Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maxpedition Fatboy..... a serious Man-Purse


Yup, I carry a purse. You wanna make something of it? Huh punk?

Dialing down the manly defensive reaction a little, I'd like to write about the Maxpedition carry bag I use. In my opinion, the ultimate man purse.

In our modern 'culture', and I use that term very loosely, a purse is something carried by woman. In reality, what most woman carry is a handbag and not a purse.

The history of the 'purse' goes back through the ages, and ranges from a simple skin bag holding flint and gut string to the mountain man's possibles bag which might hold a wide array of tools and supplies.

Soldiers for all time have carried gear with them in shoulder bags, as have hunters and craftsman working afield. It's only in the last few centuries that a man carried purse has fallen out of favor, and women took over the duty of hauling all the gear and supplies.

Today, with our technological toys and gadgets, along with all the flotsam normally gathered in a mans pockets, man-purses are making a come back. Not everyone wants a 'Bat-Belt' full of holsters and clipped on widgets.

My own choice is a Maxpedition 'Fatboy' Versa Pack.

After reading multiple reviews, I decided to give the Fatboy a try. It's a carry solution for those days when I don't want a holster on my belt.

Some days are T-shirt days, or more usually tuck-in-the-shirt days. That does not lend itself well to concealed carry. I desired a purpose built weapon bag, but have never been comfortable with fanny packs. I'm wide enough already without having
something adding another few inches to my table toppling girth. Maxpedition had the solution, and a manly beast it is!

It's made of very heavy synthetic, similar to what a tow strap is built of. I can't imagine ripping it, or having the fabric itself wear out. The zippers and fasteners are built of heavy polymer and don't look the least delicate. The carry strap and main pouch have fasteners that can be handled easily with gloves on, and the zippers have pull ties to allow the same.

Designed for hard and heavy use, the Fatboy also has concealed carry in mind. Behind the main pouch is a zippered pocket big enough to comfortably hold a 1911 sized pistol and a few spare magazines. The back side of this pocket is covered in Velcro, and a minimalist universal adjustable holster can be slapped onto it, along with magazine pouches. All stays quietly out of the way till the big zipper is pulled, leaving the pistol wide open and easily drawn.

I should mention.... this is concealed carry only in the sense the weapon is not openly displayed. That, and much of the public would have no idea it's a bag designed for carrying a pistol. To those in the know it fairly screams GUN!. In my decades of CCW carry, I have never had anyone question me about carrying a weapon after spotting it on me. In the year or so I have carried the Maxpedition occasionally, I've had several people comment on the carry bag with full understanding of what it is. In one case, an officer made eye contact, then glanced at the bag. I said one word, quietly, "Permit", and he moved on without fuss.

The Fatboy must have been designed by someone who has carried a shoulder bag before. It's shaped in such a way that it falls naturally to a comfortable position, and that means it must be purchased in a right hand or left hand version. The carry strap changes in width and angle depending on the version ordered. For those who despise a heavy bag banging against your side, the designer placed a snap/strap on the backside of the bag so it can be fastened to a belt and kept solidly in place.

The carry strap itself comes with a comfortable and adjustable shoulder pad, and a quick disconnect buckle in case you want to drop the bag instantly. If the bag is grabbed and used to drag you, the buckle can be squeezed and the strap releases. That's a well thought out detail.

There are pockets built in that are suitable for cell phone, flashlight, wallet, and anything else you might imagine. If those are not enough there are strategically placed velcro patches that allow attachment of accessory pouches. One large velcro strap on the front of the bag is perfect for unit patches and name tags.

In growing accustomed to a 'man-bag', I have taken the time to build it into my range practice. Adding draw/fire exercises using the bag, I have found it's only a few seconds slower that drawing from a belt, with practice. As I carry the bag to my left side, and I am right handed, my left opens the zipper and my right makes the draw naturally. It's all one fluid motion given the outstanding design of the bag. It's only slightly slower when un-holstering a cell phone or wallet.

Looking at the Maxpedition web site, this bag shows available in a number of colors. Many accessories are also available to customize the carry solution to your needs. They also sell varied shoulder bags, brief cases, back packs, fanny packs, wallets, and other assorted goodies. If all are the same quality as the Maxpedition products I own, then their prices are not high, but a good value.I expect to have my Fatboy bag in service for years to come.

