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#90206 - 04/02/07 04:44 PM Load bearing gear fashion advice needed
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Like OBG mentioned in the PSK thread, I used GI web gear when I ran around in the woods as a kid. It was excellent for the SAR stuff we did in CAP. Well, I still have it, but as a “responsible adult” I don’t use it for fear of looking like some kind of mall-ninja.

But I miss it. I really got used to being able to get at most of my gear without having to drop my pack and rummage around. Right there at the end, I picked up a “LBV” load bearing vest which solved a few shortcomings of the traditional web gear setup. However, while the ALICE three-mag pouches were just the right size, the two-mag pouches on the vest where too narrow.

I slept through the introduction of MOLLE and I’m just now catching up on all the neat stuff out there nowadays.

Now, with the widespread popularity of “coyote” tan colored gear, if worn in a green forest environment it might be mistaken for an overstuffed fishing vest - perfect. Or, I might just look like a particularly clueless play-soldier. There's always OD. Basic black makes you look like a SWAT team.

What to do? I suppose I could just join the military. Or if I ever get back into SAR, I can tell curious hikers “Why, I’m field testing search and rescue gear. Go about your business, citizen.”
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#90213 - 04/02/07 05:00 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: thseng]
Polak187 Offline

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 1403
Loc: Brooklyn, New York

you can try civilian labs gear that can be seen at TAD gear site. You wont have a mall ninja look but a yuppie/hipster one (don't know which one is worse). Althou by reputation civilian labs stuff is really well made and smartly designed.


I had similar dilema as you so I got TAD fastpack and attached few Kifaru pouches all over and it works for me just fine.

#90215 - 04/02/07 05:07 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: Polak187]
raydarkhorse Offline

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
A lot of people in the woods the woods today you get strange looks for people if your wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I still use some of my web gear mixed with some civilian stuff and a LBV for some things. I really don't care what people think and take great pains to stay invisible and as far away from the Yuppie areas as possible.
Depend on yourself, help those who are not able, and teach those that are.

#90227 - 04/02/07 07:21 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: Polak187]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
Yuppie/hipster is not the look I'm going for smile

A small MOLLE equipped pack w/ lots of pouches would solve the rummaging problem. It would be an exact compromise between a tactical vest and a normal daypack. But you still have to drop it to get anything out of it. A pack w/ hydration bladder would eliminate the canteens. Hmmm...
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#90234 - 04/02/07 08:28 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: thseng]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Well, for all the times I've said try NOT to look military, I admit that my BOB is in woodland camo under all the pouches, and my ditch kit is mounted on a chest harness. *shrugs* Wear it with khaki or grey utilities, work boots, a checked shirt and under a non military poncho and you should be fine. Particularly if you have a bright red or yellow compression bag for your sleeping bag.

If people ask, I tell them it a comfortable way to carry gear- front and back balance out. ANd when I'm just carrying the ditch kit, it gets put on backwards and worn as a lumbar pack. Never had a second glance from someone.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#90250 - 04/03/07 01:28 AM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: thseng]

Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed

How about some British Pattern 58 webbing, this stuff is nearly indestructible and cheap to boot. Its been around for nearly 50 years. It was first introduced in 1958 before the introduction of breakable plastic closures and that nasty Velcro stuff. Its nearly half way there to becoming an antique. Should last another 50 years though.


Apparently the pack wasn't up to much but the rest including the poncho roll was pretty good.

Cost is around $50 including shipping from the UK.

Edited by bentirran (04/03/07 01:35 AM)

#90276 - 04/03/07 03:20 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: ]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
That's pretty much the British equivalent of my beloved LC-1/LC-2/ALICE web gear.

The main shortcoming of civi web gear is that if you're not carrying nice heavy ammo in the front pouches, the canteens and buttpack in the back pull on the suspenders and cause the front to ride up. Also, with my growing beerless beer gut I have to wear the belt lower in front now and the pouches hit my legs when I squat down. The vest solves this.

So, modular of fixed? A fixed vest is probably lighter, stronger and less bulky IF you can find one that has exactly the size/shape/number of pouches you need and you never change. MOLLE looks like a neat idea, but I wonder how well it works in practice? It seems to add a ton of weight and bulk with all the webbing.

I wonder if my wife's sewing machine can handle #69 thread and 1000D Cordura...
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#90286 - 04/03/07 05:09 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: NightHiker]
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
That's brilliant! For years I've pondered the best way to wear a pack over a vest. Instead, wear the vest over the pack.

Why didn't I think of that?
- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#90306 - 04/03/07 08:31 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: thseng]
AROTC Offline

Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 604
Loc: Manhattan
I've been considering making a sort of civilian webgear out of canvas left over from a backpack I made. I was thinking pouches designed to hold quart Nalgene bottles in back, but I haven't figured out what to do with the front yet. Probably two large and two small pouches. I'd probably use a heavy web pistol belt for a base but I can make my own suspenders and all the pouches. I can even put a coating of a wax/oil waterproof on like an oil slicker. It wouldn't be as indestructable as cordura or nylon or completely waterproof, but since I don't plan on crawling through concerntina wire or low crawling through gravel I don't see it being a major issue. It might look a bit odd, but for the most part completely innoculous. More like the hunting or fishing gear discussed here. And it would be to my exact specifications.
A gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman where so ever he may find himself.--Good Omens

#90355 - 04/04/07 02:38 PM Re: Load bearing gear fashion advice needed [Re: AROTC]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
I don't know about everyone else but I'm not a big fan of MOLLE. The problem with a lot of military web gear is that it's only really useful for its original purpose. M16 ammo pouches are notorious. Good for storing ammo but that's about it, I guess. Military load bearing vests present the same problem. The pockets are just too small for any bulkier items. Carrying too much stuff in a vest is not very comfortable either plus it can get pretty hot as it prevents the sweat from evaporating freely. Besides, walking around the woods dressed up like a Navy SEAL wannabe is a little weird to say the least.

I think the older ALICE system is actually a lot more practical for civilian users. My favorite combination is the pistol belt w/ suspenders, buttpack, large 2qt canteen, knife and maybe a small compass pouch. I carry the extra (less critical) gear in the backpack though for a shorter summer trip that might not even be necessary. The buttpack is large enough for a couple of days' supplies, I just add a poncho and I'm good to go.

That Exodus pack looks interesting but it has one major drawback. If the LBV is integrated in the shoulder straps that means pretty much all your equipment is gone the moment you take off your backpack. IMO the big benefit of the ALICE system or equivalent is that all the critical gear stays with you even if you lose the backpack by some chance.

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