For at least the last 15 years, the daysack of choice for many British soldiers has been the Berghaus Munro because of its durability and practicality. However over the last few years people have drifted away from the Munro towards packs that with Molle compatibility, such as the Camelback Motherlode (see previous review!). In reply to this Berghaus have introduced the CENTURIO MMPS (Multi Mission Pack System) daysack, basically a Munro for the 21st century.
Size wise the CENTURIO comes it at a very good size and I have had no problems with fitting in warm kit, dry kit and 2 (yes 2 !!!!!) helmets in it over the last few weeks. The actual dimensions are 54cm(H) x 34(W) x 31(D) so you can see that it is not exactly a small daysack. It is a 30 ltr pack but with the addition of the MMPS side pouches (which I will talk about later) this increases to a very healthy 50 ltrs, in terms of carrying capacity without the side pouches it would be fair to say that you could use this for durations of up to 24hrs and with the side pouches it would be called as a 48 hour pack. Inside the main part of the pack is a separate sleeve which is designed to hold a water bladder but could also be used to store wet items of kit separate from the main compartment. There are 2 Velcro tabs in inside to hold the bladder up and to stop it sliding to the bottom of the sleeve which I think is a nice touch. There are 2 covered exit holes on either side of the top of the daysack to allow you to route the drinking tube to your right or left depending on what you prefer.
On the top flap of the CENTURIO is a small zipped pouch to allow you to store small items (phone, keys notepad etc). Inside this pouch is another small zipped pouch to again separate things down even more, to be honest I this is a bit of overkill has if you already have things in the small pouch you have to take them out to reach the other zipped pouch but there may be others that find this more useful than me. On the outside of the top flap are to rows of Molle loops (7 loops in each row) but strangely the 2 rows are spaced quite far apart so dont really provide a stable platform for pouches if you you have loaded kit into them. With smaller admin type pouches I found that as long as you keep the weight down they were not too bad. There is also a small clear plastic sleeve which is about credit card size to allow you to name up the daysack without actually writing on the back in big black marker pen as was done in days of yore. Again this is something I havent used yet and to be honest I probably never will so it will more than likely end up being removed as it does tend to shine a lot which is not a good thing for the military user.
On the front are another 5 rows of 4 molle loops and also 2 x plastic clips to allow you to connect an ice axe to your kit (these are easily removed without causing any damage if you have no use for them). Perhaps the biggest cosmetic change from the old Munro are the fitted zips on each side which allows you to attach either the MMPS side pouches or a PLCE side pouch. There are also securing straps on each side so you can strap extra kit to the sides for easy access. For the military user these would be fine for any type of LAW and for the civilian user you could easily fit a small one man tent under them. One down side about these straps is that because they are attached to the middle you cant use them to reduce the size of the daysack if you are only carrying a few items in it like you could with the old Munro.
The back of the CENTURIO is completely different to the Munro in every way; the biggest change is the addition of a well padded and ventilated back system which the Munro never had. The shoulder straps are now more ergonomically designed and extremely comfortable due the fact they are very well cushioned. On the front of each shoulder strap is an elastic loop so you can clip things to the front that you need to get at all the time (radio handsets, whistles etc). My only concern about these is that over time they may stretch and loose their elasticity to the point they become unusable but only time will tell on that. There is also a chest strap that can be removed without causing damage if the user so desires. There is also basic waist belt that is identical to the one on the old Munro that can be wrapped around the front of the pack and looped through the lower ice axe loops to keep it out the way if not needed. You can easily fit this daysack on with body armour and it still remains comfortable to wear although it does sit slightly higher on the back than normal.
Now I mentioned earlier that you could fit MMPS side pouches which each carry 10 litres of kit and attach to the CENTURIO by means of the 2 zips I mentioned earlier. On each side pouch there are extra securing sacks that are identical to the ones on the CENTURIO; there is also another small fastex clip on the front to hold the storm flap down over the zips (this could also be used to close the side pouch in the event of one of the zips failing). The side pouches can be zipped together to make a separate small daysack with the basic yoke that is supplied when you buy them. This is done in exactly the same way as people used to do to make 'rocket packs' with PLCE side pouches. I do think this is more aimed at people who use the MMPS side pouches with the crusader rucksack.
As far as durability goes I have had no complaints so far and all the stitching is holding up very well. During the past week I have been working with boats a lot including quite a few transfers between smaller ships onto larger vessels where to say it had been quite roughly manhandled would be an understatement. There were also a few times where it ended up getting quite wet whilst sat in the bottom of boats. As I expected the were no signs of any water entering the main pack which gave me great confidence in the CENTURIOs overall water resistant qualities.
The CENTURIO retails at £60 and the side pouches, including the yoke come in at £30 which makes it very competitively priced compared to other similar items. Dont think though that because it is a third of the price of a Camelbak daysack you are only getting a third of the item because the bottom line is you arent. As you'd expect from the company that created the Munro, this is a high quality product, ideally suited to either the military user or the civilian backpacker. I would not hesitate to recommend this item to anyone searching for a robust, fully featured, molle compatible daysack with the flexibility to be configured in a number of different ways.
Many thanks to Berghaus who supplied the CENTURIO MMPS for testing.