5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 Backpack

A real quality tactical backpack is more than just MOLLE loops and velcro panels

I finally broke down and bought a new tactical backpack this year, and I think I might have over done it - if thats possible. The 5.11 RUSH backpacks come in 3 different sizes, and are based on the hypothetical duration of your activity, be it recreational or uber tactical operational. So in hours, they start with the smaller RUSH12, then the slightly bigger RUSH24, and the largest RUSH72.  I was more interested in using the pack as luggage, to hold enough clothes, amenities and gear for any 3 day event. I hate checking bags or overpacking multiple bags, so the idea of fitting everything I need and nothing I don't into one backpack really appealed to me.

The shoulder straps spread the load well, and are padded with a breathable layer for all day comfort in the hot sun or freezing cold.

So far I've used the RUSH72 on 3 big trips this year, two of which were across the country and required both air travel and a long road trip in a cramped vehicle with none other than Mr. FRN president Jacob Challand himself.  I've also taken it camping a few times, mostly just southeast of Mt. Rainier, WA. It's a decent pack for sure, but its not without it's downsides. Really it depends on the user and what they are looking to do with it.

The padding and support structure designed in the back of the Rush 72 is well designed.

On the outside, the RUSH72 is beefy and seems strong enough to take a beating. The material is 1000D nylon, and is supposed to be water repellent. Take note, 'repellent' does not equal waterproof, and if your caught in a summer squall you will get soaked and need to air everything out. Most high end rucksacks incorporate a cover to lash over your bag so the rain just beads off onto the ground, so a small plastic sheet or tarp may come in hand if you live somewhere wet, like I do in the Pacific Northwest. 5.11 did incorporate 'rain-flies' that overlap the zippers of the main, admin, and side pockets which do keep rain from dripping in, as long as the back and yourself stay upright.

The MOLLE loops on the shoulder pads allow for customization of pouches that can be accessed on the go while strapped into the RUSH. I used this radio pouch to hold my cell phone.

The front accessory pocket, admin panel, side pockets and hip panels have MOLLE webbing for the addition of as many magazine, admin, or medic pouches you desire, as well as two velcro spots for adding your favorite Patriot Patch Co. morale patches. The zippers are high quality throughout, I understand they're made by YKK which are high end end Japanese zipper companies. There are stall narrow pockets on each side, as well as a fleece-lined sunglass pocket right at the top, near a grab handle incase you need to drag the bag around or carry it one handed. There is also a hydration pocket thats well concealed under the yoke of the straps.

At the top there is a fleece lined pouch designated for sunglasses... I don't have Oakleys but it's a perfect spot for my reading glasses.

The shoulder straps and back support can be the saving grace or damning sin of a backpack, especially one that can yield so much gear. Fortunately 5.11 is well aware of this, since they incorporate a decent lumbar support on the back panel, and an improved yoke with wider and thicker shoulder straps. The hip panels are padded as well, and the sternum strap and waist belt are easy to adjust and buckle.  Lastly, the dual compression straps to help tame the added bulk when the interior is full... and trust me, there's alot of room to fill!

The RUSH has a well-stitched robust carry handle that helps with throwing the bag in a trunk or in overhead compartments when flying.

On the inside, the RUSH72 definitely has ample space for a lot of gear, which almost leaves the MOLLE webbing on the outside unnecessary (but its as tactical, so MOLLE is absolutely mandatory.) The main compartment has three zippered mesh pouches of varying sizes, one zippered nylon pouch, and one open pouch in the very bottom with a drawstring closure. I mostly roll up my shirts and pants and stack them vertically in the bottom pouch, putting sundries like socks and boxers in the mesh pouches, and valuables like chargers, watches, etc in the nylon pouch since it zips shut and almost disappears in the bottom. After packing 3 days worth of clothes, there's still enough room for a medium jacket inside.

The backing is supported by a rigid plate. Its a great place to stow flat documents or maps.

The admin organizer compartment is a non-removal panel that forms a large open pouch between the main bag, which is well-suited for stuffing a rain jacket or sweatcoat into when the weather changes. The bottom corners of this void are closed with mesh netting, which in my experience is the first thing to fail after hard use. I wouldn't stow anything sharp there, stick to fabric and other soft items. The compression straps on either side help the synch it tight and keep the main compartment's contents from bulging the bag too much. 

