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Iceland is a peaceful country. It has no military and a coast guard of three vessels that perform search and rescue in the frigid North Atlantic. Outside of rotations of NATO forces, such as Danish patrol boats and American aircraft, it’s one of the most peaceful nations on earth. But the island is full of other, natural conflicts: Active volcanoes and towering waterfalls litter the landscape as glaciers creep towards the ocean. This harsh environment was the perfect testing ground for the 5.11 Covrt Zone Assault Pack 6 (or Z.A.P 6).
Two Danish ships in port at Reykjavik. It is recommended to not use the assault pack against allies.
The Covrt series is designed to be taken along on trips where you want to blend in. The color schemes are subdued and the logos are minimal. It would take a keen, close up eye to tag a Covrt series bag as “military.” A full-size iteration is excellent as a general purpose backpack, and mine served me well for years before it was stolen on the mean streets of Washington, where I learned not even a city full of feds can protect a car from a smash-and-grab in broad daylight. But for those moments when you need something more high-speed, the Z.A.P 6 hits the sweet spot.
Making sure the pack is ready for glaciers.
After hauling it around the hills of Iceland for a week, I can honestly attest to the comfort of the pack. When loaded heavy, an optional second strap keeps the bag from riding low. This strap can be removed when not in use, which you will want to do, to prevent it from slapping the back of your leg.
The bag also features a hydration pack, a tablet holder, a comms port for the secret squirrels among us, and the ability to hold a ballistic plate for when you end up in a really gnarly spot. The bag has a couple of areas where it could be improved, too, like the small beverage holders on the sides and the lack of padding on the base. But the pack isn’t really meant to carry full-size bottles on the sides — and if you want padding, get a camera bag. There's always a trade-off with a pack this light.
The Covrt series is designed to keep a low-profile, but also it can be decked out with comms, CCW, and a ballistic plate for when a covert assault kicks off.
During my trip to Tunisia last January, I took a generic tactical messenger bag made of inferior materials. It quickly developed tears along the seams. The Covrt Z.A.P 6 is made of much hardier stuff. After slinging it left and right, dragging it on the ground, and dropping it off a sheer rock face or two, it doesn’t seem to show any wear and tear.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."