- Created: Sunday, 26 August 2012 20:46
This year 5.11 has definitely picked up their game on their tactical gear line with this "All Hazards Prime" pack being a great example. Prime is about one word longer than I'd say, but perhaps it is their way of saying Rush 24 super turbo champion edition. Joking aside, everything I saw from 5.11 at shotshow displayed considerable design refinements which is a great sign that 5.11 is making a true modern gear effort and not a half assed one. The All Hazards pack is certainly feature rich so get ready for a long ride on my attempt to break it all down.
The core design intent is to be a response pack with law enforcement being the main demographic. Active shooter certainly comes to mind, however no need narrow down the uses as it makes for a great bad day response pack in general, thus the All Hazards turns out pretty name appropriate. As I hinted earlier, it is somewhat like an enhanced Rush 24 backpack to give you an idea of the size class so I'd consider it a medium size. The All Hazards pack isn't small, however could be used as an assault pack with the width purposefully being slightly slim to allow good arm mobility and user entry in tight spaces. Starting with the grab and go concept, there is a nice beefy padded handle up top along with 2 semi-rigid handles on the bottom. While the one up top appears to be better designed for actual carry, the bottom handles make for great quick grabs to pull the pack out of a trunk or whatever storage. The semi rigid tubing is a nice touch as it makes the handles non collapsing, resulting in much better odds they will be positioned for an easy grab.
To hold helmets, a "beaver-tail" style flap is used which users will likely either love or hate. The main pro being is it the best way to hold a helmet on an already full pack, but with the downside that if you aren't carrying a helmet-like item in that area, you will likely just view it as that annoying flap back there that I have to unclip 2 SRBs just to get the main compartments open. The buckle placement is about where compression straps would be on a more typical backpack, but the problem is if not connected, the beaver tail is pretty floppy and quite the snag hazard. For a nice feature to either circumstance, there are split bars between the SRB connections which act as snag points when released. This is great as it limits the release distance rather than dropping like a wet blanket once the buckles are released. The flap that makes up the beaver tail is quite feature rich itself starting with PALS webbing on the exterior for adding pouches if desired. A loop velcro field of approx 6" x 3" is even integrated for ID patches. Now it is fairly petty, but I found it slightly lame there is a sew down point missing on the PALS where the 5.11 logo is. No where near a deal breaker, but that logo could have gone about anywhere else rather than making a potential pouch mount a little more floppy. Up top is a single slider zipper to offer access to a simple sleeve pocket. As seen on the majority of the pack, it features reverse (teeth inside) style zippers. At the very top of this flap is a pair of zippers to open up to the admin area. This compartment can actually hold a good amount of kit if stuffed, but the main feature is all the sleeve dividers good for holding papers, pens, and small gadgetry. 2 key keepers are up top matching this layout common to many 5.11 packs. The actual holding zone created by the beaver tail has lower mesh sides to keep goods from slipping out and even has soft material on the distal side to play nice with face shields, those with riot gear will certainly appreciate. It would add more build complexity to an already complex pack, however I think it would be great if the beaver tail could be zipped closed when not in use. That way I could leave the compression straps released for immediate core access while not having a floppy flap either. Hell I'd settle for a removable SRB up top, which may be a possible quickie mod.
A little higher up on the secondary compartment exterior is a PALS strip that even has loop velcro sized great for name tapes. Most the PALS part continues on the sides where a good amount is offered, however it has to be split up a bit due to having 2 major compartments. There are about 1.5 channels on the secondary compartment side and then 2.25 channels on the main compartment. There is even loop velcro on the upper 2 rows, although an odd size of 3" x 1" they are only be good for bloodtype patches or similar small morale patches. 1 channel works well for pistol mag pouches or similar and 2 will work well to hold rifle pouches. Not even Malice clips are going to fit in the fraction sized channels, but I say better to stay to spec than have floppy PALS. Larger GP style pouches could be mounted to the lower sides using both secondary and main areas, just keep in mind it will limit how far the main compartment opens. The PALS on the main compartment sides is actually on a sleeve to create a sheath-like pocket, good for holding beat sticks or smaller breaching tools. To secure these type items, a velcro wrap is even included which connects using a silk clip to make it modular to setup for either side. You only get one, but pretty cool you get one at all. Additional PALS like webbing is on the bottom and upper front of the pack to offer some extra lashing options.
