Readers of this blog know that I shamelessly promote the 511 Rush 72 every chance I get. Having gone through many backpacks (and being somewhat of a pack addict) I’ve developed a good idea about what features you need to look for in a pack. What are these features exactly? For starters, the pack should adequately carry all your gear and NOT fall apart on the road. One day while backpacking I had to dismount from my pack to crawl under a downed redwood tree which had fallen across the trail. I dragged my pack along the ground after me and tore the synthetic fabric doing so. That’s the last time I went synthetic.
Especially in a fully blown bug out/SHTF situation, you’re one rip away from having a very bad day. This why I always stress quality. The 511 Rush 72 is my main bug out pack and in this post I will make a case for why this is the BEST BOB you could ever own.
Everything about this pack is over fortified and ultra resilient. 1050D Nylon is the primary material used to make this pack absolutely bombproof. This stuff is very water resistant especially with the waterproof coating. I’ve hiked a considerable distance home in the rain and my gear always stays dry. Anything short of a complete downpour will not effect the 511 Rush. The zippers are the beefiest in the business. Thick stuff, heavy metal zippers. The same level of quality and construction is found in all the stitches. You can throw this pack through a damn wood chipper and still use it to bug out.
Sure, this makes the pack heavier than the synthetic ultra light packs but this does not phase me. When I bug out I want to know I have quality gear. If that means carrying a pack that’s a few ounces heavier than the others, so be it. The same guys who whine about the 511 rush being too heavy are the same guys who load their packs down with everything and the kitchen sink. Especially if you’re packing a full load out, the pack is not the place you want to go light on.
I’ve owned military ruck sack style packs over the years. These packs are equally bombproof and built for the hard rigors of war. The problem is a serious lack of organizational space. Your run-of-the-mill ALICE or military ruck has one large sack where you dump your gear. It’s easy to lose track of gear and retrieve items, especially the smaller pieces in your survival kit.
The 5.11 over delivers with lots of pockets and space to store and organize your gear. On the front you have the admin panel with multiple zippered pockets and storage locations. On both sides of the pack are two other generously sized pockets and on the top is a fleece lined media pocket for electronics and valuables.
When buying a pack you want to look at ingenious ways you can use the pack. The compression straps allow you to lash gear to the sides of the 5.11 if you’re strapped for space. Molle is everwhere on this pack. You can load this thing down to the max and still attach gear to the outside. You can buy external Molle pouches to accomplish this or you can use a bit of paracord. The 5.11 is strong enough to not worry about overloading. Your back will break before this will, guaranteed!
Even on the bottom you have lashing points for gear attachement. Full SHTF load out all the way.
With the 5.11 Rush 72 you got a set of thick padded shoulder straps and nicely padded back plating for plush comfort, even in the thick bush. The straps feature a contoured yoke and they take a surprising amount of weight off your shoulders. My shoulders are the first to go on long hikes and I notice I can hold out a lot longer with this design. Coming stock with the 5.11 Rush 72 are load bearing waist straps. Again, these are padded to the max and extremely comfortable and supportive. I will say, if you’re a taller guy you might not be able to make use of the waist belt. There is no way to configure the vertical adjustment. They definitely designed the belt for a guy of average height. If you are 6 foot and under you won’t have a problem but don’t count on using the belt if you’re any taller than that.
The 5.11 Rush 72 can stow away 55 Liters of gear. You can stuff whatever you need into the main compartment and lash as much as you can to the outside. You can really load this thing down way past spec and it’s gonna take it.
The icing on the cake with the 5.11 Rush is the hydration pocket which fits a standard Camelbak hydration bladder (not included.) You can’t appreciate the convenience of having water readily available until you’ve used a Camelbak. The standard way to drink usually means dropping your pack completely and digging into the main pouch for your water container. If you do any amount of hiking you know how stopping can drain your momentum. Having that water tube right there is a great way to stay hydrated while continuing to tromp forward to your destination.
5.11 Rush 72 PROS
- Bombpoof 1050D Nylon
- Solid construction in zippers and seams
- Molle compatible
- Hydration bladder ready
- Cheap compared to many packs
- Good organizational layout / loads of pockets
5.11 Rush 72 CONS
- Waist belt won’t fit taller guys
- Hydration tube goes through the media pocket which gets in the way
- Side pockets are nice but reduce in capacity depending on how much you have in the main compartment
The final verdict
The 5.11 Rush 72 is hands down my favorite bug out pack, and I’ve used plenty. You can count on this pack withstanding the rigors of anything you throw at it. The nice thing is that it looks fairly civilian while staying true to military specifications. When it’s not loaded down it looks inconspicuous. It could easily double as your day pack. To stay fit I walk to the store and load it up with groceries. To date nobody has looked at me funny and I take that as a good sign.
I give the 5.11 Rush 72 a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.