It was just a matter of time. TMC recently released the repro of GMR’s minimap pack. Rather than discuss the rationale and purpose of such a pack, let’s dive right into the comparison.
Immediately upon holding each, the difference in materials is apparent. GMR’s is made with 1000D cordura and TMC with 500D cordura. The TMC feels substantially lighter and claims to use 100% genuine Multicam materials. Both packs are similar in size but due to the 1000D/500D, the TMC *feels* bigger since the lighter material tends to assume the shape of the contents easier whereas the GMR is stiffer and holds the natural shape of the pack.
The first apparent visual difference between the 2 packs is the much larger front pouch on the TMC, analogous to a frog’s mouth. While this does allow TMC’s pack to hold more contents, the side profile looks goofy. Here you can see that the TMC has difficulty maintaining it shape upright.
There are several features absent from TMC’s repro, namely:
Lack of loop velcro at the bottom of the pack to secure the bottom zippers.
Velcro not sewn on both sides of the hidden pocket (making TMC’s version not very hidden at all). This also has a side effect of not being able to retain the GMR kydex double mag insert. Other mag inserts (such as the Ferro soft double or another custom kydex piece might work). Velcro is also sewn on the inside of the front pocket on the GMR, this is missing on the TMC.
No thread surrounding the comms/hydration ports on the TMC. Not a big deal but this does speak for the attention to detail on the GMR pack.
No quick-access emergency/first-aid pull-out pouch on the TMC. I can’t imagine anything else that would be able to fit behind the velcro patch. TMC also did not sew hook and loop velcro to the underside of the front velcro patch, so whatever you put in there has a fairly high chance of falling out. GMRs is much better thought-out.
The interior layout is different between the 2 packs – GMR has opted to use a modular approach and sewn loop Velcro on the inside of the pack and included a divider for user customization. (not pictured)
The TMC pack has a pre-divided pocket creating 2 separate compartments. I should note that GMR’s has multiple paracord “hangers” to hang your hydration bladder to prevent bladder sag, this feature is sorely absent on the TMC.
Capacity between the 2 packs is similar, each able to a hydration pack + monocular/binocular NVGs + radio with room to spare; or 6 AR15 magazines + NVGs (topping the pack to capacity)
A final note – I wish TMC had some originality and used quieter, seam-sealed zippers. The GMR pack’s YKK zippers are noisy, oversized and basic.
I can’t say I’m surprised at TMC’s offering, what they’ve produced is a pack with most of the features of GMR’s original, with lower-spec materials, less-attention to detail and at 1/3 of the price. In lieu of the GMR minimap’s availability, the TMC pack is an acceptable temporary substitute suitable for light milsim duty and nothing more.