Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: alice pack

Going Through My Backpacks

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

Got several backpacks out of the storage room and went through them. The issue with having a collection of packs is the gear gets spread through them. Depending on the length of the hike, and what I am doing, certain gear may be brought along. After awhile, gear is spread through all the packs. There might be a stove here and a stove there, and a knife here and a knife there.

Things get so disorganized the packs have to be pulled out, emptied, and everything rounded up.

For example, I have been using the Sawyer PointOne on a couple of outages. However, I still like to bring the Katadyn Vario from time to time. This means the Sawyer Pointone is in one pack, and the Katadyn Vario is in another pack. The problem starts when I forget which filter is in which pack. then I have to go digging through the packs until I find the gear I am looking for.

Camping Trip Load Out

Water bottle, Vargo stove and MSR pot

To get ready for an upcoming camping trip I decided to do a load out list. List like this help you see what your pack contains, and hopefully spot missing items.

For those of you looking at this list and wondering how I am going to pack off of this gear, the easy answer is “I am not going to pack it”. The camping trip is going to be on the banks of the Angelina River. This means the boat is going to be carrying the gear for me; all I have to do is load the boat up and go.

Backpack – Large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system, 2 sustainment pouches on the MOLLE pack. I was going to take my large ALICE pack, but my sleeping bag, food, fleece liner and poncho liner filled up the pack. This means I am having to store a lot of my gear in the sustainment pouches on the MOLLE.

Tent – Wenzel Lone Tree Hiker Tent, this item is hit and miss and might be difficult to find

Tarp – 6×8 foot for tent ground cloth.

Sleeping bag – Coleman Exponent Tasman X 32-Degree Hybrid Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bag liner – GI poncho liner and fleece sleeping bag

Sleeping pad – Coleman Max

Camping Trip Food

Thoughts on the Large MOLLE Pack

Large MOLLE Pack

After about 15 years of using the medium ALICE pack as my primary warm/hot weather backpack, I decided it was time for a change. So I got on Ebay and after looking through some of the listings, I decided to go with the large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system carrier.

There are 2 versions of this pack on the market – one where the main pack is separate from the sleep system carrier. And the one like what I bought, which is just one large pack.

First Impressions:

  • Large MOLLE is more streamlined then the large ALICE
  • Its easier to get into then the medium ALICE
  • It has more webbing then the large ALICE
  • The map case is larger then either the medium or large ALICE
  • The map case has a mesh bottom, so its easier to see the contents
  • The internal sleep system carrier has a zipper for easy access – lets talk about that just for a minute.

The way may pack is packed – the stuff to make camp is at the bottom of the pack. The ground cloth (6X8 tarp), tent, poncho loner or sleeping bag, hammock – all go in the bottom of the pack. When you reach camp you have to dig everything out of the pack to get to your camp gear. The bottom zipper access makes it easy to get your gear out without having to take “everything” out of the pack. Unzip the sleeping bag compartment and start pulling your gear out trough the bottom of the pack. Since the tarp (ground cloth) was put in the pack first, its the the first to go out through the bottom. Once the ground cloth is in position, its time to set the tent up, and spread the sleeping pad out. Once your finished getting everything out to make camp, zip up the sleep system compartment, and the pack is sealed up again.

Two things the large MOLLE is lacking – internal pouch and external pouches.

MOLLE Pack Versus ALICE Pack

molle pack vs alice pack review

“Should I buy, an ALICE Pack or a MOLLE Pack?” – that is one of the questions that I see a lot of on the forum. The answer is not a simple one. Before you can answer a question, sometimes you have to ask a few questions.

How much room do you need and how rugged do you need the frame? For example, the MOLLE pack has a plastic frame, ALICE has a metal frame.

A couple of weeks ago my son, nephew and I went on a boating / camping trip. We loaded up the gear, launched the boat and headed out to a camping spot on the river. While we were there, I decided to put together a video about the packs and do a little comparison.

My first exposure to the ALICE pack was way back in either 1992 or 1993. One of my good buddies had just came back from the first Persian gulf conflict, and one of the first things he did was buy himself a medium ALICE pack to replace the one he had been using in the ARMY. I liked the pack so much, I bought myself one. The difference between my buddies pack and mine – my pack was woodland camo, while my buddies pack was olive drab. After using the medium ALICE for a few years, I found it was a little so, so I bought a large ALICE pack in olive green.

