Wisport Raccoon 45L Rucksack Review
MOLLE-compatible rucksack with hiking-style back system
Wisport is one of those brands I had heard of or seen in product catalogues and on websites, but had no direct experience of. Military 1st offered the Wisport Raccoon 45L rucksack to me to try out on some of our courses and I gladly took the opportunity. It’s not like I NEED another rucksack, but it’s a different style to what I am used to and I was curious to see how it performed.
That’s a lot of webbing.
It’s a military-style rucksack and is MOLLE compatible, so it’s not too surprising – but it’s still a lot of webbing and straps. The straps can be found the full length of the pack on either side, on the ‘face’ above the zipped lower section and on the top of the floating/removeable lid section. There are further straps on the shoulder pads, and on the waist belt. When you add in the compression/attachment straps on the sides, face, lower section and lid you realise that there’s probably several metres of nylon webbing on it – a clear sign that function and flexibility is taking precedence over weight and simplicity.
The fabric panels themselves are a heavy-duty Cordura with DuPont Teflon protection – my review sample seemed to shed rain and dirt fairly easily so it appears to be a good choice.
The carrying system is robust – Wisport call it the FAS Plus (Full Adjustable System) and the key components are twin alloy straps running vertically combined with webbing and buckles to adjust the maximum length. The top of the shoulder straps are anchored to a panel that ‘floats’ on the straps and the padded waist belt is entirely removeable – great for use with other webbing/belt systems, or even with plate carriers and vests where you need a bit of extra room. There are also the usual straps and buckles on the waist and shoulders that you would expect on a modern hiking-influenced bag, and the whole thing has enough adjustment to accommodate a variety of users.
The shoulder straps are releasable, with quality Fastex buckles allowing the whole pack to be ditched in a hurry, and a chest strap with integrated bladder-hose clips can be slid up and down each shoulder strap.
Between the shoulder blades there’s a generous webbing loop to act as a hanging point or handle, and a sturdy rubberised grab handle on either side of the back system.
On the sides elasticated pouches sit at the bottom level with the hips, and compression straps run across. These can be expanded just far enough for a rollmat or other kit to be strapped to the side.
Another pair of compression/attachment straps run over the back face, again big enough for a roll mat or similar to be clipped on.
Under the lid a fabric snow gaiter keeps the internal storage tidy and clean, with double drawstrings and a strap and clip for more stowage.
Inside the pack itself there are two compartments – with about a 30%/70% split. The larger upper compartment is separated from the rest by a diaphragm with drawstring adjustment, and the lower section can also be accessed via a zip on the outside. There’s also a zipped stowage pocket near the top (perfect for a headtorch and GPS, or a FAK maybe) and an elasticated pouch where you would expect to put a hydration bladder. This last pocket would also be about right for a small laptop/large tablet or similar. There is a small webbing loop here to either clip stuff to or hang a hydration bladder from.
A floating lid with zipped pockets (solid, chunky zips that are easy to locate and operate with gloves on) top and bottom completes the storage options, and this can be removed entirely without much faff. There’s also a Velcro area for displaying an ID or callsign patch.
A waterproof cover is tucked away underneath in a separate pouch at the base.
My review sample was in a rather fetching ‘Coyote’ colour scheme but it’s also available in multicam, ATACS, PenCott and similar camo patterns. And of course – olive and black.
The evolution of load-carrying systems for military applications has been a varied affair. It can be argued that the bergens and packs of old put basic function and longevity before comfort and fit – ask anybody who had to carry 30kg around in a 1980s-vintage pack with only shoulder straps whilst out on patrol. As a committed civvie (my military experience extending to working with them as an external instructor or trying to keep up when out for a day in the hills with veteran and currently-serving friends) I am fortunate to have avoided that experience – but I do know a lot about carrying heavy loads when out in the forests or mountains.
This bag has mostly been used in the mountains of North Wales and Scotland on navigation and lone-working safety courses. I’ve had it for about 3 months and have tried to kill it several times – there’s a lot to like about it, although I have a couple of reservations.
