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For those of us who are somewhat into the more gun/tactical aspects of prepping, 5.11 is a common brand name. In the last 15 years or so, the “tactical” market has exploded into civilian products. Everyone seems to want that “tacticool” look of the cargo pants, Mil-Spec gear and all the other trimmings that make us feel like we are the bad asses we see in the action movies. I’ll go ahead and bum most of the readers out. With few exceptions, we will never be as bad ass as we would like and gear isn’t a substitute for skill.
What Should I Look For in a Bug Out Bag?
With the sobering truth that we are probably not elite operators out of the way, we can talk about gear with a clearer head and be more objective. The market has been flooded with gear and bags/packs are no exception. We can find all styles and prices of backpacks online and in stores, but the old adage still holds true, you get what you pay for. The quality of the material as well as the quality of the sewing, buckles, and zippers are huge limiting points on the usefulness of any fabric so look closely at the type of nylon used for the bags, they quality of the buckles used, and the brands of zippers sewn into the gear you buy. With that in mind, lets get to the review of the 5.11 Rush72
5.11 Rush72 Design
The 5.11 Rush72 pack is one of a series of Rush packs that the company makes. They also make a Rush12 and a Rush24. The number denotes the number of hours in the field the pack is designed to support. With the Rush72 designed as a 3 day pack, it seems the most fitting to use for a bug out or get home bag. If you are able to pack lighter or need a smaller pack, the other two options might be just what you are looking for. If you want to read about my thought process regarding bugout/go bags, you can take a look at my other post on bags here:
I have used this one as both my go bag, a hunting backpack, and a camping/hiking pack and it has served me well in all three aspects. One word of caution, though, for heavy pack loads, frame packs like those used by distance hikers or back country hunters are always going to be a better option. I don’t think backpacks without a built in frame would be the thing i would take on a through hike of the Appalachian Trail, or a back country elk hunt in Colorado.
5.11 Rush72 Features
With many of the product review I do, I realize that trying to recreate the level of detail that the manufacturer or sellers post online is nearly impossible. So I’ll start off with a link to the product and you can view the specific details after you read my review of the bag.
5.11 Rush72 Backpack Link
What I have found that makes this bag a very practical bug out or general purpose pack is the amount of storage as well as the room to add modular accessories and packs via the MOLLE attachment panels covering the outside of the pack. I’ll try to do a video soon on MOLLE systems, but, for practical purposes, it is an attachment method using the strips of webbing on the pack to interlock with other compatible pouches and accessories.
On the base of the pack are four web loops that I made use of to strap my stuff sack with my sleeping bag and tent with some paracord.
ALPS Stuff Sack for Camping Gear
The pack advertises 55L of capacity which is a lot of space so you can get a lot in there, but don’t forget, the more you put in, the heavier it will get. Proper load placement can make a big difference in how well and how far you can carry your pack. I took advantage of the tall side pouches to zip up my water bottle and filtration gear on one side and on the other I was able to put my Solo Stove camp stove and some cooking items. You could easily use this space for ready to eat items more practical for a bug out situation.
The main compartment of the bag is sectioned off nicely to separate your gear and make it easier to locate what you need without disturbing the rest of what you have packed. Several of the compartments are zippered mesh so you can see what’s in there, but tagging the zippers could prove helpful as well.
Between the main compartment and the front panel is a large stuff-it area that can easily accommodate a jacket, rain suit or other crushable gear and cinches up tight with a strap on either side.
The front of the pack has a small compartment up high and a pretty large compartment on the front that includes more zippered pouches as well as an admin panel where you have organizing pockets for pens, pads, and small tools. With all of these options, expect to go through several versions of your bag layout before you find the exact setup that is perfect for your needs.
At the top of the pack near the back are two more openings. One is a soft padded area large enough for a pair of sunglasses to go. The other is on the back panel under the shoulder strap attachment points. It opens up to provide room for a Camelbak hydration bladder if you chose to use one.
Camelbak Hydration Bladder for Rush72 Backpack
To Carry the load of the pack, it has padded shoulder straps with MOLLE webbing on them as well as a waist strap and sternum strap to keep the pack snug and in place.
Final Thoughts on the 5.11 Rush72 Backpack
This was my first “BugOut” bag and I found it to be roomy enough for more than I plan to carry in a “get home” situation. The fact that is is modular makes it even more appealing to those who have the survival skills to truly bug out in the wilderness for more extended periods. As a camping and hunting pack, it gives plenty of storage space for bulky coveralls and parkas that we wouldn’t want to wear while making a hike in to our stands and attachment points to add a dry bag or stuff sack to carry our tent and sleeping bag if we happen to fill up the main bag with other camping gear. The only drawback to this pack is the “tactical” appearance it has if you are wanting to go unnoticed while leaving a deteriorating situation or area.
If you think this pack might work for you, you can get it here:
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.