The SSO Bergen is a version of the classic Bergen style rucksacks. An exact same design backpack in flora pattern is adopted for some mountain units by the Russian Army (manufactured by different contractors, but according to the SSO design).
The main pack has a nominal capacity of 60L and the two side pockets provide 10-10L of additional space.
If there is no need the use of the largest capacity of the backpack, it can be adjusted by several possibilities to achieve a more compact form (compression and adjustment straps for the main pack and for the lid). To reduce the size, the side pockets can be removed, which makes the backpack significantly narrower and more similar in look to the civilian trekking backpacks.
A well known feature of the Bergen style rucksacks is also present. The removed side pockets can be zippered together to form a small backpack. In this case the zipper can be secured also by two hook-and-loop fasteners.
The side pockets are fixed to the main pack not only by the zippers, but there is one pair of straps that helps to hold them and reduces the load placed on the zippers.
There are two straps on each side of the main pack, covered by the side pockets that can be used for fixing longish thing (weapons, tents etc.). These things can be supported at the bottom by inserting the end of them into the small pouch.
However, these straps can be used only when the side pockets are removed and although there are straps with similar function on the side pockets, those are much less stable fixing points.
The lid is attached to the pack by two adjustable straps at the back and it is closed with two buckles at the front, which are attached to two long compression straps which are easily adjustable in length by pulling their ends.
There are two compartments inside the lid. The larger one can be accessed from outside and contains the waterproof cover provided for the backpack. The smaller one can be opened from inside and great for holding small objects (keys, pocket knives etc.) or documents. The two lower sides of the lid are rubberized which helps to tighten the lid onto the top of the main pack and it is also useful when rolled-up sleeping mat is carried below the lid.
As further attachment possibilities, there are also 4 steel D-rings fixed to the lid and some slots sewn on the top for additional straps.
The lid covers the top opening of the main pack which can be closed by two strings; one closes the opening when the extension is not used, while the second one closes the extension.
The lower part of the main pack is accessible through a zipper closure which is supported by two straps, as well. At the bottom there are attachment points.
The main pack can be divided by a foldable flap. This can separate a compartment for the sleeping bag or other similar sized objects if necessary.
There is one more pouch inside the main pack. It can hold a radio or a hydration bladder. The opening for the drinking tube is also prepared.
The inner frame is also located at the back of the main pack. The two aluminum lathes can be removed after the opening of the cover flaps.
On the front part of the main pack there are seven rows of MOLLE with seven slots in each row.
At this point I would like to mention the problem which caused the only disappointment. The stitches of the MOLLE straps started to loosen at some point after slight usage.
At the top there are carrying handles at the front and at the back.
The back of the rucksack is well padded and ventilated.
The position of the shoulder straps is adjustable via the well known method, used frequently on different military and civilian backpacks.
Length adjustment for the shoulder pads is possible through steel ladder buckles (same ones, that were used on the US ALICE packs).
There is a sternum strap attached to the shoulder pads. This helps to transfer some of the load from the shoulders to the chest.
The right shoulder pad has a fast release system. The left one however lacks this feature.
The shoulder pads provide some further attachment points.
The hip belt is fixed to the pack below the hip pad with high quality hook-and-loop fastener. It is also attached to the pack through an adjustable strap on each side. These also help to stabilize the pack when moving. The hip belt is closed in the middle with a large buckle.
In conclusion the SSO/Sposn Bergen is a really good backpack which can take huge loads and also very flexible as the size is adjustable in a large range according to the requirements. Except the flaws in case of the MOLLE straps there are no signs of torn stitches and the pack can last long even in case of large loads as well.