We here at Loadoutroom spend a lot of time testing equipment that people use in life-or-death situations. Serious gear used by military personnel, law enforcement and first responders. Every now and then it’s nice to take a break from the serious and indulge in the more lighthearted aspects of our industry. Such was the case when I wrote up an article covering Morale Patches from SHOT Show, and another interviewing a Patch Maker. It is in that same vein that I cover the 5.11 Morale Pack.
5.11 is known for making heavy-duty goods ranging from clothing to footwear to range bags and more. Many of their products are aimed at those in tough-use careers, so their products are built accordingly. The Morale Bag is a different animal though. It isn’t built with a dozen side pockets, nor a massive waist-belt to support a heavy load. The Morale Pack is a general purpose, light duty bag with a twist: a big (X” x X”) loop (think “Velcro®”) panel on the outside of the pack. This material is more commonly called hook-and-loop fastener, but I digress. Here you can stick nametapes, unit patches or morale patches. This also lends a bit of versatility to the Morale Pack, as we’ll cover shortly.
First, a quick look at the tech specs as per 5.11’s site.
- Exclusive 5.11 Always Be Ready® patch included
- Main compartment: 18.5″H x 11″L x 6″D
- Total capacity 1220 cubic inches/20 liters
- Large loop panel on front panel for name tape and morale patches
- Top zipper pocket
- Web MOLLE platform on left side panel
- Water bottle pocket with drawsting on right side panel
- Padded shoulder straps with loop face for additional patches
- Padded laptop sleeve in main compartment
- Water-resistant 600D Poly
The Morale Pack makes a good general purpose pack. It is big enough to hold a decent amount of gear. It works well as a camera bag on range days, and has a medium sized laptop pouch that fits my large Ipad Pro. The external side pocket is big enough for a large water-bottle, but not so tall it’s a pain to drop in some car keys or your phone. The elastic drawstring helps keep all items in that pocket secure.
On the opposite “hip” is a 3×4 patch of MOLLE webbing, enough for a couple of pouches of whatever you like. The sewing has been applied with someone who wants the stitching to outlast the cockroaches that live through nuclear winter.
The sunglasses pouch near the top of the Morale Pack is pretty deep. I can easily fit two pairs of eye-pro in there, three if I don’t like them too much.
The straps are perfectly workman like. They exist, and have a moderate bit of padding to boot. The stitching attaching the straps to the main body is more than sufficient. As a small bonus, there are loop strips running vertically down the length of the straps. Small patches, mini pouches or any velcro backed accessories ran run wild here.
The main compartment is bigger than it looks at first glance. Camera gimbal, a couple MRE’s and a rain jacket? Still plenty of room left.
I don’t have any real complaints, but two minor quibbles. One is that the fabric that comprises the body of the Morale Pack feels a bit cheap. It hasn’t failed or let me down in any way yet, so it’s tough to really knock it there. The other is a lack of hool-loop backing inside the pack. It’s a feature found on many of 5.11’s higher-end packs, and I really like it. It’s nice to slap a velcro backed holster inside a backpack to keep a handgun secure, but it’s not a make-or-break feature on a more leisure oriented product.
I think it’s easy to see the 5.11 Morale Pack in a positive light, as it’s not the extreme-use market segment yet still delivers very good quality-to-cost. I’ve really started to think of it as a “family pack”. I’d like to pick one up for each of my kids, for camping use. Different patches will help visually identify each kid’s pack at a glance, and lend a bit of personal customization.
All told, the Morale Pack is a very good general purpose pack, which doubles as a modular patch/pouch/pocket vehicle. It even comes with an exclusive 5.11 patch. With 5.11 patches being highly collectible and sought after in the secondary market, this makes the deal even sweeter. The 5.11 Morale Pack comes in at $59.99 and is available in four colors. Well worth it, I’d say. Check it out!
Select morale patches: