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#250970 - 09/15/12 03:04 AM alice pack mistake/
greenghost Offline

Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 72
Loc: NH coastline area
Ive chosen military med. alice packs for my wife and I. I've loaded more in my bag than hers but I feel as if there could be more to my pack for as heavy as the dang thing is! With an additional USAF fanny pack attached, its heavy. And I havent filled the canteens nor added ammo nor sleeping bag. I can carry it but man it just doesnt have everything I feel I need. Plus add water and some 22 ammo...ugh

Is the med ALICE pack a poor choice? I know about blending in with mil gear being counterproductive to getting out unnoticed but I planned on using bag covers.

I'm interested in what bags you folks have success with. Being a retired Veteran, I tend to automatically think/lean towards mil gear.

I'd love to hear what you folk can recomment!

Faith & Friendship

Edited by greenghost (09/15/12 03:16 AM)
Ret USAF Law Enforcement Specialist 81-01
Remember when America use to make sense?

#250972 - 09/15/12 06:20 AM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
Burncycle Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 539
The advantage to milsurp like ALICE is that it's very inexpensive and rugged, but there are certainly more comfortable civilian packs out there. Military surplus is still the best bang for your buck in my opinion though.

I use the "Hellcat" modification for the ALICE pack, which basically replaces the stock shoulder straps and kidney pad with the MOLLE straps and kidney pad, and it makes a world of difference in comfort IMO.

It also involves strapping the Molle MSS carrier to the bottom of the pack and frame, which can be used for your sleeping bag (when loaded it doesn't flop around or bounce off your butt).

Weight does add up fast though!

Edited by Burncycle (09/15/12 06:21 AM)

#250973 - 09/15/12 12:32 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: Burncycle]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7191
Loc: southern Cal
When I was a starving college student, milsurp gear got me into the outdooors, but over time I replaced it with far, far better civilian gear. Military gear today is much better than in my youth, but so is the civilian gear.

Fit is all important with a backpack, and most high end civilian packs have some pretty sophisticated adjustments, coming with a surprisingly thick manual. Get thee hence to a good outdoor store (REI or better), rent some good stuff, and take it out on some long trips, not just overnight, before you make the major purchase. You can also borrow from friends.

Most people don't devote the time and effort to this, and most people walk around with ill fitting backpacks.

The kindest thing I can say about your Alice rig is that it is obsolete. It belongs in a museum, not on your back.

BTW, I followed this route some years ago, renting a large Mountainsmith rig from A16 in Los Angeles, taking it out for an intensive weekend trip. Twenty years later, that pack has seen intensive, hard use, and is still in service. Mountainsmith is just one of several quality brands; it is the fit of the pack to your individual bod that counts, not the brand name.
Geezer in Chief

#250978 - 09/15/12 01:55 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: La-USA
Greetings! I am also using the Medium Alice pack and my harness. I prefer the rugged capability and thus suffer with the weight factor.

I do agree with those comments listed before me although I haven't heard of, and thus haven't looked at the Molle modification. That does sound promising.

I am slowly moving gear from my Alice Pack to my harness, keeping lighter gear that I can live without in my pack. I am keeping more important items (to me anyway) in my combat harness.

Alice Pack: Food, Toilet Paper, OTC meds, sleeping bag, sleeping pad (Very important in winter), tent, extra set of clothing, small machete, etc.

Combat Harness: Compass, magnesium firestarter, pocket knife, bayonet, ammo, pistol, 2-1qt canteens, mess kit (Trangia), tender bag, weps cleaning kit, FAK, Pocho, Poncho Liner, and a couple of miscellaneous items.

I think I need to get a modern civilian back pack which would fit and ride better but I still like distributing the load between the Harness and Pack for reasons that you would understand but a civilian would not necessarily understand the reasoning of.

