In this day and age there are so many day sacks/patrol sacks around that it can become a nightmare trying to pick the right one depending on what/how/where you intend to use it. The majority in the military arena will know the brands like Camelbak and Blackhawk but probably not the lesser known brand of 5:11 tactical (which is closely linked to Blackhawk). The day sack I am going to review is the VTAC RUSH72 pack which is the largest of the 3 VTAC RUSH packs, the others being the RUSH12 and RUSH24.
The first thing that struck me when I saw this day sack was the quality of the item and in particular the stitching which in my experience is one of the first things that fails on things like this, also the size of the thing....it is a tardis of a day sack !!! The RUSH 72 can carry 47ltrs of kit which is a massive amount compared to say the Camelbak BFM which only holds 45ltrs, the dimensions are 23H X 13.5L X 8D (INCHES) for the main compartment and there are also 5 other pouches of various sizes all over the RUSH 72. It is made from 1050D nylon which makes it very hard wearing indeed and to aid with waterproofing it has a PU coating on the inside. You can get the RUSH 72 in 1 of 5 colours but I suspect the multicam version will be most popular with military users and the black version for most civilian uses. The whole thing is covered in Molle loops to give you the option of sticking more pouches on if you so desire although I dont think you would want and my load carrying space on this day sack.
The RUSH 72 is designed to hold enough kit for 72hrs use (hence the name !!!!) so for that reason the main compartment is quite big, a good feature of the RUSH 72 is the way the whole front section zips all the way down to allow easy packing and access to the main compartment. This would be great for either medics or people carrying radios as it allows you to get at the things inside with ease, I showed this to a mate of mine who is a medic and he said it would be ideal to use as a patrol med pack because of this feature among others. Inside there are 3 zippered mesh pockets (2 on the front and 1 on the rear of the pack ) and also a fabric covered pocket, these are very handy for keeping smaller items in so you dont have to empty the whole thing just to find your headtorch!!! The top mesh pocket has a zip at the top and bottom of the pouch which I think is strange and if Im honest I cant think why it does this, all this does is overcomplicate things for no reason things for no reason. In the bottom of the main compartment is a small dry bag type thing which is tightened by using elastic draw cords, for those using this in a civie environment this could be used to hold a SMALL amount of wet kit to keep it separated from other stuff. For military users this is handy for sticking a large radio into to keep it more secure inside the day sack instead of it bouncing around everywhere. There are 2 drainage holes at the bottom of the main compartment to allow any excess water to drain out if you have to do a river crossing or anything along those lines.
There is a pouch on either side of the RUSH 72 that are just short of the height of the day sack and these are again accessed by zips, inside are another 2 small pockets which if Im honest I cant really find a use for as once the main compartment is full are quite tight. For an idea of size for these I managed to fit a 1.5ltr bottle in the side pouch fine when the main part was fully loaded. On the top of the day sack is a small fleeced lined valuables pouch for putting in things like a phone, glasses, iPod etc, now this is a very nice idea apart from the fact that the pouch sits inside the main compartment so if there is a chance you could damage said valuables if they get crushed against anything hard inside. Personally I would just use this for stuff I need to get to easily and maybe not my best Oakleys purely for this reason. On the top portion at the front of the RUSH 72 is yet another small pouch which inside has a small zipped mesh pocket and a fabric pocket which again is very handy for stuff you need to get at quickly.
A feature of modern day sacks is the lack of top flap opening in favour of zip closure, the downside of this is that you have lost the ability to strap things to the pack that wouldnt normally fit in due to size/shape etc. The RUSH 72 overcomes this by hinging the front pouch at the bottom and closing at the top and side of the day sack using fastex buckles, this gives you the ability to strap extra kit to the outside of the daysack. I think this is a really good feature that this daysack has for military users to attach LAWS/LASM etc and civie users to fit tents/roll mats to and gives it the edge over other daysacks in this class. The front pouch itself is quite big with lots of small pouches/pen holders inside to help you organise things, now as I have described there are untold amounts of pouches within pouches to the point where you may end up misplacing bits in it.
The back panel of the daysack is well padded and very comfy to wear even when it is fully loaded, and has a hard plastic back support in to give the daysack some shape. This back support can be removed but I wouldnt recommend it as it helps support heavy loads and stops sharp items in the main compartment jabbing you in the back when its on, I did try it without the panel in but I personally found it less comfortable than when I had it in. There is also a pouch to fit a hydration bladder in and 2 Velcro covered slits on the top of the daysack to allow you to route the tube from the bladder to either side (these could also be used to put radio antennas though for the military user). The yoke is different to other daysacks I have used before as the padding goes across the small of the neck as well as the shoulders, I found this spread the weight better and was very comfy to wear although I reckon there could be the chance to get some chaffing along the neck if you dont wear clothing with a collar on. The RUSH 72 has a chest and waist strap on to help support the weight of what you are carrying, I personally dont like waist straps and I tend to either cut of tape them off but the RUSH 72 has 2 small slits to allow you to tuck the waist strap away if you are not using it.
Overall I am very impressed with this daysack and I can see many uses for both military and civvies alike, but by far the biggest plus point for the RUSH 72 is the price. At around £150 it is nearly half the price of its camelback equivalent and from what I can see there is no difference in quality either. This would be ideal for people going to Afghan on extended patrols where a Bergen would be to big but a daysack would be too small and also for anyone going walking up in the hills for 2/3 days. The RUSH 72 bridges the gap between daysacks and bergens and Id highly recommend this piece of kit to people 10/10.