Introduction & PURPOSE
With all the talks about platecarriers, quick draw magpouches and complex rucking frames, there are many important topics that often get ofterlooked, even by those who are in need of improving those areas. Your third line gear and the ability to keep it dry and organized is one of those topics. We were and still are big fans of waterproof stuffsacks in this area, but stuffsacks lack a bit of performance when it comes to proper pack organization.
Packing cubes are a great alternative for organizing your third line gear, but most of those we knew werent waterproof or just were too expensive four our taste. But then the Nite Ize RunOff series of waterproof pouches caught our eyes. Military users might know NiteIze for their S-biner series of products, a product of which I think that almost all of our readers will own at least one.
What most people dont know is that Nite Ize also produces other products that are made to make everyday, outdoor and sporting tasks much easier. The RunOff series of pouches is such a product line. Basically we talk about waterproof packing cubes with a patent pending waterproof zipper here, which are available for a reasonable price.
The RunOff pouches can be split into three basic categories
Packing cubes, reaching from small to medium size.
Flat pouches that are made to keep your electronic devices, cash, batteries and field notes dry.
Speciality pouches like toiletry bags.
The marketing campaign of Nite Izes products is focused on presenting the RunOff bags as handy and smart everyday items for the travel hungry urban civilian. Like showing how their 3-1-1 pouch will hold toiletry products comfortable while keeping in check with flight regulations. But what we saw was finally a way to add organization and speed to our third line gear and some of our first line equipment while keeping everything waterproof.
For example: Nite Izes large packing cube will not only hold a full combat uniform, but also plenty of spare socks and rain gear. Another example is their toiletry bag that might be designed to hold toiletry stuff, but can optionally store up to six AR15 magazines completely sealed from water, dust and sand. The list can be continued with other examples, only limited by your imagination but military and rugged outdoor users should already have gotten excited enough.
Now lets take a closer look at the overall built and what all RunOff products have in common. The body of each pouch is constructed with a mix of materials. They are all made of a black, rubberized material which is soft enough to accomodate odd shaped items while also having a slight texturing to it, to prevent slipping when wet. This material is wielded to another black fabric on the bottom of the pouches which is slightly darker and slick and seems to be some kind of reinforcement. The front of each RunOff pouch features a big, robust, translucent window, allowing the user to identify whats inside each pouch almost on an instant.
The mating of those three materials is pretty tough, we stuffed our rucks relentlessly and even stepped on the full pouches without any big damage to the product, this point is a big one as I tried some allegedly waterproof packing cubes from china some time ago and they started busting on the seams after some weeks.
But the most important part of the RunOff pouches is the patented zipper which is called TruZip and is the secret sauce that really makes this product waterproof. TruZip zippers are a toothless design, which not only aids in sealing each pouch but also prevents accidential damage to the products inside which can be produced by traditional zippers teeth. Also the toothless design is less prone to malfunction.
Also every pouch features at least one carbine loop which, of course, fits S-Biners but will also work with paracord and other systems. I actually built my SERE pack with Nite Izes 3-1-1 RunOff bag by knotting some climbing grade rope through the carbine loops, basically making it usable as a sling-bag for bug-out situations where i would have to ditch my kit.
The smaller RunOff pouches also feature belt loops, a feature that I honestly didnt use but could also come in handy for concealing SERE kit under a shirt or other applications.
Performance & Observations
What I really liked about the RunOff pouches was the fact that they are in fact compressible. The user just has to almost completely close the zipper and then apply some pressure to the bag, which comes in handy, especially when clothing is stored inside the RunOff bags.
The waterproof rating of IP67 couldnt be really tested by us as we are not a scientific institute, but during all our submersion- and field tests all contents remained dry and protected from dust. But users should make sure that they close the zipper entirely.
Practical use showed that especially the packing cubes were able to store and secure all of my clothing, snivel gear and field kit in my pack. Lights, batteries and electronics are stored in the smaller, flat pouches. I still carry a stuffsack to protect my sleeping bag from the elements and to use it as a makeshift flotation aid, but otherwise I completely transferred to packing cubes which resulted in a better organization, just as planned. Nonetheless I would aprreciate an extra large packing cube which would fir perfectly in my backpack.
All in all the RunOff waterproof pouches by Nite Ize are an item that will make life in the field much easier and faster, especially when used in conjunction with a frontloader backpack. I also like the fact that you have a much easier time preparing your gear, travelling with your gear in a trolley or duffelbag and then transfering it to your ruck before you deploy it. My stuff for the next training exercise on thursday is already organized in Nite Izes bags and just needs to be stuffed into my wheeled bag, a good feeling.
Keeping your sh*t dry and at the ready is a core value for everyone who is doing something military or outdoor related. The RunOff waterproof bags are really an asset to your third and first line kit and while not breaking the bank.