ALICE, the most versitile ruck there is?

Started by Ghost, March 30, 2022, 08:57:32 PM

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Ghost

#60
Quote from: Moab on January 17, 2023, 07:22:23 PMGot pics of your final results? Still very interested in what you came up. A pricelist would be cool too. The advantage of your loadout is it might be slightly cheap.
No pics at the moment, but all packs are more or less done, a few bits of stitching here and there, but they are ready. So with that said, here is where I am with the price list:

  • ALICE Pack medium and metal frame; lets say $75 as an average. I say this as I paid $50 for three of the packs with frames. Obviously they are more now, but if you are patient you can find them lower than going prices today.
  • MOLLE II straps- this is even better than the waist belt IMO. $20 on eBay.
  • MOLLE II waist band- makes the pack even better. $15 on eBay
  • Parachute buckles- this is a necessary evil as lets be honest the metal clasps/hardware sucks. After some misadventures of trying to buy in bulk online I just went with ordering them through Joann's Fabrics online. I got a good deal on some last fall, but lets go with the actual price: $5 each and you need 9 of them! so $45 for buckles total. NOTE: I didn't swap out the metal on the internal metal clasp on the upper pocket.
  • 1100 Paracord- $8 for 30 feet so divide it by 4 is $2. Used for the map cover opening; handy way to open as well as have some small sections of paracord.
  • Bank line for the eyelets on the back, had a big spool, so maybe $1.

Optional Extras:
  • M1967 Sleeping bag carriers got three for $20 and the other for $10 so $7.50 ea. I went this route as each has a rolled up (as in around the sleeping bag- a fairly sturdy mil-spec cammo tarp) inside the compression sacks. I cut 1150 paracord to make pre-made ropes for attaching to the ground stakes. Each pack has that as a tent along with a paracord for tying between trees. Where I am it's highly unlikely that one couldn't set it up that way. Not perfect but the ultimate goal here is to keep the compression sacks, but swap out the current sleeping backs with ultra light or Tac bivies. Oh I did swap out the metal hardware there too so it requires 2 more parachute buckles each.
  • Compression sack for the sleeping bag. As noted up thread I got some good ones off Amazon for $20 each.
  • Molle II mag pouches- got 5 for $20; so say $5 for each pack. On my pack which is more modified I'm carrying 2 pouches in total so I've got the ability for four extra mags on the bag. My chest rig (current has pouches for three) and I'm looking to see what I can carry on my mini 14 itself (so basically 8 total mags with one or two on the butt-stock and one in the rifle). For me this is more than enough as my doctrinal idea is avoiding firefights post SHTF at all costs. Now I realize there can never be "enough" ammo but there are limitations if for no other reason then what can be carried.

Total cost for each pack? $190.50

Next improvement: rigging the carrying of water in camel back setup; at the moment it still routed through the center exterior pouch. I still like the idea of it in the void space of the pack between the back but need to tinker a bit.

Lastly, I've found some decent rain covers on Amazon, going to order one and see how it goes.

Moab

Quote from: Ghost on January 24, 2023, 07:24:51 PM
Quote from: Moab on January 17, 2023, 07:22:23 PMGot pics of your final results? Still very interested in what you came up. A pricelist would be cool too. The advantage of your loadout is it might be slightly cheap.
No pics at the moment, but all packs are more or less done, a few bits of stitching here and there, but they are ready. So with that said, here is where I am with the price list:

  • ALICE Pack medium and metal frame; lets say $75 as an average. I say this as I paid $50 for three of the packs with frames. Obviously they are more now, but if you are patient you can find them lower than going prices today.
  • MOLLE II straps- this is even better than the waist belt IMO. $20 on eBay.
  • MOLLE II waist band- makes the pack even better. $15 on eBay
  • Parachute buckles- this is a necessary evil as lets be honest the metal clasps/hardware sucks. After some misadventures of trying to by in bulk online I just went with ordering them through Joann's Fabrics online. I got a good deal on some last fall but lets go with the actual price: $5 each and you need 9 of them! so $40 for buckles total. NOTE: I didn't swap out the metal for the internal metal clasp on the upper pocket.
  • 1100 Paracord- $8 for 30 feet so divide it by 4 is $2. Used for the map cover opening; handy way to open as well as have some small sections of paracord.
  • Bank line for the eyelets on the back, had a big spool, so maybe $1.

