Category Archives: Product Reviews and Gear

5.11 Tactical COVRT 18 Backpack Product Review.

This is my second bug out/ get home bag review and is for the bag I currently carry as part of my extended EDC gear. You can check out my review of another 5.11 Tactical bag I used for several years for EDC and still use it for hunting and camping because of the size and setup it has. Take a look at this post on the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 pack here.

What Should I Look for in a Bug Out Bag?

If you take a look at my post on the Rush 72 pack that I have linked above, I take a pretty blunt attitude towards gear vs. skill but remind everyone that the gear we have skills to use should be of good quality. A bag is going to be the key factor in keeping our gear together if and when we are forced to strike out on foot and it is a great aid in keeping all of our stuff handy at home or in a vehicle as well. Trying to hoof it to a safe place with the necessary gear to reach our objective is not the situation we want to be in when we realize the stitching on our bag is not gonna hold up. Without rewriting the entire post that I made on the other pack, I will simply say that paying attention to the grade of nylon and the make and material of the components will help you decide if a bag is of decent quality or not.

Why Should I Choose The 5.11 COVRT 18 Backpack?

As I stated before, I used another pack from 5.11 Tactical for several years and still like that one for a hunting or camping pack. It has more interior space and is covered with MOLLE panels for attaching other packs and pouches anywhere i need on. The one thing that bag lacks is subtlety. It appears to be a full on military style rucksack that would be issued to a soldier in a desert combat environment (mine is in the coyote tan color). If purchased in black, it would appear that it belongs on the back of an agent or police officer on a tactical squad. Either of these looks can draw unwanted attention to you when you are trying to go unnoticed and be the Gray Man. If you want to know more about the Gray Man idea, you can read my blog post on it here.

The COVRT 18 pack, as the name implies, is much less noticeable to passersby when its being carried on my back. Without close inspection it looks like nothing other than a large book bag or light overnight pack. The color selections are pretty subdued and look normal, but not loud. These are the attributes that led me to purchase this bag. I had some friends in law enforcement comment that my Rush 72 stood out to them and might raise an eyebrow or two if i was on foot or had it piled up in the passenger seat of the truck. After considering their comments, I decided to look for another bag to make my dedicated get home bag and the COVRT 18 is the one I chose. See my YouTube channel below for a video review of the pack.

5.11 Tactical COVRT 18 Backpack Features

Click the picture below to get a better view of the pack from several angles:

The pack is sized at 30L which is a good bit smaller than my Rush 72, however, I have also sorted and reduced my gear. If I am simply trying to reach a safe destination in a couple of days, I am less likely to want to carry a tent and frame or stop and fire up a camp stove and cook a meal. Instead, I expect to move as far as possible while leaving a minimal trail. I have replaced my solo stove and heated foods with survival rations and some MRE meals or entrees. This and other changes have made it possible to fit my main needs in the slightly smaller bag.

Here are some things I keep in my personal Go Bag and you can click to see the items:

Rainsuit

Water Filter

Multi Tool

Survival Food

Or you can click here for my post on bug out bag contents

Starting on the front, the bag has some small layered pouches then a larger pouch for carrying a handgun in a Velcro holster if you like. I use the space to pack in a rain suit and a trash bag to cover the pack with in a downpour.

The next compartment up has room for spare batteries, pens, pencils, small tools, and a charge pack for electronics. It is snug but allows for easy access to some of the most needed items.

Open up the main compartment and it resembles the larger military style bags that 5.11 makes. Several zip up mesh pockets line the inside giving options to store gear and supplies in an orderly fashion.

On top of the bag is a glasses pouch that is much larger than the Rush 72 and has room for a pair of glasses, a few chemical lights and a small pair of binoculars. I find it pretty easy to get to things in most areas of the bag in spite of it being a tighter fit.

The Covrt 18 shares the another feature with the Rush 72 pack, the hydration pouch in the front where we can place a camelbak or other brand hydration bladder if we chose.

Final Thoughts on The 5.11 Tactical Covrt 18 tactical Backpack

Nothing in this world is perfect for every person or situation. Often we can have multiple purpose/mission specific styles of gear, however we might not have room or time to chose the exact bug out bag we need when we have to bail out. With this in mind, we have to consider our circumstances and goals. Mine is to have enough with me to get out of harms way and to a safe place to stay or resupply and to do so without drawing any attention to myself. The covrt18 seems to do this well. What i give up in storage and modular attachment points is more than made up for in discretion. I have continued carrying this bag for several years now and haven’t felt the need to change it for my everyday go bag. When i have a specific goal such as hiking or hunting, I may chose another pack but this is my current choice for everyday carry. If you think this might be a good bag for you, you can purchase one Here.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and make money on qualifying purchases.

How Do I Protect Myself From Ticks and Other Insects?

Why Should We Worry About Ticks and Other Insects?

In my late 20’s I got what I was certain was one of my regularly scheduled quarterly sinus infections. Symptoms were textbook for me, a little tired and run down one evening, woke up the next day stuffy with a cloudy head, the next day sinuses started draining and causing chest congestion. Off to the Urgent Care for a Z-pack and a steroid shot. After several more days with no sign of improvement, I was considering going back to the doctor for another round of antibiotics when i noticed some tingling in my feet and hands. I ignored it and tried to get some rest. That evening I woke up around 11 pm and was unable to walk and barely able to use my hands. I also had red spots all over my feet and legs. I got someone to take me to the Emergency Room where the doctors at first wanted to send me home and refer me to a dermatologist. After my less than polite objection, they involved a few more doctors and came up with a diagnosis. I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick bite that was hardly noticeable. After conferring with the infectious disease specialist, I was told that the tingling feeling was actually paralysis setting in on my extremities and within 24 to 48 more hours, without treatment, it would have paralyzed my internal organs and killed me.

