Submitted by Eric Daniel
The following was taken from the comments section on the Fatboy versipack entry. I've included them here to make a point.
Amtho: Anybody have a say on which is more practical, the Fatboy vs. the Jumbo?giantskunk: I have both and find that I carry the regular versipak more often than the jumbo. The biggest advantage the jumbo has, IMHO, is the pouch to carry a Nalgene sized water bottle. There is, of course, more room in the other pouches of the Jumbo version so it is often mission dependant as which I will carry. I will say that if you fill all the pouches on the Jumbo version, you wind up with quite a bit a weight being placed on one shoulder. Also, the regular versipack is great for air travel. I put all my stuff in it for the x-ray belt and get through the metal detector faster. You can easily shove it inside a larger carry-on to show that indeed you have just one and then take it out on the airplane with all the stuff you actually need for the trip like a paperback, I-pod, headphones, tissues, passport, etc. That way, you can leave your regular carry-on with the change of clothes etc. in the overhead. I have had one for several years and taken it to several countries. A good piece of gear.Amtho: That's the feedback I needed. Buying a Fatboy asap. Thanks.
This exchange illustrates a number of things. First, and most importantly, the value of articulate and accurate criticism of a product, be it good bad or indifferent. Second, personal experience is worth a thousand pictures. In the era of on-line shopping, we often have to resort to making selections based on what we see (pictures) and what we read (product description.) While this in and of itself is not a bad thing, it can lead us into making less than optimal choices.
For example, as illustrated above, Amtho is trying to decide which of the two packs he should consider, the Fatboy, or the Jumbo. You can read the literature and see that the Jumbo is bigger, better, stronger, faster (and more expensive) but does he need or want all that? How much bigger is the Jumbo? Is it too big? Giant's response is spot on; the Jumbo is, indeed, all that, but as he points out, once you fill it up, you're packing quite the tumor, and furthermore, it is less conducive to air travel than is the fatboy. Apparently this was the information Amtho was looking for and his choice was made.
When I went shopping for an assault pack I was fortunate to be able to do it hands-on. I folded, spindled, and mutilated every pack on the rack until I found the one I wanted. Of those it was probably in the lower half of the size realm, but it was big enough for what I needed to do (I wanted a bag I could shoot and move with, not a dumpster with shoulder straps.) Direct shopping allowed me to make that choice, but it was Giant's feedback here that allowed Amtho to make his.
All this takes us back to the point of posting gear personal experiences here. If you're using something and you want to either tell the world it's the next best thing since drinking beer straight from a bottle, or to avoid it as you would the plague, post it here.