warning about manufacturer category

This post belongs to the category warning about manufacturer. Please read the following post before: new category: warning about manufacturer

Eberlestock Dragonfly II

Over three years ago I bought the Eberlestock Dragonfly II weapon backpack. There are very few bigger weapon backpacks on the market and the Dragonfly had some interesting features which made it also well usable as a day pack. But I do not cover the reasons here why I chose it. There are several problems with this backpack and design flaws. From the price point this backpack is on the top. In Finland you needed to pay around 460€ for the base version which makes it one of the most expensive backpacks.

weak buckles

Eberlestock buckle on the bottom, cheap standard buckle on the top

The buckles are weak. They are a little bit slimmer then most buckles so you can’t replace them without getting the original ones which are very hard to get. Normally even if the Buckles are slightly different you can still use others. This is pretty bad as a broken buckle can make your backpack unusable. Several buckles broke and I never broke a buckle from a backpack before.

Three years ago Eberlestock was selling backpacks with three different kinds of buckles. That is not speaking for a good design. There is also another problem with the straps and buckles I cover below. The problem that they are not interchangeable gets even worse as you see next.

bad frame fastening

The backpack has a real metal frame which is essential for load control. But the frame is just slid into a large slim pocket in the back which is open from the bottom. It is then hold in place by only one 25mm buckle. It is also supported by the vertical strap but then the strap is not supporting the load on the bottom which reduces load control.

This has huge disadvantages. The frame is not holding the fabric so it can move no matter how good you tie the buckle. Besides that I did not knew about it and just after 11 months the buckle broke during a trip. The backpack has only one other 25mm buckle and I exchanged it with that on the trip.

At home you can not exchange the female buckle to install a standard buckle set because you can’t do any sewing there. I tried to get a new male buckle from the trader but he refused because Eberlestock just gives one year warranty on the buckles. After telling the legal right in the EU and again telling the backpack was bought 11 months ago they finally agreed to send me a new buckle some day in the future (they didn’t had it in stock and they were not eager to order it from the states). I got it finally after a few months.

I additionally tied the frame because the straps are gliding. See below

The pocket for the frame also has the disadvantage of doubling the fabric there making the backpack more heavy without any advantage. It is easier to manufacture like this but that shouldn’t be the reason with such an expensive backpack. Backpacks which just cost a third have the frame properly sewed in.

self-loosing straps

The straps are very slippery and the buckles do not bite in the strap. That leads to stat all straps are constantly getting loose easily. Every time you take the backpack off and on you need to adjust every single strap. Even during carrying it happens that some straps might get looser and you normally just notice that when your back starts hurting because of the wrong weight distribution. This is a serious problem as you end up regularly checking and comparing your straps while walking. I did not have that problem that massive with any backpack so far. There are several tricks how you can make them less slippery. I cover that in another post in the future.

useless “fanny top”

The included fanny top is pretty heavy and is just connected with the Molle on the backpack. That makes it pretty loose and you do not have a good load control so you can’t store anything heavy, like a filled bottle, in there. I replaced it with a very light pocket to just store small things there.

impossible to raise top

With a lot of backpacks you can raise the top on both sides to carry something under it, for example a sleeping back. That has a lot of advantages I will not cover here. You can try to pack something under the vertical strap of the Eberlestock but then the item gets pushed to the front and loosening the vertical strap by that. The item finally falls out. I often use the strap for the gun to secure the sleeping back on the top. But by that you still have bad load control over it and it is hard or impossible to get the gun. If you want to tie something on the Molle on top you do not get enough load control.

You have the same problem on the bottom where you often place the sleeping mattress. Because a mattress is light it normally works somehow but it can role to the front and loosening the vertical strap. That can lead to a dropping mattress. The problem occurs especially with rolled mattresses.

overall load control

The main compartment, and also the side compartments, hardly reach the height of the shoulders. Therefor you can’t put the load very high. Normally the load of a backpack should get at least on the same height than you are. With the Eberlestock Dragonfly the load stays pretty low and it feels more like carrying a sack instead of a backpack. This results in worse load control and more bending forward of the upper body while carrying.

With other backpacks you often have straps on the sides you can tie. That presses the front fabric evenly on the load holding it in place. The Eberlestock backpack has two horizontal straps which run around everything and one vertical strap which are completely detached from the fabric. These straps just put a line of pressure on the load while the load in between the straps stays loose. That’s why you need to put a lot of pressure on the load in the dragonfly which can damage it and you still do not get a good load control. The hip belt can slightly move in relation to the frame which worsens the load control of the dragonfly.

You practically can’t access any pocket when the straps are tight besides the top.

