Below are tips referring to the ALICE rucks. Please note, I do not take credit for the modifications listed below. I’ve collected them from various sources including the “Ranger Digest” series of books by Rick Tscherne. Also thanks to local Milsim player Dave for his first hand insight into this topic and Davis Winborne for his photos.
- Cut 2-3 inches off each side of your foam sleeping pad. The decreased width will prevent it from getting caught up on low hanging branches while it is attached to your pack, but it will still be wide enough to lay on. Want to trim it further? Cut 2-3 feet off the end. You don’t really need a pad under your feet do you!?
- Many have used the military “tire cover” as a rain cover for their pack. Few realize that in heavy rain these covers fail and you end up with a drenched pack. A military poncho or tarp will not do this, and can be modified to fit around your pack. Cut the poncho to size, and sew a hem around the entire edge. Run elastic or para cord through the hem and put a drawstring at the ends. Fit the cover over your pack and adjust the cord with the drawstring to keep it in place.
- Use pieces cut from a military foam sleeping pad to pad your ruck frame. The places to watch for are the upper back on the side rails and the lower back in the center. Don’t wrap the foam around the frame, simply attach it while it is laid flat. Be sure not to add too much padding or you will create pressure points rather than relieving pain.
- Put Fastex buckles on the straps that secure the flaps on your pack’s main compartment and external pouches. This makes it easier to open and close the compartments while retaining all adjustments.
- One of the best modifications is to convert your ALICE pack to a Hellcat. The Hellcat uses the shoulder straps and waist belt off of a MOLLE ruck, providing a more stable and MUCH more comfortable experience. While I don’t recommend it, the complete Hellcat pack also adds a MOLLE sleeping bag carrier under the medium ALICE. For more information, search for “Hellcat ALICE pack” on Google or read this article on the Liberty Tree Blog.
ALICE Pack Tips
- When purchasing an ALICE pack, make sure that all the corner and reinforcement stitching is in good condition. This is what will keep the pack’s seams from rupturing under load.
- Refer to this video by 1Shepherd for how to pack a ruck sack.
- Tactical Tailor is well known for their quality ALICE pack modifications, ALICE type packs and modern additions to the system. Stop by their website to view their current listings.
- Do your best to fit everything
you need inside your pack. Attaching items to the outside may look cool but they will get caught on low hanging brush or fall off.
- If you have to attach large items like a sleeping pad on the outside, do so below the pack or just above the outside pockets. Keeping the top of the pack free not only makes it easy to access the items inside but will help prevent things from snagging when you have to duck under a tree branch or similar obstruction. This also prevents these items from hitting you in the back of the head when you go prone.
- If you are using the ALICE frame with your pack, hang items in the space between the pack and your back. Knives, first aid kits, a 5qt canteen and other items you need quick access too are great to stash here.
- It is possible to hang your hydration bladder on the outside of the ALICE pack, but take care that it is mounted as high as possible. The best place for a bladder is going to be just under the top flap.
- While patrolling with a full pack, avoid simply flopping down when you stop for a short time. It is easy to sit or go prone with your pack on, but not very tactically sound. Instead, remove your pack and take up a firing position behind it. This will lower your profile and give you better concealment (and possibly cover as well).
- Don’t forget that the outside pockets are “tunnel sewn”. That means that there is a vertical sleeve behind them perfect for linear items like a hatchet.
This concludes our ALICE LBE tips and modifications! Found one we missed? Drop us a line, we’d love to add it here.
Thanks to Davis Winborne for his photos