5.11 is the apparel brand that is there for you wherever your outdoor adventures may take you.
Reliable, durable, and trusted. The company started in 1992 with the production of their original 5.11 pants.
The FBI claimed these to be part of their official training uniform. Since then, the company has formed a lasting bond with law enforcement, first responders, and the military. These pants have also become a staple for those who lead a tactical lifestyle.
Why Buy 5.11?
Besides the fact that this gear has a reputation as the premier name in tactical gear, why would you buy it? Their clothes work in many environments and will help you handle whatever comes your way.
Their apparel lines range from fitness, law enforcement, military, EMS and fire. They also have an industrial category of clothing.
They also care about basic human rights. 5.11 goes the extra mile to guarantee that where they source their material and labor from is high-quality and ethical. In this process, they use a third-party agency to audit and report on the environment in which their clothes are produced.
They set strict guidelines that will mitigate any child labor practices or human trafficking. That’s not something you’ll typically see with apparel brands.
The Best 5.11 Backpacks
There’s a small chance that you’re reading this and wondering why you would even need a tactical backpack. But if you are, we’ve got a few for you. To start, if you’re not in the military or a first responder, there’s still plenty of reasons why it might be a good fit for you.
Most backpacks are durable and reliable. If you’re an outdoorsman or woman, it’s a great option for organizing your essential gear. Or if you have any sort of job that requires a lot of gear, a tactical backpack might be a great option. These bags are helpful if you want to avoid extra luggage fees or need to pack succinctly.
Now that you have a better idea of why tactical backpacks are useful, let’s talk about what to look for. As far as material goes, it’s best to find one that’s made with a durable nylon, like Cordura or Kodra.
The material may affect the weight since the heavier duty nylons tend to of course be – heavier. Chances are though, most people will sacrifice a little weight savings for a bag that won’t rip.
The next thing to consider is the size of the bag. 5.11 makes a variety of sized bags, from lighter “daypacks” to full-on multi-day backpacking bags, such as the Ignitor.
They put a lot of thought into how their packs will feel and how comfortable they will be. Bigger packs usually include hip straps and chest straps to keep the weight evenly dispersed.
Most of their packs include countless options for customization with a MOLLE strap system. This allows you to add external pouches on the pack for more storage options.
How Much Should I Expect to Spend on a Tactical Backpack?
This, of course, like any other consumer product, is going to vary. In the case of 5.11’s packs, the most modest one, the cross-strap Rush Moab 6, starts at $60.
Their most expensive pack, the 84 ALS EMS backpack, is filled with pockets and accessory options. This bag is priced at $230.
How Do I Clean My Tactical Backpack?
Once you’ve used your bag in the field, you might be wondering what the best way to clean it is without compromising the product’s integrity. Like most tactical bags, it’s best to hand wash it with cold, soapy water, rinse, and let it air dry.
What to Look for in a 5.11 Backpack
- Backpack weight
- Carrying capacity
- Comfort of the backpack
Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical backpacks here.
The Best 5.11 Shirts.
The next item to note is 5.11’s shirts. They have a pretty diverse range of them that suit needs from tactical to casual. What makes a shirt tactical? We’re glad you asked.
They make shirts for working professionals that need their entire outfit to have the proper functionality, right down to the T-shirt.
The professional long sleeve shirt is made of a moisture-wicking cotton. This shirt is complete with a tapered fit, a bit of extra length and pen pockets on the left sleeve.
To contrast this shirt, there are 13 different button-down shirts that are designed for concealed firearms. These come with pen slots in the chest pocket, but the main feature is the loose fit around the stomach and waist for quick access to your concealed carry.
In contrast, they also make a tight fitted holster shirt, that wears like an undershirt. This shirt is designed with mesh pockets near the outside of your chest that should fit a pistol on one side and an extra magazine on the other. Ideally, you would wear a looser fitting shirt over this one.
They also have a line of uniform style blouses and shirts, including a MultiCam blouse. If you need something to relax in, they also have a huge T-shirt line with dozens of patterns.
You’ll want to narrow down the size and fit of the shirt. Most of their tops come in one of four fits – compression, fitted, regular, and classic. The regular fit will fit like a loose T-shirt and the classic fit is more on the baggy side.
What Materials Should I Look for?
The details and functionality of these shirts are planned down to the buttons. Melamine buttons on some of the tactical shirts won’t burn, crack, or melt.
Many of the shirts are also made with a material that resists the transmission of bloodborne pathogens as well as other stains.
It’s a good idea to check the tags if you do order a shirt or garment. The variety of clothing materials means that there is a variety of suggested ways to wash them.
