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My 82/64 ALICE Conversion Ruck

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Hey Dooods,

I am usually a minimalist kind of guy and for the last decade, the common ALICE pack(med) has served my needs. It was usually kept under 25lbs even at its heaviest, so I never experienced the agony so many veteren corps guys attest to.


Well, maybe I'm getting older/softer and my pack is getting heavier but the last trip I went on saw me humping a 45lb ALICE over rough terrain. I DID NOT LIKE IT. and vowed to find a better rig in the same spirit of the ALICE.


I have collected an assortment of gear over the years and scrounged up some pieces/parts to make a 40lb ruck that I wouldn't hate carrying.


The main issue I had came from the sleep system bag (or as I call it "Wussy Sack") that I strapped to the bottom of the ALICE. I usually only bring a wool blanket, even in the colder months. These days, I don't feel the need to carve out the bush to make a heated natural shelter, everytime I head out, so more often than not I carry a bedroll containing a double bag, Gore-tex bivy and ground pad. The Wussy Sack weighs 10lbs. The issue is that the ALICE doesn't offer enough "frame" to strap the sack down with any real support. I could rig up a top load but then my entry to the main pack is blocked. The only alternative is to have the sack strapped to the bottom. In this position it is unstable and held further away from your center of gravity.... not good.


Needles to say, my back is paying the price.... here is my solution.


My ALICE pack..







That was the pack that killed my back.... here is my new rig


A custom 64 pattern lightweight jungle frame.



Rigged up with a Canadian 82 pattern rucksack and harness. The hip belt was modified from another modern pack...




The 82 pack is shorter and wider than the ALICE, allowing more of the 64 frame to be exposed for mounting stuff...





Here is a comparisson of the ALICE vs. the 82/64Ruck. The drawn square gives you a rough idea of the difference in frame positioning.



Thanks for looking. Questions, critiques and comments are welcomed!


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That made a huge difference!  When we were in the Scouts, my brother and I had two totally different packs.  Mine had a center of gravity a lot like that of your older one while my brother's rode a bit higher.  On the trips that I took that he didn't go on I made sure to borrow his pack.

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The Franken-pack that I used last February on my first winter camp. I had the same problem with the sleep system being the biggest bulkiest item. This thing was mean.



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whats wrong with carrying 45 lbs ?


About 10-15lbs of it..... lol. I like to get my pack down to atleast 30-35lbs for longer treks. This last one was only supposed to be 8 miles or so, so I thought the Alice would be okay with the extra weight..... FAIL. It wasn't just the weight that caused the problem, it was the manner in which it was carried on the frame. Imagine carring that 10lb bedroll 6-8 inches off your butt at waste level. I couldn't stand straight up.... the physics of the whole rig was messed up.

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i used an alice pack medium for 12-15 years. loved it when it wasnt overpacked, hated it when it was. i still have a place in my heart for the dang thing but once i bought my first low alpine, then mountainsmith and a couple others i never looked back. modern packs that are built for distributing weight evenly and are well padded with ergonomic moulding make carrying even 55 pounds seam easy. ive even humped all my backpacking gear and rockclimbing gear (76 pounds with 2 water bottles) in my old 95 kelty. (granted im a big guy 6-2, 225-230 solid pounds) they arnt as cheap as a surplus alice pack and frame but if you really want to carry a little extra weight(or alot  :hugegrin: comfortably it pays for itself when you log big miles in rough terain.  there also desighned to keep the weight close to your back wich makes a huge difference in balance on tricky trailes and rough terrain. some of the Ultralight (and ultra exspensive) packs i wouldnt trust as far as being tough, but my 125 dollar kelty is still going strong after 15 years of rough handling, overstuffing and dragging up cliffs and rolling down trails. and its still as comfortable with 45-55 pounds today as it was in 95.  i even passed it down to watcher of the woods so he would have a little larger pack for winter camping.  still miss my alice a little though.  and that does look like a decent way to rig it up there askdamice. i did add a packshelf (ammo shelf) to mine when i had it. it made it a little easyer to rig the bedroll.  i too prefer the ultralight way of packing but it seams the older i get the more my comfort level seems more important than it used to. 

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That's pretty cool Rick, I like the new pack set up and it looks a lot more comfortable. I can see where the other would have been a pain to balance. Ever watched infantry soldiers on road marches? They are all bent forward under the weight because if the stand upright their backs hurt or they would fall backward. But they are usually humping about 60 to 80 pounds. I've been looking into my pack situation lately. Most of the time I don't like a pack to be heavy, if I can avoid it I will. I've humped allice packs before but now I'm thinking of splurging on a good commercial pack in my old age...the oldest grew up and moved out and the youngest is only 6 so now I'm stuck humping my own gear again :)

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Just did the final upgrades to my ALICE. It's served me well but I'm planning on a Kelty 128 next year.

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