Gear Closet: 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpack

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, a few weeks back – just before I left for Ecuador – my friends at 5.11 Tactical were kind enough to ship me a box filled with all kinds of goodies. Amongst them were the Stryke Pants, which I took with me to South America and put to good use in the field.

But also in the box was a wonderful daypack that I think many people will find is a great addition to their own gear closets. It is the Rush 12 pack, a versatile, durable, and well built bag that can be used in a variety of situations from the backcountry to the boardroom.

As with all of 5.11 Tactical’s gear, the Rush 12 takes a lot of its design cues from military and law enforcement gear. This looks like a pack you would expect to find on the backs of soldiers deployed in just about any theater of operations around the globe. It is incredibly well built, and designed to last, and as such it resists abrasions, tears, and scuffs very well. This is the kind of pack that you’ll be able to abuse for years, and still continue to put to good use while hiking, hunting, or carrying your urban gear around town.

The designers of the Rush 12 put a lot of thought into this bag, and have managed to put in a surprising number of features. For instance, there are 16 different compartments, stow pockets, and storage chambers on the pack, giving you plenty of options for keeping all of your important items in just the right place.

Those compartments include a fleece-lined pocket that is perfect for sunglasses or a smartphone, with the soft lining ensuring that lenses or screens don’t get scratched. There is also a 60oz (1.77 liter) hydration sleeve, a pocket with built-in organizational slots, and large main storage area that can swallow up plenty of gear as well.

Unlike most other pack manufacturers, who generally indicate the size of the bag in the name, 5.11 Tactical took a different approach. The “12” in the Rush 12 name indicates the number of hours the bag would be used for. Thus, the Rush 12 is a good daypack for up to 12 hours of use.

This is in contrast to the Rush 24, which would be an overnight bag, or the Rush 72, which is a three-day pack. In terms of traditional size however, the Rush 12 offers a solid 21.2 liters of capacity, which puts it on the smaller end of the daypack scale, but with more storage capacity than that number might typically indicate.

The Rush 12 features thickly padded shoulder straps, which help to distribute a heavy load nicely. A sternum strap locks the back into place, although their is no hipbelt at all, which may cause some to find the fit to be a bit more loose than they would like. The back stayed well in place during testing however, and unless you are attempting to use it for trail running, or some other fast-paced aerobic exercise, it will more than likely meet the demands that you put on it.

All of the straps, buckles, and zippers on this pack are of exceptional quality, and only add to the feeling that this pack can withstand plenty of punishment. 5.11 Tactical has gone to great lengths to ensure that Rush 12 can survive in harsh environments, and that includes integrating self-reparing zippers,

with pull tabs that are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves. The great quality even extends to the stitching, as the entire package has been constructed in a manner that simply makes the Rush 12 feel practically bullet proof.

The back panel on the Rush 12 doesn’t feature any type of frame to help facilitate ventilation. In fact, there isn’t even much in the way of contouring that could provide relief when wearing this bag in a warm environment.

It is not unusual for a pack of this size to lack those kinds of features, but it is worth pointing out none the less. If you’re someone who works up a sweat while wearing a daypack, the lack of ventilation system may be of ca concern. Depending on how you plan to use the pack however, it may not be something you would notice at all.

While this pack may lack some of the more technical features of bag designed specifically for hiking, it definitely makes up for it with its level of versatility. This is a pack that you can use as part of your everyday commute, just as easily as it can pull double duty out on the trail. It has a nice, classic look to it that would feel just as at home in an office environment, as it does sitting around a campsite.

Military and law enforcement personnel will absolutely love this pack, and I think it will be a hit with hunters too. It has all of the storage space that those individuals will need, all wrapped up in a nice compact design. Casual hikers will find that it is more than up to the challenge of day-hiking along your favorite trail, although serious trekkers may want to look towards a more technical pack designed specifically for their needs.

With a price tag of $100, the Rush 12 is a great bargain for the market that it it going after. You’ll have a tough time finding a pack of this quality from any other manufacturer at that price. Durability and dependability are the name of the game, and 5.11 Tactical has delivered those qualities, and then some. If this is the type of pack you need, then don’t hesitate to order one today. You will not be disappointed.

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “Gear Closet: 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpack”

  1. Is this what I should be taking hiking or only when it is for duty calls? There is a strict timeline attached here that also defines the name itself. I wonder if that definition can be stretched by using it for more than 12 hours. I do wonder how these time delimited backpacks are designed so. Isn’t it down to the person using them? I would like to believe this is an assumed figure based on other assumptions. If not then these guys know a lot more than I do, in which case they should tell me.

  2. Garry: This pack is versatile enough to be used for both hiking and duty calls for sure. And I agree that the 12 hour designation is highly dependent on the person. Pack light, and it could easily be extended, provided you know your own limits.

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