How Do I Prevent My Shirt from Wrinkling?
For their tactile fabric, it’s suggested to wash it in cold water with a little bit of detergent and tumble dry on low. Like most high-quality shirts, it’s a good idea to iron the wrinkles out and use a wrinkle-resistant spray.
What to Look for in a 5.11 Shirt
- Find the right style for you
- Concealed pockets
Check out 5.11 Tactical’s shirts here.
The Best 5.11 Tactical Pants
Whoa, tactical pants, too? Yep. And they’re a step up from the baggy, cargo pants that we used to wear in the early 2000s. Style is, of course, important to 5.11, but form and function come first.
The nice thing about 5.11’s pants is that there’s a wide price range. The more modest priced pants start at $40. You’ll pay more than that for a pair of Levi’s, so that’s not a bad starting price at all. This $40 pair, called the Fast-Tac Urban Pant, comes with a water-resistant finish and much more.
Between the price range, one of their more popular pants, the Stryke, is $75. The Stryke is a tactical pant, through and through. It’s made of a rip resistant, Teflon fabric, 12 pockets, articulated knees and the front pockets are great for everyday items. The higher priced Urban Pant comes with more features.
If you need a tough pair of pants or khakis that aren’t going to rip at the knees or stain easy, go with the Urban Pant or the Defender-Flex jeans. They won’t break the bank and will last a long time.
If you need something with more options, more pockets, a tougher material and finish, then go with something like the Stryke or the Traverse. As the price goes up, so will the breathability, the material, and the strength of them.
All their pants are engineered to be tough, reliable, and made for the tactical lifestyle. Their pants, like the rest of the gear, are made to suit a wide range of customers, from police officers to construction workers.
What to Look for When Buying Tactical Pants:
- How fast they dry
- Storage capacity
Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical pants here.
The Best 5.11 Tactical Boots
It’s going to look a bit silly if you’re wearing tactical pants, shirts, and backpacks, but have a pair of Converse or a slippery-soled dress shoe on. That’s why 5.11 has the best gear to dress you from head to toe.
Whether you’re a U.S. soldier looking for lighter boots, or you’re an outdoorsman or woman that needs a low-top hiking shoe, there are many options.
This brand covers every option in their boot selection. There are low-top, black, leather boots, high-top boots, and nearly everything in between.
If you’re a police officer, firefighter, security guard or outdoorsman there’s a good chance you’ll find one of their boots of use. Be sure to check if the shoe is going to vent the way you want it to or that it will be moisture resistant.
All boots are made with traction and agility in mind. To give you an idea of their lighter side, 5.11 starts with the Ranger shoe. It’s geared towards all-day use and comfort and looks more like a hiking shoe.
On the flip side, the Apex boot has a Vibram MegaGrip sole, reaches up to your low shin and is made of a waterproof, polishable leather. It’s the boot that you want if you’re stranded in a flood or hiking in the wetlands.
How Do I Clean My Tactical Boots?
If you go with a pair of their boots, you’re going to want to take proper care of them. They aren’t cheap and the best way to get a long life out of them is to give them the proper care. The instructions for suede boots are to use a rubber eraser on the material to take off dirt and smudges and brush away with a boot brush.
If they get muddy, wait for them to dry. It makes a lot easier for the dirt to break away from suede. Make sure to brush them in the same direction every time and don’t use a wire brush. The boots are silicone sprayed for water resistance.
How Do I Break in My Tactical Boots?
Let’s talk briefly about breaking a new pair of boots like this in. Most heavy-duty boots like this have a reputation for being a bit of a pain when you first tie them up. But there are a few ways to make this process more comfortable.
First off, if you order them online, consult their sizing chart. Boots are meant to fit right. They shouldn’t be a little too small or a little too big. That’s a recipe for aches and pains down the road.
That said, the stiffness of the boot at first may still cause a few blisters, even if they are a perfect fit. This is natural. It’s not a bad idea to wear your new pair for a few hours at a time and then swap them out with your old pair to get fully accustomed to the new ones.
Something else that might help is wearing two pairs of socks to reduce friction over sore areas. It’s going to take a solid week or two, depending on how often you wear them to get a full break-in.
Be patient, it’s part of the process and when they are broken in, it’ll be worth it.
What to Look for in Tactical Boots:
- Moisture resistance
Check out our selection of the best 5.11 Tactical boots here.
5.11 is one of the best apparel brands for those who want though, tactical gear. The only thing tougher than their apparel will be the decision between which items to buy!