I'm am keeping the food supplies as light as possible, mixing modern freeze dried rations with old standby's: MRE's, Freeze dried, varieties of Jerky, instant foods like grits, cheese, crackers, trail mixes, etc.
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#250984 - 09/15/12 04:13 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
widget Offline

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 550
I had to carry a large ALICE pack in the Army. I found that it pinched my back and caused my legs to tingle. The problem with the ALICE frame is that it is designed to fit the "average" person, probably someone about 5ft 9 or 10. On someone 6ft 2 it rides too high on the back.

The ALICE also hangs far away from the back when loaded, which is undesireable, it makes you feel like you are being pulled backwards.

The mil surplus prices are appealing but if the pack doesn't fit, there is a price to pay in comfort, or lack of comfort. If you think you are going to be carrying the pack for any length of time and distance, you may want to shop around for a good civilian pack. Kelty makes some very comfortable packs that ate reasonably priced, there are other brands as well.

I helps to get out and carry a pack around like on dayhikes. You will see how it rides and condition the body too.
No, I am not Bear Grylls, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and Bear was there too!

#250986 - 09/15/12 05:11 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Remember what the ALICE pack was made for, tactical operations. You can ditch it quickly, go into the prone position without the pack forcing you head into the dirt, and it is not expensive. A good hiking backpack should carry the weight higher and put more weight on the hips. I have a large ALICE that I have had for almost 30 years. I used it on many training and real world operations, including more than 1,000 jumps. It has had some repairs and slight modifications, but still going strong. There are newer frames for them which do ride better, made of composite plastics. You can also get better hip belts and padded shoulder straps. If you are thinking about taking better care of your back over long distances, the ALICE is probably not a good option.

Edited by Montanero (09/15/12 05:15 PM)

#250991 - 09/15/12 06:22 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC

LL Bean Bigelow is what I keep in my SUV and what I use for long summer day hikes, winter hikes and bikejoring.

I have a pack for more extensive backpacking (LL Bean White Mountain) but am more likely to throw it in my bike trailer for a multi-day journey than heft it on my back.


#250993 - 09/15/12 08:09 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
I'd love to hear what you folk can recommend!

My current bag for the BOB is based around a Karrimor SF Predator Tecmac 50 in coyote Tan.


Additional pouches are 2 Karrimor SF PLCE compatible side pouches and a Flyye Army Combat Versatile Shoulder Accessories Bag MOLLE Cordura Coyote Brown which attaches to the Molle Palls Webbing on the back of the Tecmac 50


A PLCE side pouch yoke will be carried to allow side pouches to become a lightweight Ruck as well.



The Tecmac 50 doesn't have a padded waist belt as it is really designed to be use with a LBE kit such as PLCE webbing.

A PLCE webbing consists;

Main Yoke [NSN 8465-99-132-1560]
Quick-release Belt
Hip Pad/Hippo Pad
2 x Double Ammo Pouch [NSN 8465-99-132-1557]
1 x Utility Pouch (Pouch, Utility, DPM, IRR) [NSN 8465-99-132-1558]
Respirator Pouch (Haversack, Respirator, DPM, IRR) [NSN 8465-99-132-1559]

balancing out the load would 20-25lbs on the PLCE webbing and 30-40lbs on the Karrimor Predator when fully loaded. this setup is very modular as well. This will all de-construct to fit is a bright yellow BOB BOB trailer drybag

The Main problem with the ALICE is that when loaded you can't really stand up too straight without the pack wanting to pull you over on your back.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (09/15/12 08:11 PM)

#250995 - 09/15/12 09:45 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Probably best to
A) Ditch the ALICE in favor of something that fits (as has been mentioned)
B) Don't feel the need to fill every nook and cranny of a pack!
C) Hit the gym ... honestly, I carried a 60lbs pack over 10 days when I was 15 in Boy Scouts. Are you in that physical condition? I'm not anymore! How heavy IS your pack?
D) post what the heck you're carrying that's so bloody heavy.

#250999 - 09/15/12 10:57 PM Re: alice pack mistake/ [Re: greenghost]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I do well with a Camelbak Ranger I found on clearance in 2008. It looks like it's been totally discontinued now.

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