The Good Stuff
The MOLLE-compatible straps are well-made and sensibly placed – I had no reservations about hanging expensive or crucial items from the side and it really does allow the 45L capacity to be expanded upon. The back system is JUST long enough for my 6’2” frame, and the shoulder straps had enough adjustment to be comfortable. I would have liked a little more leeway but I realise too that I am at the upper end of the size range for most mountain folk…
When loaded up it is fairly stable and I was able to scramble and perform some technical moves over rock without worrying about it – it’s certainly an equal with other high-end mountaineering packs in terms of stability and fit.
The extra features like the side grab-handles and the clips for a hydration bladder are appreciated and were used frequently. I kept finding nice hidden touches – like gaps in that internal divider so you can put long items down through the entire length whilst keeping things (mostly) separate. I found it to be just perfect for a trekking axe handle, or a small monopod for photography. The attachment and compression straps all have some form of keeper or clip to tidy excess away, and nothing is too flappy.
It’s listed as being a 45L pack and I would say that it is accurate, but not an understatement – this thing seems slightly smaller than other 45L packs I own, but when filled it seemed to be about right for that quoted volume. Basically – there’s 45L worth of space but not much more.
The overall construction and finish is as high as any hiking or other type of rucksack that I’ve owned, and there’s no fraying or loose stitching yet. It has also withstood punishment from rope and rock abrasion and being dragged through dense forests – including one memorable day when my jacket was torn by the branches but the pack showed no damage whatsoever.
The Other Stuff
It’s heavy. Not a problem really but more of an observation. It would be difficult for a pack of this type to be this rugged whilst saving weight, but for a 45L hiking-style bag the 2450g of my sample is quite heavy by modern standards. That’s not surprising though – this is an old-school rucksack in many ways and that simplicity and styling will appeal to many users.
I would also prefer it to be a little bit more generous on the shoulders, but as I said above – I’m bigger in the chest/shoulders than most users.
I like rucksacks of this size, and the 40-50L size range has been what I’ve worn the most throughout my career as a Mountain Leader and instructor. The military-skewed styling and design of this pack fits in well when I’m working with that type of client and there are occasions when using a modular MOLLE-style system is more appropriate for what I do. I will always choose a hiking/mountaineering pack shape and profile over a rounder, squatter shape for working in the mountains and forests and the Wisport Raccoon 45 is certainly within that bracket. Wisport has a relationship with the Polish armed forces and you can see that this is a pack that was designed from scratch – not just something that was already on the shelf that someone stitched some webbing to.
If you wanted a MOLLE-compatible daypack that could also be used for short 24hr+ trips then it is worth a further look, and it will see further service with me.
Wisport Raccoon 45L Specifications:
- Capacity: 45L
- 1 main compartment with two separate chambers
- 2 zip lid pockets
- 2 side pockets
- Quick-detach system
- FAS Plus Military carrying system
- Adjustable shoulder straps & back section padded with air mesh
- Strengthened, enlarged and adjustable waist belt with buckled strap
- Chest strap with buckle
- Aluminium frame painted in black
- Lifted and removable lid with Velcro & buckles
- Loop panel on the lid
- Snow collar with drawstring
- Allows the use of hydration systems
- Secured passage to the main compartment for a drinking tube
- Hydration hose UTX Flex mounting brackets on both shoulder straps
- Rubberized carrying handles on both sides
- Nylon straps for attaching sleeping bag
- Loops and elastic bands on shoulder straps
- MOLLE compatible with multiple attachments points
- Side compression straps
- Durable Wisport zippers
- Duraflex & ITW NEXUS buckles
- Rain cover on bottom (included)
- All seams secured
- Material: Cordura Nylon
- DuPont Teflon fabric protection
- Dimensions: approx. 20″x13″x11″ (50x32x28cm)
- Weight: 2400g
- Manufacturer: Wisport
- Made in Poland
- 5 years manufacturer warranty