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Review: 5.11 Tactical All Hazards Prime Backpack

For the last several months I have been searching for a new EDC (Every Day Carry) bag that would accommodate my somewhat unique lifestyle and line of work. Over the years, I have accumulated more bags than I have room for. None of them ever turned out to be “the one” for me. Just as I was about to resort to being that guy with MOLLE pouches mounted all over one of my bags, I took delivery of a 5.11 Tactical All Hazards Prime Backpack.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime Backpack

I have to admit that I looked over the bag with a skeptical eye. The All Hazards Prime was designed to be a mission ready pack intended for use by law enforcement and/or military personnel. Since I am no longer either of those, I wasn’t sure the pack would fit my needs.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackUpon close inspection of the backpack, I noticed that the quality of the bag was better than I was accustomed to with the older 5.11 bags that I own. Seeing the improvements in the stitching and hardware made me a bit more daring in my testing of the bag (I’ll elaborate more on that later). The bag measures  20.5″ H x 11.5″ W x 9″ D with a capacity of 1,768 cubic inches. It’s not a huge bag, but my personal preference for EDC bags is between 1,500 and 2,000 cubic inches. While that may seem a bit large, this is just my preference. Your lifestyle may dictate a smaller or even larger bag depending upon your needs.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackThe admin panel of the pack is decently laid out and makes sense for the intended purpose of the pack. The organization is more oriented toward some larger items instead of having 10 pen sleeves and a special place for your tape dispenser. I cut out one of the divider seams to make room for my battery holder, which fits perfectly now. The large outer “Shove-It” pocket serves as a good location to store a jacket or sweater, as well as a ballistic helmet or even a chest rig. I also like the small zippered pouch on the front of the pack, but I would have preferred a bit of padding there to protect my seriously abused cell phone.

The pack has (2) front compartments and each has its own purpose. Both compartments are lined with high-viz orange material to create contrast for finding items in low-light. The interior of the outer compartment is covered in MOLLE webbing on one side and has (4) rows of loop-side Velcro on the other, which hold (2) zippered mesh pouches with clear labels on the front.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackThe pouches can be used for items such as medical kits, weapons cleaning equipment, or writing materials. I use them for power cables and peripherals for my laptop and tablet. The pouches are easily removable and can be taken with you. I would have preferred that the zippers be on the top of the pouches instead of 1/3 of the way down the front side. That way I could more easily access my gear without having to open the zippers too far.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime Backpack

The webbing on the other side of the compartment is laid out vertically. I assume this is done to facilitate mounting a greater number of pouches and giving access to them when the pack laid on its side and opened fully. I would personally prefer the webbing to run horizontal so I can mount a few of my favorite pouches in there and be able to access them without having to tip the bag on its side.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackThe main compartment has (2) sleeves in it and they hold my 15.6″ laptop and 10″ tablet perfectly. The compartment is also capable of holding (2) Ammo Mules capable of holding 10 AR mags each. They also make decent hygiene and pogie bait bags. Both of these compartments open easily and I’ve had zero issues ripping them open in a hurry. They each open nearly 180 degrees and have decent zipper pulls which easily facilitate closure.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackThe pack has a hydration compartment with ports that finally solved a design issue I’ve had with the other 5.11 bags that routed the drink tubes right into the fleece lined eye-pro pockets. I was able to fit a 102 oz bladder into the compartment, but will be changing that to a flatter/wider bladder to prevent the seesaw effect of a full 3L Camelbak Omega bladder. Unfortunately, the hydration compartment is located outside the frame sheet.

511 Tactical All Hazards Prime BackpackThe shoulder straps are comfortable even for a man of my size. The yolk design doesn’t hug my 21″ neck like I thought it might. I took the bag on a theme park trip with the family to the 96 degree weather of Carlsbad, CA and the aerospace mesh cushioning on the back and straps was a welcome addition. The straps are just wide enough without being so wide that they dig into my arms, however some smaller users may not feel the same way. In my attempt to rip the straps apart in my initial torture testing of the bag, I was met with zero results. The stitching is solid and confidence inspiring.

I have mounted my med kit to the left side of the pack on the webbing there and a 32 oz bottle pouch on the other side. They both seem to fit as if they are part of the pack. One of my favorite features of the All Hazards Prime Backpack is the fact that I can remove or insert my laptop and/or tablet without having to unfasten the compression straps. Whether this was intentional or just a happy coincidence, I am quite happy with this feature. The exterior of the pack also has pass-through sleeves in each side that can accommodate longer items such as batons, flashlights, or an umbrella. I use mine to secure a large OC canister on one side and a light that illuminates my med kit when opened on the other.

In future versions of the pack, it would be nice to see the addition of some 2″ webbing on the exterior and interior of the bag to allow for mounting some of the oddball pouches with hook and loop 2″ straps. A Multicam option would be nice as well since that is the direction the US Army seems to be going and I’m not sure I’ll be able to wear the Coyote on duty in the near future. Another minor thing I noticed was that the zipper pulls on the eye-pro compartment have a tendency to get stuck between the main compartment zipper pulls. I decided to cut off the pulls and it quickly solved the problem.

All personal preferences and minor inconveniences aside, I like the 5.11 Tactical All Hazard Prime Backpack. The build quality and layout are nice and the functionality of the main compartment will work well as a pack to fit my needs. I look forward to giving it some more field use and reporting back in the future.
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