5.11 Covert 18 Pack

I handled one for about 5 minutes that had been issued to a DUSM in my Courthouse.

The bottom line impression I was left with was that it should feel better made for the 100+ price tag.

While I know it has some "features" to better carry a weapon in the pack, I think that you could likely make something else work with somebody's else's USA made pack.

I also suspect that stuffered to its limits, it might be a bit tight going in regional jet overheads and under some seats.

I've been lugging one around every day full of EDC shit since ~Apr2011.

My over-all impression isn't exactly glowing. If they stripped the MOLLE off a RUSH24 and gave it a minor Covrt facelift, I think it'd be a great EDC pack.

It hasn't fallen apart yet, which has surprised me. I expected better for the money. Same goes for the Covrt M4 bag which was missing a grab handle after the first day of use.


"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM


Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

I've played with one at my local Streicher's store and I agree with the sentiments above. They could have done more and better with interior MOLLE and velcro fields. Also, for a largish backpack it seems like it would fill quickly. They quality, however, seemed good to me.
I had a sample for a few days recently to show around, but could not subject it to any real use. Initials impressions are that the design and layout was very...busy, for want of a better term. It was loaded with what I thought to be mostly gimmicky features, but not all were without utility. I found it to be typical of 5.11 widgets of this type: long on flash and flair, and short of its potential.

It would fit in the overheads and under seats on various CRJs, Embraers, and others I've flown on.

I would pick up a North Face Recon or similar model for discreet use and decent build. At a lower price point to boot.


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I put it through relative hell on Black Friday.

I'd say roughly 65 lbs - mostly shit I didn't want broken and stuffed with a spare set of clothes. Everything held together but I sure didn't expect it to. I was glad to get the fucking thing off and unloaded.

I want the material to gain that softer look through hard use or a gentle flat clear-coat dusting, not through being made of stool and lint from the start. I have always disliked the design of the shoulder straps and their attachment seems highly suspect.

I'd also planned on using this pack for transporting an SBR (broken down) and found that the 11.5" upper makes the pack look like its barely holding back the fury of a turgid meat whistle. Poor measuring/planning on my part, and no fault of the pack, but funny - to me - none the less.

I've got a RUSH12 and 24 off with our seamstress to see if she can remove some of the PALS and give it a faux front. It may be polishing a turd, but I've put one of my RUSH24s through some serious bullshit and it shows zero signs of quitting.

Those North Face packs... and I could probably finger fuck them locally... Heckler... Yavapai... Good stuff.


"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM


Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

I just figured I'd bump this. The Covrt 18 somehow still lives, although it's no longer an EDC bag as of maybe a year ago. My life has become static enough that I don't NEED a pack, and as such feel no desire to carry something that is uncomfortable, floppy, and feels like it should have fallen apart in about 5 days. It is now basically a 'Road Trip Pack' an EDC pack for when I'm not going to be within my current 5 mile radius.

If only they made the RUSH24 without MOLLE on the outside.

I have a stash of shit at work, some shit in the vehicle, and anything else can be transported in the Covrt M4 bag that I'm currently carrying daily. It also feels like a complete piece of shit, but it has stayed in one piece since one of the handles fell off the first time it was used.

That said, the search continues and lead me to the fairly new PIG Runt. It looks great, it has features, it DOES NOT have a typo on the specs. Something like 460ci - NOT 1460ci. It's like a tactical clutch purse with shoulder straps. I'll post up more info later. When stuffed to the max with some fabric I had laying around, it was still so small that it could fit inside the large compartment on the Covrt M4.

If I'm being completely honest, the Covrt18 would be good to great if it was made a little heavier and didn't have the worst shoulder straps I've ever encountered. The RUSH series straps don't scream tactical and they're pretty comfortable. The straps on the Covrt 18 might be ok if they didn't have the 'drag handle' attached to them. Seriously, whoever thought it was a good idea to run the shoulder straps out 2-3 inches and then put some foam fuckery at a 90 degree angle that a.) makes the pack ride low, and b.) puts pressure on the back of your neck should probably be shot. In a nice non-violent way of course.

Compartments, hidden compartments, really hidden  compartments, hydration bladder compartment, capacity - all super fucking check.

Materials - eh.

Shoulder straps - COMPLETE FUCK

Build quality? Uh... it somehow hasn't fallen apart yet. I have no idea how.


"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM


Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

I stand corrected, I'm back to an EDC pack.

I'm also going to be lugging around more shit since my daily life has become increasingly uncertain. Due to a lack of space (and all the previously listed reasons), the Covrt 18 has been replaced by a very reasonably priced North Face Surge Transit.

The Covert 18 is ~1850ci (30L) with a pretty piss poor main admin pouch and a nice molle lined secondary admin pouch.

The laptop "compartment" is internal. It has two fairly small overlapping slit pockets on the front and a "hidden" compartment between the main and admin compartments. The hidden section was great at stashing shit, but also great for leaving shit stashed. The answer to "Where the fuck did I put those rifle mags." will come in a couple weeks when you ask "Why the fuck is this so heavy?"

I think they were including the secondary admin pouch as part of the total size. The main compartment, especially with a laptop inside, wasn't overly roomy.


The Surge Transit is ~2300ci (38L) with a fucking massive admin pouch. While it doesn't have molle, it does have plenty of options and enough room for pouches.

The laptop compartment is also fucking massive AND separate. They've even put it behind the compression straps so you don't have to fuck with them when you just want to pull out your laptop and papers. The zippers goes all the way to the bottom. I should also mention that it has a hard sheet between your back and your laptop. This gives the laptop holder some stand-off from the ground, and helps the pack retain its shape. IMO they got lots of things right with this.

It also has overlapping slit pockets in front that are actually useful. I could pretty easily stash a couple of the more simplistic IFAKs in one without issue where as the Covrt 18 was pretty much gloves and other small items only.

The main compartment is just an empty void, which I somewhat prefer because it basically forces me to use my own organization system instead of just putting up with whatever came from the factory.

The external water bottle pouches on both are a little lackluster, so I'd say it is a wash there.

My first impressions of the Surge Transit is that it is a significantly better pack for roughly the same price. It also comes in a bunch of pretty boring colors.

I did an initial load test with an even mix of water bottles and fabric. The shoulder straps are significantly more comfortable than on the Covrt 18. The sternum strap on the North Face pack can't be removed without destruction (as far as I know). Initially I thought this was dumb, but seeing it in person I don't think it'll be a problem. Besides, it has a rape whistle on it. I can let people know I'm having a good time or something.

Been fun Covrt 18... not really.

One note on the North Face packs in general - they're COVERED with reflective shit. The worst kind of reflective shit too - the kind that looks black under normal light but glows like an ANSI vest at night. It doesn't bother me, but it wouldn't be my first choice if I had to grab a bag of gear to kick ass in the dark with.


"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM


Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

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