Optional Extras:
  • M1967 Sleeping bag carriers got three for $20 and the other for $10 so $7.50 ea. I went this route as each has a rolled up (as in around the sleeping bag- a fairly sturdy mil-spec cammo tarp) inside the compression sacks. I cut 1150 paracord to make pre-made ropes for attaching to the ground stakes. Each pack has that as a tent along with a paracord for tying between trees. Where I am it's highly unlikely that one couldn't set it up that way. Not perfect but the ultimate goal here is to keep the compression sacks, but swap out the current sleeping backs with ultra light or Tac bivies. Oh I did swap out the metal hardware there too so it requires 2 more parachute buckles each.
  • Compression sack for the sleeping bag. As noted up thread I got some good ones off Amazon for $20 each.
  • Molle II mag pouches- got 5 for $20; so say $5 for each pack. On my pack which is more modified I'm carrying 2 pouches in total so I've got the ability for four extra mags on the bag. My chest rig (current has pouches for three) and I'm looking to see what I can carry on my mini 14 itself (so basically 8 total mags with one or two on the butt-stock and one in the rifle). For me this is more than enough as my doctrinal idea is avoiding firefights post SHTF at all costs. Now I realize there can never be "enough" ammo but there are limitations if for no other reason then what can be carried.

Total cost for each pack? $185.50

Next improvement: rigging the carrying of water in camel back setup; at the moment it still routed through the center exterior pouch. I still like the idea of it in the void space of the pack between the back but need to tinker a bit.

Lastly, I've found some decent rain covers on Amazon, going to order one and see how it goes.

Good deal man! 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Ghost

Note: Corrected the cost upthread ^

Starting to reevaluate the load out and how it's packed (mine that is).

For water my thought is I'm going create a bag that will hold the water bladder in the voice space as discussed. I have someone who has a sewing machine and I have a lot of spare (smaller) parachute buckles. Should be easy to rig up if my searching for a camel pack solution proves fruitless.

MREs for all four packs have been field stripped, extras added etc. 

Lastly- waste not want not! All the stuff left over from the MREs? Lots of crackers, jelly and the like. Perfect for four GHB. Like I did with the MREs I'm adding energy bars and placing everything inside the MRE packaging (saved then all) labeling the contents within and taping them up the same way. 


Ghost

So one of those duh moments regarding water... carry the water bladder in the radio pouch. I thought someone had to have thought this out and sure enough posts pack to 2012 on various sites. So one problem solved.

Regarding the sleep system setup: I've been watching Gray Beard Green Beret's YT channel. Lots of good stuff. He rolls with the SF roll and a fairly expensive bivy. As the suggestions up thread and I think that is where I'm going with this. I can take the somewhat bulk sleeping bags I'm using now and instead of them in the compression sacks the woobie, bivy, shelter cover, stakes and paracord can all go in there and cut some weight. I've already lighted my load by the shovel going to someone elses pack; in place I'll be attaching my hultafors axe to the side.

Ghost

So even though I've largely "finished" the packs my thoughts are turning to the Molle  II frames. Obviously people have done this prior to me and I'm researching best path forward.

I can get four for $20 each, but want to make sure I get the right ones. From what I can tell they only come in one size as they are adjustable?

Ghost

Found ones for $4.99, shipping was way more! Got one to see how it works. If it pans out I'll order three more and perhaps sell the current ALICE frames.

Ghost

#66
Just need to check YouTube, even better solution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWOFIeZlkd8

So with this (last?) upgrade it will be:
  • Down East 1606MC frame
  • ALICE Pack
  • MOLLE 2 Shoulder straps
  • MOLLE 2 Waist band
  • M1967 Sleeping bag carrier- looking at the frame it appears this will fit even better to the bottom in terms of attachment points

I have all of the above, just need to buy the frames.

Transfer my paracord handle to the new frame and in business with an even lighter pack. Cost $42 a frame.

Anyone want to buy four ALICE frames? ;)

Assuming I don't sell the frame the cost for each would be $234.50; say I sell them low,- $35 each. I'm looking at $200 for packs fully customized to my needs. As it is right now the frames I have are all in good shape; this is simply kicking it up a notch.

Ghost

#67
Continuing this my next goal is to reduce the weight of the setup by 10lb and get it around 20. I realize I'm unlikely to get there but I'm going with the same principal as when I built my house. Realtor gave me some good advice: add everything in then take stuff away; don't do the reverse.

The new frame will help and so will the sleep system. I like how I carry everything with the compression sack and M1967 sleeping bag carrier modified with parachute buckles. On the 1606-AC frame the sleep system it's going to work even better in terms attachment points.

I still use the ground mat noted up thread but currently using a camping 40 degree bag as a stop gap.

So with that in mind I've been watching a lot of Graybeard Green berets stuff. So bivy/ranger burrito it is.

As I noted I sleep hot. So ground mat (inflatable) really low to the ground- but four seasons; woobie, tac bivy and a few more layers. Likely this is going to be enough for me. I'll skip the wool and possibly look at the causality blanket mixed in.

