Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Ignitor Backpack

Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Ignitor Backpack


Blurring the lines between tactical and outdoors, the 5.11 Tactical Ignitor Backpack is a top-loading multi-day pack designed to adapt and grow with the user so they can easily transition from one activity to the next. It features a proprietary internal frame system, a multitude of lashing points, and the whole front of the pack can be opened allowing for easy organization and retrieval of gear.


The 5.11 Tactical Ignitor pack falls in line with the pricing of other technical backpacks available on the market today, which is generally less expensive than tactical and military backpacks of the same ilk. This adds appeal to the user looking for a durable bag that’s rich in features, but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money.

– Dimensions: 21” H x 11” L x 9.5 W
– 2194 cubic inches
– Weight: 3.88 lbs.

There’s some discussion about the actual volume of the pack. 5.11 has stated the pack is only 1617 cubic inches, but looking at the posted dimensions – and I can confirm – it’s closer to 2200 cubic inches.


– Constructed from a 300D ripstop poly body and 840D nylon bottom.
– The front of the pack is covered in MOLLE webbing and has a soft Velcro surface for lashing and expansion.
– Main compartment features a hydration sleeve and two flat, zippered compartments.
– Two external narrow side pockets that run down the length of the bag.
– The lid features a small, map style pocket on the top and smaller one on the front for internal access.
– Two large, stretchy mesh water bottle pockets; one on each side.
– Front compressible shove-it pocket for rain gear, helmets, etc.
– Removable waist-belt features lashing points for pouches or gear you want to easily access.
– Bottom lashing for sleeping bag, tent, etc.

The Ignitor utilizes a proprietary suspension system termed “Zephyr” which has an internal frame sheet and an external mesh set-up similar to the ones featured in modern Osprey, North Face, and Gregory packs which is designed to arc away from your back to keep you cool and dry. This system, when used in conjunction with the removable waist belt, can hold up to 30lbs comfortably when organized properly. After testing the pack thoroughly however, I have no doubt it will hold more. Additionally, the shoulder straps and waist-belt of the Ignitor also feature MOLLE webbing which allows for routing of tubes and wires, and further expansion of the pack.


– The opening to the main compartment is U-Shaped and runs all the way down the front of the pack allowing you to organize and access items inside with ease. This also allows you to flip the Ignitor around to your front to access items on the go at any time.

– Routing for the hydration bladder can be a bit of a bear, but with the webbing on the shoulder strap, you can really get that hose to sit exactly where you want and need it.

– Shoulder straps and waist belt seems a little flimsy at first, but actually allow for the pack to cinch down tighter against your body and form more significantly around the wearer for a more comfortable, long-term carry.

– Bulit-in strap management allows for the Ignitor’s belts and straps to be organzied so as to not impeded movement in any way.

With all of the MOLLE webbing on the Ignitor, this pack can really be customized to fit your needs, allowing it to grow and adapt to your exact specifications. MOLLE is a universal strap system first made popular in military packs, and 5.11 offers their own line of products that integrate onto the Ignitor. But there are other companies out there making pouches and other accessories that may suit your needs too.

– Lashing the 5.11 Ignitor 6.5 Pouch to the lid of the pack allowed me to have an easily accessible and removable first aid kit which is small enough to put in my pocket if I leave the main pack behind.

– If you need to carry a rifle with you in the backcountry, the RUSH Tier Rifle Sleeve is a no-brainer. It’s a long adjustable Velcro strip with a cup at the end that attaches to a buckle inside the shove-it pocket. It allows you to insert the rifle muzzle-down into the cup so that it can still be accessed even with the pack on your back. A pre-installed bungee strap and clasp also allows you to secure the rifle in place if need be.


The 5.11 Tactical Ignitor is a fantastic top loader for that person who does a multitude of different outdoor activities. Though it may look a little tactical for some, I have found that tactical and military packs are generally built a little better and have features you generally don’t find on your standard outdoor pack – in this case an abundance of MOLLE webbing. The ignitor, when packed properly, fits nicely behind your back, staying balanced and secure. Adding the RUSH Tier Scabbard didn’t alter that in any way, allowing you to stay surefooted at all times. 

I would recommend this pack for both single day and multiday trips as it’s easy to compress or expand as needed. I have yet to pick up a rain cover for the Ingitor, but I would certainly recommend one. I’d also suggest researching available add-on pouches from 5.11 tactical and Maxpedition.

5.11 Tactical was founded by Royal Robins as a durable/technical clothing line. Over the years – and through different business deals – the compnay has evolved into a clothing and equipment manufacturer that has been embraced by law enforcement agencies and private military contractors, as well as outdoor enthusiasts and others who are looking for high-end, tactical gear. This is due in part to their use of premium materials that feature rip-stop, water and stain repellence, or a combination of all three. This help their clothing and gear stand up to abuse for years, greatly increasing the value of the brand.