The Tasmanian Tiger Cruiser bag is manufactured by our finest and most blondest friends over there in Currywurstland and so far so good as regards my purchase. Their gear seems to be as reliable as you expect German Products to be and I am more than pleased with my two purchases from Bausenwein Military Store (who incidentally are not too hot on returning emails from the Inselaffe, but mein gott are they quick in getting their stuff to you – by the time I’d asked them whether they got my Paypal it was at my door). Tasmanian Tiger naturally specialise in the German market. So a lot of their stuff comes in the fetching shade of Flecktarn. This Camouflage is all jolly good hiding in the Black Forests of Bavaria, but I don’t like it. Not because it has a very very passing resemblance to a certain World War II camouflage worn by a part of the German forces who can politely be described as rotters; but because its too dark for most terrains. Unlike the German Schneetarnumhang which is spectacularly effective, Flecktarn isn’t. I don’t mind Flecktarn on a map case because it means it is highly unlikely people can get away with nicking it, and a map case is either out for a matter of minutes or I’m sat on it to keep my bottom nice and dry on wet grass.
The TT Cruiser was my answer to a broken Black Bag. I picked it up for a very reasonable 75 Euros rather than the usual 150 Euros. Mine was in a fetching shade of Olive Drab, but Black is as you can see by the pictures available too. It weighs 2.3kg, is manufactured in the usual Cordura, measures 72 x 35 x 35 and weighs 2.3kg. The material is a very thick and robust Cordura, I suspect twice the thickness of the issue Black bag. So its not light but seems to be fairly bomb proof. I loaded it with clothes, 2 bottles of Port and a twelve pack of Tetleys to visit a friend of mine to simulate moving heavy kit to barracks and the bag stood up quite well (the spare pair of underpants on the way back was a bit less of a test). I’ve also used it to move kit to barracks and back
The Shoulder strap is as comfortable as you can expect on a bag. Its padded and of a suitable size. The handles are detachable for some reason known only to a nation that has decided that wandering naked round forests despite being the size of Bavaria is acceptable. To smarten the bag up there are also compression straps on the side. Also on the ends of the bag are Molle Straps so you can add Molle pouches to either end as your heart desires. Another German quirk is that there are straps in between the Molle Straps that seem to do nothing discernable. It could be an alternative German attachment method. Above the Molle at the end are two heavy duty lifting handles.
The Interiors are the two pouches either end of the bag that the Molle is attached to. Inside this are dividers made from mesh. This provides two reasonable spaces to put stuff that will leak and/or needs to be kept separate from the main interior. There is a large pocket on the side again to keep stuff separate, again it has mesh dividers stitched on the side to act as pockets. In the main interior, you have a mesh pocket on the lid to keep your Regimental Cravat separate from your Green kit. There are more dividers this time made from the same kind of material you find on the issue Poncho.
Three problems with the bag are the following… Firstly the trusty Black bag has a cover and shoulder straps to carry it. Granted they always break on the plastic tension bit, but at least they are there. You always have that tantalising hope like a mirage in the desert that eventually they will make one that works. There is no such luxury with the Cruiser, you have non adjustable hand carrying handles to put round your shoulders or nothing. The bag has no backpack capability whatsoever. Which sucks a little bit bearing it is such an otherwise well built bag. It holds 90 Litres, and unless those 90 litres are Flumps or some other Marshmallow like substance that needs transporting you will want to carry it on your back. The Blackhawk bags all have shoulder straps, Tasmanian Tiger should do the same.
The second issue is that the Compression straps don’t work. You want one strap to pull to tighten up the bag – you have four on each strap that don’t work (so 8 in total). The other thing that doesn’t work is the bottom panel. It bends and doesn’t seem to provide any rigidity whatsoever. An otherwise superbly designed and built bag weakened when the designer came back from the Pickelhaube and Pianno pub sampling too much good German beer and started adding bits they didn’t need.
But nevertheless despite these weaknesses I don’t regret buying the bag. It is otherwise bomb proof. It eats gear, and with the Molle straps you can add a load more. I like the window in the top where you can put your name. I like the removable straps so that the bag is less likely to be torn if you stick it on an aircraft conveyor. I Love the space inside, the segregation of kit, and at 75 Euros I love the price too. I’ll still probably end up buying a large kit carrier from Blackhawk in the sales as I need the capability of shoulder straps. The Tasmanian Tiger will then get relegated to holidays or when I’m moving kit by vehicle.