So while I'm modifying the pack going to get the bivy. That should go a long way to weight reduction and space.

Plan will be to test it out in spring, summer and fall. Take stock then try in the winter.

Ghost

So... weighed everything...38.5 lbs :headbang:

Plan is a sound one, see what I can get rid of.

Ditching the sleeping bag, and go with the Ranger roll? Dropped off four LBs of the bat.

Shovel is next likely to go. Useful but not worth the weight (most likely); axe is far more useful IMO.

Frame- got the new 1606-AC frame but it seems like the weight is the same with the ALICE frame. Need to hook it up and test.

Moab

#69
Ah. Ghost. Beating your head against the wall again I see. ;)

"Adding everything. And then taking away what you don't need." Is not the best advice. I'd fire your realtor. Lol. Kidding of course.

There's a common philosophy in backpacking and bugging out. Before you buy anything, select all the gear you think you need, add up its weight, select gear again, cause it will be to heavy (lol), then buy a backpack that it will all fit into.

You've done the opposite.

Again, I've been down this road before. As many of us have. Its painful. I got a great deal on a molle ii rucksack. And quickly filled it with military surplus. It quickly outweighed a 5th grader.

Even if you had started with a better fitting and easier to carry civilian backpack. You'd have cut 5lbs right off the bat. A medium alice is 9lbs and a large is 11lbs. An inexpensive civilian pack will weigh 5lbs or less.

I think that grey ghost green beret you follow. I like him alot. Has switched to ultralight gear as well. Including a civilian backpack.

I don't know how much your sleep system weighs. But a 5lb Kelty synthetic bag can be had for less than $140. Far less if you bought used or last years model.

It sounds like your now reduced to a sleeping bag and bivy. Out of weight concerns. A bivy, tarp, sleeping bag is a good combo. A burrito or ranger roll is not. Thise are meant for short missions. Not long term survival.

A tent and sleeping bag is better:

A USGI bivy is 2.3lbs. An average nylon 10x10 tarp is around 2lbs. More for a cheap one. Up to 4lbs. And less for silnylon. Maybe 1lb.

That's 9.3lbs+ for an average cost bivy, tarp, bag combo. Thats if your bag weighs 5lbs.

Or you could get a bag and tent for around 10lbs. A cheap 2 person tent is around $150. Added to your 5lb sleeping bag. That's 10lbs. But if split between 2 people that's 7.5lbs per person. And you have a complete rain proof shelter. For less weight than your 9.3lb bivy, bag and tarp combo. And probably for around the same cost.

I don't see mention of which sleeping bag your using. Just the m1967 carrier. How much does your bag weigh?

Agree with ditching the etool. Great for the vehicle. Not for backpacking. Neither is an axe. Buy a good fulltang knife you can baton with if need be. And a lightweight folding saw. That will cut additional pounds. And you can cut a tree apart with a saw just as fast as with an axe.  And it weighs far less.

The mre's are a fun supplement. Many of the items are tasty. But they are impractical for hiking. They weigh far to much. And are meant for mechanized military units. That can resupply large weights of food. They are also constipating. Not a good combo for humping heavy loads. There is a reason you never see a backpacker - long distance or short - carrying mre's.

Backpack a few weekends and you will be changing this out for freeze dried meals that are more vegetable heavy. Or that you can at least supplement with more roughage. There are many makes of excellent freeze dried food. Backpackers Pantry make affordable options. As do Mountain House and other cottage makers. There is one in Texas that is especially good.

Add up your food, ammo and water? How much do those weigh alone? Every ounce you save on the big three - shelter, sleep system and pack. Are more ounces of the most crucial items - food, ammo and water - that you can carry.

How much do your guns weigh?

What raingear are you carrying?

I applaud your effort. I honestly do. Its cool to see all this historical military gear being put to use. I carried an alice pack for a long time. I still have several as they were stupidly cheap or I bought them before I knew better. And just haven't taken the time or soent the money to replace them.

But my 5lb Gregory(?) Civilian pack is something I can carry for far longer. With much greater ease. Because the technology has outpaced the Alice 20 years ago. For around the same price. And less if you don't mind used or last years gear. Check out gearx, campsaver, rei outlet, sierra trading post or any of the many other discount backpacking sites. Look at the cost and the weights.

Open yourself up to civilian gear. Special Forces has, and some of their civilian selections have helped greatly improve outdoor gear. And it doesn't have to be bright orange or blue or neon green. I hate those colors too. Lol.

Your back will forgive you. Your wife and children will love you. And all of you will survive alot longer. Because you will be lighter and faster. And able to carry more life sustaining items like food, ammo and water.

