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If you’re searching for a highly durable and practical backpack for your next adventure, look no further than the trusty ALICE pack. This pack’s versatile design makes it extremely useful for all manner of outdoor activities and journeys.
ALICE (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) packs were initially created for the United States military. They were used as the main packs by soldiers in the 1970s and 1980s. The packs component is usually attached to a weight-distributing metal frame. Additional optional components can also be added, based on individual needs.
For details on this versatile tool and a brief history of its design, head over to part one of our series here - What is an ALICE Pack.
The Benefits of an ALICE pack
There’s no denying the ruggedness of these tried-and-true packs. They are made primarily from durable, water-resistant 600D or 1000D nylon which can withstand rough treatments while remaining dry.
If you’re considering an ALICE pack for hiking or an ALICE pack for bushcraft, this option is perfect for difficult journeys over harsh terrains. Sharp rocks and thorny brambles are free to tug at your pack without any give. if you’re forced to drag your pack part of the way, you don’t have to worry about spilling your equipment onto the ground.
Many bags marketed specifically for backpacking purposes may include more bells and whistles than the average ALICE pack. However, they are unlikely to last longer than a few seasons without serious damage. ALICE packs are simple, tough, and built to last.
2. Carrying Capacity
These packs were designed to accommodate for maximum carrying capability in order to ensure the inclusion of all the equipment a soldier needs. The small (and harder to find) ALICE pack has a smaller carrying capacity. But both the medium and large packs can fit a hefty amount of gear when used with a frame.
The recommended carrying capacity for the medium is 40L, and 62L for the large. In terms of weight, the medium can hold 50 lbs while the large can carry 70 lbs.
ALICE packs are perfect for rucking. You can fit more into one of these packs than the recommended amount (with more than 100 lbs carrying capacity possible for the large).
Keep in mind that, combined with the pack’s own weight, it can become uncomfortable and hard to manage over a longer period of time. How much does an ALICE pack weigh? With the included aluminium frame, a medium ALICE pack is approximately 9 lbs while a large weighs 11 lbs.
ALICE packs also come with optional components you can add to further increase your carrying capacity. The most common additions are a belt and straps, with eyelets which can attach smaller pieces of equipment.
An ALICE packs for hunting can easily fit all of a hunter’s essential gear. In addition, the frame can be used to help pack out larger amounts of harvested meat. ALICE packs will make sure you have everything you need for longer journeys or adventures that require more gear, as well
The price of ALICE packs has gone up in recent years because the military surplus supply has dwindled. However, they’re still highly affordable. ALICE packs provide a considerably bigger bang for your buck than other smaller, flimsier bags on the market. The easy-to-find parts from both the ALICE and MOLLE systems make it easy to add extra attachments and find replacement parts.
ALICE packs are tried and true, their practicality proved for years by thousands of soldiers on the field of battle. While the pack is simple, the simplicity of its design has stood up to the test marvellously and still remains popular today.
Drawbacks and the Final Verdict
The one drawback of ALICE packs is comfort. While the wide shoulder straps and metal frame are designed to help with weight distribution, it still remains bulky and tall. The metal buckles can be difficult to work with for someone unused to them. Finally, the pockets are not easy to reach while wearing the pack.
Despite this disadvantage, the benefits of the ALICE pack far outweigh them for hikers, campers, hunters, bushcraft practitioners and outdoor enthusiasts alike. There are more comfortable and modern packs available on the market today. Yet ALICE packs continue to outperform with their substantial carrying capacity, durability, and value-based price point.