While shooting during practice sessions and rifle matches it’s nice to have your kit organized and easily accessible. This is especially helpful if you will be moving from stage to stage. I’m not a big gear person and when I got started in long range precision rifle shooting I would make what I already had work. My first bag was a Camelbak. I really liked the water system and beefy construction compared to a JanSport school back pack. The original purpose of the Camelbak was for hiking around Southern Nevada. It didn’t take long and I soon adapted it for hauling around gear, ammunition and other necessities to keep my rifle fed and running. The Camelbak served me well but it wasn’t long before I found myself wishing it was bigger. I also hated digging around trying to find a particular item.
For my 28th birthday my Dad got me a 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 VTAC back pack. I have been very impressed with it. I am approaching one year of using the bag for my shooting needs. The bag sees weekly and often daily use. It spends a fair amount of time riding in the back of my truck or Dane’s Jeep along with steel targets and target stands. When shooting rifle matches I hump it around filled with the materials I need for the match. I like to travel light and I leave my drag bag in the truck. I carry my rifle on my shoulder using my TAB Gear sling while wearing the 5.11 backpack. I feel well prepared for the stages I face without being weighted down or burdened by keeping track of multiple packs. I have also found the backpack makes a useful front rest or can be used to help steady awkward shooting positions.
Lower Front Pouch
The lower front pouch sees a lot of use. I like how it is easily accessible and organized with different pouches. This section makes it easy to store and retrieve different gear like my Storm Tactical DOPE book, AICS magazines and chamber flags. I have also found areas that are useful for keeping pens, gun lube and flash lights. The zippers are heavy duty and can be tied together to keep them from inadvertently being opened. The lower front pouch is also covered in MOLLE allowing you to attach different accessories.
Upper Divided Pouches
Just like the lower front pouch the upper pouches are covered in MOLLE. This area is divided into two individual sections. I have found them handy for keeping my Kestrel, hearing protection, compass and different multi tools used to service my rifle, McRee chassis and US Optics rifle scope. Inside the individual pouches are different compartments to keep these items organized. Again they are secured with heavy duty zippers that can be tied together.
It took me awhile to figure out the bag had storage areas on both sides. It is pretty well hidden and if you don’t carefully go over the whole bag they are easy to overlook. My Dad who uses the same bag discovered them and informed me over the phone. The sides are covered in MOLLE and are perfect for holding AR, AK and AICS magazines. I have been using them to store extra magazines for my match rifle.
The main compartment is generous and offers plenty of storage space to keep whatever your heart desires. Lining the inside are multiple mesh zipper pockets you can use to organize and store different items. I use them to keep batteries, my GPS and store extra rounds or spent brass. Some of these pouches remain empty leaving room for additional gear down the road. Found at the bottom of the main compartment is a nylon pocket with an elastic tie. I have found this works well for storing my Raven Concealment AICS magazine holder and gloves. It helps keep items from getting mixed up and sitting on top of each other in the bottom of the bag. The main compartment is useful for bigger items like my ammo containers, Str8 Laced shooting bag, camera and food to keep me fueled. The main storage area is secured with the same heavy duty, interlocking zippers found throughout the back pack.
In the posterior portion of the bag is a water bladder compartment. The bag will accept both Blackhawk and Camelbak style water bladders. The area is separate from the main compartment and features plastic reinforcement to add rigidity. You have ports at the top of the bag on both sides to run the bladder hose. I think having a water bladder in your back pack is very handy especially here in the Mojave Desert.
The straps on the 5.11 Tactical back pack are well padded and wide to distribute the weight and increase comfort. They feature robust buckles that allow adjustments for the individual user. I would prefer if the material used on the buckles were metal but the plastic hasn’t failed me and offers its own advantages. I’m sure I’m overlooking some features and uses but I did my best to convey what I like about the back pack, how I utilize the available features and what appeals to me. Just like my rifle and other equipment I don’t abuse it but I do utilize it in the manner I feel it was meant to be used. I have been impressed with its performance and how well it has been holding up. I recommend the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 VTAC back pack for shooters, hikers and outdoorsmen alike. I have found it to be utilitarian and adaptable. Earlier I mentioned my Dad uses the same bag for rifle shooting and I’m happy to report he has also been impressed with it.