Besides that on these lines the load gets pressed strongly against the weapon compartment making it difficult to get the weapon out without taking the backpack off and loosening the straps. Overall a bad solution. The advantage of attaching something big on the straps gets practically useless as the center of gravity moves too far away from your body which leads to the next point ->

useless duffel bags

You can buy duffel bags from Eberlestock you attach at the front. This is useless as the load in the duffel bags is so far away that it gets very heavy to carry.

weapon compartment too small

The weapon compartment is too small. If you have a weapon with a scope and a magazine which sticks out you already have problems getting the gun in and out when there is any load. Even when the magazine is not sticking out the weapon compartment gets deformed easily from load making it often very hard to get the weapon. It is normally impossible to get it back in without getting the backpack down.

Getting a weapon with a bipod in the dragonfly is practically impossible.

net main compartment

The main compartment is just covered by a net. The reason for that the manufacturer claims is that you can store your meat in there and it airs. Practically there is not much air coming through the net and when I want to transport it like that I can tie it down with the straps. Besides that only few people really want to carry their meat not covered in some plastic bag. Eberlestock knows that as they also sell meat bags for their backpacks. My impression is that they just wanted to have a selling point.

You get all rain, snow and dirt on and in that compartment. You also can’t lie down the backpack in wet terrain. When there is a weapon in you can only lie it on the front or the back or carefully on the side. You do not want to have the back wet and the front also not. So you can only lie it carefully on the side, which is difficult as it likes to tip. Even without a weapon the backpack is not standing, like others.

too short and too wide

The backpack is too short. It is hard to get load up. It always feels a little bit like a sack. On the other hand the dragonfly is wide. That makes balancing more difficult and you often crash with the Eberlestock against a tree or something else.

unusable outer pockets

On the side pockets, called batwing pouches, there are two open pockets on each. They are useless as they are flat sewn on it. When you have load in the batwing pouch you can not get anything in the outer pockets. When you put something in the outer pockets the same or even more space is removed from the batwing pouch. On the big open outer pockets things can just fall out. The smaller ones have a rubber cord you can tie, but they are pretty small. By that you also make the batwing pouch smaller. I do not understand why they didn’t put a bigger classical rubber cord outer pocket which is not flat. The result: besides placing some birch bark in them I normally can not use these pockets at all. That leads to the next problem:

not much usable pockets

You end up that you can put load only in the two batwing pouches and in the main compartment. There is next to the weapon compartment another flat pocket you can use. Overall you can not organize the things very good. Everything which is heavier needs to get in one of the three compartments which you can only access by putting the backpack down and opening the straps. Something you do not want to do when it starts raining and you want a jacket or something to drink.

you can’t lift the load

When you carry the backpack just half full you want the load to be on the top. With other backpacks you tie the lower straps tight that the front gets close to the back. Then the load stays over that. That is not possible with the eberlestock. When you tie the lower strap very tight then everything gets somehow crushed that you can not really load anything at all anymore.

no rain cover

In relation to the price it is a joke that you need to buy the rain cover yourself. Especially because it is really needed because of the net compartment and the open weapon compartment.

bad build quality

The overall build quality is not the best. Already after a few month I head tear and wear. See the gallery for a few examples.

The backpack is also heavy (3,6kg without fanny top) but the fabric is just 500 denier nylon. And even the front has just the net. I would consider a 700 denier nylon as minimum for a heavy multi-day backpack.

molle instead of good pockets

There is a lot of molle attachments at the backpack. That is in general good but they saved pockets. On the hip belt you do not have the obligatory pockets. Molle is not a good replacement as it is harder to get good load control with it. I put two pockets on the hip belt. In general I do not like to put load on molle as it is always wobbling.

thin hip belt and shoulder foams

The foams from the hip belt are very thin. This leads to more rubbing, especially when you wear a belt. Thicker foam absorbs some movement which protects your skin. The shoulder foams are also thin which leads to more rubbing on the bone then with other backpacks. The comfort level is very low.

net on the back

The net on the back sucks all moisture and dirt. It is not really providing any better ventilation when I compare it to other backpacks but you are constantly busy keeping it clean and snow free. Especially snow just sticks in.


I do not recommend the Eberlestock dragonfly. When I look at the product it raises the feeling that the manufacturer does not do a good job. I saw a lot of other Eberlestock models too and when I look at their complete product range I need to say that their designs are not very good. Also their newest intention to sell a frame and everyone can buy pockets like they want is more a marketing move then a good solution. It feeds the need of individualism with gear but the result will be never as good as a well designed backpack.

The flaws of the backpack are a lot and big ones. When you then take the prices they ask for their products into account it just leaves confusion. Especially because their product range is designed that you need to buy additional extras to have a complete backpack (rain cover, tops etc.).

This was definitely my last Eberlestock product.

I sent this review beforehand to Ebelerstock for a statement, but they did not respond.