FILBE frame and suspension with ALICE Large pack

Decided to see how this frame, straps and belt looks with a standard Large ALICE pack bag. It is a large improvement over the stock metal frame and LC1 straps. Set up is identical to FILBE set up. Undo the top buckles of the shoulder stabilizer straps, slip ALICE bag over frame and yoke, then connect buckles. Strap the lower corners to convenient slots on frame. Viola! Color may not be ideal, but with coyote colored commercial ALICE packs out there, should be ok. 20200404_181455

Simple shot showing frame side

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Top view

Sideways views.

A lighter Hellcat, or the Wildcat pack system

This is how one can utilize the MOLLE Medium/DEI 1609 U shaped pack frame with a Medium ALICE pack with no sewing needed.

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The complete pack system

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You loop the LC-2 Upper connector strap into one of the slots on the vertical horn of the frame on each side;

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Then you insert the tail end back into the frame pocket

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Pull the tail end to secure the frame into the frame pocket

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And insert the tail end into the strap metal loop on the rucksack

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Now it is going around the shoulder pad’s webbing, as is standard

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Finish the upper setup with the friction buckle as shown. This method ensures the pack frame does not slip out of the frame pocket, and stabilizes the pack to the shoulder straps as well, by pulling up the frame towards the top, and with the metal loops, pulling the pack towards the user’s neck

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This is how mine looks when complete. You can opt to pull the strap over the neck padding if desired, however I believe doing it this way may irritate your neck due to the webbing.

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The lower frame to pack connections; loop the strap through one of the horizontal slots on each side, and fasten as standard. The lower shoulder strap is looped through the vertical slot on each side of the frame.

MYOG hiking backpack

Unable to afford or justify spending a lot of money on a backpack that has all the features I wanted; I decided to make my own pack bag to use with both my ALICE frame and Civilian Hiking frame; andย  presumably is also compatible with MOLLE frames of both types; the MOLLE DEI 1603 (Standard MOLLE large frame) and MOLLE DEI 1609AC (MOLLE Medium frame now issued in USMC)… so I bought 2 yards of fabric, measured and cut patterns, and spent several hours sewing it all together… In hindsight, if I were to order a pack with these features, it would be over a 100 dollars… Oh well! the pack is a little over 55 Liters, and is pretty light…not as heavy as the ALICE pack, but not as light as the hiking backpack, mainly due to the webbing and plastic Fastex buckles..the Side Pouches are sewn like the ALICE pack pockets, basically tunneled so that I can slip long items in between the pouch and pack body. Features are;

Made of 430 Denier Nylon,

Overall size; 20″Wx22″Hx9″L

Main upper compartment 12″x9″x13″

Main lower compartment 12″x9″x9″

Upper side Pouch 9″x11″x4″

Lower side Pouch 5″x5″x3″

Attachment system; Ladder locks and 1″ webbing straps

Webbing for canteens (after finding out not enough room to sew water bottle pockets..whoops)

10 Fastex buckles, 8 frame attachment points

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Pack next to Coleman PEAK 1

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Quarter view of pack showing side pockets

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Webbing for LC canteen covers, can use for other LC pouches

DSCN2134Upper frame attachments

DSCN2135Bottom of pack

DSCN2136Drawstring panel on bottom of pack, I might make an U shaped panel with elastic on bottom to cover the drawstring panel and flap; not sure yet.

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Upper side pouch, it’s based on the MOLLE Sustainment pouch size, and uses two buckles instead of one for better securing; I do not use webbing keepers, since the straps can be used to compress pouches and hold things like folded up sweaters or tarps or poncho

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On the ALICE LC frame

DSCN2142Back view with LC frame, showing attachments

DSCN2139Bottom attachments on LC frame

DSCN2140Lower corner attachment on LC frame; it uses the round hole to attach, just like the standard ALICE pack

DSCN2141Top corner attachment to LC frame

In theory it probably would be more comfortable using either a Canadian pattern 82 suspension or MOLLE Hellcat suspension system…

 

External Frame packs and Vintage ALICE Goodness!

