5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpack Full Review and Rating

I am the type of guy who’s always on the go. Aside from work, I’m always up for hiking and camping trips. Like a typical millennial, I would want my laptop and tablet to be with me all the time. This review of 5.11 tactical rush 12 backpack will reveal why I have fallen in love with this bag.

5.11 rush 12

So, when my old backpack that I used way back in college was on its last legs, I immediately went shopping for a new backpack. I needed a versatile bag—one that I can use for almost every occasion. So it had to be the right size—one that’s not as big as a camping bag but not too small like an everyday carry (EDC) bag.

That’s not all…

I also wanted a bag with multiple compartments, allowing me to store my things. Of course, it should look stylish enough that I won’t be embarrassed to bring it wherever I go.

The Rush 12 backpack proved to be the right bag for me. I mainly use it as my EDC bag. I’ve also used it as camping outdoor. Others use it as a tactical assault pack.

Video Review

General Features

There are a lot of things I like about this bag. Let’s look at the features to understand further why I’m so high on this purchase:

Sternum Strap Helps for Longer Hike
  • 16 individual compartments are giving me a lot of storage options. Each storage is sized for a particular use
  • External compression straps, adjustable shoulder straps, and sternum strap for increased stability
  • ​Made of 1050-denier nylon with water-resistant PUx2 coating
  • ​Self-repairing YKK zippers
  • ​Weatherproof

​Main Compartment

As I mentioned earlier, I carry a lot of things. I bring a Macbook Pro to work. I also carry a planner, UBS cables, iPhone, and some files. With all those stuff that I carry on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that I liked the Rush 12. Its main compartment is spacious enough to accommodate my Macbook Pro, measuring 18 inches x 11 inches x 6.5 inches.

Want to know the best part?

Not only is the main compartment spacious, but it has a lot of individual pockets and dividers. There’s a retention pocket on the back, where I can place essential items like folded papers, cash, and cards. There are also two small mesh pockets inside the main pocket where I can store those small essentials like lighter and keys.

Other Compartments

Compartments are Spacious

The main compartment is spacious enough for me, but what made me further appreciate this backpack are its other compartments. The main front outer pocket, which measures 12 inches by 9 inches by 1.75 inches, has several sub-dividers. This allows me to keep all my items organized, from my USB cables to LED flashlight to pens.

When I go camping, the space for hydration bladder of the Rush 12 comes in handy. There’s also a fleece-line pocket at the top where I store my sunglasses.

Above it is a 20 x 12 cm zippered compartment. This is where I place my visa, passport and other documents on the few instances that I got to use this bag for travel.


The Rush 12 has top-notch shoulder straps. The shoulder straps are adjustable thus I have no problems finding the perfect fit. When I bring this every day to work, I remove the chest support strap from the shoulder strap.

During the several occasions that I had this bag fully packed, the shoulder pads did a good job of keeping me comfortable.

Shoulder Strap for Comfortable Carry

I remember, once I carried a super heavy load in this bag. It was a weekend camping trip, and we walked for several hours. I’m no gym buff, but I was able to carry the bag without much pain and difficulty. It is also important to carry a backpack proper way to avoid back pain. I have to attribute that to the wide and well-padded shoulder straps of the backpack. The sternum strap also helped in distributing the weight of the bag during that trip.

Material Quality/Durability

I’ve been using the 5.11 Rush 12 backpack for more than a year now and so far, I haven’t encountered issues with its zippers and seams. I remember the first time I inspected it. One of the things that first impressed me was how everything was stitched pretty well.

Furthermore, the backpack is also weatherproof that I have no worries at all whenever there’s a sudden downpour and I don’t have anything to protect the bag against the rain. It just keeps the stuff inside it safe and dry.

This is crazy:

I’ve dropped this bag a couple of times. There was even a time I soaked it in sea water. But it still looks great despite all those episodes of carelessness on my part.


With a capacity of 21.2 liters and a weight of around 1,250 grams, the Rush 12 is of the right size. It’s perfect for daily commutes and short business trips, and its numerous compartments allow it to store as many items as possible.

It’s small and light enough for carrying my everyday stuff like laptop, books, several documents, cables, phones, and medicines. But it is also big enough to pack my clothes for a weekend getaway.


  • Very versatile
  • ​Durable and weatherproof
  • ​Material is thick and durable
  • ​Zippers are very sturdy.
  • ​No unnecessary belts or straps hanging everywhere, giving it an immaculate look.
  • ​Straps adjust easily and quickly
  • MOLLE webbings that would let you attach some extra pouch for additional storage
  • ​Compartment outside can hold small essentials like headphones, wallet, cables, and sunglasses
  • The main compartment unzips all the way to the base of the back, opening it in half. This comes in handy during airport checks


  • There’s no built-in pad for laptops. But I found it a small issue, as I just bought a computer sleeve for my Macbook Pro
  • The 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 pack’s sunglass holder is a brilliant idea, but I won’t squeeze in an expensive sunglass there. It’s a bit small and tight that I fear forcing a pair of glasses there would break it eventually
  • ​There’s a tendency for the shoulder strap adjusters to slip. I instead tie them to the belt loop.
  • Doesn’t have a hip belt although you can buy one from surplus stores if you want one

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Are the multiple compartments designed for a number of tech devices?

You can fit in a 15 inch Macbook Pro inside the waterproof pouch in the main compartment. Then you can put your iPad or any other tablet in the beefy case located in the front pocket. Sure, it may be a bit risky, but the padding of the front pocket is what you’re after. However, as I indicated earlier, this backpack doesn’t have enough padding for tech devices like laptops and tablets. I recommend buying a protective sleeve for your laptop and tablet.

2. Can this bag be used as a carry-on baggage?

I’ve flown numerous times all over the United States, and I haven’t had any problems at all. It’s a good carry-on bag because it is compact and sturdy. The compression straps cinch down easily, and it also fits in well under the seat.

3. Is there a pocket specially designed for conceal carry?

Unfortunately, there’s no particular pouch inside the backpack where you can store conceal carry. But you can turn to the spacious interior compartment if you want to hide something. For example, you can place whatever you want to hide inside the zipper pockets inside this bag.

4. Are there zipper pockets on the outside of the backpack where I can put a water bottle?

None. There are two zipper pockets on the inside, though. If you need to put a water bottle on the outside, you can turn to its MOLLE webbing. This should let you get various pouches like a bottle holder to attach to the sides.

5. Are there metal components that might get rusty over time?

No, the components of this backpack are made of tough, durable plastic. That should give you peace of mind knowing that there aren’t any metal elements in this backpack that could get rusty eventually.

Final Verdict

Survivalists Carrying Rush 12

It’s hard to find a 5.11 Rush 12 review online that speaks negatively about this excellent backpack. I have tried to look for one before buying the Rush 12, and I only found a handful. But the people who wrote those reviews say that they just found the Rush 12 too small for their taste and that they made a mistake by not buying its larger cousin, the Rush 24.

So, is 5.11 rush 12 bag worth buying?

It is not surprising that this Rush 12 review has a lot of praises for this well-made and well-designed backpack and it is also one of my top 10 tactical backpacks. I feel that this is one backpack that every guy should have at home. It’s so versatile that it can work as an EDC or as a camping backpack. Of course, it is mainly marketed as a technical assault bag. No matter what purpose you may have in mind for this backpack, I assure you won’t be disappointed with this product.

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