Vanquest Gear DENDRITE Waist Pack Review
The DENDRITE Waist Pack is a part of the new Urban Series offered from Vanquest Gear. Released earlier this year, the DENDRITE is available in two sizes - Large and Small.
Both size variations offer well thought out internal and exterior design as well as organization. I'll do my best to highlight the features of each and help you decide which size is a better fit for you in this review of the DENDRITE Waist Pack.
General Overview: DENDRITE Waist Pack
I first got my hands on the DENDRITE Waist Pack during Shot Show 2020 and was immediately impressed by the construction and finish. Based on my past experience with Vanquest Gear products, I had high expectations on quality and I was not let down.
If you have never seen or handled a Vanquest Gear product in person, it's hard to describe, but there is definitely a distinct feel and look to their products. The entire lineup of their Urban Series carried on that unique premium feel and look.
Being able to carry medical supplies along with a variety of other carry items (flashlight, spare mag, camera lens, etc.) was one of the main reasons that I was initially drawn into the concept of this product. Obviously, waist packs/fanny packs aren't anything new - but the usefulness in today's environment does to seem to be expanding.
Vanquest Gear did a nice job of building a product that would blend in with a typical environment style wise with the Urban Series products. The DENDRITE is available in Shadow Gray, Midnight Blue, and Multicam Black. The Shadow Gray and Midnight Blue are built using a Nylon/Poly blend that is water resistant while the Multicam Black is constructed from Cordura Fabric.
As you can tell from the photographs I've added, I typically don't actually wear the DENDRITE around the waist but either across my back or chest. The only time I personally wear the DENDRITE around my waist is when I'm hiking and it's typically in conjunction with a backpack. I'll touch on a nice feature relating to this offered by Vanquest Gear in a little bit.
Size Comparison: Large Vs. Small
Choosing the right size for you is going to depend a good amount on what you intend to carry in this bag.
I understand that everyone has different goals for a bag like this and will ultimately look at it from a different perspective based on those goals.
From personal experience, the Large will hold the following plus some.
- Glock 43X
- Fenix Flashlight
- CAT Gen-7 Tourniquet
- Spare Magazine
- Leatherman Skeletool
- Wound Packing Gauze
- Nitrile Gloves
- Hyfin Vent Compact Chest Seals
- CPR Face Shield
As you can see, the Large DENDRITE is capable of carrying a wide range of supplies. Not only is the DENDRITE-Large able to hold all of these items, but it is able to maintain a fair level of organization while doing so.
I have found the DENDRITE Large to be ideal for trips to the gym where I want to be able to keep a handful of essential items close by without carrying a full out backpack or gym bag.
The DENDRITE Large is also a great option for exploring cities on foot (from experience) where you might want to tailor your inventory to make room for an extra camera lens, battery, or an SD card case.
A nice aspect about using the DENDRITE Large is the ability to fit and leave the medical components in the bag while tailoring the rest of the inventory to fit the occasion. The internal zippered mesh pouch provides room for compact chest seals, wound packing gauze, and a small pair of trauma shears. The bottom area of the main compartment fits a CAT Gen-7 tourniquet with ease.
Even though I personally own a small DENDRITE Waist Pack, I have not used it nearly as much as I have the Large. With that being said, If I was going to choose one to actually carry on the waist, I'm going to choose the Small every time.
The Small DENDRITE is the ideal Fanny Pack/Waist Pack size in my opinion. For those with intentions of carrying a basic IFAK inventory of medical supplies, a small CCW, and not much else, the DENDRITE Small should fit the bill well.
For quick day hikes or where you want a waist pack to go along with a backpack, the DENDRITE Small really stands out as a worthy option. A DENDRITE Small allows for simple access to items such as your cellphone, wallet, keys, energy gels, etc.
|1.5" Seatbelt Webbing
|1.5" Seatbelt Webbing
|YKK RC Class
|YKK RC Class
I believe the organization seen in the DENDRITE is where these bags truly stand out from the crowd. A high-vis interior combined with a well thought-out design - a great combo.
You will have very little issue keeping all of your gear organized with the intuitive layout provided by Vanquest Gear in the DENDRITE. Provided elastic loops and collapsable ripstop fabric pockets enable you to store items securely without fear of them falling out as you open up the bag.
The organization features seen in the Large and Small DENDRITE are almost identical outside of overall size of each.
An internal zippered mesh pocket allows for small items to be kept accessible and semi-visible through the mesh material. Both internal front and back panels are lined with loop material for mounting accessories. Using the Vanquest Gear CCW Holster Hook & Loop Insert, I am able to securely carry my Glock 43X on the larger panel closest to the body. Smaller handguns like the Ruger LCP fit nicely in the DENDRITE Small.
Two zippered compartments are provided - one on the front and a semi-hidden on the rear of the bag. These zippered compartments allow storage of slim items such as a cellphone or passport. The front zippered compartment of the DENDRITE Large is where I keep a pair of nitrile gloves and a CPR face shield.
As you can already tell from my perspective on this review, the DENDRITE bags are dialed in and built extremely well. My one and only mild nitpicking complaint involves the waist belt excess storage.
I need to remain fair and honest in my reviews and this is something that I knew I should bring up. The waist belt itself is excellent and the seatbelt webbing is a very nice touch. The method provided for storing the excess strap (max waist size of 54") is the common Vanquest Gear hook closure. This closure strap is ideal for most of their products but I do see a very light amount of fraying on my waist belt due to the rough surface of the closure strap.
If you are planning on keeping the waist belt in one sizing configuration and don't plan on adjusting the belt, this is really a non-issue. If you do plan on adjusting the waist belt to go from waist to cross-body wear, I would just suggest removing the closure strap prior to making adjustments.
The Shadow Gray and Midnight Blue variations sport a very durable poly/nylon blend that is water resistant and obviously built to last. On the Multicam Black variation, you will find the proven Cordura brand fabric that so many of us have come to appreciate.
I've had the DENDRITE Large and Small both out on the beaches of South Carolina and both effectively kept sand and water out.
YKK zippers and an easy to operate DURAFLEX waist belt buckle add to the overall quality of the DENDRITE.
Vanquest Gear added something to the exterior of the DENDRITE that I thought was very innovative. Two webbing straps are sewn vertically into the rear of the bags exterior fabric to allow the user to remove the waist belt and pass their own belt or hiking bag strap through.
If you plan on doing any hiking with this bag, this feature proves to be very convenient. Simply passing your backpack waist strap through the sewn on webbing provides a nice way of carrying quick access items like your phone and snacks.
For those looking to use the DENDRITE as a sole bag while hiking, attaching a Hydra Water Bottle Holder from Vanquest Gear is a possibility. Attaching one on each side of the DENDRITE will allow for a weight balance and extend your range with hydration.
When it comes to waist packs/fanny packs, several companies are stepping up and improving and expanding on the original concept.
Vanquest Gear's DENDRITE is a solid entry for the market in my opinion. Based on my experience with these, I believe they did a great job of providing premium organization features and a high quality product.
Considering materials used, build quality, and features, I feel that the price point is well within reason. Vanquest Gear offers a Limited Lifetime warranty on their products and I know that they stand behind their products 100%.
If you're in the market for a waist pack, I highly recommend checking out the DENDRITE Waist Pack.