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  • Rucksacks

    I Like the ALICE system, but it is not the best thing out there. Is it the best thing for $50? Well it's hard to beat unless you are willing to spend 2-6 times that much money.

    A nice thing about ALICE packs is that they are really tough and can be repaired when they break. A broken frame can have rivets drilled out and replaced. Cracked frame segments can be replaced with segments cannibalized from another frame or counduit cut and bent to size. The actual pack can be sewn up easily by hand or on a machine. The material is durable and easy to clean. As a standard GI system, many people are familiar with how to set it up and what it's capabilities are.

    Internal and polymer frame systems don't seem to be as durable. I've seen alot of broken MOLLE frames, and once they break there isn't much you can do about it.

    I took a new issued ruck down to Ranger Joes or US cav ( I can't remember which) when I was in SFQC and had two extra pouches added to the upper sides and a claymore pouch added to the top. I cut the closure straps, super glued the ends to keep them from unravelling, installed fastex connectors for easy access, and then had my name tag sewed onto the flap.

    It's big enough that I can carry a case of MREs, a couple IV bags, 600 rd of SAW/M240 ammo, a 2/3 of a ECWS bag, spare pare of boots, spare uniform, gortex, NVDs, hygienne items, batteries, maps, radio and 4 qts of water in it. I've carried well over 100 lbs in my ruck and moved 10-20 miles a day with it over broken terrain. There's no way for that not to suck, and no ruck is going to allow you to do that unless you train ALOT to get ready for it. Now that I'm older and have more rank I don't carry the tripod, T&E, AT4, etc but having a radio and more ammo to distribute to makes up for it somewhat.

    The ruck I keep packed at home obviously has less in it, but for my stuff at home I carry not only my items, but my kids stuff too. When you are carrying everthing you'll need for a month at a time, you need plenty of space (cu inches), easy access (lots of pockets), durability and comfort. Before anyone starts thinking this is BS, I should point out that I am an infantry soldier and train frequently to maintain myself in the condition required to ruck 12 miles in 3 hours with a 45+ pound ruck plus water and weapon. I used to be in alot better shape and was capable of alot more, but that was 10 years ago when I was in 20th group and trained every other day.

    99.99% of the people who belong to the boards would be better off spending time training with the gear they have than upgrading it to more expensive gear, but there are some easy things that you can do to make your existing gear better. Something as simple as wearing your ruck and boots while you cut your grass or raking your yard has a huge training benefit if you can't go out and ruck on your own.
    Last edited by ISC; September 15th, 2009, 10:40.

  • #2
    Re: Rucksacks

    i agree completely....

    aftermarket gear is much more comfortable and sometimes more robust.

    just 13 miles on the floria trail through central fl.

    drank 3 gallons in 7 hours.

    23 blisters.

    monkey butt.

    carried 55 lbs of gear

    learned alot.

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    • #3
      Re: Rucksacks

      Originally posted by ISC View Post
      99.99% of the people who belong to the boards would be better off spending time training with the gear they have than upgrading it to more expensive gear, but there are some easy things that you can do to make your existing gear better. Something as simple as wearing your ruck and boots while you cut your grass or raking your yard has a huge training benefit if you can't go out and ruck on your own.
      Too true, there will always be better gear out there, the manufacturers make sure of that

      But instead of buying the perfect set of gear and THEN starting to figure out what to do with it, one might be better served buying a minimum set of cheap but robust gear, using it and then upgrading as the need arises, that way you'll end up with the gear YOU need, and some cheap surplus gear (like an LC-1 pack) that you can leave in your truck or somewhere else. Keeping your $400 Kifaru and the accompanying gear "stashed away" might seem like a waste of money

      Plus any trail you can hike with an Alice pack you can certainly hike with a better pack too, so training with less than ideal gear might not be a bad idea, you never know exactly what gear you end up with in a survival situation.
      "Not all of them are terrorists"..."No, not all of them, but most of them are, and all it takes is most of them." -Eric Cartman

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      • #4
        Re: Rucksacks

        Originally posted by m92s View Post
        so training with less than ideal gear might not be a bad idea, you never know exactly what gear you end up with in a survival situation.
        The flip side to this is if the gear is crap, doesn't work, isn't comfortable, you won't train with it. Well, many won't.

