Many of our readers spend a good amount of time traveling for their jobs and we all know what a hassle it is to lug around laptops, notebooks, phones, etc., but no matter where you look, no one seems to make a bag that competently provides ready access to all your electronic devices, travel documents and other resources you need. We’d like to tell you that there are much more functional solutions than a traditional and equally boring attaché case. We had an excellent opportunity to get a first hand look at the 5.11 Messenger Bag and loved it.
I’ll get the boring stuff out of the way first. Materials and build quality are excellent there is not a stich, buckle, webbing or drain grommet that is out of place; in fact, I couldn’t find a single Irish pendant anywhere on this bag. That could be an anomaly but it speaks volumes to 5.11 Tactical’s QA.
Some of its many noteworthy features are: water resistant 1050D Nylon construction, a large main compartment that will easily accept a 15” laptop (11” H x 17” L x 4” D), two water bottle pockets that work equally well for communications gear, internal capacity of 748 cubic inchs that is exceptionally well laid out, YKK® self-healing zippers throughout, Duraflex® hardware, Luggage handle attachment, padded shoulder strap with a stabilizing sling, external loop panels for flag/morale/name or unit patches and two external admin pockets for calculators, I.D. cards, travels documents or just about anything that you need quick access to.
The internals left nothing to be desired. Opening the front flap reveals a number of pockets which I took the liberty to configure with a tactical handheld light, a folding knife, two ballpoint pens, and a tactical pen and Sharpie. Integrated into the front of the bag are two additional pockets with Velcro closures that sit directly behind the pen and flashlight compartments. Moving inward, I found no problem finding a generous space for three tablets, that I used in conjunction with Common Operational Picture software, smart phone and laptop with all of the associated chargers and power sources.
After all of that, I still had two internal folder sized pockets for maps, documents, or what have you, and two zippered mesh pockets that you can use for things like mad money. 5.11 uses internal Velcro retaining straps to keep all of your equipment and compartments snug and secure.
The 5.11 Tactical Rush Delivery Messenger Bag includes an external pocket specifically designed to accommodate a sidearm.
Everything on this bag is ambidextrous and the weapon compartment is no exception. 5.11 included two Velcro fasteners on the inside of the pocket that allow the user to carry the bag with the pocket unzipped. Opening the compartment is then a simple matter of pulling on the pocket mouth or using your hand like a knife blade to break open the Velcro closer. Last night, I ran through a couple of what I call “assholes and elbows” drills to get a feel for how quickly I could gain access to the firearm. I’ll tell you right now, this is not a quick draw solution unless you wear the bag so its front side faces your body, but just the same, an external weapon compartment is very nice to have depending on where your travels take you. The pocket also features an internal loop panel to retain a pistol magazine pouch and holster.
In closing, I found the 5.11 Tactical Rush Delivery Messenger Bag to be eminently competent with superb quality. You can find these bags selling in the $90 to $80 price range and 5.11 Tactical lists the M.S.R.P. at $99.99 with a variety of color options. This bag does everything right so check it out.