I am a recent Engineering graduate and for my last 2 years of school I used this bag to help me lug all my equipment around. I went through approximately 3 or 4 other "name brand" bags before purchasing this bag. Many of the others were trendy, but not high quality or functional. That's where this bag comes into play!
This bag is perfect for carrying my 17" widescreen, 8 lbs CAD and 3-D modeling computer. Not only that, there is plenty of room for me to carry my books, pencils,pens, and various cables and computer accessories needed. To top it off, this bag is highly modifiable using the Molle system. By purchasing a few pouches and holsters this bag can become anything one needs it to be.
This bag is designed to be rugged and long lasting, that said, it is not the lightest bag,
Great bag, like all the pockets for organizing my edc gear. My only complaint is that the shoulder strap is too long. I am 6' 235lbs and I have it at its shortest setting. I couldn't imagine a smaller person being able to get this small enough so that the bag will ride tight across the back. Also, sometimes when the bag is not as full I would like to make the strap shorter so that the bag rides higher on my back.
I bought the bag to use as a flight bag for commercial airline operations, and in so many ways it is ideal. It is comfortable to carry, easy to organise and access, hard wearing and looks very presentable. It is well made to a high standard and quality.
The Xray is too big, and I returned and exchanged it for the slightly smaller Lima version. In so many ways it is very very good. There are a few features that don't really work such as the pen and torch slots on the front: they catch on things (particularly when they have got pens and so on in them) and will become damaged in time. It would be better (in my opinion) if there were pen and torch slots inside the main compartment, maybe at either end of the bag where they could be easily felt for in dark or low light. Similarly the key clip is a bit of a token effort, and would be better in one of the front pockets, or perhaps within the main compartment. The black version of the bag makes seeing things inside quite difficult: perhaps a lighter colour interior would help to make it easier to find things.
Finally, my biggest criticism is why are there two big holes in the bottom of the bag? I don't know what they are supposed to let out, but they do let in dirt, dust and damp. I have covered them with gaffer tape (the NATO fix for everything).
While I'm not in the target market(s), this makes an awesome, rugged, configurable, "everything you need to work" bag for vagabond nerds that includes a padded sleeve that'll comfortably hold a large (17.3" diagonal) laptop. That combination is otherwise impossible to find.
I can easily carry everything I need to work - develoment, install / recovery, limited forensics, teaching, coaching and workshops - plus enough support gear to be out for a couple days pretty much anywhere. For me, it's an all-weather mobile office, weekender and emergency kit in one package. In gunmetal it passes as a briefcase/messenger without looking so tacti-cool it draws attention. The extensive organization features and build quality are bonuses.
For my purposes this bag is so far ahead of anything else available, it's no contest.
I have been looking for a messenger type bag to carry my 17" Apple MacBook Pro and the cords in. I have not been having much luck. This is a quality bag. It's constructed very well, as is all 5.11 gear. The laptop fits well and so do the accessories.
The only problem that I have is the admin part is not too well organized. Not enough pen pockets nor is there a good place to store other office items.
Great for carrying my 17" laptop and books and concealed carry, to using it for a day on the range.
I have gone through about 4 messenger bags and have been pretty disgusted with what has been offered on the market. I frequently fly mil-air into remote lz's as well as international commercial travel. I just want a good, inexpensive bag that can take some punishment and carry my laptop, papers and other sensitive electronics. I recently purchased this 5.11 Xray Messenger bag at a 5.11 store in Manila while I was R&R. It is 95% what I need. It is clearly inspired by the Vanquest Envoy bag as it is almost a copy, right down to the Velcro flap grabbers! But that's okay as it solves several design deficiencies in the Vanquest bag namely you can now slide a full sized laptop into the laptop sleeve and easily close the bag; it is also slightly larger than the Vanquest bag. However having said that, this bag is not a homerun as the laptop sleeve should be outside of the bag and on the back so the computer can be easily removed without having to unsnap the messenger flap. Having the lap top sleeve on the inside of the bag also reduces the volume. The bag could also use more admin organization and wider closer straps and buckles. They look out of scale. But for the price it is a clear winner. The flap closure straps are also not quite long enough.
The quality is good, the volume is great and it is the best messenger I have purchased to date. Better than Hazardd 4, Specops Brand and Vanquestt and the earlier 5.11 which was just about useless. Put the laptop sleeve on the back of the bag and it's an out of the park hone run! Oh yeah; get rid of the water bottle pockets on the ends, leave the molle so 6x9 pouches can be used. If I want a water bottle on the bag I'll buy a water bottle sleeve. But open top pouches are something of a waste.
This bag also makes a great stealth Camera bag and if the water-bottle pouches weren't there padded lens pouches could be attached.
I know that this is an operator bag, but with Iraq over and A-stan winding down the demand is going to drop a tad. In other words, a Velcro hand-gun sleeve could be better served as a padded laptop sleeve. Of course a Velcro handgun sleeve could always be inserted there if a laptop is not needed?
I purchased this bag from the 5.11 store in Manila and was very surprised to see it. I needed a large volume messenger style bag for carrying my laptop and other electronics. I am using this in Afghanistan and carry it on helo flights as well as commercial airlines. It is sturdy and well built but I have one major complaint. This bag is almost a home run. The laptop sleeve belongs on the outside on the back as opening the bag for airport security is inconvenient. I need a good tough inexpensive bag that I can organize and carry my gear and this messenger pretty much does what I need. It could however use more admin organization and the straps and buckles are too short and too small. They'd be easier to deal with a little wider.