5.11® Tactical has come out with two chest packs as part of its new cross functional Skyweight Pack Collection, which was unveiled at the 2023 SHOT Show. The Skyweight Utility Chest Pack and Skyweight Survival Chest Pack are designed to provide lightweight, compact and versatile load-bearing options. They’re available in multiple colorways. 5.11 provided me with the Skyweight Survival Chest Pack for evaluation.

Chest packs are designed for activities where carrying a gun or gear on your waistband would be impractical or uncomfortable, while keeping it close at hand and readily accessible. A chest pack rides out of the way higher on torso making it more efficient and offering better mobility. They’re very popular for outdoor activities. Carrying on the waist isn’t an option when you’re wearing a backpack with a hip belt. A good chest pack evenly distributes weight and is a great choice for activities such as running, hiking or biking. It also makes carrying gear while riding around in vehicles more comfortable.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack provides a lightweight, compact and versatile load-bearing option. The pack features a concealed carry compartment with hot pulls for easy access and an external laminate PALS panel that allows pouch attachment. Gear loops and bottom webbing loops expand carry options.

There’s an ever-expanding variety of chest packs on the market from which to choose. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials and functionality. They can be worn by themselves or under any backpack. And some are designed so that they can also be worn as a waist pack, if desired.

5.11 Skyweight Survival Chest Pack

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack measures 6″H x 10″W x 1.75″D. It will fit firearms sized within those dimensions. It has a 61 cubic inch / one-liter total capacity and weighs only 9.5oz / 0.27kg. The design has been very well thought out.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack is constructed of durable 330D ripstop nylon, which is a relatively lightweight but still heavier duty fabric. All internal seams are taped and finished. Bonded nylon thread is used throughout with critical seams and attachment points bartacked for added strength and durability. The pack has a breathable mesh 3D molded foam back panel against the chest for comfort.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack has a lightweight quick-release X-harness system. The harness system is adjustable to fit most people. It features elastic keepers for the harness straps. The harness straps are 1.5” nylon webbing with Duraflex® polymer hardware. The harness is mesh backed for comfort and breathability.

A padded rear pass-through port in the pack allows you to convert the pack for use as a standalone waist pack. The pass-through is compatible with standard belts or those from 5.11 Skyweight and RUSH100 backpacks. The interior of the pass-through has hook-and-loop. 

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack features a lightweight, adjustable and quick release removable harness system. The pack has a rear pass-through port to allow for use as a waist pack if desired.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack has an ambidextrous zippered CCW compartment. It has a self-healing YKK® nylon coil zipper with cord pulls, as well as two hot-pull tabs that can be set up to provide quick access. The compartment has a light-colored interior to improve interior visibility. The rear of the compartment is covered by a loop panel that provides a mounting platform for a hook-and-loop-compatible holster or other accessories. There’s also a row of five elastic bands for mags or other items. A nylon webbing dummy cord loop at the bottom of the compartment allows for various retention options.

Hook-and-loop holsters are available from numerous companies, including 5.11. Another option is to use a minimalist trigger guard cover holster with a static line tether attached to the dummy cord loop in the CCW compartment. 

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack was designed with versatility in mind. The front of the pack has an external laminate 5-column 3-row laser-cut PALS panel for MOLLE pouch attachment. Nylon webbing gear loops and a single row of four bottom webbing loops expand the carry options. The bottom loops are a great place to attach a tourniquet pouch for easy access.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack allows me to set it up with only what I actually need, allowing me to keep the pack as thin and light as possible. The external PALS panel provides a lot of options in configuring the pack. 5.11 offers a wide variety of MOLLE pouches. I can add mag pouches and use the pack as a micro chest rig. I can also configure it for general utility or for specialized needs. Or I can simply run the pack by itself.

The zippered ambidextrous CCW compartment of the Skyweight Survival Chest Pack is sized for compact pistols and has hot pull tabs for quick access. The compartment has an internal loop panel, elastic bands for mags and a dummy cord attachment loop.

5.11 Flex Admin Pouch

5.11 provided me with its Flex Admin Pouch for use in conjunction with the Skyweight Survival Chest Pack. The Flex Admin Pouch is a lightweight, low-profile minimalist pouch designed to keep key essentials organized in one place and easily accessible. I have found it to be a very versatile pouch that’s well-suited for EDC needs. It’s the perfect size admin pouch for mounting on the exterior PALS panel of the Skyweight Survival Chest Pack

The Flex Admin Pouch is constructed of double-layer water-resistant 500D nylon. It measures a compact 4.5″H x 6.25″W x 1.0″D. It attaches to all platforms via a FlexHT 2″ webbing ladder and FlexHT ¾” TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coated straps. The straps have pull tabs for quick release. It comes with two Flex Hook Adaptors to convert the pouch to a hook/loop attachment.

The 5.11 FlexHT mounting system that 5.11 uses for its MOLLE pouches works great. It’s easy to thread though PALS. It attaches securely yet is easy to remove. It makes pouch attachment and removal a snap. It’s definitely one of the better MOLLE attachment systems.

The Flex Admin Pouch has a clamshell-opening main compartment for convenient access. It has a self-healing YKK nylon coil zipper and features shock cord for an adjustable degree of opening up to 180 degrees. The zipper has a cord pull with heat shrink and a 550 paracord loop puller keeper. All internal seams are taped and finished. Bonded nylon thread is used throughout with critical seams and attachment points bartacked.

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack with Flex Admin Pouch attached. The Flex Admin Pouch is minimalist, low-profile admin pouch designed to keep essentials organized and secure. It can attach to any platform with the use of the Flex-HT™ Mounting system and TPU coated webbing.

The Flex Admin Pouch has multiple packets and bands to organize and securely store gear. There are two small and one large slip pockets on the back panel with elastic bands. There’s an additional slip pocket behind front panel. The front panel has an adjustable bungee to hold your phone / EUD or other accessories, keeping them handy for easy use and reference at chest level. The front exterior of the pouch has a horizontal-oriented laser-cut 2-column 6-row PALS loop platform.

Closing Thoughts

The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack is an excellent chest pack that offers exceptional versatility for its size. The Flex Admin Pouch makes a great addition for general use. The design, materials and craftsmanship of both are top-notch, as would be expected from 5.11.

Comfort is always an important consideration. When properly adjusted, the harness system of the Skyweight Survival Chest Pack does an excellent job of evenly distributing the weight of the loaded pack. It’s very comfortable to wear. The breathable back panel against the chest is a welcome feature, especially with warmer weather. Chest packs can be hot to wear and sweat inducing, much like a plate carrier or chest rig.

Although they’re popular with runners, chest packs will bounce a bit when running. An easy fix is to make a stabilizer strap out of some shock cord and cord locks that’s run through the bottom web loops and around your back. A stabilizer strap isn’t necessary when hiking.


The Skyweight Survival Chest Pack has a MSRP of $45.00. It’s available in volcanic, sage green and kangaroo colorways. The Flex Admin Pouch has a MSRP of $36.00. It’s also available in black, ranger green and kangaroo colorways. All 5.11 products are available directly from 5.11 and at authorized 5.11 dealers. 5.11 offers free shipping on orders over $75.00 and free returns.



Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides protective intelligence and consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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