10 Years of Reviewing, Testing and Innovating.

This milestone sneaked up on me, and it is now 10 years ago that I published my first review – from then on it just kept evolving.

It started when I found online discussion forums and I became an avid reader of online reviews and active participant in forum threads – but there was something slightly lacking…

As a photographer, engineer, outdoorsman and perhaps most importantly an enthusiast, I felt I might have something extra to offer and decided to give it a go and see how I got on. The more work I did, the more I was drawn into trying to better understand the tools and gear I love, and share all of that with others in the most factual and well illustrated way possible. I’ve always worked to introduce new ideas and new tests, many of which have been adopted by other reviewers as part of a standard ‘review formula’.

In 10 years I’ve built up a considerable body of work and experience, and many valued friendships and relationships. Hopefully there is still a lot more to come, with improvements and innovations along the way.

What you might not realise (as a reader) is that all of this (photos and photo editing, technical tests, graphic design, web design, website hosting and management, video and video editing, social media, writing and many more things needed to keep it all running) is done by one person. One person with a full time job in I.T.

I often call reviewing my ‘Hobby Job’, taken as seriously as a paid job, but something that costs quite a bit to keep going, and is a lot to fit around the demands of normal life. ‘Enthusiast’, or is that ‘Crazy Person’?

Thanks to everyone that has supported me so far, in both believing in me, and in taking the time to look at the reviews – Subwoofer (aka Richard)

Tactical Briefcase Face-Off Part 3: Condor

Part 3 of the Tactical Briefcase Face-Off features the Condor Metropolis Briefcase (see it here) and takes a detailed look round this contender. All three Tactical Briefcases in the Tactical Briefcase Face-Off series came from Military 1st who I’ve been buying from for many years.
This series of reviews was originally planned to be a single group review, but has evolved into something much larger as I used each of them for EDC, lived with them, got to know them well, and more and more detail needed to be shown. Each of the three Tactical Briefcases (First Tactical Executive Briefcase, Hazard 4 Ditch Bail Out Bag and Condor Metropolis Briefcase) will have a dedicated article before the final article, Part 4, brings it all together to explain how I got on with each one and their strengths and weaknesses.

Tactical Briefcase Face-Off Part 1, featuring the First Tactical Executive Briefcase can be seen here.
Tactical Briefcase Face-Off Part 2, featuring the Hazard 4 Ditch Bail Out Bag can be seen here.

Part 3 – The Condor Metropolis Briefcase:

All round the outside:
We’ll start with a run round the outside. – The Condor Metropolis Briefcase includes a shoulder strap which is tucked into the main compartment when it arrives. The front panel has two main pockets with a patch panel / MOLLE panel on one and an extra clear ID holder pocket on the other, and there is a handy D-loop in the middle for clipping keys etc to. The back panel has a large zip up pocket and a trolley bag handle loop strap for sitting the Metropolis Briefcase onto a larger wheeled bag with telescopic handle. Each end panel has an elasticated pocket with webbing for MOLLE pouches.

Pockets, Pouches, and Padding – Things to look out for here are:
Starting off with one of the end panel stretch pockets, here I’m using a pocket knife to prop it open so you can see the construction. Of the two front pockets, one has a Velcro flap, and the clear ID pocket on the other also has a Velcro flap closure. Inside that first pocket there are a couple of elastic organiser loops. The other pocket with ID holder, uses a zip to close it. Inside it has a set of organiser pockets of different sizes and a key hanger. Behind those front panel pockets is a full width pocket with internal Velcro mounting panel.
On the rear of the bag is a thin zip-up plain pocket. Behind this is the padded laptop storage compartment with a full double zip opening. Inside the laptop compartment are two pockets, the larger of which has a retaining strap to keep the laptop in place.
Accessed via a double-zip opening (but not using a flap like the other two bags), the main compartment has a Velcro-loop panel on one side, and two zip-up mesh pockets on the other side.

Strap and Handles:
There are two simply constructed carry handles, and one has a Velcro grip-wrap to hold them together. The shoulder strap has a removable sliding pad, and each end attaches to the bag with a side-release buckle. On one end of the strap there is the female buckle, and the other end has the male buckle – this means that you will always put it onto the bag the same way, and that strap can be made into a loop by clicking the ends together and used in other ways.

The video tour of all three Tactical Briefcases:
In case you haven’t seen the video overview on Tactical Review’s youtube channel, here it is. This video covers all three of the bags.

Review Summary
As in Parts 1 & 2 there is a lot to absorb, so this is where we will leave the Condor Metropolis Briefcase for now.
Please follow the series of articles to see all the insights, and it will be in part four that the real-use feedback will be included.