I’ve discovered over time that I sometimes have strange tastes in gear. For example, in a world of hydration bladders, I actually still carry a canteen. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t boycott hydration bladders entirely – they have their uses. But hydration bladders tend to be hard to refill from natural sources (and hard to keep clean) and honestly, I don’t need a full hydration bladder for every outdoor activity.
If I’m going to tote a canteen around, it helps to have a canteen pouch. So, like any self-respecting seeker of gear, I hit up eBay. Turns out, both Eagle Industries and London Bridge Trading made canteen pouches, and the khaki and coyote versions are pretty available on eBay right now. I ended up buying one of the LBT pouches for $19.95 new from a seller named LegitKit. Shortly thereafter, my unit was getting rid of old pouches that they had in lockers, and I managed to pick up one of the Eagle canteen pouches. Now I’ve got two canteen pouches and a chance to compare them.
If you give the two canteen pouches a cursory glance, you’ll think they’re identical. They are very close in design, but there are a few differences that affect performance in the pouches. First is the materials. The LBT is made of a significantly lighter material, which is good from a weight standpoint, but not quite as good when you need a pouch to hold its shape. In general, it’s annoyingly difficult to re-insert the canteen into the LBT pouch, and the lighter material plays a part in that.
Second, the Eagle pouch actually fits the canteen better than the LBT pouch. As you can see in the picture below, there is a lot of extra room in the LBT pouch. To be fair, these pouches are designated by both manufacturers as canteen/utility pouches, so it’s not a huge surprise they aren’t fitted to the exact dimensions of the canteen. Having the dimensions close, however, does make it easier to use.
Finally, a very subtle detail sets the Eagle pouch apart. If you look carefully at the picture below, you’ll see that on the Eagle, there is a much shorter distance between the mouth of the pouch and the point on the back where the MOLLE straps begin supporting the pouch. While it may not seem like much, on the LBT there is about an inch of unsupported pouch. In my use, when combined with the elastic on the mouth of the pouch and the lighter material used, this unsupported area collapses when I try to insert the canteen. Nothing is more distracting (to you or them) than having to call someone over to put your canteen back in its pouch every time you drink.
Overall, I’d say the advantage goes to the Eagle pouch for use. They are fairly plentiful on eBay, and tend to run around $10-$20. One important note, the two pouches I used are examples of a generation one pouch. The newer design uses an elastic drawstring instead of the sewn-in elastic of the generation one pouches. They also tend to run a little more expensive than the generation one pouches, typically $20+. Hopefully I can get one of those to review at a later point.
I know this isn’t the most earth-shattering gear review you’ve ever read, but if it was useful and you’d like to see similar (but maybe more groundbreaking), give us a follow and leave a comment with any ideas or questions you might have. Thanks for reading!