Decided to do redo my hiking backpacks and return the Improved Hellcat pack frame to stock format of Coleman PEAK-1 bag, original straps and all; and packed it with stuff for the Significant Other except her clothes….What is surprising is that the removal of the military equipment cut out around 5 pounds of unnecessary weight; though at the loss of modularity….right now with stuff except clothes and water, it weights 16 pounds overall. The big green Academy Broadway Jasper pack is full of stuff except water, and carries extra items for two people, weights in at 22 pounds, but empty, the pack weights around 5.5 pounds, still a significant weight loss compared to the MOLLE equipped Coleman pack frame before. I also decided to return one of my old ALICE bags to a like-new ALICE frame and stock straps/belt (all 1978-1979 vintage and NO SCRATCHES OR DAMAGE!) that was given to me by the S.O.’s mother, turns out empty, it weights 9 pounds….only 2 pounds less than the MOLLE version, and still almost double the empty weight of the Jasper pack and the Coleman PEAK 1 pack.ย  Also did the Bobcat Mod on a camo ALICE bag with camo LC-2 straps, its not bad but not good for heavy loads.

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The three external frame bags;

DSCN2081View of their suspension components;

 

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Bobcat modded Medium ALICE

DSCN2083View of Bobcat modded ALICE straps;

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Loaded up before I transferred all the crap in there to the Jasper pack; here, it weighted 32 pounds O.O (with a full 1 gallon of water and too much food, enough for like 5-6 days hahaha)

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showing the Bobcat mod, which consists of a 11″ long steel tube in the frame pocket and the straps attached around it to the metal rings of the pack. It works OK, but is best for lighter loads than whats shown here.

OK, people are probably wondering HOW is it I have so much stuff in those bags…..for the purposes of pictures, the ALICEs are loaded with extra items I have.

Academy Broadway Jasper pack list;

-blue CCF pad

-12×9 poly tarp

-10 stakes

-bug tent in lower compartment

-first aid kit in side pouch

-granola bars and chocolate packets in side pouch

-fire kit in small side pouch

-2 pairs of pants

-2 shirts

-2 pairs of underwear

-3 pairs of socks

-fleece pull over

-2 2qt canteens (empty right now)

-Kelty top quilt

-Food for 3 days

-canteen cup

-weight currently at 22 pounds without water.

Coleman Peak 1 pack

 

-Down 20 degrees mummy bag (too small for me, but perfect for S.O.)

-2 1qt canteens (also empty)

-canteen cup

-kitchen items; forks, spoons, skewers and pot holder

-2-3 days of food

-granola bars

-weight 16 pounds, no water or clothes

Green Medium ALICE pack

-empty weight; 9 pounds (EEK)

-twin air mattress

-one old sleeping bag

-two empty canteens

Camo Medium ALICE pack; Bobcat mod

-MOLLE straps inside

-MOLLE belt inside

-2x MOLLE sustainment pouches and MOLLE panels

-2x USGI 3 day training packs

-Hex tarp

-Bat-wing tarp

-extra stakes

-hammer

-total weight; 18 pounds

 

Out of all the packs, the Jasper’s modified waist belt fits the best, 2nd only to the MOLLE hip belt, and the Coleman Peak 1 straps are the most comfortable, 2nd only to the MOLLE shoulder straps… the belt it has is too small for me; so its ok for the S.O. for now. The worst straps is a tie between the Jasper straps and the ALICE LC-2 OD straps on the stock ALICE pack. The Jasper straps’ metal buckles are right in front of my armpits, where they should NOT be…..however, the upper mounts is at the perfect 45% angle, so I think I only need to modify the straps by extending the upper mount somehow. Not sure how to best proceed….There is the option of making complete new straps with a set of cannibalized LC-2 long straps similar to the woodland ones in OD, with which I would mount the bottom of the backs to the lower cross bar between the top and the bottom, and have load lifters to the original strap cross bars, this would give me 6 points of adjustment. Ideally if there was another bar below the cross bar, that would be the perfect place for new straps…I am not sure what model Kelty is closest to this frame… Or Jansports for that matter.