Continuing the PALS party there is more on the nicely padded shoulder straps. The core being 2 channels x 4 rows with additional webbing straps above and below allow for many pouch mounting options and cable / tube routing. A sternum strap is included as expected and if for some reason not your thing, it is removable. The straps are well contoured and have a substantial yoke connecting them which may be a toss up on comfort for users. Although most will find the yoke to offer extra support, for me it makes me ride the pack a little lower than I normally would, otherwise the yoke causes a pressure point on the back of my neck. Before I forget, there are tri-glides to allow for belt mounting options, but offhand the All Hazards pack does not come with one. Being a response pack this makes sense, but also keep in mind any pack weighing 30 pounds or more with no waist strap starts to suck to carry pretty quick. Not a big deal for a high adrenalin incident, but quite the shoulder destroyer on a long hike. The interior of the shoulder straps and the back of the pack sport substantial airmesh to aid in keeping cool. The mesh material used is thicker and along with my testing so far appears it will be more durable than the fairly delicate meshes manufacturers have used in the past. The padding used is even water resistant to prevent water retention and things getting stinky / funky in general. Integrated into the back area is hydration compartment using opposing double zippers. With this zipper setup either side is always ready for quick access. A simple velcro loop and 2 T-bars are in the interior to hang a bladder from along with sneaky flap ports up top to allow tubes to extract out either side.
Getting back to the meat of the pack, the secondary compartment opens up fully using double zippers clam shell style for easy access. The interior is pretty fancy with the back side having vertical PALS for additional modular pouch organization. I inquired on why the PALS were rotated and it sounded like a cost reduction decision. I suppose not my first choice, but not a disaster either, just different. On the other side are 2 mesh pouches that connect via velcro. This allows them to be torn off easily for passing around, certainly with medical use in mind. There are even clear vinyl zones for labeling, however since access is from both sides, a little effort may be required to custom create good fitting labels. The mesh pouches themselves open up with single zippers. Each side of the secondary compartment uses hi-viz orange material to help navigate the interior in dark conditions. Alternatively with no internal PALS pouches on and with the mesh pockets out, the hi-viz zones could be used for signaling. Notably the hi-viz contrast shows up better when the pack is black as opposed to sandstone or multicam. With approx 3" of depth, the secondary compartment is a good gear organization zone. Up top between the secondary and main compartments is a nice soft material pocket. It is larger than usual so good for not only protective glasses, but full sized goggles as well.
Finally making it to the main compartment, it opens up with dual zippers going all the way down to similar, but not quite clam shell style. These zippers including the others for the major compartments have nice custom pull tabs on the sliders. Size wise the main compartment is approx 11.5”W x 4”D x 20.5”H which appears mislabeled on the 5.11 site. My guess is their "main compartment" specs are for both the secondary and main zones. On that note, I don't know where the padded laptop and tablet sleeves are either, but the back side of the compartment has a nice big sleeve pocket with elastic opening. There isn't additional padding, but there is a plastic stiffener plate accessible with a simple velcro flap. I find the plate to be a nice plus for rigidity, however it can easily be removed and one could add in custom armor in that pocket if they want to get fancy. The other side sports a smaller sleeve pocket, raised placement for easier item retrieval. As also seen on the secondary compartment, grommets are at the bottom for drainage. Designed specifically for the main compartment are the ammo mule bags. 2 fit in there great, but sadly they do not come included and are an extra accessory. If you do decide to splurge they fit about 10, 30 round NATO mags each, sporting reinforced/padded bottoms and sides. The shoulder straps are pretty simple and would come in handy when passing out ammo, yet fortunately are removable if you feel they will just get in the way for your needs. They are a little pricey on their own, so it would be nice if 5.11 offered an All Hazards deluxe pack of some sort which would be the All Hazards pack with 2 Ammo Mules included at a fair price.
As with other 5.11 packs, the All Hazards supports the tier system of connecting pack together using simple SRB straps. I probably wouldn't want to add other packs to the All Hazards, but mounting it to a larger pack like the Rush 72 has feasibility. It is interesting that the All Hazards Prime is designed with quite specific intent, however I still think many users will find it useful for a variety of different specialties. From response bag, medical, bug-out, to just a cool urban bag, there are many options. My only addition to that thought is the pack has the capability to hold a lot of weight so consider that before any long adventures as it will result in a painful advertisement for waist belts.
Overall exterior dimensions: 11.5”W x 9”D x 20.5”H (1968cu in)