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cockercane Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005
Period of
Product Use:
Less than a month7 of 7 people found this review helpful.

Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Similar
Products Used:
Rats Pack
Marker Setup: Angel Force Fly
14" Ultralite
CIP Unimount
Crossfire 70ci peanut low output
Halo B w/ rip & Z-code

'02 STO Autococker
WGP hinge frame
ANS pneumatics w/ QEV's
Shocktech Bomb 3-way
Shocktech SupaFly
ANS GX-II Reg w/ 15* ASA
System X Drop
Crossfire 68ci 3000psi (800 psi preset) HPA tank
Strengths: Quality Made!
Retracting handle
wheels
Large enough to hold everything internally
Extremely customizable & functional
Weaknesses: Stairs can be challenging
Nothing specific for holding tools
Backpack straps need better support
Review: This Gear Hauler is comparable to a large duffle bag with a rigid internal frame to support its heavy contents. In comparison, the ATV bag is larger than the DYE Navigator. It is well constructed of strong and thick fabric that is reinforced at every major seam. Cordura handles are riveted and sewn and there are also six cordura loops and two "loop strips" which allow you tie on various items if needed. Both sides of the ATV sport two adjustable yet relatively short buckled straps for added external space if needed.

Carrying this huge bag is seldom necessary thanks to the wheels and retracting handle. The wheels are clearly designed to handle abuse as they are constructed of a thick & solid, hard rubber with large metal "axles" intended rough terrain. The bottom of the bag is reinforced near the wheels with a hard vinyl patch to help protect against inevitable rocks and other potential hazards which would otherwise tear fabric. Aligned with the wheels are two large raised plastic skid plates which provide protection from stairways. This bag can be quite cumbersome on narrow stairways when heavily loaded, but the skid plates seem to ease the bag along the edge of stairs. I don't recommend using the retractable handle to lug the bag up and down stairs while heavily loaded (we'll get to that). The retracting handle has a push-button mechanism that locks the handle in a retracted or extended position. Although constructed more than well enough to help maneuver the gear hauler like a small appliance dolly, it seems somewhat flimsy during the rigorous task of "thumping" this thing up and down stairs. It wants to twist allot, causing the bag to fall off balance sideways on stair wells. Tilting the bag vertically onto the bottom side (with the wheels) reveals a zippered enclosure which opens as a large padded flap that secures itself over the wheels and their skid plates by a Velcro strip. Exposed now are the backpack shoulder straps.. ha ha, good luck if you are a small man, erm... person like me!! Being that I'm extremely manly (cough) I can tote the bag on my back heavily loaded, but found that the shoulder straps cut off circulation to my arms, so much for being manly I guess.

The Gear hauler has three main compartments. The compartment closest to the wheels, being the smallest, is intended for your shoes. Mine contains low top cleats and two pairs of socks with enough room left for a roll of toilet paper... knew I forgot to pack something!! I doubt two pairs of shoes will fit in there, but its big enough for one pair with room left over.
The second smallest compartment on the other side of the bag nearest the retracting handle is intended for masks. This compartment is well padded with a thick neoprene-like foam. This compartment is actually quite large! It holds two masks (my DYE Invision, JT Spectra) with plenty of room left over. As an example, this is where I store 2 masks, gloves, 3 terry cloth rags, slider shorts, neatly folded JT pants Jersey, baseball cap and 1 pod (which holds my Plexus and lens cloth). That was how I completely filled that compartment with no cramming or zipper complications. Outside the mask compartment is a large pocket w/ Velcro closure that provides perfect space to hold wallet, keys, watch, checkbook ect... without being overly obvious.
Opening the lid of the main compartment will reveal four thick sleeves w/ Velcro flap enclosure to keep your barrels secure and well protected. The barrel sleves are about 15" long and could easily store a 16" barrel. There is also a mesh net pocket and a zippered pocket to house small things like oil, batteries, thread savers, barrel condoms ect... There is also a pocket which is almost the size of the lid itself which is intended to hold a huge padded work mat once it has been folded in half. That was great thinking!! The mat serves to support the compartment lid and keep it rigid against folding under the weight of barrels and things that the lid stores. The folded work mat also provides greater protection for the things in the bag... more than once has this bag served as my "field ottoman / coffee table". Upon first opening the ATV, you'll find the work mat, two large marker compartments and four small square compartments folded and neatly secured to the bottom of the bag with buckled straps. All of the compartments are made of flexible plastic which is padded on the inside and totally covered in cloth. The four small square compartments are perfect size to fit around a 68ci tank, although I haven't found much use for them. I use only one of them as a makeshift took kit because, unfortunately the ATV has nothing specific to hold and organize your tools like the smaller Rats Pack. The two large marker compartments are enclosed on the bottom to keep your marker secure within. Being 23" in length they can easily house a marker with a tank attached and barrel removed with plenty of room to spare for a hopper to sit on top of the tank. At 4" wide, it can fit a 68ci tank with no hassle. A 70ci peanut tank is a bit wider than 4" but luckily the compartments are flexible so it will still fit well. With the marker "boxes" in place at each outer edge of the main compartment, a center space of roughly 7-8"W x 23"L (give or take) is left to store WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT. Its enough space to store two cases of paint (in the box) if you want. The main compartment neatly and comfortably contains: Angel & Autococker, both w/ 68ci tanks attached, NXe 4+3+2 pack and 7 pods. One Square compartment which holds various tools, Paintball Caddy (a jug for storing paintballs, I'd estimate it to have about about a 2.5 gallon capacity), Angel Charger, 1 Halos and a small Simple Green squirt bottle. Using my pods and Paintball Caddy, I can still stow slightly over a case of paint inside the bag. There's enough room left over to hold a second Halo, lunch, water bottle and a change of clothes!! If you need to free up some internal space, it's possible to easily stow your pod pack (horizontally) externally using the buckled straps along the side. Your pod pack will fit very securely if you do it right, with no risk of coming loose. I put my packs hip straps through the inside of the bag straps with the pods facing outward. I then pull the hip straps taught around the outside of the bag straps and pods as if to put it on inside-out. Holds strong every time!
If you need this bag for (dare I say) non paintball related purposes, such as travel luggage, all contents are easy and quick to remove, all dividers neatly fold up and securely strap to the bottom for storage. You can live out of this thing or trap your roomates mid-sized dog in it, not that I'd do that...
Conclusion: With the exception of my SCUBA, I've been able to store every paintball related item that I own with room to spare!! This ATV Gear Hauler is such a luxury when you have a lots of paintball stuff to manage and organize. I have owned the Ratco Rats Pack as well, and it was filled to the brim with all my paintball equipment. The ATV easily (and internally) accepted everything the Rats Pack did X2 with room to spare. Although I loved the Rats Pack, I Find this to much more convenient with the wheels being a God send! Worth every penny I spent. I even had fun figuring out how to pack this thing (man, I need a life!!).

Everything I've seen coming from Ratco has impressed me with its quality and functionality. If you think DYE is too expensive, check out Ratco to see if they make a comparable product!!
Rating:
9 out of 10Last edited on Monday, July 25th, 2005 at 3:29 pm PST
 

Review Comments
splatsama Monday, July 11th, 2005 | 10:50 pm PST
Excellent review. Thorough description of features. Extremely helpful, thanks!
   

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