Review: Pack on the pounds with the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack
Run, don't walk, to grab a piece of this sweet tactical pack.
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The Rush series of packs from 5.11 Tactical have remained one of their best-selling products since they premiered in 2007. According to 5.11 Tactical, over a million of the original Rush bags were sold, and 5.11 Tactical’s diverse customer base has provided lots of useful feedback on the design.
Finally, 5.11 Tactical took that feedback and decided to update the classic Rush series into the Rush 2.0. If you’re not familiar with the Rush series, you might not know they come in three sizes: the 12, then 24, and the 72. Each number corresponds to the number of hours the bag is designed to support. I’ve always been partial to the 24, so when 5.11 Tactical offered to send me one of the Rush 2.0 bags, I knew which one I wanted right off the bat.
The Rush 24 2.0 is a 37-liter bag that offers plenty of room for a very versatile loadout. That’s why this size has always been my favorite. I can use the bag for nearly anything. I can use it as my go-to work bag to carry my work gear, laptop, gym clothes, and all my other daily grind stuff. I can load the pack up and hit a trail or toss clothes in it for a weekend trip; it’s the right size to do most things. Inside the main pack, we have a padded laptop compartment that can fit up to a 15-inch laptop. The padding to the rear is rather thick, and the front padding is good enough to help you resist the occasional bump and fall. There is also a hidden compartment aimed at concealed carry. I don’t carry off-body, but I can appreciate a discreet pocket to hide other goods. There are also some new interior organization options, as well as a larger fleece-lined pocket for cell phones and sunglasses and a relocated hydration port.
Editor’s note: the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack also made Task & Purpose’s roundup of the best tactical backpacks of the year.
A big question you might have is: What’s actually new with the 2.0 series of Rush packs? Fair question, and wisely, the changes are minimal. In the last 14 years, there haven’t been many complaints. Don’t mess with what works, and the improvements are relatively minor.
It’s a backpack, so the box it comes in is whatever they ship it in. The bag is shipped in a big plastic bag for protection. 5.11 Tactical attaches what appears to be a dozen or so little orange tags that tell you what’s what. The little tags let you know what each pouch is and where everything is. These are quite handy and smartly point out all the features.
The Rush 24 2.0 has seven compartments. The main pouch measures 20 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide by 8 inches deep. The front compartment measures 12.5 by 11 by 2 inches, and the hydration pocket is 17 by 12.5 inches. Beyond that, the other compartments are the smaller options dedicated to organization more than room. The concealed carry compartment, the glasses compartment, and two tiny pockets are on the front of the Rush 24.
Inside the main compartment, there are tons of mesh pockets for organization and the aforementioned laptop pocket. The front compartment has textile panels with tons of mini pockets and slots to accommodate pens, AR-type magazines, knives, tools, handheld lights, and whatever else you’d like to carry in an organized manner.
How we tested the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack
I hate running, but I want to lose weight and get a little cardio in. Do you know what I don’t mind? Rucking. In fact, part of my day job involves a fitness test that includes rucking. As such, I often ruck, usually between 2 to 5 miles a couple of times a week. Most of the time, I wear a weight vest, but now that I have a pack to test, I dropped the weight vest.
Instead, I filled the Rush 24 2.0 with anywhere from 25 to 45 pounds of gear, depending on how froggy I felt. I often utilized the weight plates from my weight vest to add weight and meet my numbers. I popped in my earphones and hit the road! The Rush 24 2.0 lacks a waist belt, but the shoulder straps are fantastic.
These thick, wide straps distribute the weight of the pack very well. The straps never feel like they are digging in or causing pain. Even when the pack is loaded down with hefty weight, admittedly, 45 pounds is a ton of weight for the Rush 24. That’s the type of weight you’d more likely use in the bigger Rush 72 with its supportive waist belt. Thirty pounds and less feels more appropriate for the Rush 24.
I also used the bag as a normal EDC pack, a work bag, and on weekend trips and vacations. Going from ruck to normal life is a smooth transition.
In all my use, my trips, my hikes, and my work, I never found myself wanting for more. The 5.11 Rush 24 2.0 provides plenty of room and organization ability for weekend trips and the workweek. For heavy-duty use on the road and in the field, the bag was plenty comfortable and offered lots of room for packing away the weight and hitting the ground running — well, not running, but rucking.
What we like about the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack
I love the straps. They are big, padded, and plenty comfortable for heavier loads. I never felt pinched, and my arms never fell asleep on even the longest hikes with the heaviest loads. The padded rear section of the pack also ensures its comfort. The padding protects me from the crap in the pack and provides a comfortable experience when you hit mile three, and you’re killing your personal best time.
The massive amount of internal organizational options make it easy to separate my socks from my toothbrush and vice versa. At work, I can load up my tools into the front pouch and have quick access to my fixed blade, my multitool, a light, pens, paper, maps, compass, etc.
I’m rarely an efficiently organized person. I find that I work best by the seat of my pants. However, I can see the benefits of organization when I don’t have to search for my USB drive for 10 minutes.
The internal organization is fantastic and allows me to have quick and easy access to the big things and the small things. 5.11 offers plenty of small pockets to keep your things organized and easy to access on the fly. The CCW pocket is extremely well-hidden; in fact, I would have glossed over it if 5.11 didn’t offer attached tags showing me what everything was. This hidden pocket is located behind the front pocket and sealed with a hook-and-loop, so it’s easy to open.
On my vacation to get married, I stashed the wedding rings and my headache medication in the pocket. Nothing narcotic, but people see a little orange bottle, and it becomes an instant target for thieves. It’s easy to stash these things in the pocket and not worry about unscrupulous maintenance personnel in your hotel room. The inside of this pocket features loop material for adding pouches or holsters.
What we don’t like about the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack
I’m not a huge fan of the chest strap. The Rush 24 fits well over a plate carrier for the most part. However, the chest strap is too short for my broad chest, even without a carrier. I found it rode up toward my neck, and I left it unclipped most of the time.
At 3.84 pounds, the Rush 24 is a little on the heavy side. There are some backpacking options that offer comparable capacity at half that weight.
While this isn’t my personal complaint, I did hear from a fellow friend and rucking enthusiast that he felt the bag was too big for EDC and too small for serious outdoor use. I see the bag as being versatile for both, but he sees it the opposite way. Rarely is a jack of all trades a master of any.
The 5.11 Rush 24 2.0 makes small, but noteworthy improvements to an already proven pack. It’s perfect for a wide variety of tasks and will hold up to some real abuse. It certainly proved worthy of the Rush moniker.
FAQs about the 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 2.0 backpack
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s additional brief.
Q: How much does the Rush 24 2.0 cost?
A: The Rush24 MSRP is $129.99
Q: What colors does the Rush 24 2.0 come in?
A: 5.11 Tactical utilizes several of their own colors; black and dark navy blue are the normal colors. On top of that, there’s dark green, which they call Ranger green; Kangaroo, which is coyote; Python, which is light green; Double Tap, which is grey with black accents; and, of course, Multicam.
Q: Is the Rush 24 2.0 waterproof?
A: I don’t think any backpack is truly waterproof, but the 1000D nylon is water-repellant and does a good job of resisting rain and light splashes.
Q: Can you add additional storage to the Rush 24 2.0?
A: The MOLLE webbing allows for the easy attachment of pouches to the outside of the pack. The side compression straps allow you to carry a multitude of goods, and the bottom has straps to add an isomat or similar goods.
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Travis Pike is a former Marine machine gunner who served with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines for five years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He plays in the great outdoors of Northwest Florida and enjoys good beer, sharp knives, and long walks in the woods.