Note..... this little review is wholly my own. Maxpedition doesn't know me from Adam and they haven't given me a thing to write nice words about them.


Anonymous said...

I tried the fatboy but found it just a bit small for my purposes. I finally settled on a Jumbo E.D.C. Same basic design, but a few differences that made it just right for me.

Earl said...

That looks like a great bag, camera, cell phone, notebook, pens, batteries, multi-tool and knives, even before you get to the pistol it is a great bag, pockets may remain empty for long periods..

Huey said...

I picked up the Leapers UTG Messenger bag, same basic style, half the price and have been pretty happy with it....the only thing with these bags is they scream "hey! I'm a gun type of guy!" to everyone in the area, which isn't bad in some scenarios but definitely is not incognito for others....

Crucis said...

I have a Franklin-type pistol carrier that I've used on rare occasion where jeans were appropriate. But Franklins are getting rare and hardly anyone carries them anymore in the corporate world.

I just don't see me carrying a bag, however. My Snubbie-in-a-pocket-holster works for me. My keys, lock-blade, penknife, nail-clippers, speed-loader, change are wearing a hole in my pocket, though.

Old NFO said...

Thanks for the review- I've looked at one, and agree with Ordy, it's a 'bit' small for all the junk I routinely carry.

Carteach said...

Hmm..... My experience has been otherwise. The Fatboy is either just right for me, or a bit too large sometimes.

All my pocket and belt clutter doesn't manage to fill it, depending on my functions that day. Typically it's just about half, depending.

When I travel, It does get filled, but then it has a different function. It becomes the 'Bag within a Bag' that is filled with everything really important, allowing me to grab just one item and have everything I wouldn't want to be without.

I've also used it as my shell bag while shooting sporting clays, my 'aquisition' bag while walking gun and gem shows, and as a tool bag when needs be.

I could use a larger one, but I think it would begin to get in the way for everyday carry.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify one thing my "day job" is in I.T. so I carry a few more things than some do (portable Hard Drives etc.). My bag also serves as a minimalist GHB should it be needed.

tnpatriot said...

Great review but I have a question. You mentioned that you carry the bag to your left side. Am I correct then that when you draw your pistol it is more of a cross draw instead of drawing it from your strong hand side?

Carteach said...


Yes, for me it's a two handed cross draw. Left handyanks back the zipper and holds the bag while the right reaches in and draws.

It's possible to use the strong side to both unzip and draw, without any difficulty. I like the bag hanging to my left side though, as it's more comfortable for me.

treefroggy said...

The 'Fatboy' is fantastic for taking to gun shows. A place to put a water bottle and it makes a dozen boxes of ammo easier to carry.

No one has ever said anything about it except " where to buy one".

Rabbit said...

I've owned a Jumbo S (the one designed to carry on the left) for about 3 years or so. It's just enough bigger than the Fatboy that it's worth the trouble. Somebody was fully conscious when they designed these things. OldNFO, you probably saw mine at Phleggmy's a couple of years ago. Alan had one also, just a different color.

Yabusame said...

I purchased a very similar bag by Krukspec when I was in the Philippines last year. Been using it day-to-day ever since. I just wish the main pocket was a little larger.

ZerCool said...

Belated thanks for putting this up, Carteach. I just ordered a Jumbo KISS from Midway while they're on sale, and while it's missing some of the bells and whistles, I see it becoming a very useful bag for me.

My 5946 (full frame 9mm) and two extra mags fit comfortably in the carry pouch, and there's still plenty of room for Everything Else.

Carteach said...


As always, I hope I can, and am glad when I do, help in some way. That is what this blog is about, mostly.

My Maxpedition Fatboy is the only carry bag I own, and has seen years and years of duty. Not every day, but always when I have a largish handful of gear to move with me.

It's been a shell bag while shooting sporting clays, a goody bag for gun shows, does occasional duty as a ccw carry bag, has done passable work as a lens carry bag while on photo shoots, and a dozen other uses.

In all them it has worked well, and is still as solid as the day I bought it. Worth every penny.