While my story isn’t very common, adding the other tick borne illnesses such as lyme disease as well as the multiple mosquito transmitted illnesses to the pot makes it important to consider insect repellent to your list of prepping items. Beyond the actual illnesses, insect bites are a potential infection site as well as just plain irritating. If you have never gotten a good case of “chiggers” on you, consider yourself among the fortunate.

What Can I Use Protect Myself From Insects?

I will divide insect repellent into two types for the purpose of this blog post. The first type is the wearable repellent. The other is the stationary repellent. Some types will overlap the two and I’ll point that out.

Wearable Insect Repellents

It’s not officially summer here in the South until you smell the strong scent of “Deep Woods Off” on every kid playing in the yard. My daughter is an absolute buffet for mosquitoes if she so much as steps outside without repellent on so she gets fogged with spray on any exposed skin. Wearable repellents let you take the repellent with you as you go and are the best choice if you are on the move, so consider these for vehicle and bug out bags. There are lots of choices today and some may fit our needs more than others, so consider this another “mission dependent” item and consider having a few different choices available. If you are interested in what else you might want to consider for your go bag or bug out bag, take a look at my post here.

Deet Repellent Sprays: Developed in the mid 1940’s for use by the United States Army, Deet is a chemical compound that confuse an insect’s olfactory senses and “blind” them to the substances in human sweat and breath that attract the little blood suckers to us in the first place. While it works great at keeping you from being a bug’s dinner, we have to be careful when we apply Deet repellents. It can act as a solvent and is destructive to some plastics and coatings. If you have ever heard the life hacks about using “Off” brand spray to clean headlight lenses, this is why it works. It chemically melts the top layer of the plastic, so think of what this can do to the string on your hunting bow or the seams of a rain suit before you douse yourself with the stuff. Grab some by clicking the picture below.

Permethrin Repellent Sprays: Discovered in the early 1970’s, Permethrin is actually an insecticide that has been used to treat crops and large areas of infestation. It is used as a repellent to insect bites by killing or disabling them before they are able to bite. As an insecticide, it is closely monitored since it is a broad spectrum chemical and kills bugs indiscriminately including beneficial insects like honey bees. For personal use, however, we are much less concerned with the bug mortality rate when it comes to the ones actually trying to eat us. It’s a solid option for hunting too since it is not going to melt our synthetic and plastic gear while we wear it. Pick some up by clicking the picture below:

Repellent Treated Clothing: I’m not sure where this technology began, but I first heard of it in the camouflage hunting clothing industry. Hunting seasons vary in actual calendar season across the world. Here in the southern United States, we have hunting seasons that start in early fall and in early to mid spring. An opining day dove hunt in early September or a late season turkey hunt when the woods are warming and greening up will expose us to bugs that had to have been stowaways because Noah wouldn’t have knowingly let them near the Ark! Regardless of who deserves credit for the idea, we now have outdoor sporting and work clothing made by several companies that is impregnated with one or more repellents when they are made. One consideration to have about these, though, is that the effectiveness is reduced over many washes. The maker usually has a number of washes specified in the product information. Click to take a look at the shirts below:

Personal Electronic Repellent Devices: Themacell brand devices are a handy option that provide insect free environments without having to spray ourselves with a chemical. They work by heating up an insect repellent cell that emits a chemical scent that works much like the sprays do. You can get one by clicking the picture below:

Stationary Insect Repellents

While my classifications might not be the industry standards for pest control, I think that they adequately explain the types of repellents we commonly use. The Stationary repellents are those that treat an area, not a person, therefore you are protected in the treated area, but not when you leave it. These are a great choice for general outdoor activity that is confined to an area such as a camp site, back yard, or a patio.

Whole Yard Repellent Treatments: These treatments are usually done by professional pest control services or by purchasing a product like the spray pictured below. Most of these products are made to attach to a garden hose and self dilute as the water flows through the nozzle and out on the yard. Professional or DIY products can make a big difference in how enjoyable your back yard or work area around a cabin will be when the temperatures get warmer.

Electronic Repellent Devices: This is one product that falls into both classes since it can be carried with us or used to create a perimeter around us to create a zone of protection. The ones below are set up to provide stake out around a patio or camp site. Click the picture to look closer:

Citronella Candles and Torches: If Deet containing aerosols were the smell of the summer days of my youth, Citronella was the smell of summer nights around the patio or porch. Versions of this waxy, oily substance ranged from galvanized buckets filled with a candle to tiki torches that were filled with a citronella lamp oil. The oil is derived from several varieties of lemongrass so its probably the most “natural” substance on this list. It has a distinct smell and you might find it does a great job for your ourdoor setup. Try some of the bucket candles by clicking the picture.

Insect Repellent Safety

If we take a quick look at the description of all of the types of insect repellents listed in this post, the word “chemical” is used repeatedly. Even natural options, while unprocessed, are still chemicals and like the man made and synthetic chemicals, they can also cause allergic reactions in some people. We should always make sure that we experiment with any new chemical we use, no matter the application, to make sure we aren’t allergic or have some other negative response to it before relying on a product daily.

Also be very cautious when using any chemical product around children or pets. Permethrin, for instance, is toxic to cats.

While it won’t stop everything we might encounter, another option is always to use a mosquito net like the one below. Look closely when purchasing though, some are impregnated with chemical repellents. Click the picture to get one:

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate and I may make money on qualifying purchases.