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14/09/2009 – 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Backpack : A Great Multipurpose Travel Companion
The Rush 24 was originally designed for deployment by tactical law enforcement units, however as a travelling photographer and business traveller I found the design and functionality of this bag fantastic!
The Rush 24 has many features that make this bag a complete standout among all the ‘daily use’ backpacks I have used (and I currently 36 bags sitting on a shelf unit in my office). I am not even sure where to begin in describing the useful functions for packing the Rush 24. Since I don’t know where to begin, I guess I’ll start with the size-specifications of the bag.
The 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 is 20″h x 12″w x 7″d (39 linear inches), making the bag well under the legal carry on restrictions of virtually all airlines around the world. The small size, but excellent design, allows the bag to be packed to maximum capacity and avoid being weighed by most airlines (I am not however endorsing flying with a bag in excess of an airlines carry-on restrictions).
The rear of the backpack (side up against your back) has a protected ‘hydration pocket’ that is excellent for carrying up to a 17″ laptop or travelling with freshly pressed & folded shirts from the dry cleaner. I choose to place my laptop inside a neoprene protective sleeve while packing my laptop in the ‘hydration pocket,’ the pocket is quite durable and has a hardened wall that provides surprisingly good protection.
On the top of the Rush 24, beside the handle, is a fleece sunglass compartment. I know I hate tossing my glasses into my backpack for fear of them getting crushed, but this top compartment has served my pairs of Oakley glasses well. The pocket not only protects and separates glasses, but it provides an easy access pocket to grab them in a hurry.
…onto the main compartment of the Rush 24…the interior is separated by a rear-wall compartment and multiple mesh front-wall compartments. The rear compartment is open and allows users to stay organized while really stuffing the bag. The most common items you’ll find in this compartment in my Rush 24 backpack are magazines, a 13″ MacBook and 2 or 3 shirts folded from the dry-cleaner. The front larger mesh compartment easily holds two laptop power supplies (when flying with 2 laptops), or a power supply and a ton of travel accessories. The top mesh compartment tends to have smaller items
The beauty of he rear-wall compartment and the two front-wall mesh compartments is it leaves the main body of he backpack open to be significantly packed. Inside the main compartment I have managed to pack a pair of jeans, 3 pairs of boxer shorts, three pairs of socks, 2 under shirts, a full-size digital camera body, a spare zoom lens (Canon 28-70f2.8L) and other random travel essentials. All this was packed along with the 13″ MacBook and dry-cleaned shirts in the rear-wall compartment!
The exterior of the Rush 24 is just as functional as the main compartments. On the lower portion of the exterior is a large zippered compartment. In this compartment is a series of organizer slots. The slots are ideal for pens, notebooks, portable harddrives, etc. Inside this compartment is a ‘hidden’ zippered pocket. I often use the zippered pocket for basic travel documents
The upper exterior portion of the Rush 24 backpack has two small semi-padded pockets. I use one of these pockets for my back-up hard drive (it runs Time Machine to back up my primary laptop). The small fitted pocket is ideally sized for most small portable hard drives. The wall of the flap has a small mesh pocket to hold USB/Firewire/Power cords keeping the essentials all in one place.
The side compartments of the Rush 24 are fantastic for basic storage, especially for photographers! I use these side ‘slash’ pockets to hold essential items, such as my Canon 70-200f2.8 lens on one side and a 28-70f2.8 lens, with hood, on the other side. The side slash pockets are very well hidden and can be secured to reduce the chance of unwanted hands entering the pockets. When travelling fast and light I love being able to store one camera in the bag and additional lenses in thee side slash pockets. Using these pockets does not alter the visual profile of the bag, so it never comes under the scrutiny of the airline gate agents!
The exterior of the bag is covered with military grade MOLLE webbing, also known as Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. This webbing allows for various accessories to be added to the bag. On my front right shoulder strap I often use the 5.11 Tactical mobile phone holster (C4 Case) and on the rear of the bag I use the 5.11 Tactical 6.6 Pouch. These accessories lock securely to the bag via fitted MOLLE straps.
I use the 6.6 Pouch for airport security. As I enter the airport security line I empty my pockets of my wallet, iPhone, BlackBerry, pens, keys, and place them in this pouch. The pouch keeps my items secure for security, once I am through security I empty the pouch and travel with the pouch empty, flat and not adding to the bags physical dimensions.
The backpack straps of the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 bag are unique. Rather than being single individually attached straps, they are a single unit, similar to a “yolk.” This design allows for even weight distribution and makes the bag comfortable to wear for hours, even with very heavy loads. I have worn my Rush 24 backpack, loaded to 41lbs, for eight hours while out photographing in the streets. While hauling 41lbs is never ideal for long periods of time, the bag was very comfortable and the design of the bag made it very easy to wear while shooting and having a camera on each shoulder.
While the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 Backpack was designed for law enforcement and military use, it is a fantastic bag that make the life of a travelling photographer, or business traveller, much easier and more comfortable.
Below are 10 photos of my bag loaded while traveling with me through an airport while out photographing a project.