If you're like me you carry a ton of gear back and forth from the range. Depending on your job, you may have to carry essential tools or items that you want to keep with you wherever you go. These gear maximizers from Vanquest, give you the ability to bring all that gear with you and organize it in a compact pouch.
Vanquest Gear is a veteran operated company and known for making durable outdoor gear bags and backpacks for shooting enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. I recently had the opportunity to test out a couple of their maximizers. What is a maximizer you ask? Before doing this review, I saw these small ‘maximizer' gear bags out on the range. I didn't pay much attention because I figured it was another ‘tactical must-have' gear bag. I was quite content with how I loaded my range gear to and from the range.
First, think of the maximizer as a durable gear bag that holds a lot of gear. But instead of a pouch that holds a lot of loose gear, it is thoughtfully designed to hold the gear in a specific spot and organize the gear in a way that provides easy access. The concept is not new. Because field medics need to carry a lot of gear of various sizes and have quick access to all of it, trauma gear bags have been utilizing this maximizer design for years. Now, people are using these types of bags for all types of purposes. Tactical/range gear, gun cleaning gear, medical gear, camera or recording equipment, or survival and camping gear. As I learned, these really do come in handy.
There are some things that you want to look for when you are purchasing any gear bag. Quality of materials and workmanship are first and foremost. Vanquest checks all the boxes. You need a durable exterior material. Vanquest uses 1000 denier Cordura, which is a textured nylon-based material that is resistant to rips, tears, fading, water, and abrasions.
Watch out for cheap zippers. Ever have a zipper break or come off the track? This renders an otherwise good bag useless. Vanquest uses durable YKK lockable zipper pulls and a heavy duty reversed zipper track on all their gear so you won't have this problem.
Good workmanship shows up in details like stitching. Vanquest uses nylon thread and double stitching on all the seams. If you want the bag to last, this is something you really shouldn't overlook.
In addition, Vanquest offers fast shipping, great customer service, and a great warranty and returns policy on their products.
E.D.C.M. and F.T.I.M.
The two Maximizers I tested have complicated names requiring the use of acronyms.
The first, Every Day Carry Maximizer (EDCM) is a general purpose bag that you can order in a ‘slim' design or the larger ‘husky' version that I have. It is not laid out in a task-specific way like the other organizer I'll show you. It has a relatively straightforward design and the dimensions are 8″ x 7″ x 2.5″, and it opens like a book. Inside are several pockets and 24 elastic bands that create spots where gear can be easily seen and accessed while being held in place. It has a carry handle, as well as nylon MOLLE straps on the back side.
Due to the way the elastic bands are staggered, the bag can organize much more gear than you would imagine. Vanquest says this design provides 15.5% more volume than other organizers. I am going to have to believe them because it easily held all the gear I needed. In the video, you can see how I had my EDCM loaded out as a range trauma kit.
The way the bag is designed and laid out when it is open, all your gear is going to be densely positioned. This is not a bad thing, and may suit your needs just fine. But if you want to disperse your gear a little, you should check out the other one.
Vanquest's Fast Totally Integrated Maximizer (FTIM) is a hybrid design. It combines a general purpose design with a layout similar to the medical bags Vanquest makes. Like the EDCM, this one comes in a ‘slim' model and the larger ‘husky' which I used in this review. The FTIM's numbers are 8.5″ x 6.5″ x 2.5″, with a slightly different method of opening. Here is where the overall design lends itself to use as a gear bag where you would want quick access to all your gear and to be able to clearly see even the smallest item. The bag opens from top to bottom, which as you can see in the photo, results in a long flap that lays out your gear for quick access.
The FTIM has 27 elastic bands and the same high-quality materials that are used in the EDCM. You can see in the video how I unloaded all the gear from the EDCM, and then loaded it into the FTIM. I felt that the FTIM could have held a little more gear than the EDCM, but it is not always about how much gear a bag can hold. Both bags will hold a lot of gear, it is more important to get something that will suit how you want to access your gear.
Check out this video, and you can see exactly how these two gear bags compare.
I have to admit that I should be more open to new gear. I initially scoffed and thought I wouldn't need these. But I have found the FTIM to be great for use as a trauma bag. And the EDCM is now being used to carry every tool I would need to fix a gun while out on the range. Additionally, the customer service I received from Vanquest Gear was outstanding, and it wasn't because I was writing a review. I anonymously called their customer support, asked questions about their gear and was treated wonderfully. If you are an organizational freak like I am, the $25.00 for the FTIM or $35.00 for the EDCM will be money well spent.
Which organizers do you use for your gear? Let us know in the comments below.