5.11 Rush 72 Pack Review


The 5.11 Rush 72 military backpack is designed for durability and is the largest of three models of 5.11 Rush backpacks: the 12, 24 and 72. The backpack is intended for missions that lasts up to three days or 72 hours. There are separate zippered pockets and open pouches, which are inside each section. A special fleece-lined pouch helps to prevent scratches on sunglasses or cellular phones. The Grab and Go Handle is used for lifting the bag and is located on the top.
rush72_2The backpack is designed for use on rugged terrain, which can challenge police departments, military personnel and firefighters. Camouflage colors add to the practicality of the bag, which is offered in black, sandstone, storm, multi-cam, flat dark earth and TAC OD. The olive drab (OD) is a dull green color that blends into forested areas. The backpack is compact, with a 47.5 liter capacity within 2894 cubic inches.

A smaller backpack disconnects from the complete unit and can be used during a quick walk around an area. We used the waist straps to relieve the strain on our shoulders or rolled and tucked them inside a flap, which stored them out of the way. The rear of the backpack is equipped with a removable, aluminum stabilizer rod that controlled sagging and positioned the rear of the bag flat against our backs. Gear may be attached to the web-platform on three sides of the bag, which is compatible with MOLLE gear.

511-rush-72-interior-compartmentsThere are deep shove-it pockets, mesh pockets and a rear hydration pocket with openings for tubes. The pockets help to stabilize the load and reduce any friction that is created from gear that may roll around. There are pull strings that can tie a zipper tab in place, which ensures that the backpack does not open accidentally.
The shove-it pockets provide easy storage for gear. They were large enough to permit us to push our hands to the bottom of the pockets. Other inside pockets have straps or fasteners. A rear mesh pocket, which is near the top of the backpack, has an upper and lower zippered closure that permits entry from the bottom or the top of the pocket.

511-rush-72-shoulder-strapsThe shoulder straps have a wide oval design that circles around the shoulder and neck area. A curved center section is attached to the closed-cell foam shoulder straps near the sides of the backpack. The design helped to cradle our shoulders and to distribute the load evenly across our upper backs. The C-clips on the shoulder straps permitted us to make adjustments for our different heights. The hydration compartment has rear closed-cell foam padding, which cushioned the load against our backs.

511-rush-72The backpack is made from water-repellent, 1000D nylon, which helps to keep maps and documents dry. The exterior of the bag, inside flaps and bag compartments are treated with water-repellent coatings. There is a nylon flap over the zippers that close the main compartments. The shield is like an umbrella over the zippers and helps to keep water out of the bag. And, the backpack is also equipped with drainage holes on the bottom of the bag.

In the world of military backpacks, 5.11 comes through again.


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Meet the Author

I'm a former US Marine, full-time father and husband, and part-time survivalist. I like old things, like music, furniture and time-tested survival technique, but there's always a place in my heart for new technology such as weapons and sleeping bag fill. I'm here to share my knowledge and experience, and I hope you'll share yours as well.

22 comments… add one
  • Arnold Sep 23, 2014, 1:49 pm

    These packs are among the best available – great features and quality.

    I also have the larger version designed for emergency personnel: the 5.11 Responder ALS 84 pack (in sandstone color). This is much the same as the RUSH 72 in terms of features, but the capacity is probably in the range of 55 liters, so it’s huge for a day pack.

    • Mike Sep 24, 2014, 10:29 pm

      I love the 5.11 packs. I’ve not found a higher quality bag for the money although the Spec-Ops brand gear is right there. I use the Rush 24 for a day pack – it’s perfect.

  • Chuck Nov 6, 2014, 9:28 am

    I have read quite a bit about the 5.11 backpacks and have seen them on YouTube demonstrating the usefulness of this pack. Being a Vietnam Vet, my only issue is that I found it was made in China and/or Vietnam. With that, I have a problem! I want to buy quality made packs 100% Made in USA. On Amazon, it only states Made in USA or Imported. Comments?

    • Mike Dec 30, 2014, 10:56 pm

      Chuck – it’s hard to tell these days where things are made – I agree. As an Iraq war veteran myself, I can completely understand where you are coming from. The unfortunate thing is that there are many companies whom are *based* in the USA but due to demand and pricing issues, must outsource manufacturing. That doesn’t redirect the issue you and I have but it’s an explanation. I think you’ll find smaller companies are 100% USA based but the prices of their gear will be much higher. Not too high to pay for a die hard USA loyalist, but too high for the mass market – those folks that say “why is this bag more than that bag? This one is smaller – it should be cheaper!”.

      Semper Fi

  • Mike W Feb 7, 2015, 5:29 pm

    I am putting together “get home bags”: one for my office in NYC, one for my car, and one organizer pouch that I can carry with me on my commute and mount to either GHB. I am torn between the 511 Rush 72 or the Spec-Ops THE UAP bag. Seems like if i buy some of the internal organizers for the THE bag, then it’s a better pack, although slightly smaller. My sense from reading reviews online and watching youtube videos is that the Spec-Ops bag is more heavy-duty, and also made in the USA, which obviously is good. In my office GHB, i’m including a stanley FUBAR and a pry bar, which are about 15″ long, and I like the side pouches on the Rush72 to hold those. Would welcome anyone’s thoughts.

