One of the highlights of this years SHOT Show was 5.11′s Las Vegas retail store meet-and-greet event. A huge number of 5.11 employees traveled from all over the country to be a part of it, and it was well worth attending. Present there were sales reps, PR reps and product designers. Scott Lambert, the lead designer of 5.11’s bags was on hand to describe in great detail each of the design choices made during the planning and construction of 5.11’s newest backpack lineup, the AMP series, where AMP is an acronym for All Missions Pack. The specific pack I got in to review is the AMP 72.
The AMP packs come in three sizes, each roughly correlating to an operational length: the AMP’s 12, 24 and 72. While many of the design features are found in all three sizes, I’m going to limit my focus to the one pack I’ve had on hand since January, the AMP 72.
Let’s dish out the tech specs, then I’ll dive in and talk about them more in depth.
- Main Compartment – 24″H x 11″W x 9″D
- Rear Compartment – 24”H x 11”W x 2”D
- Total Capacity – 2440 cubic inch / 40 liter (approximately the same as 762 .50 BMG rounds by volume)
- Patented HEXGRID® multi-angle load-bearing platform
- Gear Set™ compatible with internal and external Gear Set™ mounting capability
- Removable HEXGRID® 9×9 Gear Set
- CCW pocket with loop panel and webbing strap for holster attachment
- Full clamshell opening main compartment with Quad-Zip zippers
- Internal loop platform panel, mesh org and admin pockets
- 4 side pockets and 1 bottom stash pocket
- Secondary compartment for weapon storage up to 24″ with muzzle sleeve and removable retention strap
- Hydration or laptop rear compartment
- Thermoformed back panel with aluminum frame and load lifters
- Water-resistant 500D Dobby Nylon (main) 1050D Nylon (bottom)
- Water-resistant HEXGRID® 420D/1000D Cordura® Nylon
When I’m shopping around for a new pack, first I pare down my options by choosing the size I need. After that I’m looking for a few qualities: comfort, ergonomics, and durability. Aesthetic appeal isn’t really on there, with the exception that I don’t want an overtly tactical look for anything other than range bags or hunting packs. The AMP 72 meets all those criteria, here’s how.
First, let’s talk about comfort. The AMP’s straps are both wide and well-padded. The backpad is more than sufficiently soft and has air channels molded in to ensure ample ventilation. I don’t use waist belts on backpacks under 75 lbs, but the AMP 72 has one if you’re into that. When it comes to ergonomics, the things I’m looking for are convenient utility pockets, zipper pulls that I can find in the dark (and know which pocket they go to) and easy shoulder strap length adjustments. The AMP 72 has all of these in spades. The “Dobby” fabric used gives a natural ripstop element. The whole pack is built up to 5.11’s usual high standards, with tough fabrics and more than ample stitching.
The 9″ x 9″ accessory panel is really what gives the AMP series the versatility 5.11 was looking for. Being able to choose from a wide variety of velcro-backed tear-away pouches (5.11’s preconfigured “Gear Sets“), or nearly limitless existing Molle webbing pouches, or no pouches at all means you can set this up for whatever kind of day (or night) you expect, and even change it on the fly if needs be. You can leave the pouches velcro’d for a quick release, or utilize the accessory hooks for a semi-permanent setup. Scott Lambert let me know there’s even a 9″x 9” panel in the works that matches the exterior fabric, in case you want to be able to roll out with the least outwardly tactical appearance possible.
The AMP 72 feels like it has two, not one, main compartment. The rifle case portion is huge, and can store a lot of gear in the event you aren’t packing a rifle. the next pouch out is also surprisingly large. There’s also pockets-within-pockets. Starting with the rifle case region, there’s a laptop/ipad case behind the rifle pad lining. In between the pack and the backpad is another thin, vertically large pocket. Each side of the AMP 72’s main body has an external-access water bottle pouch, but if you check those out from the inside you’ll find another pocket piggybacking those. Likewise, the top has a sunglasses pouch. Inside is a small accessory pouch. In a deft twist, there’s also a discreetly hidden pocket in between those two, with a zipper that you’re unlikely to find if you aren’t looking for it. Stuffing both flanking pockets with miscellaneous goods is a good way to casually conceal something in the middle pocket, even against a trained eye.
Most of my packs don’t serve one single purpose, rather get reused for many different tasks. The AMP 72 has primarily served as a substitute range bag (with built-in rifle case), holding cameras, tripod, camera gimbal, Ipad, SBR/PCC, mags, ear pro and handgun. All that before I smash the first aid Gear Set onto the 9″ x 9″ velcro panel to extend the AMP’s considerable capabilities. We’re quickly closing in on Spring, wherein the AMP will switch gears into a general purpose camping backpack (with an SBR tucked away). If any deficiencies crop up later, I’ll update this article. So far the AMP has been phenomenal.
If you haven’t caught on yet, I think the AMP 72 is an awesome pack. It has comfort, it has quality and it certainly has versatility. The external velcro panel (and internal velcro lining) give you a multitude of options for configuring your gear hauler. 5.11 and their team put a lot of thought into the AMP series, and it really shows in the end product. The AMP 72 runs $249.99, and is available in 4 colors. Check it out!