The 5.11 Rush 12 – The Little Guy

I’m a sucker for backpacks. It drives my wife crazy. Why do I need so many? I don’t know, and I can’t rightly tell you. I do constantly switch my EDC pack around or come up with excuses. My latest EDC bag is the Rush 12 2.0. My excuse? Well, the other Rush 2.0 I have is too big, so let’s downsize without tossing out too much of the compatibility of a modern backpack. The Rush 12 is a standard-sized 24-liter backpack with all the extra features you expect from something that fits into the tactical world. 

The 5.11 Rush 12 – What’s Inside 

We get a total of six compartments. Of the six pockets, two are small, one being a sunglasses pocket and another a micro organizer. A medium-sized front pocket packs a ton of room for organization and lots of little pockets for your pens and calculator, you nerd. Sitting hidden by velcro behind that pocket is a CCW pocket. This pocket is secured by velcro and packs a massive velcro patch on the inside that’s just waiting for some form of holster. 

Beyond that, we have our main compartment with two mesh organizers on one side and a laptop pocket on the other. I love a good tablet/laptop pocket. The final pocket is a hydration bladder pocket for all your adventuring needs. It’s got quite a lot going on for a fairly compact backpack. 

On the outside, we have our fair share of MOLLE for attaching whatever extras you may need. A lot of people point to MOLLE as some kind of giveaway to tactically and treat it like open carry. It might not be discrete, but hell, even my son’s backpack from Wal-Mart has MOLLE on it these days. I don’t think it’s as big a tell anymore. 

In Action With the Rush 12 

Lots of pockets and organization make it easy to set up for consistent use. My everyday backpack isn’t doing anything cool, but it holds my laptop, maybe some gym clothes, a notebook, an external phone battery and a small medical kit, and whatever else I may need for the day. It’s not tacticalised, but it gets used daily. 

Sometimes it schleps ammo, mags, and guns to the range. In this configuration, there are lots of pockets to keep things put away and plenty of room for the basics, like a shot timer, a stapler, targets, ammo, handguns, etc. As we speak, or as I type, I guess, it’s full of gear I’m reviewing and hauling from place to place. 

The Rush 12 features a healthy dose of padding at the back to provide a nice bit of comfort. The straps are also surprisingly padded and wide and complete with a chest strap. It’s a small backpack, but it would be comfortable carrying a heavy load. The Rush 12 has no business having such comfy straps and padding, but it’s nice to see, even on a small backpack. 

It makes toting my goodies to and from comfy, and if I’m stuck in a hurry-up-and-wait situation, I don’t mind wearing the pack. The orientation of the pads even allows for airflow to keep things cool. 

What About Concealed Carry? 

I don’t tend to carry offbody, but I still gave the 5.11 Rush 12 a try. I mounted a holster in the rig and practiced my draw and transitions. You learn to swing the bag around my body the correct way, and gaining access to the holster was easy. The breakaway velcro makes it quick and easy to access the holster and gun. It’s still slower than appendix carry, but as an off-body carry option, it’s fairly quick. 

The value I find from the concealed carry pocket is just as a hidden pocket. I don’t have anything to hide, but it makes stashing gear I don’t use daily easy. It’s where my mini medical kit calls home, for example, and it could easily be a handy spare mag pouch. Keeping it concealed prevents exposure to the elements and other stuff that might rub, smoosh, or expose these valuable items to the world. 

Grab and Go 

I got the 5.11 Rush 12 as a prize in a competition shoot, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its utility and how handy the little pack can be. I normally carry something a bit bigger out of habit, but the smaller Rush 12 is handier and easier to rock and roll with. It’s a little pack with big potential. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 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 serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.