    • Mike Feb 7, 2015, 6:19 pm

      Mike(nice name by the way) – 511 and SpecOps both make top notch bags and I don’t think you can go wrong either way. For what it’s worth, I’m equally happy with either of the two. If made in the USA is important to you, I’d go that way – but quality-wise, I doubt you’ll notice. Cheers!

  • Steve Feb 22, 2015, 5:51 pm

    i really love this military backpack. We bought it for our trip to canada. A nice backpack for a good price.

    • Mike Feb 23, 2015, 2:51 pm

      Yeah, I agree Steve – and this pack is HUGE too!

  • Dan Aug 25, 2015, 10:59 pm

    I am torn between the rush 24 and the 72 I need something for everyday use carrying my laptop cloths and other stuff i am a Medic Firefighter so i work 24 hour shifts and have to bing stuff to the station, but also I am also looking for an alternative to a suitcase for short trips that i have coming up that are no more then three or for days. If anyone can help that would be a huge help thanks.


    • Mike Aug 25, 2015, 11:16 pm

      Dan – first off, thank you for your service within the fire department. Second, which pack you get depends on your load. If you’ve got a 24 hour load, but you’re out for 72 hours, a 24 hour pack is fine(and more compact). However, if you’re out for 72 hours and need that much gear(i.e. clothing change, dry socks, food), then you’ve got to up the internal storage situation which means a 72 hour bag. It’s been my experience that when you shop 24 hour packs, it’s all about compartments and fancy storage features, whereas when you shop the 3 day bags, it’s comfort, comfort, comfort.

      So what exactly do you *need* to pack?

      • Dan Aug 26, 2015, 12:06 am

        well for lets say work i know i can get away with just the 24 but i am also looking for it to be used for 3-4 day trips back home for weddings holidays and what not so i do not have to check a bag at the airport. As well as when I go hiking on 2 day maybe even 3 days plus hikes.

        • Mike Aug 29, 2015, 11:28 pm

          Dan – you need a 72 hour pack for certain. Here’s a few, but certainly not all the 3 day packs out there. These are just a few that I have experience with and you can’t go wrong.

  • Joseph Sinagoga Sep 2, 2015, 9:51 pm

    Hey guys
    I added rucking to my training regimen and I’m wondering if my 5.11 Rush 12 is going to be sturdy enough.
    I typically add 30-45lbs and go for 3-6 miles usually 4 days a week.
    Do you guys feel I need something bigger and or sturdier?
    Thank you

    • Mike Sep 3, 2015, 12:31 am

      Doesn’t get a whole lot sturdier man. Most of the bags on my site are “A” bags. 5.11, maxpedition, direct action, goruck…. Durability-wise, they all get an ‘A’ in my book. Why do you think your Rush is going to let go?

  • Kevin Sep 10, 2015, 12:09 am

    I am in the Civil Air Patrol and do SAR (Search and Rescue). We sometimes can get millitary surplus and i was able to get alot of ALICE gear. I found that taking the ALICE frame and either bag with MOLLE II shoulder straps and waist belt and the MSS bag (AKA the HELLCAT mod) makes a great 72 hour setup and can be done cheap …I also have just been given a complete MOLLE II Riflemans setup plus Medic setup from a buddy at DMRO and boatloads of other MOLLE gear but I havent compared them both yet. but the Idea of the FLC loaded for 24 gear n when i need it grab the the ruck for 72 hour sound easier…anyone else have SAR setups that they might share ?

    • Mike Sep 10, 2015, 7:36 pm

      That’s a nice setup Kevin – thank you for sharing.

  • Jason Oct 16, 2015, 8:28 pm

    How does this bag compare to something like an Eberlestock, or a Kifaru? How does it function with a good sized load of food, water, and ammunition? Does weight ride on your hips, or on your back? Also, I see you’ve been answering comments on this article for over a year. Thank you for your military service and for your dedication to your work here.

    • Mike Nov 18, 2015, 2:22 am

      No problem Jason. I don’t have any first hand experience with those packs, but I Can tell you that the Rush 72 is a wicked nice pack. It does load up your hips provided you’ve got everything rigged and donned properly. I’ve got a few favorites in the 72 hour arena, and I can assure you that the Rush is on that list. Thanks!

  • Phil Dec 17, 2015, 2:14 am

    First of all, this is an awesome website! Very useful. I own the 5.11 rush 24 and 72 hours, they just are the best backpack I ever owned. It’s been about 3-4 years now for the 24 and not even a loose strap or any zipper problem. I use it every days to carry laptop and stuffs. I also use the combination of the 5.11 rush moab 6 with my rush 72 witch can carry much for camping and expedition. Also, funny thing, you should see the face of the cashier when I use my rush 72 to do my grocery, everything just fit in each time and they are like: “Did all your grocery have been fit in your bag?” Also, the clips on these bags are unbreakable… I don’t know how much time I have squeeze them in my truck door or walked on it.

    – Phil

    • Mike Dec 30, 2015, 6:01 pm

      Thank you for the reflection Phil! And thanks for the compliments on the site.

  • Angelos Sep 24, 2016, 11:24 pm

    Hi Mike,very good reviews,helping me a lot!
    The 5.11 website states that the rush 72 is a 3342 cubic inch / 55 liter total capacity bag but you wrote that “The backpack is compact, with a 47.5 liter capacity within 2894 cubic inches.”
    Please clarify,
    Thanks in advance

    • Mike Sep 26, 2016, 1:08 pm

      They may have updated the design. Companies are always changing and improving their products, and this review was done a couple years ago.

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