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Review: 5.11's Overwatch Carryon Duffel


5.11 Overatch Carry-on 5

5.11 Tactical has an unlikely but effective new bag that somehow manages to combine tactical and traveler without appearing foolish.  It's called the Overwatch Carryon.

Make no mistake, I don't plan on packing a duffel, flying to João Pessoa and terminating somebody from the roof of the Guarany Hotel Express, but it's nice to know I could. The Overwatch is described as "duffel, shooting platform and garment bag." I haven't thrown mine on the ground at the range yet, but I did put a freshly dry-cleaned suit in the garment bag portion with a folded AK and magazine pouches on each end and slung it around.

It deployed smoothly, unzipping all the way out to the shooter's mat configuration then zipping back up quickly and easily. Neither the mag pouches nor the blow-out kit threw the balance off once it was configured for travel, which is a good nod to the bag's structure.

The pouches were mounted via laser-cut micro loop web platforms with Velcro on either interior end of the duffel, thus allowing for some internal modularity. I have not yet used the end pockets. The interior showed no wear, tear or snag after a couple of days carrying around an unpadded, uncovered AK. I expected some sort of mark or damage from the front sight post at least, but so far it looks good as new. I did not have immediate access to a short rifle so used the AK instead.

I travel much more frequently than I do urban wet work, so I naturally looked at it more from the "traveling professional" perspective than that of a shooter on a mission. It is certainly appealing for road travel, particularly for jaunts of just a couple of days, but it would function just as well in the air or by train -- though anyone checking it as baggage should definitely make sure the main haul handle and the top straps with QRBs (quick release buckles) are secured. Otherwise, you'll wind up like I did last year in Tampa, when my ruck emerged at baggage claim in a trash sack in multiple pieces.

Overall, it appears to be well-designed and solidly built for its purpose. It holds its structure well, is spacious but compact.

If I was to offer any criticism, I would suggest reducing the length of the zipper pulls by about half and perhaps putting some sort of non-skid material on the bottom.

I would definitely offer an option with the logo removed from the top. In fact, I would offer an option where the branding was removed from the exterior all together. Branding is importan,t but having that big 5.11 and crosshair displayed so prominently is too conspicuous for my taste.This particular product is not billed as 'covert' or 'low profile', so it's not an oversight, but the logo does stick out like balls on a bulldog. I prefer something more circumspect and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Those suggestions aside, if you were a little wary of the duffel-garment bag-shooting platform idea, don't be. This is a good design, obviously well thought out, with many good features. It definitely makes up for the KOLD Khukri.

The Overwatch Carry On is on the 5.11 Tactical website here and retails for $159.99.

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