Review:
SSO Bober Assault Backpack

I am really happy that I can finally review, or better said, show and present you one of my favorite items made by SSO/SPOSN. The Bober (Бобер = Beaver) assault backpack has become my constant companion in my daily life and on the weekend battlefields. It also displaced the “sack” like EastPak from my high school times I had used until now.

SSO_Bober00The Bober is not the first assault backpack in the 1-Day category. There are many “successful” predecessors like the RD-54, Vjuk and even the Kojot-1. The interesting thing though is, that the Bober is the first backpack in this size that SSO/SPOSN designed and realized completely by themselves. For instance the Kojot-1 is visually and therefore obvious “copy” of a typical western backpack design. But non the less, I have to admit that SSO/SPOSN nailed it with their design pretty damn good. And I will tell you why….

SSO_Bober_LarsA friend and team member wearing my Bober at BorderWar 6 MilSim event in 2014

I have to admit, I was long time looking for a Kojot-1 backpack (back in 2009-2010 already), since the size appeared to suit me and my needs, due to the fact that I was a long time EastPak user. I have stumbled upon the Bober while checking once “again” for the Kojot-1‘s availability, and since I have this weakness for “exotic” and old-gen SSO/SPOSN items, I had to buy it. It was a “Generation 1”  from 2007 and it was “factory new”.

SSO_Bober02

Let us start with the “highlights” of this assault backpack.

  • 1 Day assault backpack with around 25-30 Liters of capacity
  • One large chamber with 2 extra Velcro pouches inside.
  • One chamber with ca. DIN A4 (Letter) Size with pen pouch and 2 little pouches (game/business card size)
  • One additional “Flap” pocket with ca. DIN A5 (Half Letter)
  • 1 additional pouches on each side for bottles
  • Detachable main belt
  • MOLLE webbing

SSO_Bober01The Bober in the Flora camouflage coloration got also a VSR rain cover included (stored in the flap pocket). There are also other “differences” in the Gen-1 and the current version, which I will indicate in the sections to come.

SSO_Bober03

 

The shoulder straps are well padded and are very comfortable. They have a fine mesh fabric as contact layer to the wearer, which helps with the ventilation and is really soft and comfy. I only miss some fastening straps on the top of each shoulder strap to prevent the backpack to get “saggy” when fully/heavy loaded. 🙁

SSO_Bober04As you can see the Flora version of the Bober got those nice “mustard” straps, like the Smersh has from this era. I really like this coloration a lot. Can you spot already 2 differences? No? It doesn’t matter, you will see them soon enough.

SSO_Bober06 SSO_Bober05The buckles for changing the length of the shoulder straps are typical SSO/SPOSN ones as you know them from other products, like the Smersh and of course the Tortilla backpack. The buckle from the Gen-1 Bober (left side) started already to oxidize. I rubbed some oil (Ballistol) on them to a few time so they get their black shine back. Also the straps from the current version seems to be more “rugged”. They feel somehow “harder”.

SSO_Bober07 SSO_Bober08The padding on the backside is great as well. Very comfortable, even with some heavy load in it. The mesh fabric does it job once more in keeping it more comfy in warm weather condition. As you can see the older Gen-1 version (left) got no mesh fabric on the inside of the main belt, in comparison to the current version, which is fitted with mesh the complete length of the inside.

SSO_Bober09 SSO_Bober10One great thing this assault backpack can do or feature: It has a removable main belt. It got 2 metal buckles, like the shoulder straps have, on each side and a Velcro strip beneath the padded cushion supporting the lumbar, which holds the belt in place. This is great if you want for e.g. run it with a harness like the Smersh, even with a body armor or just plain for your daily use, if not packing a lot of weight.

SSO_Bober009 SSO_Bober010Another difference is the non-existing MOLLE webbing on the older Gen-1 from 2007 on the main belt. The current model got 2 rows of MOLLE with the correct spacing with 5 loops on each side and row. Another addition is the “loop” (right picture) on the right side of the belt. I am not sure what SSO/SPOSN had in mind and what purpose it should serve, but our guess is that this is for storing snap hooks you use with your climbing gear. It could also be a handle, but for what use?

SSO_Bober11 SSO_Bober12Here you got a little look of the male Velcro strap inside the lumbar support and the buckles for fastening the main belt.

