After waiting month after month and dying in excitement, I finally got my hands of one of these fine Russian SSO/SPOSN (ССО – Союз Спец Оснащение) made assault backpacks.
First of all the dry facts about this versatile backpack:
- Medium sized assault backpack with a capacity of 45 liters
- One large chamber (accessible from the top and bottom)
- Two side pockets and two back pockets
- Wide shoulder straps with quick release
- Sturdy and comfortable main belt
- Backpack made of waterproof cordura
- Extra straps on top, bottom and both sides for attaching additional equipment
This specific – and thanks to its unusual shape – extraordinary assault backpack is one of the first SSO made backpacks. Named and declared as a “Military Backpack” it is definitely more than your usual Mountain and Hiking Backpack – and that not only in terms of its name.
The name “Tortilla” (Тортила) does not come for the Mexican/Spanish Tortilla (like I thought first, thanks to its quite similar “wrapped triangular” shape) and also doesn’t have anything in common with the word “Tortoise”. In fact it is just simply translated into “Cake”.
Huh? Are your serious? Just cake? – Yes, indeed. This battle approved assault backpack is called plainly Cake….kinda cute, isn’t it? (My guess it is called like that, since this triangular shape kinda looks like a piece of cake – could be…)
Let’s go more into detail – Shall we?
As mentioned before, the backpack is complete made out of waterproof cordura (and yes, it is indeed waterproof, since I can confirm that after excessive use in rainy weather while hiking the local mountains). The straps are sturdy and feel like they can handle a lot of force and weight. Plastic made buckles reminds the appreciator of the famous and beloved SSO made harness called “smersh” (review coming soon!).
Mesh fabric and padded cushions furnish the rear and spinal side of the backpack. It feels very stiff and comfortable – also with a punch of weight packed. The belt is also very comfortable padded and adds a notch of perfect fit to the wearer. Not to forget that you can easily use this backpack in combination with a Plate Carrier or a Harness (without small backpack, of course).
One of my favorite particularities (and there are 3) of this backpack, are the “march handles”. Those are 2 cordura fabric handles which comforts your arms at long marches and helps to counter the possible heavy weight of your load. Not to mention that those handles can also help you to equip your backpack to your back and tighten the straps around your shoulders.
Since we are already talking about the straps, I can now “unveil” my favorite thing of all the features of this backpack and why it has earned it role as a true assault backpack.
Since going into a firefight with all your food ration, extra clothes and all that secondary but still important stuff is kinda troublesome (especially in suprise situations like a ambush or similiar situations), this particular backpack has an emergency or quick detach feature.
You pull both with snap buttons secured little straps and – BAM – of goes your backpack and you are ready to kick some ass on the battlefield. I timed it with a full backpack (around 10-15 kg) and the quick release takes around 2-3,5 seconds until you are completely “backpack free”.
Here some pictures in detail to show you the process (only one side showed – of course this applies to both shoulder-straps)
only a quick and decent upward pull is needed to unequip your Tortilla SSO assault backpack in a emergency situation.
Quite cool, am I right?
Next and last special feature is the main and largest chamber of the Tortilla SSO backpack. As mentioned in the first part of this review, you can access the backpack from the top and from the bottom. The top opening also gives you access to a mesh pocket, which you could and can use for maps or other important paperish thin items.
12You also have the option to fasten/add a divider, made out of cordura, in the lower half. I really like this feature, since normally you put clothes in the lower part of your backpack and on top of it food and other equipment. Thanks to the bottom opening you can now grab for e.g. your sweater or a fresh pair of socks without the need to take everything out of the backpack or to scramble all inside after searching violently for the desired item.
Another cool thing are the side pockets which allow you to carry a bottle or anything else long with the backpack without taking space of the valuable weather-safe chamber.
Last but not least are the two outer pockets – one on the top with small packing space and some small extra pockets inside….
…and the lower pocket with one big separate chamber.
small neat feature should not be forgotten!
The bottom of the backpack has a handle which should help to quickly “unload” the Tortilla or to get rid of dirt inside of it. simple but genius idea. Also there is a small hidden pocket at the bottom – which serves (my guess) for the backpack cover or camouflage cover.
Overall I really like this backpack for its simplicity and its rugged construction. The shape and the quick detach system make this a looker on the field and in urban environments (like the shopping center). A lot of space is available and the nearly endless possibilities of attaching stuff like a sleeping bag, etc. on its outside made this for me the number 1 choice in Russian assault backpacks. Also I really appreciate a modern backpack without any MOLLE attachment possibilities (just for the looks :P)
This particular assault backpack is a Generation 4 made in 2011. I searched the net for some older generation and “in the field” pictures – so here you go.
from left to right: first, third, fourth and seventh are Tortilla Generation “0”
Generation “1” (around 2001)
Generation “2” (2004-2006)
04.05.2012 – by Logisticz for Gruppa L