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Old 06-09-2011, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Orpackrat 550 Para-Cord 13ci Tank Covers

Earlier this month, I agreed to provide an unbiased review of ORPACKRAT’s (a.k.a. Steven Campbell’s) new 13ci/3000psi tank covers, which he hand-knits using heavy duty 550 parachute cord. This thread presents my unvarnished thoughts and impressions—including choosing and ordering the cover, as well as design, fit to purpose, and durability. I should say up front that Steven sold me this cover at a reduced price (materials and shipping) in exchange for doing a written review. Since I had already contacted him earlier and would have paid full price, I accepted. He hasn't seen this review—all views expressed are my own. Onward to the review!

Seller Background:

Steven has been playing paintball for over a decade. He’s always been a tinkerer—designing launchers and modding hard goods in his spare time. About two years ago, he mastered basic knitting during free time on a job.

In no time, he began experimenting with para cord covers for small paintball tanks. Early attempts were alright, but standard knitting techniques produced a seam that was an eyesore. So Steven tabled his other projects and experimented with a variety of advanced techniques to finish the seam. The present design reflects the unique finishing approach Steven developed.

Fast forward to the present, Steven has made quite a few of these small covers and distributed them among friends locally for comment and as gifts. In offering these for sale on MCB, he’s hoping to share his product with the wider community of players and—if possible—help fund his love of the sport.

Communications with Steven were timely and to the point. I appreciated his direct responses with no BS whatsoever. I had a tracking number within 24 hours of making payment via paypal.

About 550 Parachute Cord:

I was initially unfamiliar with para cord…and other MCB’ers may be, as well. It’s not a common choice for tank covers, which are more often constructed of neoprene, silicone, and/or rubber. Can para cord hold up to woodsball-style use and abuse? I decided to read up on the stuff.

My research uncovered a variety of interesting and impressive facts about the material. For example, para cord was used by astronauts during STS-82—the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. 550 para cord has between 7 and 9 core nylon yarns woven inside a braided nylon sheath. The purposes to which para cord can be applied in both civilian and military applications are pretty much limitless—provided the slight elasticity in the cord is acceptable for the given application.

Nylon para cord does not rot, dries quickly, and is highly resistant to mildew. The outer sheath resists fraying and the multiple individual strands in the core section ensure that any superficial damage or wear to the sheath does not compromise integrity. As a result, I am optimistic the material comprising this cover has an inherent capacity to wear as durably and last as long (or perhaps longer) than my other “standard” tank covers.

About the Cover:

For those who (dare to) use a 13ci tank and enjoy the combination of light weight and added challenge it offers, cover choices are limited. To date, I used a tennis ball half and some “protective” digi camo duct tape. Along comes this knit cover…which (along with the hand-made chain mail and/or scale covers available elsewhere in the MCB dealer forums) is about all one will find specifically designed to cover this tank.

Originally, Steven PM’ed me a list of possible colors. But he had a black one all ready to ship and since I’m all about instant gratification, that became my choice. Several appealing color choices are available, however—something for everyone on that menu, I’d think. Here is the color chart he sent me:

Last edited by Dr. PhunkyPants; 06-10-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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All 13ci tank covers—regardless of color—utilize the same 550 strength para cord and are secured closed with military grade 3/16" 330lb test elastic shock cord. It takes Steven about two hours to weave one cover. If he doesn’t have a particular color on hand (and he’s building up stock at the moment), the wait to order, fabricate and ship is about seven days.

Other cover sizes (e.g. 45ci or 68ci) are possible, but would be custom jobs at this point. And I should note that the material is very substantial—a 68ci tank cover might weigh as much as the bottle itself!

The cover arrived well packaged via USPS Priority Mail. I was immediately surprised at the heft and thickness of the cover. Guys, this cover is a beast.

As shown in the picture, the cover goes onto the bottle from the back forward. It requires hand strength to do this and it took a few tries to find the proper angle. Fit is generally snug around the bottle and while the cover WILL rotate if you deliberately try to turn it, it doesn’t hang or spin.

As mentioned above, the seam on the tank is a unique design Steven has come up with. If I look for it, I can find the ridge which marks the seam. But you could easily miss it on first glance, and it certainly has no impact on comfort. The elastic cord at each end is secured in a knot which is “flippy” when the cover is not on the tank, but which nests into the cover once on the bottle and cannot be discerned if shouldering the tank. See pics.

Maintenance and Cleaning:

I figured people would want to know how the cover takes hits and cleans up. So I put it in the backyard and put four rounds into it at 300fps, close range. See pic:

I then took the cover off and dropped it directly into the washing machine for one regular wash cycle. This pic is the cover seconds after it came out of the wash—no paint or shell evident anywhere. Cover looks just as it did.

+ Looks. Finally, a 13ci tank cover that I find visually appealing
+ Build. Excellent quality, expert construction--made in USA
+ Feel. Unique, heavy duty design increases comfort factor with small tank
+ Lots of great colors available—customizable for unique markers
+ Very smooth buying process with excellent comms from seller

- Woven threads are durable, but may collect paint—washing may be required for messy hits (fortunately, it cleans up without any fuss)
- Sliding cover on and off is not easy—and can pop off if not careful when removing it partway to show hydro date


I am very happy to use this cover with my 13ci tank. It is VERY robust. Taking it on and off requires a bit of practice. But once I figured it out, I found it increases my joy rocking a 13ci tank. I see no reason it would fail under even the heaviest of abuse. But as time goes by and I log more hours on the cover, I'll be sure to come back and update this review.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Dr. PhunkyPants; 06-09-2011 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I find it very hard to believe that I am the first person responding to this review. I guess that is just a personal pet peeve of mine that you take the time to put together a review, especially one of this caliber, and yet not elicit a single response. Sorry, not trying to muck things up...just something that really bugs me and is a good reason why I have decided not to do reviews or any kind of build up threads.

I must say that I am really impressed with this review, I had seen these covers before. I believe when I started a thread about 13ci covers, Orpackrat shot me a pm about his product. I would have really like to have gotten in on the testing/reviewing but as previously mention my stance on doing reviews and that I've been hit with hard times as far as money goes, I simply had to pass. I will eventually make a purchase from him but for the time being I'll have to wait patiently.

Dr. PhunkyPants, thank you for taking the time to write up this excellent review. I wish more reviews were of this level. After reading this I feel very confident in knowing that this is something I want to eventually purchase. Once again thank you and thank you Orpackrat for offering these at a reduced rate for members to try.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I just saw his covers available for sale here like a day or maybe two ago. They look cool, and I know how durable paracord is, since I have it as a grip for a couple of knives, as well as it being used for a few other things as well.

It's good to know that the cord is also a bit heavy. Not as in truly heavy, but if a tank cover for something like a 45/4500 or 68/4500 is going to weigh in almost as much as the tank itself, that gives me a bit on an idea.

I have thought about what to do for my 22/3000 tank, since it is painted bright orange. One of these covers would be cool. My only issue, being able to show the hydro date. Even though a 13/3000 or a 22/3000 does not need to be hydroed since it falls under the 2X2 rule.

Great review, and great job showing the cover off. So how does it hold up in games?
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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how would i be able to order one of these covers?
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Old 01-22-2012, 06:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zephaniah6101 View Post
how would i be able to order one of these covers?
Contact Orpackrat on here I assume. (PM)

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Old 01-23-2012, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Are larger tanks a possibility?
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If I recall correctly, it could be possible. But he would need a larger tank to use as a model.

My advice to you would not/not to use this for a larger tank. The amount of material increases considerably and since it's so heavy, you could well end up having a tank cover that weighs more than the tank itself.
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