Direct Action Ghost backpack – How good is this tactical backpack and is it suitable for hiking as well as being a capable 3 day bugout bag?
The Direct Action Ghost backpack is a 31.5 liter feature rich tactical backpack with detachable front pouch, numerous pockets for organisation, bladder and laptop compatible internals and unique waistbelt, The pack is made from 500d Cordura, features YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware.
Why I chose the Direct Action Ghost Backpack
Choosing the Direct Action Ghost backpack was a bit of a no brainer in the end and that was thanks to Black Friday week. My budget for a tactical pack was no more than €150,00 euros and the Ghost was coming in well above that so it was always going to be an outsider with it’s price point unless I could manage to grab a bargain. [see the deal and other backpacks shortlisted in this post].
Initially the Dragon Egg from Direct Action provoked my interest especially when the newer and larger 30ltr version became available. The Ghost however was the more sensible choice as it had just that bit more flexibility for me when it came to hiking with my camera.
The front pocket which is detachable was a good option as my smaller 5.11 Banger would fit in and remain unzippered meaning that I could carry the Fuiji X100v in the pack and access it directly through the front pouch of the Ghost with just one zip, the fit is snug but it works.
Personal choice of course but we think this pack looks the business, it’s different and yeah it’s a tactical pack but doesn’t jump out at you like packs with the traditional molle, the Ghost is a little more subdued making it a good all rounder for recreational use at the weekends or taking to work.
Laser Cut Pals Molle: All over this pack and the detachable 3.5ltr bag too meaning you can attach almost anything to anywhere on the Ghost if that’s your thing. I prefer to keep mine free of clutter wherever possible but there are options on the front bag, main pack front, sides, left and right pockets and on the waistbelt.
Detachable Pocket: The Direct Action Ghost backpack is two bags in one. The main pack has a volume of 28ltr and the smaller detachable bag is 3.5ltr. In this smaller bag which is held in place with cord on both sides, two straps on the bottom and tension straps on the sides you have all the options for organizing your smaller items and EDC gear.
The bag has a large independent pocket on the front, the main compartment unzips to reveal a large mesh internal pocket on the flap [which folds down 90% of the way flat] another large pocket at the back, additional zippered pocket, two phone sized pockets, half size full width pocket, four pen sized holders and key holder. The organisation options are comprehensive.
YKK Zippers: All zips are YKK and work flawlesly as you would expect, buckles and clips are Duraflex finishing off the external hardware.
Waistbelt: The waist belt is interesting, I never use the waistbelt with any of my other packs but I do with this one as it simply works well and increases both the stability and comfort of carrying the pack. The belt is fully fully detachable [held in place with velcro] and can be worn independently of the pack along with braces to create a ‘battle belt’, braces are supplied with the pack so no additonal extras are needed. A nice option if that’s what your into.
External Pockets: There are four external pockets in total. One pocket each side for carrying water bottles or flask – these have a great design as when not in use they can be pushed back flat against side wall of the pack.
On the front of the pack at the top we have a fleece lined sunglasses pocket, not huge but nor does it need to be, you’ll get your glasses in there but nothing else [a phone does not fit] ands finally there is another pocket, hidden when the front bag is attached which is full width and deep enough A5 docs/books/bushcraft mats etc
You also have an external compartment at the rear of the pack suitable for a 15″ laptop.
|Material||Cordura® 500D laminate|
|Dimensions||52x30x18 cm / 20.4 x12x7 inches|
|Capacity||28+3.5ltrs / 1708 + 213 cu in|
|Hydration bladder||bladder & laptop compatible|
|Zippers||YKK [heavy duty]|
|Waistbelt||detachable + suspenders|
Inside the Pack
Main Storage: The main pack holds 28ltrs which is a good size for a 3 day bag, access is via the top zip which when opened allows you to stuff your jacket and whatever else in there, it’s a big space. I have seen complaints about not beeing able to fully unzip the top of the pack without releasing the left and right tension straps which hold the smaller bag in place – this is true to a degree but from my experience I have never needed to release them to get anything in or out.
Internal Pockets: One decent sized mesh pocket [I use this for my phone] and a large pocket on the other side suitable as a hydration sleeve, access for the tube is underneath the carry handle.
Time is going to tell on the durability front but I can see this pack lasting me many years as its main purpose is going to be hiking and overlanding use/hand luggage. You can tell that the Direct Action Ghost backpack is a premium product as soon as you remove it from the packaging, it has a weight about it [this is not a pack for someone looking for a lightweight option], the Duracanvas feels premium and all the hardwear is stiff and true.
Good for Hiking?
Support System/Comfort: Yeah it’s good for hiking, tactical packs my not be the choice for many when it comes to hiking but this pack feels great. You do need to get it dialled in properly but once you’ve done this then it feels reasuringly secure with good weight distribution.
Size: 31.5 liters is around that three day pack size so much will depend on your needs, for a shorter hike [depending on what you carry] this pack may be overkill but for longer hauls, weekenders, overlanding and general travel the size is pretty much spot on, again, depending on your gear and how much you need to take.
What I Like
There is a lot to like about this tactical pack but for me the quality is what makes the top of the list, the pack looks great, and is very comfortable [for me] when hiking out on the trail. While it does weigh in on the heavy side there are some things in life where weight equates to quality and the Ghost is one of those products.
You get everything you need with this pack when it comes to accomodating gear, water carry options, EDC, and the flexibility to detach the front compartment too. The tactical design may not be for everyone but for functionality this pack delivers on many levels.
What I Don’t Like
There are always some things that you’re not going to like and I have a couple. The strap retainers are very handy as there is nothing worse than loose straps dangling around all over the place but it is hard to get them tight so that they don’t slide.
When putting the pack on the left shoulder strap becomes loose and needs to be tightened up again, this could be user error but it does happen and it’s down to the straps and retainers becoming loose and creating a loop – get your hand on there while swinging your pack on and it will loosen everything up, just something to be aware of and come up with a solution to fix.
The Direct Action Ghost backpack ticked a lot of boxes for me and since it has been delivered and used almost daily on hikes I can honestly say that I am very, very happy with it. I do like a good bag and this one is probably the best purchase I’ve made.
It fits all of my needs being scalable, the right size, premium quality and tough, it has a couple of niggles yes but this is going to be the case no matter what you spend your money on and as far as improvements are concerned I would only suggest one thing to Direct Action and that would be to have the paracord carry handle like the Dragon Egg, that would just finish off the Ghost very nicely indeed.