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R7 Modular Pack
By Bill Mills - Aug 2005
Photos By Dawn Mills

In 1999, as the first Skyball tournament drew to a close, New Yorker Greg “Red” Hastings was fast making deals.  Teams that won the tournament were offered sponsorships on the spot, for holding up banners for his new company Redz Comfort Gear, and getting their photos taken for magazines.  It’s that kind of aggressive grass roots promotion that built Redz into a household name in paintball.  Of course the design of the original Comfort Pack helped too, combining a back support belt with a paintball harness to carry paint with ease.

Times change, and so did ownership of Redz.  Eventually Red himself left the company, focusing on other projects like Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball for X-Box.  Red hasn’t forgotten his roots, and is now developing products under the R7 name which reflects his pro jersey number.

The R7 Modular Pack system consists of two components, a belt and a pack, each sold separately.  The belts are packaged in heavy clear vinyl, with snap bottoms and a plastic grommeted hangar card on the top.  The packs are plastic wrapped hooked onto similar strong display cards.  For the end user the packaging won’t make much of a difference, but for a paintball store owner, being able to display their products professionally, or easily repackage them after a potential customer has tried one on for size, is a great plus.

The belts are available in small, medium and large sizes to handle players with waist sizes ranging from 26 to 56 inches.  They wrap around and close over themselves in the front with hook and loop fasteners.  The back is padded with contoured neoprene while the front flaps are quilted with a sweat wicking mesh.

Once the belt is closed, a pair of elasticized cinch straps can be tightened, and secured with their hook and loop fasteners.  This creates a snug fit around the waist as well as providing support for the lower back.  A semi-rigid spine piece lined with hook fastener material acts as the attachment point for the pack.

The packs for the modular system plug right onto the belt, gripping the spine with a patch of loop material.  For additional strength, small tab of loop material folds over and adheres to each end of the spine, to ensure that the pack won’t come free of the belt in a game.  

The packs are made of a mixture of woven and mesh materials.  They are available in three styles, the 2.2, 3.3 and 4.4.

The main pockets of the belts are actually a pair of straps that surround the pod, rather than a true pocket.  This makes cleaning the back all the easier, as there are no deep pockets to trap dirt or paint and bring it unnoticed into the washing machine.  Stiffeners hold shape to the mouths of the main tube holders, and in testing, this allowed spent pods to be re-stowed in the pack with relative ease.  

The pod holders are arranged vertically, with their hook and loop secured flap at the bottom.  The 2.2 pack features 2 main pod holders, the 3.3 three, and the 4.4 four.

In addition to the main pockets, each pack features elastic expansion loops to hold an equal number of pods, thus the 2.2 can be loaded with a total of four pods, the 3.3 with 6 and the 4.4 with eight.  Small hook and loop pads secure the expansion loops out of the way when they aren't in use.

The modularity of the R7 system lets a player build the pack that is right for them – both in size of fit, and in size of the amount of paint carried.  A player switching between front and back positions can buy only one belt component and swap packs as needed.

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