In early February, Jeff (KD4VMI) sent the following message to me:
Good evening. Love your YouTube videos and QRPer posts and, from them, I know you appreciate rugged packs and gear.
I enjoy POTA, although I don’t get out as often as I’d like, but I’ve found Blue Ridge Overland Gear’s various bags and modular systems to be very handy for bundling my radios, batteries, cables, and antennas.
It’s been on my mind for some time to let you know about them (if you don’t know about them already) and I finally decided to take the time to write you. I’m not associated with them in any way, and I didn’t approach them about passing this on to you, or anything like that. I just really appreciate their gear and I think you might, too.
The BROG materials are high quality and stout, the zippers are beefy and smooth, everything is double or triple stitched and everything is modular so it can be used for just about anything, and in pretty much endless combinations with their various bags and gear.
Their products are not overly cheap, but are guaranteed for life. They’re located in Bedford, Virginia and all their things are made in the USA (I think mostly in Bedford).
I often use their tire puncture repair kit bag, for instance, to carry my FT-891, Bioenno battery, cables and mic, and PackTenna, and then strap the coax to the Molle system on the front of the bag.
They posted a YouTube video showing their gadget bag with accessory pouches for HTs, etc.
Their website is: https://www.blueridgeoverlandgear.com/.
Anyway, I appreciate all you do for our great hobby and just wanted to share this info.
Take care and all the best to you and yours…
Thank you so much for the kind words, Jeff, and for the tip about Blue Ridge Overland Gear (BROG). You’re obviously a skilled pack enabler because you had my attention by the second paragraph–!
Shortly after my exchange with Jeff, I checked out the BROG website and was really impressed with their line-up of packs and gear–all with a focus on modular organization, especially in-vehicle since it’s for Overlanding. It’s just the icing on the cake that their gear is made in the USA.
I was very curious if their Gadget Bag, in particular, would lend itself to being a modular flied radio kit pack.
Thing is, there are so many options and configurations for the Gadget Bag, I wasn’t entirely sure what to order.
Being a fellow who expects to pay a premium for rugged products, made in the USA–especially ones that carry a lifetime warranty–I was prepared for some sticker shock. Turns out, BROG pricing is pretty reasonable in comparison with other cottage industry pack manufactures.
Still, I wasn’t quite sure how easily some of my radios and gear might fit in their zippered pouches, so I reached out to BROG–mentioning QRPer and my constant search for field radio packs–and asked if I could order some packs and pouches, test them with my radio gear, then pay for what I decided to keep. I didn’t want free gear, I just couldn’t tell based on the product images and posted dimensions what pouches and packs might fit my various radios and accessories. Also, I knew readers might ask if certain pouches and packs might fit certain radios.
The good folks at BROG kindly obliged, so I asked for the following list of items:
– QTY 1 Gadget Bag (shell) in black
– QTY 3 Large Velcro Pouches
– QTY 6 Medium Velcro Pouches
– QTY 1 Velcro Cord Keeper
– QTY 1 Medium GP Pouch
– QTY 1 Velcro Headrest
– QTY 1 Headrest Pouch Kit
Some of these items weren’t in stock, so it was a week or so later when I received notification that the package had shipped. It arrived a couple days later.
I love the feed bag style packaging, by the way.
Although you’ll start to see this field kit in upcoming activation videos, I thought I share a photo tour of this pack…
First impression of the Gadget Bag is that’s it’s slightly larger than it looks in the photos and videos. It actually has quite a lot of capacity!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing different configurations, but the one that maximizes the amount of organization is their Gadget Bag package ($119.99) that ships with two large zippered pouches and three small zippered pouches.
The small pouches quite easily hold some of my most portable QRP radios like: the Penntek TR-35, Mountain Topper MTR-3B/4B, Elecraft KX1, and Venus SW-3B.
I put a bare-bones throw line kit (2mm throw line and 8oz Weaver bullet weight) in one small zippered pouch.
I also put two field antennas in another small pouch. In truth, though, one small zippered pouch could easily hold a compact field antenna and a bare-bones throw line kit.
In the photo above, on the side of the pack with the three small zippered pouches, I have my radio, throw line, and antennas.
The two large zippered pockets are quite roomy. One of them holds my 3Ah LiFePo4 battery, distribution panel, spare cables, and a battery tester with room to spare. The other large pocket holds accessories like RG-316 feed line, various adapters, a CW paddle, and loads of other cables and accessories.
All of these zippered pockets attach to the Velcro-lined interior of the Gadget Bag.
I was a little concerned that heavier pockets might not stay in place with the Velcro backing, but I had nothing to fear. The Velcro truly secures each pocket in place and they cannot fall out.
In fact, much of BROG’s packs are designed to Velcro-mount in 4×4 vehicles that tackle rugged terrain. They can handle bumps and jarring quite easily.
So far, I’m super pleased with the Gadget Bag.
I ordered extra zippered pockets so that I could, for example, remove one antenna or radio pouch and replace it with another. Makes for very easy modular organization if you have several radios, antennas, and battery options.
I’m unlikely to take the Gadget back on ultra-portable ops like SOTA (although this could easily slip into my SOTA backpack), I will be using this as my main field gear pack for the car; the organization makes it so easy to grab the items I might need when hitting the field.
The only negative I’ve found with this system is that none of the packs or pouches are padded. If you want to protect a small radio, you might add some of your own padding in the pouch or pocket. Frankly, for most of the other items in my kit, padding would only add to the bulk because they’re rugged enough that padding isn’t truly needed.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share more about the Gadget Bag in my activation videos and in some posts. I’ll also demo their headrest pack which also fits in the Gadget Bag.
I’m not sure whether I should thank or curse Jeff for introducing me to Blue Ridge Overland Gear! I’m likely to buy the entire package of items I requested from them and order a few more things. I’m very impressed with the quality.
If you’re curious if this pack or a pocket might hold a specific item that I have, please comment and I’ll check it out for you if I have one to test.
You can also buy the Gadget Bag shell (with the Kit Your Own Bag option) and configure it á la carte.
I’m not an expert on BROG gear, so if you have general questions, I’d encourage you to reach out to them directly.