Recon: Direct Action Foxtrot
It’s been over 30 years since fanny packs were really popular. I never considered even trying one on since I put away the neon gear back in the day, but the Direct Action Foxtrot has me reconsidering things.
In DA’s defense, it’s a “waist bag” NOT a fanny pack and I am more comfortable with that title. All jokes aside, this little guy is a well-designed piece of kit for just about anyone doing anything, anywhere. Whether it’s bare-essentials for the range, a med bag for working an event, a basic photo shoot for only a lens or two, the Foxtrot has enough space for just what you need and nothing you don’t.
The Foxtrot is designed to adapt. The strap configuration is so that the padded waist strap can be folded behind the butt pad, out of sight, so you can just stash the waist straps behind the pad and use the strap like a traditional shoulder bag.
If that’s not your thing the shoulder strap can be removed so you can just use the handles. My favorite way to carry it is not around the waist, but using the waist straps and carry it cross body as a tiny messenger.
They have put a ton of features into a tiny package. Believe it or not, the Foxtrot has 11 plus pockets or compartments. It has pockets within pockets! I’m fairly certain that the pockets have multiplied since I first got my hands on it.
If that’s not enough for you, the laser-cut MOLLE gives you the option to further customize your carry with your desired pouches and it’s a very lightweight means to that end.
The pack is a bit small to use a lot of external attachments in my opinion. Meaning, in the way of pouches, I wouldn’t go wild attaching extras too it, because in my OCD tendency, it might be awkward to add more things to a pack that small, affecting the balance and carry of it. I attached a Triple Aught Design GPP1 to the waist strap and it works well. This pouch stays close to the pack, without any dangle and feels very secure.
Other specific design features worth noting are the padded interior space for an iPad, tablet, or really tiny notebook computer and the shock cord on the top to lash an extra layer if you get heated up on a hike. I judge a piece of kit by its’ overall utility or options for its’ usefulness. In this realm, the Foxtrot succeeds.
The interior is covered in loop so that you can attach hook covered items, or add dividers for further organization. This aids in customization for photography gear, as your loadout changes depending on your shoot or what caliber of glass you are shooting with that day.
Other well thought out features are the heat shrink tubing on the zipper pulls key lanyard, and secret pocket behind the admin pocket that I didn’t even know was there until I really dove into this review.
Direct Action gear just feel really solid. The padding used for the waist straps and the back pad are more than adequate. They are channeled to direct airflow to the parts that get sweaty and it really helps to keep those pressure points as cool as possible. I live in sub-tropical climate and this method of padding worked remarkably well, without creating a buildup of body heat or sweat.
The only thing I would change about this pack is the water bottle pocket on the side of the pack. It’s a bit small and only fits a 12oz soda can sized drink or a small water bottle. If it were made with a stretchy material and topped off with a neoprene sleeve that could be cinched down it might offer more carry options for a vacuum bottle or stainless type coffee mug. Typically, I wouldn’t carry water or a drink in a pack that small, that said, this isn’t a deal breaker for me at all.
- 100% 500D Cordura fabric with Water resistant coating for durability.
- Laser cut MOLLE.
- Plastic Hardware is made by Duraflex and zippers are YKK.
- Drain grommets at bottom.
- Velcro lined.
- The padding is generous and it wears well.
- Straps are highly adjustable to fit any frame.
I have used the bag steadily for weeks now in a photographer capacity. I put a small zoom lens and a flash and some batteries for some quick assignments that I knew I wouldn’t need a lot of extra gear. Normally I would just carry my entire bag and curse the assignment the whole time because I was schlepping my whole kit of over 48 lbs.
Being more nimble and carrying only what I needed let me move around easily and I was able to shoot more because I wasn’t worried about setting my bag down or bumping into people. I was self-conscious about the bag because it could be mistaken for a man-purse, but of course, this is not one of those. It could be more of a “tactical tote”, well-appointed with features and keenly outfitted with badassery. I even got a compliment on the bag! I might have to try this as a personal item, on my next work trip.
Plus they’re running a 40% off Christmas deal, using code HS2016BAG, for a limited time so grab yours quick!
David Massey Senior Contributor & Recon Specialist
David Massey is from the USA and works full time as a MultiMedia Producer, Photojournalist and writer, creating imagery for an aeronautical university and shooting freelance assignments wherever they may be. He’s traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America in search of a good story. More…