I love backpacks and have many more than I need. I have backpacks that are too big, too small, or too tactical looking. My goal has to been find a backpack I can use for airline carry on, daily carry for my workout clothes, and be able to stand up to hard use as needed on my next adventure. I like the features of tactical backpacks, but I don’t like the tactical look for common use.
I know I should expand my options, but 5.11 has been my go-to brand for many years. However, a recent interaction with their customer service really soured me. I didn’t want to give 5.11 my business, so I decided to shop around. I found myself coming back to the AMP24, but at least I found it on LA Police Gear (https://lapolicegear.com/) at the same price as the 5.11 sale price. I decided to give-in to my addiction and order it. Shipping was surprisingly fast and I had the backpack in just a few days, and that was with a delay because of Thanksgiving.
I eagerly removed the backpack from the packaging like a kid unwrapping a gift on Christmas. The size of the backpack was perfect. The AMP12 would have been too small and the AMP72 would have been too big for my needs. I had already purchased the Helmet Pouch & Shove-It Gear Set from Amazon so I threw that on. I don’t plan on carrying a helmet, but I loved the shove-it pouch on my HAVOC 30 backpack. This is a great way of keeping my gym shoes separate from my clothes. It was also handy for carrying other items you may want to grab without going in the bag (hat, sweatshirt, etc.). I pulled of the HEXGRID panel and attached it inside my bag so it was handy or so I could attach MOLLE gear.
I haven’t been carrying the bag yet, so these are my first impressions. I will update this post as I get familiar with the backpack.
- The water-resistant 500D Dobby Nylon (main) 1050D Nylon (bottom) should hold up well.
- The back panel has a raised firm padding with a gap down the middle. This will keep the pack off your spine. There is also a plastic backing to keep the shape of the pack and prevent any objects in the pack from pressing against your back.
- The interior of the pack is taller than I expected and since it is rectangular, it will allow for better storage. I can fit clothes and a toiletries bag at the top.
- The exterior of the pack has small pockets at the top and bottom. The bottom pocket has a tight opening and will not be good for carrying much. I may place durable items in this pocket that do not need to be removed regularly. The top pocket is roomier, but not big. It has a soft lining that would be good for glasses if stored with nothing else that could damage them. I doubt sunglasses in a hard case would fit well in this pocket.
- The exterior of the pack has side pockets that are not very obvious. These pockets could each hold a rather large bottle of water, or maybe even a couple bottles depending on how stuffed the main compartment. This is because the pockets expand on the inside of the pack. They are not like the exterior water bottle holders on other backpacks. I found myself using these pockets for phone accessories when carrying the HAVOC 30 on a plane, so I really wanted them. The AMP12 did not have these pockets.
- The exterior flap almost opens the length of the pack and has inner mesh pockets. This makes it easy to pack since most of the interior is available. The top inner mesh pocket looks like it has the zipper upside down, which it does, but this is so it is right side up when the flap is only partially opened and folded down. The only improvement would have been to have zippers on the top and bottom since I will not always be folding down the top.
- The top of the pack curves toward the back of the pack so it somewhat looks like an old style rucksack. This [so far] has interfered a bit with zipping and unzipping the pack. The quality zippers with paracord has helped smooth the process. I am guessing this design was to aid in retrieving equipment from the top of the pack. So far, I think I would have preferred the pack flap not curve toward the back of the pack. However, the pack is rather sleek with this design and compression straps.
- The HEXGRID panel is good looking, though a bit flashy for me. If I dare say, it’s got a bit of an Oakley look to it. I did take it off and put on the optional shove-it pouch. I could see putting the HEXGRID back on depending on the use of the pack. I appreciate it is functional, but not as tactical looking as MOLLE. As I mentioned before, I moved the HEXGRID panel to the interior of the pack. I could see attaching some type of MOLLE pouches, though I could not get them as high up as I would like because there are a few inches from the top of the pack to the HEXGRID webbing.
- The optional shove-it pouch opens quite large since it is supposed to be able to carry a helmet. My shoes or a sweatshirt will easily fit. The outer flap of the shove-it pouch also a large pocket with dual zippers so you can unzip just one side for quick access. The pocket can hold more than I would expect, as long as you do not have something large beneath the shove-it flap that causes it to bend (like a helmet). I will likely keep my wallet, keys, and other common items in there.
- After going through the shove-it attachment, I thought I did not need a 2 Banger Gear Set, but I ordered one anyway. I don’t know what was happening on the 5.11 website, but they did not have a photo of this item or an option to purchase it. I ended up buying it from LA Police Gear. I wish I would have ordered it when I ordered the pack to save on shipping. The 2 Banger Gear Set appeals to my geek needs. It adds exterior pockets and organization like a common backpack, yet allows carrying 223 magazines should you be on a tactical adventure… Since this would be on a backpack, it could be handy for the person behind you to be carrying a rifle. I’m being sarcastic and know the 2 Banger can also be used with a plate carrier, so you don’t need to leave a comment about that.
Did I need this backpack? No, but I really wanted it! The HAVOC 30 was close to being the perfect backpack for my daily use, but I hated the quick release tabs. They were terrible and I never got used to them. Even on sale, the AMP24 and the optional shove-it and 2 Banger attachments brought the cost to around $240. I know that was a good price for the quality of this backpack, however, a $50 backpack or bag would have been fine for a gym bag. This would have been sensible because of how much I’ve been spending on Christmas shopping. I just like knowing I can swap some attachments, take this on a vacation, and throw almost anything at it. I could likely get rid of a couple backpacks because of this new addition, but I won’t!