Talking about assaultpacks, you might think that the market is quite oversaturated. In fact there are plenty of twelve hourish assault packs out there. So we were pretty excited to see Crossfire Australias solution on this topic. Like all other products we review, we have tested the Crossfire DG1 for quiet a long time since its release.
For me it turned out that the DG1 is a pack that comes in handy in various ooccasions. I’ve used the DG1 for heli-borne operations as well as on vehicle borne training and as a 24h minimalist survival backpack.
Build quality and materials
Material wise the Crossfire DG1 is mainly made out of 500DEN cordura with a slight ripstop texture and quality webbing. Overall, the first impression on the DG1 is quality. All quick release buckles are made by Duraflex, and are lightweight, smooth to open and yet robust, which is achieved by picking the Duraflex „V“ buckle which is used on most Crossfire backpacks. Zipperwise we are talking about quality YKK zippers, which are a robust, self repairing spiral design.
Let’s take a closer look at the PALS webbing. Stitching is bartacked without any relevant gaps, so despite being made in Vietnam, we talk about quality sewing here. I personally like that the PALS webbing is not 100% on spec and is sewn with a bit more space to each individual loop. It is very easy to slope your stuff in and out, without the habitual swearing, due to your fingers aching.
The DG1s shoulder straps are adjustable in two ways. You can either cinch the straps next to your neck and/ or cinch those straps next to your armpits, by using a TriGlide. The straps are fixed by CrossFires propietary „lost arrow“ tuck tab system and can be removed in under a minute.
Overall the shoulder straps are padded, but yet thin. They rely more on spreading the weight then relying on cushion, which is a great approach for a pack that is intended to be more of a second line addition than being a heavy lifting ruck. The shoulder straps also feature an adjustable sternum strap and routing channels for a hydration hose and/ or comms. Another feature of the DG1 is its rigid framesheet which can of course be removed to save weight when in use with an armor carrier.
If you want to carry the DG1 while you are wearing a plate carrier, Crossfire made it easy for you. You can use the PALS webbing on the rear of the DG1 to attach it to your plate carrier. Of course, this results in the DG1 having no back padding at all, but surprisingly the lack of padding doesnt disturb you even when wearing no PC. I personally would like to have a more modular and less time consuming armor attachment method like a zipper or quick release buckles. But this is just a matter of taste I guess.
On the DG1 there is one big main compartment which is roughly about 7.7 liters. When you are opening the main compartment of the dg1 you will notice a mesh pocket which will easily hold your 3L Camelbak. Despite its intented use as a „Hydration Pack Plus“ the DG1 lacks any dedicated pass-throughs for hydration hoses, so you will have to use the main compartments clamshell two way zipper. Inside of the DG1s interior mesh pocket the DG1 provides you, just like the crossfire DG3, with a separate pocket made out of smooth nylon material. Here you are able to store smaller stuff or some wet clothing parts. Naturally you are able to detach that nylon pocket from the main compartment of the DG1. On the front of the main compartment is a small but very useful stash zipper pocket, where you could store writing material and even maps.
You will find a small, zippered GP pouch on the left and the right side of the DG1. Each having a capacity of roughly 1 liter which is perfect for your sunglasses, one or two magazines, smoke grenades or whatever small item you need quick acess too. Furthermore Crossfire is providing you additional rows of molle on the outside of the main compartment, so you can attach additional pouches behind the DG1s beavertail.
The beaver tail itself is adjustable in its size. You will easily store your helmet or extra ammunition for a machine gun. The straps of the beavertail are adjustable in length and can be attached and tightened to the main pack by four duraflex buckles. On the lower front of the beavertail you will find a medium sized, zippered GP pocket which lends itself perfectly as an ammunition, first aid or NVG pouch. On the inner side of the beaver tail is also a tiny zipper pocket, which is ideal for your ID-card or any other documents.
If you read this review and thought that many features of this pack are familiar to you, you are right. As Crossfires DG1 features the proven design of the Eagle Industries Yote with some minor differences like the much more convenient shoulder straps or the modular pocket insert. And after all this is not a bad decision as the eagle Yote is still a top notch product.
Qualitywise the DG1 is really well made, despite its overseas manufacturing origin. This may be adressed to Crossfires strict quality control and their relatively short distance to Vietnam.
The DG1 provided me the perfect size for my average daily duty roster but in the same time the DG1 is perfectly suited as a 24h assaultpack or even as a small bug out bag for survival situations. Its beavertail is an ingenious feature that allows you to perform a hasty expansion of its capacity which works even with unusual load shapes. During recent classes we experienced more and more that many people are owning a hydration bladder carrier as well as a full fledged 24h daypack like the Berghaus Munro, but nothing that fills the gap between a hydration pack and a daypack. I also highly recommend the DG1 for aircrews who have to fight particulary cramped space in their aircraft. As an example it is perfectly suited for an H145 sized helicopter.
Crossfire didnt reinvent the wheel with the DG1. But they refined a classic design and added some useful features and tweaks all over. For everyone who is still missing an dedicated short duration assault pack that carries a tidbit more than a hydro carrier the Crossfire DG1 is a clear GO.