Hands on: 5.11's rugged, Mac- & iPad-capable AMP24 backpack

in Current Mac Hardware
Many backpacks are roomy enough to carry MacBooks and iPads, but if you're looking for something tougher we recently stumbled across 5.11's lineup, including the AMP24.

511 Tactical AMP24 Backpack

In the U.S. at least there's a tendency to fetishize military-style clothing and equipment. Sometimes it makes sense -- you would want that gear for camping, for example -- but sometimes it's a little ridiculous, like camo cargo shorts.

5.11 takes the concept seriously. Many of its products are legitimately aimed at soldiers, police, and emergency services, or people who have similar needs. Going into a firefight? They sell plate carriers.

The AMP24 ($189.99) echoes that thinking, with water-resistant nylon and one pocket even specifically intended for a concealed-carry weapon and holster attachment. The Hexgrid panel on the back isn't for show either, since it can be used for attaching ammo and first-aid pouches.

Being a relatively pacifist civilian, the main reason we thought AppleInsider should take a look is its laptop/hydration pocket. 5.11 claims it can fit a 15-inch laptop, and while it might be tight, it's certainly doable. iPads and smaller MacBooks should have no problem -- on the way to the gym, we were able to stuff a 9.7-inch iPad (in a rugged case) with room for a spare shirt.

511 AMP24

If you want to stash an iPhone or various accessories, you have multiple options. On the outside, there's a shallow topside pocket that's just big enough for something like an iPhone 8 Plus or XS Max. Behind the Hexgrid is larger, though flat and less convenient pocket.

Inside the main compartment there yet more pockets, including two zippered mesh ones. One of the latter opens from either side, so you can grab things from it without having to unzip the main compartment entirely.

5 11 Tactical AMP 24 Backpack

We'll have a full review once we've been wearing it for a while, but for now we'll say the AMP24 takes a little getting used to as a tech backpack. It's designed to squeeze the most out of its 32-liter capacity, so you'll sometimes encounter compromises when it comes to accessibility -- to unzip the laptop compartment for instance, you have to maneuver past the straps. We're feeling positive so far nevertheless.

Where to buy

Ready to pick up the AMP24? 5.11 Tactical sells the rugged backpack for $189.99 with free shipping.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    Roger, the pictures are not very helpful to see how the bag works. Could that be adjusted? As a computer consultant, I find their stuff to be useful I wear EMT style pants to climb around offices and always need a bag that is durable and roomy. 
  • Reply 2 of 5
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,891member
    For me it isn’t a question of military styling but rather how badly designed are the external straps.   I’m basing this on my recent purchase of an Osprey Nebula backpack/ laptop carrier.   The biggest design fault that backpack has is the excess straps that snag on everything or get stepped on when carried by the handle.  

    Since i I mostly carry the beast by its handle those straps become a nuisance.  By the way I’m not talking about the just the straps that make it a backpack but even those get in the way.  It is such a problem that I’m thinking seriously of ditching the backpack approach for the briefcase / tool carrier approach that Klien and others have.  

    In the end end I believe backpacks suffer from “me too” adoption even if the concept doesn’t make sense for many users.   Even for students I’m not convinced that a backpack is always the right solution.  In many ways backpacks are like bottomless pits where items go to disappear.  Ultimately they have to be dumped upside down to actually clean them out.  

    As for the 5.11 backpack I have to agree with the other commenter, your pictures don’t do the pack justice.  
  • Reply 3 of 5
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 214member
    wizard69 said:
     The biggest design fault that backpack has is the excess straps that snag on everything or get stepped on when carried by the handle.  
    Have a look at http://www.ilovemykanken.com/, and also the totepack from Fjällräven.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    The company’s name is 5.11 TACTICAL. Why is the author afraid to call it that? 
    Sure, there’s a bunch of crazy-ass jingoistic right-wing claptrap on their website, but they make some outstanding gear.

    I use a 5.11 Tactical RUSH MOAB sling pack for photo gear. The thing holds a lot, is tough as nails and rides well.
    The only negative is the pack has a rubbery patch on the back, to prevent sliding, that destroyed some normal people shirts! 
  • Reply 5 of 5
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 148member, editor
    Not afraid to call it that, 5.11 is just far faster to write out.
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