Category Archives: Videos

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:


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.

What Should I Take if I Have To Evacuate?

What Should I Take if I Am Forced To Evacuate?

With hurricane season upon us in the eastern and southern United States and wildfires burning throughout the western states, the probability of evacuations in some areas is almost guaranteed. Don’t think, however, that we who aren’t on the coast or surrounded by dry forests or grasslands are immune to potential evacuations. Many other issues can force evacuations. Consider a train derailment with cars carrying some form of hazardous gas such as chlorine. What about a radiation leak from either a nuclear power plant, or radioactive material in transport? If we live near a road, railroad, or navigable body of water, we are subject to chemical exposure in the event of an accident. Another cause for evacuation is some form of civil unrest. While I have no objection to standing my ground, some times we have to realize that simple probability tells us that standing alone against an angry mob laying siege to our home is suicide and serves no purpose. We should all consider the possibility of an evacuation.

Why Should I Have An Evacuation Plan?

Evacuations are very similar to Bug Out situations with the exception that we often have a little more time to evacuate if we stay aware of the news and other surrounding factors. I mentioned this idea in my post on situational awareness that can be found here. Usually the cues are listed on the news and weather programs and can be readily heeded if we have a plan in place. Other times we need to have keen senses about the changes we see around us, both physical and societal.

Having a tested Evacuation Plan is much like trying our bug out bags on an overnight trip. We can adjust things based on the actual feedback we get from trying our our plans. Having an evacuation vehicle set up only to realize its impossible to load everything because of space or getting everything loaded and realizing that, while it fits, the weight of the load makes traveling unsafe is not what we want to learn with a wildfire bearing down on our home.

Evacuation Planning Considerations

Ideally, we could take everything we wanted to protect with us, however this is impossible. The good news is that there are more ways now than ever to help limit our loss should disaster strike while we are evacuated. The following are some items and ideas to consider for a solid evacuation plan. Take a look at my video below for a quick rundown of some of my personal thoughts on evacuation.

Evacuation Vehicle

If you have ever seen the movie “Dante’s Peak” with Pierce Brosnan, you likely remember the jacked up Chevy Suburban 4X4 that they forded the river in to escape the volcano. When bug out or evacuation vehicles come to mind, that one seems like it would be the best choice for the job but reliability and room are some of the key items we need to look for. Utilizing every driver in the family or group in a separate vehicle is a possibility to move as much to safety as possible, however, remember that the more vehicles we take, the more fuel expense we will incur. Another consideration no matter the vehicle or vehicles we chose, we will have to park them somewhere and hotels, motels, and any other place you might stop for a rest will be full of other evacuees as well. I have a few Ideas that might help simplify the process. You can also see some everyday vehicle preparedness ideas in my blog post here.

RV’s For Evacuation

While it might not be cost effective to purchase a recreational vehicle just for evacuation purposes, many of us have or have had some sort of travel trailer or motorhome. With careful planning, these can be very effective vehicles to use in an evacuation because you can use the space for both storage as well as temporary shelter when you are away. Packing the vehicle with items we want to evacuate with may crowd the interior, but we can usually find some other method of storage once we reach a safe destination for the bulk of the belongings. A mini storage unit or one of the portable sheds that can be delivered can house a lot of things while we use the RV for a place to live and the cost of a storage unit vs. the price of lodging in a motel is an amazing difference.

Enclosed Trailers For Evacuation

Much like a recreational vehicle, these trailers are enclosed from the weather and can be towed behind one of the family vehicles, however they aren’t set up to be used as shelter even though it’s still better than being out in the weather if you have to stay in it. The added benefit to enclosed cargo trailers is that we have open space and no furnishings to weave things into. These trailers are also much less expensive than an RV so keeping one on hand and maintained for emergency evacuation is much more financially feasible if you have no plans to use an RV for recreation.

One item of concern for any vehicle evacuation setup is making sure we can fit what we need to in the allotted space. It pays to do a test run whenever we have time and aren’t rushed to determine the best layout of the items in the vehicle. Once that is determined, we need to take several photos or draw a diagram of the layers of packing so we don’t have to try and remember the layout in a rush.

Using quality tarps and straps, we can make an open utility trailer fairly weather resistant, however its much more difficult to prevent theft. Click on the items below to take a closer look and see if you can use them to help you:

Evacuation Vehicle Safety

In an emergency, its easy to ignore safety, however when it comes to vehicles, we cant afford to overlook safe loading and handling. Just because we have cubic feet or inches to spare in a vehicle or trailer doesn’t mean we can fill it full of more things. loading back seats to the roof can lead to objects becoming projectiles in a hard stop or collision. Improperly loaded pickups, suv’s, and trailers can cause poor handling and lead to dangerous conditions on the road. The more things we want to evacuate with, the larger vehicle we will need to haul it safely.

Replacing Items Left Behind in an Evacuation

Most of us who have a permanent residence almost always collect much more stuff than we could ever move in one trip and likely wouldn’t have enough time to load it if we had the transportation available. With this in mind, it’s time for us to consider what we really must take with us and save vs. what has no sentimental value and we are willing to replace if it is destroyed. It is a personal decision and one that should be made as a household or family and we should consider how to transport and store anything we refuse to leave well ahead of time.

Photographing Belongings For Insurance Purposes

We live in an instant photograph age and have phones with cameras on them better than the ones used professionally by photographers fifteen years ago. With the help of this technology, we can catalog our belongings as proof to insurance companies if they are damaged while we are evacuated. A conversation with your insurance agent as to your policy limits is also important to consider when preparing for a potential loss.

Anther benefit of the digital age, as it pertains to evacuation and bugging out, is the availability of digital storage. We can scan thousands of pages of documents and photos to a single flash or thumb drive. Planning ahead and taking a few hours to scan and save our documents and photographs digitally can make them much less likely to be lost permanently in a fire or disaster. We should update and review these files on a regular basis and keep a copy of the files on a drive stored in the cloud or at another location such as a safe deposit box so we have a backup to our backup. Grab a multi pack of these by clicking the picture below:

Final Thoughts on Evacuation Prepping

Leaving our homes in an emergency is usually a trying and uncertain task, but some effort on our part before hand can limit the stress and potential loss involved. As with all other parts of prepping, this takes some planning and practice. Carving out a few hours to review and plan can make a difficult situation much more palatable if we ever find ourselves in one.

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