As for the Hellcat mods; I think I want to do it again with a DEI 1606AC frame, and probably with new, lighter materials similar to the set up on the Coleman Peak 1 pack, but in Olive or Camo…

For actual bug out bags, it is hard to beat the practically indestructible ALICE packs, especially with the Hellcat mods…..When one considers the need for the fabric to actually stand up to abuses such as dragging in the mud, tossing in the truck, or whatever vehicles have you, and so on….the ALICE and the MOLLE equipment are pretty good for that… BUT….unfortunately, it can also make you a target, hence my decision to pack these two civilian hiking backpacks, which are pretty tough, and also pretty much common everywhere (the Kelty/Jansport style one, not sure of the Coleman but…)…and so will aid greatly in the “gray man” thinking. Out here in the PNW, people do not give second thoughts or focus on the bearded guy wearing surplus winter jackets and a civilian hiking pack; nor do they focus on the obviously large hunting camo wearing guy with the old army backpack and old hunting rifles….In some areas, people are more attracted to the guy who wears 5.11 everything and has a black or coyote backpack with miles of MOLLE; but they do not really notice the guy with woodland/desert MOLLE; nor do they notice the guy with the 30+ year old framed hiking backpack.

Gordon Road location scouting

Went on a location scouting trip for a group camping event…

Found a beautiful location, beautiful site….although if I had driven a bit further, I might’ve found another site near Gordon Lakes….

DSCN2025Campsite area, it is big enough for a few vehicles, tents, and kitchen site.

DSCN2026View of entrance of trail into the woods

DSCN2027Looking downhill on one side of trail

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Another view of the woods

DSCN2028Downhill on different part of trail, several sites in the interior of the woods could be good for smaller tents and so on.

DSCN2030Such beautiful view of the mountains from the trail

DSCN2031Looking up into the clear blue skies.. Yes that tree is still there, It is NOT falling down!

DSCN2032Nice little Madrona shrub growing.

DSCN2033A view of the mountain ranges…Consider that this is not as high an elevation as it could have been from the road….. I am impressed.

DSCN2034Another view of the surrounding mountains

DSCN2035Looking back East towards the campsite trails

DSCN2043Another shot of the forest and its underbrush developing.

DSCN2044Hammock test set up with small tarp, bugnet, underpad ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN2045Looking at the hammock site from a fair distance away, around 50 yards…it blends in OKAY in this terrain, from a helicopter or other mountains, probably not noticeable.

DSCN2046Another view of the hammock tarp set up; I only used 3 stakes, tying mostly to the trees.

DSCN2047A different angle showing the “beak” of one side.

DSCN2048Another growing Madrona tree

DSCN2049Twig fire! I picked up the trash after the fire, since previous occupants left some trash in the firepit.

DSCN2050My dinner for the day; Idahoan instant taters in a canteen cup!

DSCN2036My Hellcat pack system and day trip belt kit; I am a believer in being armed when walking the woods alone.

DSCN2037Other side of pack.

The Open cell foam pad, hammock, Kelty top quilt, straps and bugnet are all in the black MSS bag, while the tarp is in the very top pocket of the small “Recon” pack, which also holds my foods, water in 3 1 qt canteens, fire kit, stakes and ropes. My clothes are in the MOLLE Sustainment pouches on the sides, with one holding just fleece pull over and fleece throw blanket for additional insulation if needed, and the other holding the rest of my clothes.

I also have a small tube sack stuffed with left over open cell foam to use as a pillow for either neck or knees in the hammock.

