Over the years, my everyday carry kit has grown beyond the limits of most conventional backpacks. I needed a versatile solution that could function as my laptop bag during the week, and a weekend getaway pack when I wasn’t at the office. However, the caveat was that I didn’t want to be constantly unpacking parts of my kit to reallocate space. Enter the 5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 backpack. After a year of daily usage, this is one of the best packs I’ve ever come across for everyday carry.
5.11 Tactical put a decent amount of thought into this backpack, and it shows. While there are a ton of features that I could talk about, I’m only going to highlight a couple. Don’t worry, I’ll explain the remaining features in later sections.
RUSH 24 MOLLE Webbing
Good golly miss MOLLE! If you’re a fan of the MOLLE system then the RUSH 24 backpack as got you covered. MOLLE webbing runs throughout the exterior of the bag. On the front of the pack, the large pocket has 5 rows and 6 columns of webbing. However, the webbing that touches the outside edge of the pocket is slightly smaller and won’t fit most straps made for the MOLLE system. Additionally, the smaller front pockets have 2 rows of 6 column webbing, but suffer from the same problems on the outer edge webbing.
The sides of the bag also have webbing, and measure 6 rows tall and 3 columns wide. I’ve attached a couple of these pouches from Amazon to expand and organize my storage. Additionally, I keep my Leatherman pouch on the side webbing. They fit perfectly on the side of my EDC pack. If you end up using the side webbing, you’ll notice a break between the first and second row of webbing. This is intentional, so you can still use the buckles and straps that are positioned on the side of the backpack.
Finally, the RUSH 24 backpack even has webbing on the shoulder straps! Sure, they’re only 2 wide by 4 tall, but it is ideal if you want to attach something small. For instance, you could attach a multitool pouch easily.
There is a sneaky pocket on the back of the RUSH 24, that easily fits my 13″ Macbook Pro. However, it can accommodate a 15″ Macbook Pro (my work machine) but the fit is a bit snug. Because of where this pocket is setup, it does a surprisingly good job of protecting the laptop in the rain. Ironically, the pocket zipper setup is the exact opposite of the large compartment zipper. Therefore, when both zippers are to one side the pocket is open. I will admit that this subtlety took some getting used to.
Although I use this pocket for my laptop, I presume the intent was actually for a hydration bladder. There is a small cutout at the very top of the pocket, large enough to fit a Camelbak tube. From there, two velcro tabs rest on either side of the top carry handle which allow you to run the tube out from inside your pack to either side. Above is an illustration of the process if you decide to use it for this purpose.
Rush 24 Backpack Storage Capacity
Backpack space is measured in liters, and the RUSH 24 backpack has a 37L capacity. But what does that mean in terms of actual storage capability. In the sections below I’ll cover some of the details of the backpack setup, and try to give a real life accounting of what you can realistically expect to fit in the RUSH backpack.
Number of Pockets
The RUSH 24 backpack boasts more than 20 different storage pockets for varying size and styles. First, we’ll talk about the exterior zippered pockets. In addition to the main compartment, there is one zippered pocket on the back side that runs the full height of the bag. Additionally, there are a pair of hidden zippered side pockets. Furthermore, there is one large pocket, and two smaller zippered pockets on the front of the bag. Lastly, there is a small pocket next to the carry handle on the top of the backpack.
Next, I’ll discuss interior organization which is split between zippered and non-zippered pockets. On the interior of the front large pocket there are 5 pockets of varying sizes, one of which has a velcro strap. Additionally, there is one large zippered pocket running the height of the outer pocket. The top two smaller pockets, on the front of the RUSH 24, each have one small zippered mesh pocket and one open top pocket. Within the main compartment there are 4 zippered pocket, 2 of which have a mesh body and 2 that are not mesh. Also, there is a non-zippered pocket with a drawstring closure in the main compartment.
