Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review - 5.11 72-Hour Rush Pack


When I look across the array of “packs”, everyone seems to fit them into their own designated categories. I find I’m no different.

In times gone by I did a post on the “Boogie Bag” – usually known in today’s world as a “Bail Out Bag – BOB”. The niche it fills for me is that this is a “home” and can be used to shelter you and your family for the “duration” – from a weekend to a season or longer if need be. The only thing you need to do is replenish your food, water and perhaps clothing if you are in the field for a truly long period of time. These are usually good size bags, around 6,500 cu inches and weighting no more than 30 pounds with base gear and another 30 with food and clothing.

There is the “GO Bag”. I view this as for immediate survival. Its contents revolve around spare ammunition, perhaps a second handgun, carbine magazines, a few days food, navigation aids (GPS and compass), a Blow Out Kit, a “Boo-Boo” kit and various assorted immediate survival items. This bag rides over the passenger side seat of my Jeep. I see this as my “get home bag” since it takes little to survive 3-days but extra ammo and nav-aids can come in real handy. These are typically in the 1,000 cu inch range.

There is a pack that tries to straddle the boundary between the “Go Bag” and the “Boogie Bag”. These are typically called “Get Home Bags” or “72 Hour Bags” with the idea that 3-days will give you time to collect yourself, get home and either get on with the business of long term survival or it will get you past the emergency. Honestly, I encourage folks to by-pass this level “survival” and prepare a well-stocked “Boogie Bag”. I carry mine in the back of my Jeep (of course, I’m still fond of camping every once and a while – so it does a bit more than sitting there). I also have a 3-Day emergency kit in the car to take the edge off in the jeep as well. But . . . . if you are looking for a bag that can carry a long weekend’s worth of clothing and assorted gear (rain gear, extra shooting gear, a couple water bottles and assorted gear) that is what I view the 72-hour bag for. I have tried more than I care to count over the past 30+ years. Most are around 3,500 cu inches, have an assortment of pockets/pouches and straps to secure things and provides easy access to my gear.

About this time last year I was gearing up for a “Post Certified” course at “Armed Missouri” and found I “truly needed” a new bag for the road. I had carried a Victorinox day bag that I typically called my “toy bag”. I decided it was time to integrate the “toy bag” and clothing bag into one new pack. After the typical geek search of old vendors I was familiar with and the newcomers to the arena, I settled on the 5.11 72-Hour Rush bag. Over the past year it has been my designated travel bag, daily gear bag and camp bag. It comes in at just under 2,900 cu inches, just about the perfect size.

The main compartment is 23” x 13.5” x 8.5”. It has a full surround, self-healing, heavy duty zipper that allows you to fully open the compartment for easy access to your gear. I usually pack by “the 3s” . . . 3-shirts, 3-pants, 3’socks, 3-sets of undies (one set is the set I’m wearing) and this compartment has more than enough room. There is a large pouch in the bottom that seems to end up holding my reading material or a tablet of some type.

The lid to the compartment has three zippered mesh pockets. One I use to hold my shave kit, one for socks and the small one for miscellaneous stuff.

There is an outer flap which contains a large zippered pocket. Within that pocket is another zippered pouch that I use to hold a headlamp, spoon, spare set of cheap reading glasses and other temporary items. Pockets contained on both the inside wall of the pouch and the inside wall of the outer flap can be used to hold everything from pens, flashlights and keys to spare pistol and carbine magazines – it’s a very flexible area.

A small external zippered pouch rides just below the upper lip of the outer flap. I end up using this for small items that I want to keep separate – USB cables, phone chargers, pens and pencils and a Ziploc I carry that I keep spare change in.

The outer flap is attached at the bottom of the bag but lifts away and is attached by compression straps at the top. This allows a great place to stash a jacket, fleece or a book, whatever you can slip into the area.

Along each side of the pack are long pockets that can be used to store any number of things. I usually have spare batteries, a couple plastic sack for the local grocery store, a boonie hat, small AM/FM radio and head phones and other items depending on the particular trip.

The shoulder straps are adjustable and have high density foam padding. There is also a cinching waist belt that can be stored in a pocket when not in use.

A hydration pocket is provided which, honestly, I don’t use. I’m more comfortable with Nalgene bottles and there is plenty of room for a couple within the pack. However, I did fine that the area provided for the hydration pack is a great place to store my solar charger for my electronic gear.

My primary use for the bag has been as a travel bag for business and family travel. It is probably the best travel bag I’ve owned. It is rugged and well layed out. I did use it for our annual trek to an island in Lake Michigan and it carried a full 5-days of clothing and “toys” – it did not carry our “home”.

As a pack to take to the training courses I have taken and given - again, it’s perfect. Plenty of room for clothing and the standard “toys” I take along.

If you’re in the market for a new pack, the 5.11 72-Hour Rush Pack is certainly well worth your consideration.


  1. I have the same problem - more than one bag. I counted after I read this blog. I have four. Cold Weather bag, Standard 72 hour bag, Go-Bag (more arms than the others) and Amphib Bag, which is a water proof version with water proof contents of the 72 hour bag. I gave filled 72 hour bags to my kids for Christmas two years ago. Then I have over a dozen pelican cases that are modularized for camping and 4x4 recovery... Do I have a problem?

    1. Problem??? What problem??? I don't see no problem!!! :)

  2. Four bags here too... sigh... DO like the Spec-Ops bag for a gun bag, it also makes a NICE rest for a sniper rifle! :-)