I expect nobody else volunteered to test drive the 5.11 Tactical Push Pack for the same reasons that I was a bit dubious about it! On the other hand, there is an issue manbag that Ive heard good reports about and I'm told they are quite fashionable at the moment. Perhaps the ultimate recommendation is that Jack Bauer often totes one but then I expect Constable Goody probably would as well.
5.11 suggest that the Push Pack is designed as a 'go/bail out bag' for carrying essential bits of kit that you'd need if you dismounted in a hurry from your vehicle. With a max capacity of just over 6 litres, you aren't going to get much more than a few mags, a small medical kit and some water but in the right circumstances I'd imagine that would come in very useful! Its small size also means that you can easily wedge it into a lot of places that a day sack or similar won't fit.
I also thought it might be useful on the motorcycle. One of the drawbacks of a daysack on the bike is the faff of getting into it when youve got leathers and armour on so I thought the manbag might be easier to use.
I was impressed when it arrived. I've seen 5.11 kit on the shelves before but never had a really good look. If this is the standard then I could well be a future customer. The build quality is excellent. The stress points are all double stitched and there are plenty of good design features.
So what do you get?
The main pouch is about 8cm x 18cm x 21cm deep. Inside there are 3 built in pen pockets and a card slot. On the inside there is a mesh pocket and opposite it a nylon pocket. There are a couple of drainage holes at the bottom. On the front there is another pocket with Velcro closures. The back of the main pouch has some padding covered in ventilating mesh and a Velcro fixture for attaching it to a narrow belt. There are a couple of molle loops at the bottom which might be quite useful if you want to strap anything to the outside. I havent yet.
On the either side of the main pouch there are a couple of zipped pouches. Theyre just the right size for a thermal mug and tinny they have mesh expansion panels and a Velcro closure at the top. They have a couple of Molle loops on the front and in the photos you can see my camera pouch attached.
The flaps main closure is a single fastex buckle which has an elastic loop covering the female end. I assume the elastic is to keep the buckle clean but I found it tended to interfere with closing. Above the buckle is 5.11 logo stitched on in self coloured rubber above that is a Velcro patch for name tapes. Ive put one on for the photo and pixelated it. Im not sure Id bother any other time. Inside the front of the flap there is a zipped pocket which is quite useful for bits and bobs. On top of the flap there is another zipped pouch which fitted my sunglasses this well.
Below the flap covering the back of the main pouch there is another zipped pocket. Inside there are some Velcro patches which 5.11 mention as anchor points for a pistol holster. Good luck to anyone who tries that out!
The strap is slightly asymmetric. I havent quite worked out if you are supposed to wear it on the right or left hip. The The strap is attached to flaps. The flap on the left (Army left, as worn not as we look)) has a Velcro patch which for the benefit of the photo Ive attached a Union Flag to. The right hand flap has some Molle loops. Inside the flap there are pockets: 5.11 suggest that you could put a knife in one of them. It would have to be a very small knife as the pockets are only 6cm deep and have no closures. I found one useful for holding a chap stick and the other a Petzl head torch secured with string because it keeps falling out. The strap is a strap! It has a fastex buckle on the left again its covered in an elastic loop. There is a sliding adjuster buckle and a detachable shoulder pad.
I've been using the manbag whilst riding around on motorcycle and whilst out and about. I took it on a battlefield tour to France and Flanders and I took it on a study weekend.
On the bike it is quite useful. Access is relatively easy, even when wearing gloves and there isnt the faff of having to take off a day sack or twist around with a bum bag. On the down side it tended to slip about a bit which can be off putting. It could be secured to a belt but then you might as well wear a bum bag. Another downside is that water (rain) can get in. A book I was carrying got a bit of a soaking. It could do with a nylon sleeve and a drawstring closure. I will be having one retrofitted.
So, Jack Bauer or Constable Goody?
It was useful on the battlefield tour I went on and could be useful on any trip. Plenty of places to secure passports and documents, cameras binos, books and general niff naff and trivia and the ability to move it to the front whilst in dodgy foreign parts where your stuff might go UA if it's in a daysack on your back.
It was also useful on the study weekend for carrying general niff naff and trivia although most of it could go in your smock pockets and it isnt big enough for an A4 folder.
The same goes in general use. There is a danger that you end up carrying stuff for the sake of it. After all you dont often need a thermal mug for a Saturday afternoon visit to Tesco.
Unfortunately there is the look of the thing. On its own it looks great. its well made but... I say again BUT! its a manbag. Something about it just isn't right. When Mrs BA picked me up from the railway station on my way back from France she said I looked like a train spotter and I have to confess in that in my leathers I feared that I may be mistaken for an habitué of the Blue Oyster Club. Mrs BA has tried it out and found it quite useful as a hand bag but a touch butch for a lady. Will I continue to use it. Yes, but probably not too often.
5.11 Tactical PUSH Pack kindly supplied by Intelligent Armour