6 June, 2014
When I first joined the military, we were all issued medium ALICE packs, and expected to get everything on that packing list, into that little pack (10 pounds into a 5 pound bag). We made it work, but my thought was “Damn, I wish I had my large ruck”. Of course asking your Drill Sgt why we didn’t have large ALICE packs elicited a response something along the lines of “PUSH!”. Fortunately, upon arrival at my first unit, that wasn’t a problem. I was promptly issued a Large ALICE ruck, and apparently expected to fill it…..all the way! The All purpose,Lightweight, Individual, Carrying, Equipment (ALICE) the military has used for years works well, no matter what the nay sayer/tacticool crowd says. I’ve used it for about 32 years now, and if your on a budget, it’s definitely the way to go for your tactical load bearing needs. One of the best items to come out of the ALICE system, is the Large rucksack. This pack has carried more gear than probably any other single pack type out there, and it continues to do so, even though there are other “better”, more modern packs available. Because I normally use a buttpack, using a longer/lower sitting pack like the internal frame CFP-90, or the newer molle/molleII/ILBE packs that are issued is impossible. I continue to use the Large ALICE, because it’s simple and it works. I won’t give up my ALICE ruck for anything but a the modified version by Tactical Tailor called the MALICE (Modified ALICE). We’ll talk about the benefits of the MALICE pack in another post, since this post is about ALICE pack mods, we’ll get to it.
It’s always a good idea to have a means to carry basic, mission specific or survival items, without having to carry the whole ruck. This could be as simple as “You just got ambushed and you’ve gotta leave the ruck to run for your life!”, or “You need to carry your NOD’s, Spotting scope, first aid gear, and a SAW ammo box”. How are you gonna do it? I’ve carried an empty assault pack in the top of my ruck plenty of times, but depending on what I’m doin’ or prepping for, usually I just carry the assault pack from a CFP-90 (saw one for $36 in Ranger surplus yesterday). This helps in a number of ways. It will expand the space available for a medium ALICE ruck (camo pack shown). It also will make a convenient place to store the absolute survival/sensitive items you feel you need to take if you have to ditch your ruck. I use a medium ALICE with frame when I hunt, and the addition of the assault pack to the top increases my loadout space by another 30% if I need it. Adding it to the Large ALICE/MALICE helps keep the balance of the pack up, not back, like so many of the modern packs do with the clips for the assault pack being placed on the frontside, making “The ruck lean” even more pronounced.
To modify your pack simply add male 1″fastex buckles to the top of the pack straps with a slider on each strap, and male fastex buckles to the compression straps on the front of the pack (see pics)
Once you’ve done that, it’s a simple matter of just snapping the assault pack in place (see pic).
When you are routing the top of the pack straps through the fastex buckle I’ve found it’s easiest to do it this way.
1. Run the strap tip through the slider.
2. Run the strap tip through the bottom slanted slot of the buckle.
3. Run the tip of the strap under the frame through the slot made for the shoulder strap and back around.
4. Route the strap back through the SAME SLOT (if it’s a two slot buckle) of the fastex buckle.
5. Run the strap through the slider (it keeps the buckle in one location, up high).
6. And finally, route it through the pack strap buckle.
It should look like this
Your front compression straps should each have a male fastex buckle in this location.
That’s as simple as it is. This modification will clear up space within the pack’s main compartment, and make accessing or separating your ruck and assault pack very quick. If you’re on the run, time is something you don’t have enough of.
Next post will be about the Large ruck ALICE and MALICE, and the advantages of that design.
American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE
Good timing on this post. I was just looking up mods for my medium pack to maximize the hell out of it. Picked up a few things to add on the sides, but this helps out too. Thanks.
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Nicely engineered! Especially taking into account the ‘ruck lean’. Great mod at low cost. Being able to expand the large ALICE opens up more possibilites for ALICE packers!
Reblogged this on The Defensive Training Group and commented:
For you ALICE packer’s out there….here’s a very practical and inexpensive modification to make your ALICE system more useful.
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Awesome article, thank You !!
I’ve also used this trick with my camelback, makes it much easier to get it on and off instead of having it in my rucksack. I found that the bottom of the camelback is too narrow to buckle onto the bottom clips on the ruck, so I took two of those plastic D-rings and used them to attach the bottom to the strap routers on the top flap of the ruck.
Appreciate the info on the mod to attach an assault pack to an ALICE pack. I just bought a MOLLE II assault pack am wondering if this hack be applied with the MOLLE II AP? I’m always looking into mods & hacks for the ALICE packs as I have two large ones w/ frames in case of a major bugout & I also have two medium ones in our vehicles. I’ve upgraded our large rucks w/ MOLLE II shoulder straps and hip belts & converted the main flap straps to G.I fastex buckles. If you have any ideas on the best way to attach a sleep system carrier or just the sleeping bag I’d appreciate it. Thanks.