Inside the admin compartment's rear panel are several pockets, starting with a zippered mesh pouch, then a zippered nylon pouch, open pouch, then some pencil loops and expanding pockets. The forward panel has two deep pouches that would fit a 30rd mag each, with another mesh pencil pouch just above. I usually keep electronic devices, cords, and writing utensils in here, as well as a map or a magazine for down time. The left and right side compartments of the RUSH72 are identical, both have two smaller pockets and ample room for a narrow plastic water bottle or other similarly sized item.

The RUSH 72 is a heavy pack when empty, but solidly built to withstand serious payloads. You can't expect to carry 80+ lbs of gear in a cheap lightweight pack... quality construction and materials = added weight.

5.11 really likes to hype this bag up as "the best bug out backpack in the world, perfect for recreational excursions or tactical deployments." While I haven't taken it up to the hills for a run-and-gun, stuffed to the gills with ammo and mags, I don't see myself ever using it that way. If its really time to bug out, running around with this bag loaded first aid, munitions and food will really slow you down. Plus it just screams "HEY, IV'E GOT LOADS OF GOODIES, COME SHOOT ME AND STEAL IT." It is supposedly designed by special operations combat veteran, Kyle Lamb and aggressively field tested by his company Viking Tactics (VTAC) but for me, I'm going to continue using it to ferry traveling and camping gear and keep the high speed low drag stuff for more inconspicuous bags.


Claim to Fame: The RUSH72™ is engineered to be a full featured 72 hour bag that provides ample space for gear and accessories while remaining rugged and reliable enough for extended excursions or tactical deployments. 

Target Market:  Hikers, Campers, Travelers, Hunters, OPERATORS OPERATING IN OPERATIONS

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Built from high strength, water-repellant 1000D nylon

  • Dual-zippered front and main compartments with molded grip pulls

  • Multiple integrated organization pockets

  • Admin organization pocket to store maps, pens, and documents

  • Fleece-lined sunglass pocket

  • Internal hydration compartment with hangers and toggles

  • Cinching waist strap and dual compression straps

  • Adjustable dual density closed-cell foam shoulder straps

  • Padded Back and hip pads

  • 23” H x 13.5” L x 8.5” D main compartment

  • 15.5” x 11.5” x 2” front pocket

  • 16.5” x 6” x 1.75” left and right side pockets

  • 21” x 13.5” hydration pocket

  • 3342 cubic inch / 55 liter total capacity

  • Contour yoke system with grab and go handle

  • Rugged, self-healing YKK® zipper hardware

  • Integrated drainage grommet

  • Nametag and square patch holders

  • MOLLE webbing all over

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, "Double Tap," Flat Dark Earth, Multicam, Sandstone, Storm (Gray), TAC OD (Green)


"So I have waited to put a review up so I could test it throughly. Overall it's a good bag tons of storage and organization pockets, you can easily load this bag down. The shoulder and hip straps work well, the hip straps ride a little to high on my frame I'm 6'2, but the bag distributed the weight nicely. I have used this bag for a year and a half carrying roughly 30-50 pounds of gear at any given time witch is heavy for this type of bag. But it hasn't shown any sort of problems doing so. I only have a few complaints some are nit picky but I'm trying to leave the most honest review. The weight of this bag is too heavy for this type of bag it's held up great but at the cost of how heavy this bag is. The pockets on the side of the bag work great but intrude on the man cargo area of the bag this mean you have to organize this bag carefully if you want to utilize all of the storage areas of the bag. The smaller outer pockets on the front of the bag where you can store your mags is great but the straps that create the pocket between the two work but create such a big gap when weight is added I had stopped trying to use that space all together (I consistently had stuff fall out of the bag), I think it's due to the height of the mesh on the sides is too small if they had increased mesh by an inch or two i think it would make this area a lot more useful. It's not bad for putting a single flat folding item into it but that's about it. Next the glasses pocket up top is great if you don't run a hydration system in the bag as the hose runs into that pocket and pushes into anything inside the pocket deal breaker no but it can be an issue. The one thing I wished this bag has would be tent straps on the bottomed of the bag and maybe a integrated pack cover. Overall 7.5 out of ten i can over look the weight if everything worked perfectly but you have to be very careful how you pack this up if you don't you will loose valuable space and if that's not a problem you could buy a smaller bag." - Customer Review, Kyle


  • Retail: $169.99
  • $249.99 multicam


Website or Amazon



  • Thick shoulder straps and wide yolk make long durations of carry comfortable
  • Every pocket has organization / pouches
  • MOLLE webbing on straps, hip panels, side pouches, accessory and admin pouches
  • Fits in overhead compartment on commercial aircraft


  • Even empty the Rush72 is HEAVY!
  • No full length rain cover, rain flys only repel water



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