Hazard 4 Switchback Review
By: James Veldt
As a field service technician, I have a lot of things to carry to and from a lot of different customer sites. Because of this fact, a good bag is essential to keep most of what I need and use day to day with me and easily accessible. When I found that my old rolling targus bag didn't fare well in skidding across the pavement at 70 m.p.h. I started a long search for a bag that would fulfill work duties and be useful outside of work. I shortly decided I wanted to try a sling bag rather than a more traditional backpack and for durability sake started looking at some of the well known “tactical” brands. After reading countless reviews and looking at packs in stores when possible I ran across a mention of the Hazard 4 brand on an online forum. I looked up their website and started looking through the selection of products they offer. The Switchback Sling bag immediately caught my eye and I quickly narrowed down my choices to it and a 5.11 bag.
The Hazard 4 Switchback looked to have most of the features I wanted and when I found a great sale price from tacticaldistributors.com I took the plunge and ordered. I received the bag quickly and have delighted with my choice ever since. The switchback earns its name from its design to be easily accessible while wearing it by swinging it around your body and pockets oriented more horizontally than vertically. The main compartment is spacious with two zippered mesh pouches and two pockets built into the back. The front admin pocket has a clear plastic pocket a flap that can turn into a shelf sort of attachment and can hold a tablet with the touchscreen still usable or a map, orthings of that nature. This compartment has numerous closed and open pockets for any number of different uses. There is one more zippered spacious zippered compartment built into the front of the admin pouch.
Behind the main compartment is a large multi-purpose zippered compartment. It is well padded and makes a great sleeve for up to a 15” laptop. Alternativley it can be used with a 3L hydration system with a velcro hanging strap and port at the top for hose routing. If you don't need either of those options they have many velcro accessories for handgun holsters, magazine carriers etc. to use the bag for CCW purposes. Both sides of the bag have pouches, one being expandable to fit a bottle the size of a Nalgene or similar.
The bottom of the bag has a one way vent/drain in case you were to spill inside the bag as well as long compression straps that are handy for holding a rolled up jacket or small bedroll. There are good sized, sturdy grab/carry handles on the top and side of the bag. The sling strap is well padded and comfortable, and the rear is also padded and vented. There is also a detachable stabilizer strap that is great for longer treks. The outside of the bag has numerous compression straps for stabilizing and MOLLE attachment everywhere. Hazard 4 uses 1000D Cordura brand nylon that is coated for water resistance.
This is one of the most durable, well-constructed bags I have ever had. After more than a year of daily use and abuse, the only signs of wear are a coffee stain (which I'm sure would come out were I to wash it) and the plastic sleeves that cover paracord zipper grabs are starting to split. The double stitched seems and every aspect of the switchback scream quality and attention to detail. As is the case with any sling, it isn't ideal for heavy loads or long hikes, but I have used it for both with relative comfort. If you like the idea, but want something geared toward trekking they have a similar model called the “Second Front” that features standard backpack straps and a waist belt. I have been super happy with my Hazard 4 Switchback and would give it a 9/10 rating. If you are looking for a new bag, and like the tactical look make sure to check out Hazard 4.