        It's like saying "train for your NASCAR race with a Ford Pinto, because if you can do it in a Pinto, you can do it in a real NASCAR." The problem is that trying to race a Pinto in a NASCAR-style race would be nothing but frustration, and I am unsure what training value there would really be.

        Same with gear. There's using less-than-optimal gear, then there's going overboard.

        Now, if one is looking to save money, I fully agree that the old ALICE system is one to give serious consideration, especially compared with that cheap, Chi-Com crap that people buy "in case the SHTF". Yeah, just what I want when my life depends on it...gear that falls apart at the first sign of hard use.

        I finally picked up an ALICE frame, now need to pick up an old large ALICE pack, maybe a shelf. I was going to use it to attach my VX-1210 manpack radio so I can take it when hiking local mountain preserves, then operate on top of the hills.

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        • #5
          Re: Rucksacks

          I bought a used large ALICE pack and frame for $20 at a gun show last year. I have been using it in part of my work out routine. I drop a 45 pound steel plate in it when I cut the grass and do the yard work. The pack has held up well but the straps tend to bite alittle up high on the shoulders. I found that a shirt must be worn or the straps will bite the hell out of me.There is plenty of room in the pack so much in fact that next trip I`m dropping and extra 25 pound plate in the pack. Just because its old dont mean it dont work. I`m thinking about buying another for work to haul 10 pound fire extinguisher around the work site to replace used or damaged ones. I think I can haul 3 or 4 at a time to save trips back to the shop.

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          • #6
            Re: Rucksacks

            Alice packs suck suck suck, and the large ones suck even more. It took me a long time to wise up and figure that out, and damn near really messed up my back figuring that out too. I thought that walking long distances with a pack was supposed to be painful, otherwise what's the point right? Kind of like the justification for wearing overweight ill fitting stiff boots you have to polish all of the time. Miles covered, pain endured, machoness proven, that's how the Marine Corps teaches it. Well then how is it those skinny hippie chicks cover so much ground on hiking trails around the world year after year? Or those nature photographer types with their cameras and tripods and stuff? Oh, and their gear seems to last OK, too. Hmm.

            There was a time that it all just had to be GI issue or it must be no good, until some world traveller backpacker types talked some sense to me at one of the higher end sporting goods stores years ago. Since then, the designs that used to be exclusive to the high end backpacker shops could be found at Wally World at some pretty reasonable prices.

            Well, that's my opinon of the POS Alice pack, and I think maybe I have one left, for purely sentimental reasons, I keep it only because I went through the hassle of customizing it years ago, although I ended up selling off the worthless "upgraded" Coleman frame I bought from US Cavalry to some guy who seemed to like the frame.

            The CFP-90 on the other hand, I like that one and it seemed to do well for me but other people hate them. Now that the Army has pretty much phased out woodland stuff you can probably get them cheap. People complained about some of the frames being "fragile" but I just suggest you not toss it off the top of an armored vehicle too often (and I tossed mine down from an M113 more times than I care to count with no damage).

            One thing the Alice is good for is setting up the frame with one of those add-on pack shelves and some camo bungees so that you can carry crates, boxes and even fuel cans. You can strap a regular 5 gallon jerry can onto the pack frame with the shelf, and then put a few things over the can and still march out up the hiking trails to an OP or whatever spot is not too accessible to your vehicles.
            Last edited by RT; November 19th, 2009, 03:25.
            Life, Liberty and the pursuit of those who threaten them.

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            • #7
              Re: Rucksacks

              Here the link to the SDS Conflict back pack, their price is a bit lower than at the time I'd purchased one..

              Their currently asking $249.99 + shipping and handling.

              http://www.specialtydefense.com/p-186-conflict.aspx

              Gotta see in person to really appreciate the over all design of this back pack.

              I'd used the Alice back pack during my time in the infantry, their rugged and got the job done.
              Still have a few on hand,but, I'd purchased two of these Conflict back pack's, their awsome.

              One I've used these past years is still holding up great, going to sell the 2nd one.
              The first one is obviously going to outlast me.

              TG

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