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I have been using the same EDC bag for about 9 years now and it was getting time for an upgrade. I did a lot of research and finally settled on the Maxpedition Riftcore Backpack. This was my first Maxpedition purchase, as well as my first tactical bag and I have to say that I am really impressed with the quality. I really like Maxpedition products because they put a lot of thought into their gear.

My Needs:

I have been using a Deuter Trans Alpine 30 as my main EDC bag for the last 9 years. It is an excellent, high-quality bag but was starting to wear out and look a bit shabby. Although I considered getting another Deuter, I also wanted to change things up a bit and explore something more tactical and flexible.

Since I wear my pack pretty much all day/every day for business, traveling and hiking, I needed something that was well built, comfortable, had the right amount of features and storage as well as could provided a flexible system/platform for different types of situations: EDC, BOB, Family or Business. (Yep, those are my situation categories)

I wanted to invest in a system of gear/accessories that offered flexibility instead of just a one-off bag. I also wanted a MOLLE system to attach additional gear as needed.

For my day job, I work in virtual reality, gaming and media, so I often travel with a lot of tech: laptops, cameras, VR headsets, phones, etc, so stability, flexibility and comfort are important needs.

For prepping, since I can’t yet afford to have multiple bags and gear for different scenarios, (EDC, Get Home, One Month and BOB) I opted for starting out with a system of smaller flexible bags that I could sort of mix and match quickly, at a moment’s notice. I’ll write more about that later (i’m still working on the plan) but in the meantime, I’ll focus first on the backpack.

  • I wanted something that looked cool but not “too” tactical looking.
  • It needed to fit various laptops of different sizes
  • It needed to have comfortable shoulder and waist straps that would stay secure and bear weight properly. (So many bags fail at these simple, obvious features)
  • It needed to have a decent admin pocket for sorting various cables and adaptors, as well as some easy access pockets for glasses, chargers and phones.
  • It needed to have enough space for at least a day’s worth of clothing, med kit, EDC bag and hygiene basics for traveling as well as could store my other prep bags.
  • It needed to have side pockets for carrying a water bottle.
  • It needed to be waterproof and have a rain cover.
  • It needed to be from a company that specializes in this kind of gear and would provide support for future accessories, service and features.

And the Winner is…

So, after about a month of research and comparing different features, I finally settled on the Maxpedition Riftcore. It was a bit more pricey than other bags in it’s category, but the quality and thought that went into this bag makes it worth every penny. To be honest, it didn’t have every single feature in my requirements list, but it was flexible enough with the basics and accessories to meet the bulk of my needs.

The Maxpedition Riftcore

The Riftcore has an MSRP of $219.99 and comes in Gray, Black and Tan. It is NTOA tested and recommended so it is both, hipster cool and functional/tactical. The Riftcore is part of Maxpedition’s AGR (Advanced Gear Research) product line which started in 2016. According to Maxpedition “AGR leverages new technologies, proprietary materials, and custom-fabricated components to create a product range unlike any other.”



The bag has YKK Zippers with these huge, positive grip pulls. I always wear out the zippers in my gear first, so having replaceable, quality YKK zippers is a must. The grip pulls are also nice, especially if you are wearing thick gloves, which make it easy to grab.

The bag features a dual, nylon fabric construction with both 500D Hex Ripstop & 1000D Plain Weave and Lightweight Anti-Break Duraflex® Xlite® Buckles. This thing feels really nice. So many different textures, very sturdy and water just rolls right off of it, which you can’t say about many other tactical packs!

In comparison to other companies, Maxpedition does a lot of testing on their products, which reinforces my confidence in spending the extra money on quality gear.


Instead of MOLLE, the pack features Maxpedition’s Laser Cut ATLAS™ Attachment Lattice System. Cut from 840D Nylon-TPU Composite, it reduces the weight and also brings down the “tactical look” a notch but still offers a lot of space for attaching other MOLLE accessories if needed. There is ATLAS material on the back and both sides.


There are 5 main compartments, Glasses, Admin, Main, Fleece lined Front & CCW, with other smaller pockets inside.

Glasses Pocket:
A glasses pocket is a must for me. I wear two pairs of glasses, one pair for reading and another for normal walking around, so having quick access is critical. The glasses pocket has a soft felt interior and a reinforced harder outside shell for protection. It also has a snazzy velcro area on the outside for patches!

All of the pockets feature a lighter grey lined interior which makes it easy to locate items in the dark. This is just one of the many, small usability features that make a huge difference in the quality of the bag.

Admin Pocket:
The admin pocket has enough room for organizing pens, smaller notebooks, EDC, ID, a key chain as well as a plastic mesh pocket in case you want to put some sort of liquids, toothbrush, etc.

Fleece Lined Front Pocket
Behind these pockets is a larger, fleece lined pocket with velcro straps, and fully opens like a clamshell. it is perfect for either a laptop, or for storing magazines, larger weapons, or other flatter gear that needs to be secured and easily accessed. The fleece also makes a great place for more patches!

Main Pocket
The main pocket is the largest of the pockets and also fully opens like a clam shell. If features a back pocket for a water bag, it has more MOLLE style straps and two smaller pockets which are perfect for holding cables or hygene products that you might not want to leak onto other things.

CCW Pocket
Near the back, there is a Concealed Carry pocket which is can be accessed via both sides of the bag. It has a sturdy velcro strap for attaching holsters or you could also store flatter documents. Some other reviewers seem to like this feature, but others claim that it is not big enough for larger handguns.


The pack is super comfortable, however slightly heavier than my Deuter. The straps fit snugly on my shoulders and the hip strap also holds the weight evenly. All straps have nice features that allow you to grab and adjust quickly.
The hip straps also can conveniently tuck inside when you don’t want to use them. They do bulge a but in the lower back when tucked in, but not a serious issue.

One big problem I had with other similar packs was the quality of how the straps were attached to the bag. The Riftcore’s straps are attached securely with extra threading and reinforcement, so you don’t get the feeling that they will rip off when there is a lot of weight inside the bag.


  • Too many to list, see above.
  • Looks cool, but not too tactical.
  • Excellent quality construction and materials
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of features, compartments and attachment areas
  • Has all the features I needed


  • The main, larger compartment could be a couple inches deeper. It still holds a lot, but a little bit more “stuff room” would be nice.
  • The hydration bag compartment would be perfect for a laptop, but the reinforcement stitching on the sides makes it almost impossible to fit a 15-inch laptop. A bit more space there would be nice so the front fleece pocket could be used for other things.
  • No webbed, side water pouches. – Not a necessity but a lot of urban EDC backpacks include webbed pouches on the sides for carrying water bottles and I use them a lot.  TO remedy this, I purchased the Maxpedition Expandable Bottle Pouch which, while very functional, was also a bit pricey.


Overall, this bag is awesome. It is well made, comfortable, has a ton of features and I think I will be getting many good years of use out of it.

For more information on the Maxpedition Riftcore, click here.