Pocket Storage Capability
I’ve used the 5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 backpack for 3 day 2 night excursions pretty regularly. I was able to fit all of my clothing, as well as toiletries, and the contents of my regular EDC kit. However, I did use a few extra MOLLE pouches to house most of my everyday carry items. But a majority of my belongings were housed in the backpack itself, including workout gear (not including shoes).
Most of the interior pockets do not extend the full height of their containing compartment. However, many pockets do run the full width of the outer pocket. Pliable items like clothing can easily be formed to fit these pockets. Taller items are more difficult to fit. If your EDC kit is extensive, you may need to Tetris parts of your kit into place. However, there is ample storage and organization built into the RUSH backpack.
This pack is not a concealed carry backpack. While there are a couple hidden compartments on the sides, they are not easily accessible while the bag is on your back. However, I am able to keep a small hatchet in the side pocket, that is roughly the width of a sub-compact pistol. If you so choose, you could house a handgun there.
5.11 Tactical Backpack Durability & Construction
5.11 Tactical has built the RUSH 24 backpack to withstand the rigors of everyday carry even in harsh environments. With roughly a year of daily usage, none of the zippers has broken despite being filled to capacity. All seams are intact, and I’m still using this backpack as my daily commuter backpack. I’ve ridden my motorcycle locally and on the highway with this backpack. Both in extreme heat and in light rain. Through it all, my laptop has remained bone dry and all other contents secured.
A common point of breakdown on many backpacks are the zippers. Over time, excessive pressure causes zippers to become inoperable. I’ve PACKED this thing FULL on multiple occasions for weekend trips without the zippers ever failing. A few times I didn’t know if I could actually get the zipper to close. Even the thin paracord drawstrings attached to the zippers have managed to make it through the year without fail.
Additionally, all of the zippers are double-stitched to provide extra support. In fact, all of the stitching appears to be the same. So every bag seam, flap, and fastener has double stitching as well. However, the MOLLE webbing is the exception, and looks to be single stitch but uses thicker thread than the rest of the backpack.
The RUSH 24 backpack is constructed using 1050D Nylon, making the bag extremely durable. However, the RUSH 24 is not a waterproof backpack. Although, I’ve worn it on my motorcycle through a rain shower, and my laptop was unharmed. I would not recommend leaving this backpack in the rain, because eventually the water will seep through. But, the bags material has a water repellent coating that does help it hold up to small amounts of water.
Backpack Straps and Handles
Like many other backpacks, the RUSH 24 comes with both a suitcase style carry handle as well as shoulder straps. If you prefer the top carry handle, the shoulder straps can actually be tucked into the rear laptop/hydration pocket to reduce snagging. However, I use the padded shoulder straps which are comfortable despite my pack often exceeding 20 lbs.
5.11 Tactical RUSH 24 Style and Options
There are a variety of options when it comes to the 5.11 Tactical RUSH series. My kit consists of the RUSH 24, but the smaller RUSH 12 and larger RUSH 72 are other options. However, as previously mentioned, I’ve used it for weekend travel as well. Although, if you’re looking for something a little smaller they have the RUSH 12. Furthermore, those who need a vast amount of storage space there is also the RUSH 72. The number of the model denotes the amount of hours in supplies the bag is made to hold.
Because the RUSH 24 is a tactical style backpack, it comes in many of the traditional military colors. I opted for the Sandstone for my bag. However, the RUSH 24 also comes in black, gunmetal grey (they call it “double tap”), multicam, OD green, and “Dark Earth” colored. This really comes down to personal preference. Sandstone seemed the easiest color to match with existing MOLLE pouch accessories. Furthermore, I wanted to color code some parts of my kit (e.g. my med bag is black) so I opted for a color with good contrast.
After repeated daily use, the RUSH 24 backpack has withstood everything I’ve thrown at it. From weekend getaways camping to daily use as a laptop bag. I highly recommend this pack for anyone whose EDC needs are as broad as their kit. Although this bag is a bit bulky it comes with more than enough storage space which makes it my top pick for the best EDC bag available on the market.