511 Tactical Side Trip Briefcase Review


511 Tactical is one of those companies most people in the pack world know, and for good reason. To me they are the step up from the normal backpack or bag to something made with better materials and a pretty good warranty. I can say ahead of time that this brief from 511 is one of the best all around “tactical” style briefcases I have used. It is nothing super special but that is what I love about the bag. It has a pocket for everything, is well padded, a huge laptop compartment, and two water bottle pockets. I don’t know what else I could ask for in a tactical style briefcase.


2” H x 16.5” L x 5.5” D - Main compartment
10” x 7.5” x 2” - Front pocket (2)
10” x 16.5” x 2” - Back pocket
9” x 5.5” x 2.5” -Left and Right side pockets
1967 cubic inch / 32 liter total capacity
Weight - 2.9 lbs
Fits up to a 15" laptop


  • MOLLE/5.11 SlickStick® web interior

  • Covert TacTec System™ pocket

  • Two large front and one large rear pocket

  • Removable/adjustable padded shoulder strap

  • Roomy main compartment

  • Sturdy grab-and-go molded handles

  • Light colored interior for easy access to gear

  • Expandable side pockets

  • Swivel clips on shoulder pad for easy carry

  • Name tape holder at front

On the top of the Side trip there is a dual zipper that is very easy to pull open and give you access to the main compartment of the bag. On the inside of this pocket there is a soft Velcro lining to allow you to attach pouches or whatever else has Velcro. I like to keep this pocket clean just because I normally have my large EMT book or binders in here and they take up quite a bit of space. There is also a row of molle to allow attachment of mollee compatible pouches. This pocket is deceivingly large and can hold a full days worth of gear.


On either side of the pack there is a full-sized water bottle pocket. This is an amazing feature for a bag like this as many don’t have it, and I like to not only carry a water bottle everywhere I go but I also like to try and carry a mug or yeti style cup for coffee as well. You can also use these pockets for any gear you want on the outside of the bag you want to be able to get to quickly like a pair of gloves or ballcap. The pockets zip up when not in use and zip down when you need to use them. On either side there is a slab of mesh to keep the bottle in. Some of the best water bottle pockets I have ever seen on a pack.


On the front of Side Trip Brief there are two “admin” style pockets that hold all of your smaller EDC items, chargers, cords, tools, etc. On a brief this size I believe the two pockets offer plenty of storage and some great organization. The interior of the side-trip is also a high-vis grey to help you see the contents of your bag. On the right pocket I like to keep pens/pencils/highlighters, chargers, notepads, keys, wallet, and other smaller items. On the left is where I leave all my EDC tools, and some pouches with other same gear in them. These pockets even offer some padding on the outside as well which is really nice.


On the backside of the Side trip there is a very large padded and suspended laptop pocket. This pocket will hold up to a 17 inch laptop. It is lined with the same soft velcro as the main compartment. My laptop is a 13inch Dell XPS for reference.


The bottom of the bag has 4 rubber feet to help with stability and durability. Underneath the bottom flap (which took me forever to figure out) there is a velcro closure and inside 511 has added a rain cover. I think this is awell thought-out feature and something I wish 511 would add to their other packs. Sometimes I’ll have my laptop, tablet, camera and some other stuff I’d rather not have getting wet. I did have this bag in the passenger seat of my car, this seat is also where my lab Brecken sits and the Side trip loves dog hair.


There is also a velcro closed pocket where you are able to keep a concealed carry if you wish. It is located behind the two admin pockets and is very hard to find unless you know it is there. There is plenty of room for a sidearm in this pocket with room to spare.


Overall the 511 Tactical Side Trip briefcase is one of the most complete and well thoughtout briefcases I have used. I typically like to use backpacks for my EDC however, if a more professional appearance is what you are going for while having great features the side trip is for you. I think the $100 price point is completely justified by 511’s warranty and overall build quality. If you want to purchase the Side Trip just click here — 511 Tactical Side Trip Briefcase