This year’s Shot Show didn’t yield a ton of new pack designs (unless you’re into conceal carrying a rifle) but one that did catch my eye was the 5.11 COVRT Boxpack.
The Boxpack is a roll-top design. Instead of a zipper, you roll the top of the bag up and then clip to secure it. It’s 5.11’s first roll-top bag and that’s cool but I think in this case they might have outsmarted themselves. The primary benefit to having a roll-top bag is the ability to vary the bag’s capacity to adapt to different loads. This is why some of the best roll-top bags come from companies that cater to cyclists – like Mission Workshop. Bike messengers in particular sometimes haul very large loads but they don’t want to ride around wearing a huge floppy bag the rest of the time. Most of Mission Workshop’s bags are designed to fold down into a smaller pack when the capacity isn’t needed.
In this case, due to how the 5.11 bag is structured, that really isn’t possible so you loose the primary benefit of the design. They should have stuck with a zipper for the main compartment, which would have made the bag less unique but a little easier to access.
That’s not to say that the Boxpack doesn’t have some redeeming qualities. I think it’s a nice looking pack that is also non-tactical in appearance (those two don’t always go together). The front of the pack has what looks to be a well executed hook and loop CCW pocket and large zippered water bottle pockets on either side that also have elastic keepers sewn on the inside to hold extra magazines. The bottom zippered pouch could also hold a firearm if you want to re-purpose the CCW pocket for admin use by adding a small hook and loop accessory panel. Yes, there is no admin panel in this bag out-of-the-box.
The shoulder straps have laser cut molle to save on weight and an adjustable sternum strap. There is also a nicely padded carry handle.
The exterior of the bag is made from 1680D ballistic polyester, which is typically used for luggage. Not my favorite material for packs, but it keeps the cost down. The dimensions are 19.5”H x 13”L x 8”W with a capacity of 1872 cubic inches. Size-wise, that’s puts the Boxpack between the COVRT 18 and the RUSH 24.
Right now, 5.11 Tactical is holding a 20% off sale on all packs, bags, and pouches until 3/2/2015. As a result, the introductory price on the COVRT Boxpack is only $87.99, which is a great value if the Boxpack has the features you’re looking for in a mid-sized pack.