511 Tactical Boxpack at SHOT Show 2015

| February 2, 2015 | 2 Comments

We saw a lot of discreet bags at SHOT Show 2015 this year. In general, manufacturers who knew what they were doing made bags there were even more discreet than prior offerings. 5.11 Tactical, BLACKHAWK!, Combat Flip Flops, and Vertx all showed bags that looks just like normal bags on the street.

Some companies decided to make higher-cost, more fashionable bags. Other companies decided to stick with more common bag shapes and aimed to deliver the most bang for the buck.

5.11 Tactical’s COVRT Boxpack is a very well made bag based on the classic rolltop rucksack design, and it was the best price-to-performance bag we saw at SHOT Show 2015.

Overview

Basically, the Boxpack looks like a funky hiking bag. It doesn’t have any MOLLE webbing or tactical hardware on the outside. The YKK zippers have normal pulls, and there’s not an inch of paracord to be seen. The grab handle on the top of the bag is beefy and well constructed without looking out of place on a day pack.

I really like the smooth face of the Boxpack. There’s not a single logo anywhere on the bag where people would normally see. Even the (relatively) discreet blue fabric 5.11 tag on earlier products is missing.

The Boxpack is made out of 1650D polyester. It’s the kind of durable fabric you’d expect from a day pack / hiking bag. It’ll blend right into a sea of backpacks and sling bags. The Boxpack is offered in black, gray, and green — all of which are very low key.

According to the very friendly folks at the 5.11 Tactical booth, the interior main pocket of the Boxpack is 16″ deep. I am confident my AR15 pistol in .300 Blackout would fit with the stock folded and the pistol inserted diagonally.

There are a ton of other pockets in the bag: two deep side pockets that could be used to hold spare magazines, an accessory section that would be great for a trauma kit and/or a small tablet, a fleece lined gadget pouch for sunglasses or accessories, and a deep pocket at the bottom of the bag that runs the width of the Boxpack. This would be another good place for a trauma kit.

The accessory section I mentioned earlier has MOLLE webbing inside. The two deep side pockets have nylon loops for holding gear or firearms, and the rest of the pockets are lined with fabric.

There is also a full-length pocket on the back of the bag. It could be used for a laptop, but also could be used for a ballistic panel. This pocket is completely discreet and I don’t think it could be seen while the bag is on your body.

The shoulder straps are robust without looking like an “assault pack.” I used a Mountain Hardware backpack as my EDC bag for quite some time, and I find the Boxpack’s shoulder straps to be reminiscent of an outdoor bag instead of a tactical bag. When it’s important to stay discreet, these little touches mean a lot.

Price to Performance

Little details like lining every pocket or using YKK zippers add up, both in quality and in cost. However, 5.11 has done a few things to keep costs down. I think it was very wise to only offer three colors. More colors add production costs, and this makes the price of the bag go up, or forces the product design team to cheat on things like zippers. The 1650D polyester fabric is quality, but it’s not exotic or super fashionable like the waxed canvas used by BLACKHAWK! or Combat Flip Flops this year. 1650D offers a mainstream look at a lower price.

The back is super padded and ventilated. This may not seem like a big deal, but adding an SBR or PDW to your bag is like putting an extra laptop in there. Comfort becomes a real issue.

Drawbacks

My only criticisms about the rolltop rucksack design has nothing to do with the Boxpack itself. I think the most important thing to know is that it’s not going to be easy to lock the main compartment of the bag. That’s not due to a design oversight by 5.11 — that’s because of the rolltop design. If you have kids around, or want to keep coworkers from snooping around your bag, or if your state has firearms storage laws, then this may not be the bag for you (read why I think it’s important to lock your EDC bag and my revised techniques).

The other thing to consider is that while a two-strap backpack design is going to be the best for comfort and weight distribution, it’s not the best if you need to deploy your firearm or access anything while on the move, such as a trauma kit or spare magazines. It is possible to do these things based on your body type, flexibility, and how you set up your bag, but it won’t be nearly as easy as a sling bag, messenger bag, or laptop bag.

I would love to see a sling bag option for the Boxpack in 2016.

Conclusion

For $109.99 MSRP, I think the 5.11 Boxpack is a great value. It looks good, blends in, and has quality components, even if they are more “mainstream” compared to some other products we saw at SHOT Show 2015. If your style and environment permits the outdoor / casual look, I think this is one of the best purpose-built firearms bags you could buy.

Even better, as of this writing the Boxpack is on sale for less than $90 before shipping. I don’t know how long the sale will last, but the bag is even more attractive at $90.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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2 Comments on "511 Tactical Boxpack at SHOT Show 2015"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    Thanks for the review. I am always interested ins seeing the latest and greatest in “covert” gear, whether it be holsters, med kits, or packs. I am always trying to find something a lil more comfy, better function etc.

    Thanks for all the great info from Shot!

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