. It was easy to get the gun and mags in and out of the holster.
Using my Glock 19 posed a little more of a problem. I was still able to use my Glock 19 with the holster, but the fit was a bit tight and was a pain to get the gun and mags in the holster, but it was possible. Drawing the Glock 19 from the holster was not an issue. It came out of the holster smoothly and effortlessly. I also was able to quickly pull the mags out of the bag for quick mag changes.
One thing I do like about the holster is that it sits flat when not in use which is excellent for traversing TSA. When the TSA see an empty holster, it raises red flags with them which always leads to extra screenings. With this holster, I was able to make it through the airport screening line without the extra scrutiny from our friends at the TSA.
One thing I wish Man-PACK included in the design of the Spitfire XL are side access zipper openings to the concealed carry compartment. While practicing pulling my gun from the hidden carry compartment, I noticed it was a little awkward for me at first to pull the bag from my back and draw my gun from the bottom of the bag. This is due to me having a similar bag with only side access.
Although it was an easy thing to get used to, and for most people, it wouldn't be an issue, I think it would be beneficial to offer a side access to the hidden compartment. I understand why Man-PACK didn't add that access to the concealed compartment. It does lose some of the compartments covertness but would give the wearer more options of drawing their firearm.
The padded chest strap is comfortable. There is a phone pocket on the Spitfire XL chest strap. The issue I have with most phone pockets on bags is most of the time they are too small for the type of phones that I use. This pocket is an exception to this rule and I can fit my Samsung Galaxy S9+ without any issues.
Man-PACK made the Spitfire XL from Ripstop pack cloth. Ripstop is a type of Ultra tough fabric. Most manufacturers make Ripstop out of nylon and Man-PACK is no exception to this rule. The fabric uses interwoven reinforced threads in a crosshatch pattern to increase the strength and tear resistance of the bag. As the name applies, if the bag does rip the Ripstop fabric will help prevent the tear from spreading across the bag causing it to fail.
The Spitfire XL is great for me to carry a tablet and various other gear that I might need for my day. Man-PACK list the gear capacity of the bag as eight liters with a volume of 570 cubic inches. I do wish it was a little bigger, so I could carry my MacBook, but a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard lets me write on the go.
I do like the fact that Man-PACK included four interior utility pockets. I used these pockets to store my business cards, my wallet, and other items that I use throughout my day and while traveling. There are also lanyards to attach keys to the bag inside the pocket. Overall the storage and the layout of the bag is well designed.
Like a lot of bags, Man-PACK included a beverage pocket on the outside of the Spitfire XL for a water bottle. The pocket worked well for the bottled waters that I carried when I was testing out the bag.
Man-PACK warranties their bags for a full twelve months, but the quality isn't an issue with Man-PACK, so I can't foresee most people having any problems with the Spitfire XL. They also offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on all their bags which is great if you are not sure about a bag.
Overall, I am happy with the Man-PACK Spitfire XL. If it had fit my 13-inch MacBook, I would have found my perfect bag. With that said, it does what it is supposed to do, and it does it well. I think the holster should be a little bigger, but it works excellent for guns like the Glock 43 or really any small or mid-size single stack pistol.
If you are looking for a daypack, then I can definitely recommend this bag. Man-PACK makes excellent products, and this one is no exception. The Spitfire XL sells for $59.99. The Universal Fit-All Pull-Thru Concealed Carry Holster sells for an additional $19.99. The total price tested of both items was $79.98.
Man-PACK sells their bags on their website.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.