My Buddy, Craig Caudill, from DansDepot.com, and I were recently talking about survival packs.
He was telling me all about the A.L.I.C.E. packs that they used back in the Vietnam war.
He told me that even after all these years, those packs are still some of the best ones that you can get your hands on.
I asked him to write up an article for me about them because I wanted to share it with y’all.
He wrote the article, but then he took it one step further.
He made a video demonstrating the A.L.I.C.E. Pack (look below the review for the video).
The ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) Pack in many respects is the most affordable and useful piece of pack gear made in a long time.
Designed, manufactured, tested and utilized under the watchful eye of the US military, this pack has been through it all.
Now that these packs are have been shelved and set aside for the MOLLE system, getting these packs is so easy that one or more of them should be available to hikers, survivalists, preppers, hunters and virtually anyone who wants a good pack to keep their gear in.
As a means of disclosing as much as information as possible, let’s take a look at the some of the good (and not so good) points of these packs.
- Incredible product testing under the harshest of conditions, the Vietnam War.
- Internal frame, straps, and belt insure this sits on your hips to distribute weight well.
- Large internal pocket for large or numerous items.
- Outside pockets that make it incredibly easy to get to regular-use items.
- Has extra webbing to customize or simply add more pockets and pouches.
- Materials and stitching are incredibly durable and lightweight.
NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- For those that are used to modern packs, the lumbar support and shoulder straps are not as padded as more modern ones. Still, they provide padding in just the right places.
- We have read elsewhere, that occasionally the rivets on the frame loosen up, but are finding that the new frames may have fixed that problem. At least on this one that we tested extensively.
- Over multiple years of use the waterproof coating on the inside map pocket starts to break down. That can be easily fixed by putting your maps in a plastic bag.
Again, we love these packs for their affordability and how hearty they are. We don’t feel you go wrong with one, or two, or three.
Craig did a great job reviewing the good and bad points of an A.L.I.C.E. pack, but he didn’t stop there. He actually went out in the field and shot a video going over all of the features of these packs.
Check it out below:
Are you looking to replace your current BOB, or maybe you want to make an entirely new one?
Craig actually has quite a few of these available in all different price ranges patterns and colors, feel free to check them out by clicking the link below:
Weather Proof your A.L.I.C.E with NeverWet
we were issued ALICE when I was on Okinawa (1970-74) One day a couple of guys went on a detail to property disposal. They came back with the greatest pack we had ever seen, the whole team went and bought them out. Had an external A frame with tautline (head band to take the weight off your shoulders) and waist fastener. We never used our ALICE again. and put in hundreds of miles with the old rucksacks.
I love my A.L.I.C.E rucks. I have both the large and the small versions which Uncle issued me and a couple more from yard sales. In my 17 years in SpecOps I never carried anything else and the members of the HALO teams who were also issued internal frame packs opted to jump in their A.L.I.C.E. rucks.An excellent predecessor to this ruck was the egg shaped canvas mountain rucksack which was issued through the late 50’s. Add a sternum strap to the ruck since it does not come with one.
A trick of the trade, for a day pack or grab and go get a set of the old H style belt suspender straps (avoid the later Y version which do not balance the load as well), a Viet Nam era pistol belt with quick release buckle and a butt pack of the same vintage. You will be surprised what you can attach to the belt and butt pack with the A.L.I.C.E. clips. We were trained that anytime we dropped our rucks on a rest stop to only open the belt buckle on this rig so if compromised we could bogy with the most necessary gear.
Final note get the olive green or black, never bug out in a civilian environment with anything camo, it makes you a marked target.
What the SGM just gave you is an immense amount of information. Please heed it. The point about being a marked target isn’t necissarily that of other civilians, military and former military, police and DHS, home in on these items. Pay close attention to what you get. But don’t dispair, if you have one in Woodland, UCP, or DPM, just get a waterproof cover for it and carry it with you. Something in an earth tone, reversible with an emergancy color on the opposite side would be my suggestion. Modify your buckles system with siderease buckles. It’s the minimum I do on my ALICE rucks. Expand your organization with ammo pouches attached to the expansion ladders on the sides. The flexibility of this system is remarkable. Tactical Tailor is one company that modifies them to a degree only a custom shop can. Like many others I highly recommend this pack. Use your imagination and you can accomplish your goals.
Tried several times in the past hour to view the video. BAD LINK – I get “An error has occurred. Please try again later.” message.
Hey JJM, Not sure what happened, I reuploaded the video, it should be working now!
Well done Dan! Used A.L.I.C.E. from 69-75. My first review was accomplished by a crazed Drill Instructor. I like your method much better.
We were issued the Large ALICE for our teams (79-84)in Central America. All I know is that showed up and worked every time. At “SM” remember too when we slept for the night we had one arm through the one of straps in case we were compromised. I have two Daughters in there 20’s and I supplied them ea with there own Med-ALICE ruck. I taught them that if they ever need a pack that wont let you down, these are it.
The Viet Nam era packs were either “Jungle Rucks” or “Mountain Rucks”. The ALICE packs were first issued to the 82d about 1977 in the medium olive drab. They were good rucks, and a vast improvement over the afore mentioned rucks. SF & Rangers got the ALICE in large olive drab – they were indeed large and could carry a great deal of equipment. When I first started prepping (as a civilian), I dug my ALICE large out to use and bought surplus ones for family. Then, one day I got my hands on a large MOLLIE in digital cammo. It was a vast improvement, and I am currently replacing all the other rucks with it. Hope this helps somebody….