My first aid kit is in the top flap’s bottom pocket, while I have another quart of water on the waist belt, and a pouch holding my compass, along with a medic pocket holding my trail snacks and granola bars.

 

Hellcat Backpack Rig and backpacking FOOD!

OK So I decided I wanted to see how much room I would have by packing the ALICE pack on top of my system, instead of the small Recon pack; turns out for 4-5 days with a polyester fleece pull over and a rain coat, I have more than enough room in the main pack, and the MOLLE sustainment pouches are now only half full of food; which means I could in theory, bring a lot more foods for a much longer backpacking trip…. DSCN1971I know it looks rather bulky, BUT it holds a lot more than I thought..

DSCN1972everything laid out. Clothes are all in the main ruck, hammock and top quilt goes into stuff sack; canteens and cup goes into two pouches on main ruck, hammock hanging straps, stakes, cordage, and mini stove goes into center small pouch on main ruck, foods go into MOLLE sustainment, hydration bladder, 64OZ/3L goes into a pouch between ruck and frame.

DSCN1973clothes for three or four days, depending on conditions. I can add another shirt and another pair of pants in main ruck and still have room…..

DSCN1974foods and cooking and such;

Ben’s rice, Zatarin’s Rice, Idahoan instant potatoes, Marie Callendar’s Quick Sides, Ramen Noodles and granola bars; all require only hot water to be cooked in; hence the steel canteen cups. small Esbit stove with tabs, first aid kit, wand lighter, knife, and gloves are also shown. I will be adding GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) along with jerky and possibly candy bars for the backpacking trip soon. Might also add something with more protein, like foil packed chicken and peanut butter….(to spread on tortillas…)

What else am I missing?

Total weight!

with 1 gallon of water, it comes out to 40 pounds or so; which isn’t that bad honestly…clothes made up for 9 pounds, water made up for almost 9 pounds (round up to 9 due to canteens and bladder weight); pack is 11 pounds empty…rest of the weight is in foods and hammock/tarp/top quilt, and misc things. I may pick up a water filter and reduce weight by removing half of the water, may reduce more by getting lighter pants and clothes, foot wraps instead of socks….I’m not sure yet. I walked a few miles with this rig, and it is pretty comfortable…. I could reduce the pack weight even further by going to a different external frame pack but it isn’t as comfortable….so I am not sure.

comments are welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

More Hellcat pack set ups!

SO I decided to see just how much I could stuff into the MOLLE sustainment pouches and what the main compartment of the Recon Pack can carry;DSCN1957Front view;

DSCN1958Showing the 2 qt canteens on the waistbelt portion;

in the MOLLE sustainment Pouches; I have the following;

3 pairs of pants all packed into one pouch,

and in the other,

3 pairs of underwear,

4 pairs of socks

3 shirts,

and a Fleece pull over.

in the Compression sack, I have the hammock, underquilt, and a fleece blanket for summertime.

in the Recon pack, I have food, fire starting kit, canteen cups, esbit stove, stakes, hammock suspension, tarp, first aid kit, empty 1 qt canteens for cooking water.

and here is the ridiculously big set up, with an ALICE pack in place of the Recon pack;ย  I transferred the 3 pocket contents from the Recon pack to the 3 pockets on the ALICE, and filled the main compartment with an USGI mummy bag; I know, it is ridiculously large and bulky hahaha

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with the older ALICE pack up top, I notice that the coloring are quite different…

 

DSCN1960view with belt opened up;

And then here is the minimal set up that would make sense if I have clothes in one pouch, and food in the other pouch;

DSCN1962Basic pack; stuff sack and 2 MOLLE Sustainment Pouches.

 

Made MOLLE panels for Baby Hellcat pack’s Stuff Sack!