SSO_Bober13 SSO_Bober14The plastic buckles are typical SSO/SPOSN buckles you encounter at nearly every product they produce and sell. Reliable and sturdy as known. There is a slight color variation, the buckles on the older Flora Bober are looking slightly darker.

SSO_Bober15 SSO_Bober16Those straps across are meant for holding your drinking tube for your hydration system or cable for your radio. It works and does its job. I even attach sometimes a snap hook if needed.

SSO_Bober017One thing I miss on the older Gen-1 variant…..Those “hiking loops” on the shoulder straps. They are great for longer walks and if you are packing some weight with you the help a lot in easing the walk. +1 for the current version of the Bober 1-day assault backpack from me.

SSO_Bober18 SSO_Bober19Both variants are equipped with the great “Quick Detach System”, on the right shoulder strap, as you may recall from my SSO/SPOSN Tortilla review back in 2012. I really, really like this system. It functions, it is practical and if you don’t need it, it won’t come off by itself nor disturb you at all.

SSO_Bober20 SSO_Bober21SSO_Bober22And don’t be afraid using it! It is nearly as fast assembled. You just need to be sure that the lower part is not twisted, but even if, it doesn’t matter and you can fix it later.

Did you noticed or know why this “Quick Detach System” is on the right shoulder strap? Because most people are right hand shooters and in a firefight situation you probably don’t want to take your hand of the trigger. I really admire SSO/SPOSN for their well thought ideas (again!).

SSO_Bober23                          SSO_Bober24 The main chamber! Finally something you probably are waiting all the time for. This is another favorite feature of the Bober design that makes this a great backpack. On the back of the main chamber you got 2 pouches which are sealed via Velcro. They are actually quite large in width as well. this is great for storing important or little things safely without using any extra pouch you would normally throw in while packing your stuff.

SSO_Bober26 SSO_Bober27The Velcro strip is actually quite wide and helps in keeping the pouch tightly sealed, so nothing can fall out and get lost in the main chamber. The pouches and the back of the inside main chamber are made of some silk like polyester fabric.

SSO_Bober028 SSO_Bober28The labels are quite different and the older Gen-1 (left side, pic flipped 90 degree to the right) is even more unusual then I thought. At least you can see the manufacturing year clearly with the 07 (год изг.)

SSO_Bober30The inside bottom is square and is fitted with the same polyester fabric as the back of the backpack.

SSO_Bober31 SSO_Bober32The (inside) top of the main chamber show this strange little square hole. Its not strange at all…Its the outlet for your hydration system or radio cable! But wait!…..

SSO_Bober33It is even cleverly covered with some Cordura fabric from the outside, so nothing can fall out or get in while running or throwing yourself on the ground. It even got the handle as a little “hood”.

SSO_Bober35 SSO_Bober34You just have to pop it open from below and fiddle your tube or cable through it and done! Love it!

SSO_Bober36                          SSO_Bober37The middle chamber is pretty sure meant for documents or documentation in general. You got the pen pouch in the middle of the back wall with 2 pouches to each side in a business/game card size. The overall size of the chamber is ideal for DIN A4 /Letter sized documents or journal or else. The outer part (folded down) got some rubberized polyester which is for making it waterproof, which could be another indicator that this chamber was “meant” for documents?

SSO_Bober38                          SSO_Bober39 It is really easy accessible, since you can unzip it nearly all around and fold it “open” if necessary. Here again a closer look at the pen pouch and the 2 business/game card pouches.

SSO_Bober40                          SSO_Bober41The sides of the Bober backpack got 2 pouches, which got a rubber band opening, for keeping your loaded Item tight in it. The pouches are probably meant for bottles and/or equipment with a long shape, like maybe a hatchet or even a short shovel.

SSO_Bober42                          SSO_Bober43You can fix the bottle or hatched with the 2 straps that are attached to the small front chamber, which I will show you next. The sides are also equipped with a wide MOLLE like loop system, which should help you attache even more on the backpack with some extra straps.

SSO_Bober44 SSO_Bober45Just some more pictures to show you the pouches from above. More pictures = better!