My first exposure to the MOLLE pack was a couple of months ago after I bought 3 packs off ebay.

The three packs that my son, nephew and I brought on the camping included:

  • Large MOLLE with internal sleep system.
  • MOLLE II with external sleep system.
  • Medium ALICE pack.

Internal Versus External Frame Backpacks

camping hiking backpacking

Internal frame VS external frame backpacks, ask a group of backpackers which one they prefer and your sure to get a variety of answers.

This article is based on my personal opinion, established through years of hiking, backpacking and camping.

There are pros and cons to every argument – some of it depends on what you like, and what your going to be doing with it. Personally, I do not think there is a “right” or “wrong” answer here. All I can do is tell you why I pick my packs and go from there.

Cool weather – Having the pack right up against your body helps retain some of your body heat in cold weather. Depending on how cold it is where your hiking at, this may or may not be a big deal.

Hot weather – Here in east Texas summer temps can get stay in the 90s, day and night. In July and August day time temps can easily reach the lower 100s. The external frame allows your body heat to escape from around your back. Just having that little bit of air space can help out a lot.

ALICE, MOLLE II or Maxpedition Backpack for a 2 Day Trip

Maxpedition Vulture-II on a hiking trip

The other day I received a question asking which one would make a good 2 day pack – MOLLE II Rifleman pack, ALICE pack, MOLLE II pack, or something from Maxpedition. In my opinion, there is no clear cut answer. The large ALICE packs are big, but their too “fat” – meaning they extend off my back too much and make me lean forward to balance the load. For this discussion, lets just talk about the medium ALICE pack, 3,000 cubic inch MOLLE II with external sleep system, the Maxpedition Vulture-II and the Maxpedition

For a 1 – 2 day warm – hot weather trip, I would have to go with either the Maxpedition vulture-ii, 3,000 cubic inch MOLLE with external sleep system or a medium ALICE pack.

The large 4,000 cubic MOLLE would be good for cold weather – where you need to carry a large sleeping bag, coat, change of clothes, 4 season tent,,,,,. But for a 2 – 3 day trip in warm weather, the large MOLLE will probably be too big.

A lot of it depends on where your going, temperature, and how much gear you carry. During the summer months, I can usually get away with an 1,800 – 2,000 cubic inch pack for an overnight trip. During July and August, I can get away with a 1,500 – 1,800 cubic inch pack.

Here is a video about the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy that I use as a hot weather pack.

Description of the Large ALICE Pack

Large ALICE backpack

The All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (also know as “ALICE Pack”), was first introduced by United States Army in 1974. The ALICE pack was intended as a replacement to the aging M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment [LCE] and M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment.

The ALICE pack has become popular with the players of airsoft and paintball. The popularity of the ALICE pack is due to the quality of the materials it is made out of, its easy to customize, and the packs area easy to find in most military surplus stores.

With the introduction of MOLLE packs on the market, there has been a shift from the ALICE pack to the MOLLE pack. Personally, I think the alice packs are more durable then the MOLLE packs. The ALICE pack frames are aluminum and will not break like the MOLLE pack.

The military service people that I have talked to prefer the ALICE packs over the MOLLE pack, mainly due to the plastic frame of the MOLLE breaking.

The Survivalist and Their Bug Out Bag

Bugging out to the wilderness

One of the popular “survival” plans is the “Bug Out Bag” (aka BOB). Members of the survival community that use the Bug out bag, and a “head to the hills” philosophy are sometimes called backpack survivalist.

The “backpack survivalist” is a person who plans on leaving their home either ahead of a disaster or during the disaster, depending on the situation.

The Survivalist, with their Bug Out Bag and family in tow, will head to some parcel of wilderness. Usually the plans include using national forest land as the retreat, areas close to large lakes where camp grounds already exist or maybe even public hunting land. When discussing these plans in detail with other survivalist, usually, exact details have not been thought out.

Example of a bug out plan: A few years ago one survivalist was talking about his plans, which included driving about 14 – 18 hours (normal drive time), across two states in order to reach a large US national park. Exact details such as refueling stops, rest areas and actual camping grounds had not been planned out. The story sounded more like a mix between the Boy Scouts and a Rambo movie.

The survivalist plans for a bug out usually goes something like this:

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