So I decided that If I wanted to carry more gear, I would need a way to attach my MOLLE pouches to the pack, but I didn’t really have any good way to attach them to the pack without going to a new bag, until an idea struck me from the M1910 pack system; and inspired by Kifaru’s MOLLE panel compression system, I decided to make two MOLLE panels that could be attached to a frame and has compressing straps, to go around a stuff sack; which enables me to carry more gear without going too wide or going to a full sized pack system…

DSCN1952MOLLE panels by themselves, 9″ wide, 11″ tall, Triglide attachment straps and Fastex buckles

DSCN1953Mounted to the stuff sack and frame

DSCN1954With MOLLE sustainment pouches; sidelong view

DSCN1955Direct view of vertical set up; very similar layout and feel to the current crop of slim hiking packpacks one could find; though in camo ๐Ÿ˜‰

DSCN1956With panels unbuckled to remove stuff sack.

In theory, one could use just the stuff sack and the panels on a smaller frame for an overnighter/ultra light backpacking system…..similar to the Molly Mac system, though with two panels instead of one.

With this set up, I could push 3-4, maybe 5 days of camping by putting clothes in the large pouches and food into the small main compartment of the upper pack, and add canteens to the waist belt for more water carriage; and still have a slimmer profile than the standard Hellcat with ALICE pack and additional pouches on the outside.

 

 

Baby Hellcat pack!

After the Moose Mountain trip, I decided the pack I used could carry better by being attached to a frame; so I took off the old ALICE pack off my Coleman PEAK 1 frame and put the little Recon pack on the frame…it carries better, and whats nice, I have the ability to lash whatever I need onto the frame!

DSCN1943pack on frame without sleeping bag;lots lots of room on the lower half of frame!

DSCN1946detail of top mount, I used the same short straps that attached the ALICE pack to the frame, and mounted them to the D rings on the Recon pack

DSCN1944Detail of bottom mount, I used the upper LC pack connection straps, and slotted them into the slotted panel on the middle of the PEAK 1 frame, its almost as if the frame was made for this sizing!

DSCN1949with sleeping bag mounted vertically instead of horizontally, this gives the pack a slimmer profile, and makes it easier to put into cars, and there’s room on the sides for tools if I need to carry them

DSCN1947sidelong view of the sleeping bag mounting system

DSCN1948detail shot of the slots the lashing straps goes into, there are many slots which can be used to lash tools or other items to the sides; this is actually a great frame to use for such things!

the frame is an old Coleman PEAK 1 frame, and I have USGI MOLLE pack straps and belt mounted to the frame, although the Recon pack is not an ALICE, it is shaped and built like one, just much much smaller and with two extra pouches on the top (large box pouch on top, zippered pocket on underside of flap), and has cinching cords on the 3 external pockets for keeping snow and water out.

DSCN1704the bare frame with the MOLLE equipment attached, and with two MEDIC pouches attached to belt.

 

ALICE pack and MOLLE straps on Civilian frame

Well looks like a fellow forumite from Bushcraft USA forums asked for pics and details of mounting an Medium ALICE pack to the wider, taller civilian Academy Broadway frame…along with MOLLE shoulder straps… MOLLE waist belt is not good on this frame though. But the current OEM belt it has is good..had to shorten it a bit due to overestimating my size LOL

DSCN1767pack mounted on large External frame, using the middle 2 bars

DSCN1768detail of pack’s upper mount using short straps to tri glide, also using original shoulder straps

DSCN1769detail of lower pack mount

DSCN1770MOLLE straps onto the frame; you can see where the center wide strap wraps around the lower middle bar

DSCN1771threaded the modified lower straps to the FASTEX buckles

DSCN1772detail of upper MOLLE shoulder strap side mounts, can move an inch up or down..

DSCN1773Detail of load lifter strap and old ALICE buckle mounting to the short pack mount straps; it does not do much to have the load lifter there, but the pack frame does not have stops for the top bar to prevent load lifter straps from sliding onto the vertical bars.

 

SO.. there you have it, Medium ALICE pack mounted to an External frame pack, and yes there is a lot of room up top to mount whatever you want to mount……