Standard military gear is by and large meant for a mechanized military. Getting trucked in, flown in and out. And when not its humped by 20 yr olds with advanced physical training. Because all that gear is not meant for backpacking. Its meant to be thrown off a truck or out of a helicoptor many times over.

Even if your shelter, sleep system and pack weigh 5lbs each. Like with civilian gear. Thats 15lbs. Which even then doesn't leave much room for everything else you need. Starting from a deficit of 10lbs each in military gear is 30lbs. How much food, ammo and water does that leave? How far is your family going to get before they start ditching essential supplies outside of their shelter, sleep system and pack?

The AT trail is littered with gear people throw out of their packs after a day or two on the trail. And those are ultralighters.

EDIT:

https://www.campsaver.com/kelty-coyote-65.html

https://www.campsaver.com/kelty-coyote-105.html
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Optimist

#70
I've got a couple ALICE packs that I did some of the Hellcat mods quite a while back. I had an REI hiking backpack, and wanted something cheaper to sit around packed as a BOB while I used my nice pack for camping.

Funny now how much more ALICE packs are going for. Back then I paid $20 for a large ALICE with frame, and later I got another with frame for $5. I actually got a third large ALICE with frame for something like $5-$10, but I'm pretty sure I gave that one away (or maybe I just can't find it under all my other junk).

Way back then people were super excited about Hellcat packs. I got the Down East 1606AC frames. For some reason at the time the MOLLE shoulder straps seemed super expensive back then, so I got some other ones someone on ZS recommended that were made by Tactical Assault Gear. I got both TAG and MOLLE waist belts. I put the TAG belt on one pack and the MOLLE on another.

The ALICE pack always rode way too high for me. The Down East frame shifted it down a little ways, and the TAG belt rode further down than the ALICE and MOLLE belts. With the new frame and the TAG belt it was actually down on my hips, but annoyingly still just a little higher than I would like. I did keep the MOLLE waist belt on one as I could comfortably ride my bicycle while wearing it.

I ended up using the ALICE pack to haul groceries back when I didn't have a car. I carried some pretty heavy loads, although usually only for a mile or two. One time I had it nearly full of containers of liquids. It was so heavy that I struggled to get it up off the ground. It took several tries, but I was able to do some sort of shotput spin and with a grunt jerk it up and onto a trash can, and with it resting on there I was able to get it onto my back. All the other shoppers were looking at me like I was a crazy person.

I might get the MOLLE shoulder straps now that they seem to be going for so cheap and give them a shot.

With how much money these packs are going for now, I might need to sell one or both of them. I think I'll keep at least one for sentimental reasons and LARPing purposes.

I got the shelves for the original ALICE frames and my plan was to use them with the leftover straps and waist belts for hunting packs, but I never got around to it.

Edit: I just checked and my large ALICE with the Down East frame, TAG shoulder straps and MOLLE waist belt weighs 6.2 lbs.

wolf_from_wv

I was unable to find a shelf for mine, so I got some thin wood.  The frame is zip tied to the pack frame. 

The extra wires are from where I had a camera that steered with the front wheels.  Also had a mic and transmitter.  I also had a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector I could stick on it, but it would have to be pretty bad being at ground level.

I have one with a medium pack on it.

I bought 3 frames at $5 each at a gun show that I need to find straps for.
"You know Grady, some people think I'm overprepared, paranoid, maybe even a little crazy. But they never met any Pre-Cambrian lifeforms did they?" -- Burt Gummer

Optimist

I might have messed up. I was doing a surplus order and wanted to add some of the MOLLE shoulder straps to try out. I noticed that a whole MOLLE backpack wasn't much more expensive than just the shoulder straps, so I went ahead and ordered that. Afterwords I realized that it was the three day assault pack I ordered and the straps people are using on ALICE packs are probably from the bigger MOLLE packs.

Oh well, I guess I got another small backpack. It was only $30 shipped so it's not a disaster.

Crimson_Phoenix

I have the Spec-Ops Brand Recon Ruck Ultra which is a modern take on the ALICE pack with PALS webbing. Only hangups I had were the lack of a storm flap and no webbing on the collar, unlike the original ALICE pack with webbing there. The pack has been discontinued several times by the company for reasons I can only surmise is the owners hate the design, but it's enough of a fan favorite, it keeps getting small production runs here and there. I need to upgrade the shoulder straps and add webbing to the bottom so I can loop a sleeping bag carrier to it, but I've otherwise been very happy with it when mated to a DEI ALICE frame and BDS kidney belt, which has been out of production for years. I think the design by Fireforce USA is overall better, but it looks like their eCommerce site has been down for almost two years and I have no idea if they're out of business now or not. If anyone knows, please tell me.


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