Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MArooned Product Review: 5.11 RUSH72 Backpack

Last month the good folks at 5.11 sent me a couple items to review. I reviewed the TacLite Pro pants last week; this week I've got the 5.11 Tactical Rush 72 Bug Out Backpack to check out. It's designed to be a full day pack, and in a pinch could certainly make do as a weekend bug-out bag- in fact, that's how I reviewed it.

Generally, here in New England, there aren't a lot of reasons to bug out. We don't get the kind of extreme weather that might cause an evacuation - no hurricanes, wildfires, etc. Our weather emergencies are more of the bug-in variety - snowstorms, ice storms, etc. - so this was more of a challenge for me to write. Sure, I've got a bag of emergency supplies in my truck, but it's the kind of supplies intended to last a few hours or overnight at best.

So I sat down with my son the Boy Scout and we talked about what should go into a bag intended to keep two people safe for a weekend. Here's what we came up with:

There's food for two people for two days - there's macaroni and cheese packets that only require 2/3 of a cup of water each for lunches and dehydrated meals for dinner. For drinking and cooking water, there are two 26 ounce water bottles and purification tablets for over six gallons of water - that's a gallon and a half per day per person, which might be tight but workable. There's gear for preparing the food as well as eating; and even basic toiletries.

Keeping a full belly is one thing; being comfortable while doing it is another. There's a tarp and a dropcloth, as well as rope with which to string a basic canopy. A folding shovel works great for trenching around a campsite as well as helping to put out a fire (and can support the pot or pan from the mess kit if no other means of support can be found over the fire); there's a large knife for trimming bark for fire starting or cutting small branches into kindling; a sharp pocket knife for cutting lengths of rope, etc. Matches are stored in a waterproof Ziploc bag, and there's a couple inexpensive ponchos to keep us dry as well.

So we can make fire, have a shelter, eat some food, and have clean water to drink. There are some lights for both being seen as well as seeing at night - they're kept in their original packaging to keep the batteries with the lights and to preserve function as long as possible. There's a crank-activated light and some chem-sticks for the worst-case scenario. A blanket and - my son brought this up - a large towel round out the creature comforts - as well as the bug repellant wipes!

Packing everything into the RUSH 72 was a snap. There are all kinds of pockets:

I tried to keep items we might need first in the outermost pockets; ponchos, rope for stringing the tarp, flashlights, etc. Then it was time to pack the cavernous interior:

There's a 26 ounce water bottle in each outside pocket; two full changes of clothes (one per person; gotta have a dry pair of jeans and socks, and a sweatshirt is a must in anything other than the middle of summer); food, cookware, etc. - everything fit inside this ginormous pack. And when it was all packed up, it was ready to go:

Yes, I know there's a few things that should be included that aren't - a first aid kit, for example - but these things are already in the truck. A fully stocked first aid kit, another tarp, a camp chair, an ax; these are all items that might be needed so therefore live under the seat of the truck (as well as wet wipes, a baseball glove, and other "dad" stuff that could very well come in handy).

I'm sure there's plenty else I forgot, but one thing's for certain - it will still fit in the RUSH72 backpack!

That is all.


Dave H said...

You've got a smart kid there. Has he read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? (grin)

I like how the front of that bag opens up like that. A lot of your items are small and it can be a chore digging around in the bottom of a pack looking for a band-aid.

A coach's whistle is handy to have if you need to alert someone to your presence, like if you're lost or trapped. It's easier to hear than shouting, and easier on your throat.

I'd suggest waterproofing those matches with nail polish, but otherwise that's a kit I'd be glad to have with me if I had to bug out.

Jay G said...

Heh. Look in the last picture - the compass also has a whistle in it (also a magnifying glass and a thermometer)...

Wolfman said...

Yep, Id say he is one cool frood who really knows where his towel is. How is MA for Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts? For some reason Im picturing Ted Kennedy, slavering around, trying to figure out where he left his car, because someone put a towel on it. The Ravenous Bugblatter beast of Chappaquiddic!

Wolfman said...

On topic, one thing I do with hiking packs is pack my clothes is one gallon ziploc bags. Sit on them while closing to expel the air, and your clothing stays dry, flat/square, and well organized. Plus you have an extra four gallons of emergency water storage, in a pinch!

Jerry said...

Ask them about the 5.11 Kilts?

ScribblersDad said...

Ummm.... Jay, you forgot an essential bugout item. A firearm for defense, from random 4 and 2 legged critters. I assume you would have one on you, but extra ammo and a BUG are essentials, IMHO.