SSO_Bober046                          SSO_Bober46As you may have noticed, the current Bober version got on the front pocket 5 rows of MOLLE with 4 loops each in comparison to the Gen-1 with only 1 row with 4 loops of MOLLE, which actually only extend the fastening straps. For me personally 1 row is enough, since I honestly do not know what kind of additional pouches I would ad there. There is more then enough already. Maybe you can ad more plant fibers to it so you can camouflage the backpack more with the local fauna, IF your are in a forest/jungle environment and not in a urban area….

SSO_Bober47                          SSO_Bober48The older Gen-1 Bober got (as mentioned before) a rain cover in VSR camouflage, which was stored in the front pocket as shown above. However the newer Bober was not delivered with any rain cover at all. And for a fact I know that they aren’t, since we got several team members who bought the current version.

SSO_Bober50                          SSO_Bober49Size of the pocket is ca. DIN A5/Half Letter, for comparison. Maybe for a small notebook or something other flat. 2 pairs of straps with male buckles are directly attached (sewn) to the front pocket, and 1 pair of females buckles on top of it. The cool thing about the front pocket is the “flapping” in combination with the straps all over it. And I will show you in the next pictures why….

SSO_Bober51You can actually squeeze something between it and secure it. SSO/SPOSN suggests it is meant for Helmets, so they don’t need to be fixed via chin strap and then bounce all over your back while walking/running. But you can of course squeeze and secure anything that fits…..

SSO_Bober52…..like my Russian army sleeping bag. I know, It is kinda overkill and not the most comfortable in terms of weight distribution, but it works!

SSO_Bober55 SSO_Bober56Another and possible last difference found between those Bober variants is the bottom part. The Gen-1 got those wide MOLLE like sewn strap below with 8 loops, while current model got 2 rows of actual MOLLE with 8 loops as well. I can’t tell you which is actually better, or why they change to 2 rows, but I guess it keeps the strap you would weave trough it sturdier. Overall this is great to add for e.g. your sleeping back or sleeping pad below the backpack. If you got some spare straps or strings, since they are not included.

Speaking of included….

SSO_Bober53 SSO_Bober54The rain cover from the Flora Bober in VSR looks like a rectangle with one side open when unfolded. There is one short strap (around 5cm) and a lace around the opening, that is all. You are probably supposed to just put it on the backpack and lace it tight. I haven’t tried it yet, since the Bober is watertight enough for my needs and I rather leave the cover behind for my daily use, since it got some weight.

ANA_Bober                              ANA_Bober2Apparently the SSO Bober is indeed a successful and famous backpack designed by SSO/SPOSN. Since ANA has copied the Bober 1:1 and selling it under the name of “ALPHA” in various “western” camouflages like ACU, Marpat, Multicam (as seen above) and Marine Digital Camo besides of Black, Grey, Coyote and OD. Price for this in Russia is around 3500 Rubel which equals (more or less) 60 Euro.

 

 

All in all I can once more say this is a very fine product made by SSO/SPOSN. As mentioned in the beginning, I do not want to miss this backpack out of my daily live again. The only complaint I can make are those missing fastening straps, but I thought already to saw some myself on it (or let net’split do it 😛 ) I am pretty sure I have seen already some customization of the Bober regarding those straps…. However, It suits its 1-Day assault backpack role right away, even more with the “Quick Detach System”. I would buy this backpack again, in fact I did already. My first Gen-1 Bober got stolen in Madrid, Spain, after some organized thieves punctured my tire in the back right side and managed to snap it while I was checking the air pressure at a gasoline post…But thats another Story… The OD/ current variant shown in the review is actually net’split’s Bober. But I have thought as well in getting one in OD, so it is more “neutral” for the daily use…

The price for a SSO/SPOSN Bober is around 80-95 Euro on several marketplaces on the Internet. If you are missing a 1-Day size backpack,  get the Bober, it got character and is reliable! (just don’t let it get stolen from you!) 🙂

 

bober5Russian special forces operator at Memorial Shooting Competition for fallen officers and operators in July, 2012 wearing a Bober Gen-1.

bober0Same operator as above mentioned (on the left) wearing a Bober Gen-1.

 bober2Some other special forces operator wearing a Gen-1 Bober (on the left in the Partisan suit) at the Memorial Shooting Competition for fallen officers and operators in July, 2012 

c3e8b790c201Unknown Russian soldier wearing a Gen-1 Bober.

 

bober12Mountain brigade soldier wearing as well a Gen-1 Bober assault backpack.

 

15.02.2015 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L

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