ITEM REVIEWED: SOG Ninja Backpack | AMAZON Price: $33-$40.00
After my trusty Jansport of 15 years gave out, I was in a rush to find a replacement to use at my filthy and rugged workplace. It would be used daily and I’m not easy on my backpacks. That’s when the SOG Ninja Day Pack quickly landed at the top of my Amazon wishlist thanks to hundreds of impressive reviews. I wanted something with a molle attachment system, multiple compartments, strong zippers at a price around $50 bucks. It even has a velcro area for your favorite patch (see the Underlanders patch in my photo). Cool little touches like this can be found all over this backpack.
Let’s take a look at some of the features of the SOG Ninja and how it holds up to the elements.
This thing is a beast. I purchased mine in June of 2017 and use it 5-6 days a week in a hostile work environment. You can feel the quality when you first take the backpack out of the bag. It’s stiff and strong through in through top to bottom. The zippers are holding up (almost too stiff) and I haven’t had any issues materials ripping or shredding. After a few years of heavy use the SOG Ninja still holds its original form and rigidity. It’s survived wind, rain, sludge, and plenty of abuse. The only negative I’ve seen is some discoloration of the black SOG Ninja. After about a year it’s turning dark grey. Probably from all the rain and sun it’s been exposed to.
Size & Weight
For camping and day hikes this product works out great. I wouldn’t call it a heavy backpack, but it definitely doesn’t fall into the lightweight category. Weighing in at 1.94lbs you know it’s there even when empty.
SOG makes up for this by including padded compression straps and a sternum slider for better support. It can hold plenty of items and even a water bladder with a special pocket just for that in the main compartment. In total you have 1,475 cubic inches of storage space. Speaking of storage…
Pockets & Compartments
I’m a stickler when it comes to organization and my backpack is no exception. The main compartment has a sleeve for a water bladder, a big open area, and two netted pockets. I use the bladder area for work gloves, the big open area for rain gear, small speaker, and extra water bottles. The two big net pockets for bandanas, a breathing mask, and a few miscellaneous items.
The SOG Ninja has a front compartment that’s smaller than the main area but still large enough to hold plenty of items. There’s a place for pens and markers, enclosed zipper sleeves where I keep tissues, earplugs, change and medicine.
You’ll find two other storage pockets towards the top of the pack against the main compartment. One has a soft lining for glasses and cellphones and smaller pocket to keep items you’ll need to grab quickly such as tools or flashlights. On one side of the pack SOG included a sleeve that can hold large water bottles, although it’s not wide enough to store my Nalgene. That’s where the molle storage attachment system comes in handy.
Molle attachment system for backpacks
What is it?
“MOLLE (pronounced /ˈmɒl.liː/, similar in pronunciation to the name Molly) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and backpacks used by a number of NATO armed forces, especially the British Army and the United States Army.” – source: Wikipedia
I have attachments that allow me to hook things like water bottles, hats, hooks, and other items I need quick access to. D-Ring hanging hooks for molle systems are useful for just about anything. On my hiking/camping backpacks I use this first-aid kit that is easily accessible on the outside of my bag. And for water you can place a Nalgene bottle in a bottle sleeve with molle systems. I use this one. The possibilities are endless since the molle straps are covering a huge surface area of the backpack.
All in all the SOG Ninja is a great value under $50. It can be found at Amazon or at Big 5 Sporting Good locations. I’m going to have to add this item to our “must have camping gear” list because it’s such a solid product. You can find a more reputable brand that’s popular in the camping/hiking community but you’ll pay more than twice the cost of this one.
Let us know your experience with camping or day hiking backpacks and what products you recommend in the comments section!