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Posted: 10/18/2016 1:54:04 PM EDT
I've been rolling over getting a new backpack for longer term campouts, especially since my son is getting into the older ranks of scouts and his campouts are getting longer.

I've been looking hard at the ILBE packs, but just recently learned about the FILBE packs.

Has anyone used both and would like to compare/contrast the two?

The ILBE apparently has 4500 cubic inches of space, but I'm getting mixed reports of the FILBE's size. I keep hearing either 5000 c.i. or 3600?

Any info on the two packs would be appreciated.
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 4:15:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/19/2016 4:21:01 AM EDT by Half-Bear]
Originally Posted By JAD762:
I've been rolling over getting a new backpack for longer term campouts, especially since my son is getting into the older ranks of scouts and his campouts are getting longer.

I've been looking hard at the ILBE packs, but just recently learned about the FILBE packs.

Has anyone used both and would like to compare/contrast the two?

The ILBE apparently has 4500 cubic inches of space, but I'm getting mixed reports of the FILBE's size. I keep hearing either 5000 c.i. or 3600?

Any info on the two packs would be appreciated.
View Quote

They are comparable in size with the FILBE's main compartment being slightly larger. You are able to fit larger, bulkier items easier in the FILBE. The FILBE is also a legacy compatible system, with most of the components interchangeable with the older ALICE ruck. The FILBE system and its external frame is also more adjustment friendly.

The ILBE is by far the more comfortable pack. The internal frame and stays ride the pack close to your body, and the load lifters actually work. The ILBE is a traditional backpacking ruck and is modeled after the Arcteryx Bora 80. Because of this, the ILBE does not work well as a system with the additional components like the assault pack.
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 1:11:25 PM EDT
That sucks. So the more comfortable one doesn't play as well with other stuff. Bummer. I'm looking into packs too so I'm interested in this thread.
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 1:30:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/19/2016 1:38:39 PM EDT by Half-Bear]
The ILBE system does work, but it does not work particularly well. The original Bora was never intended to have an additional pack docked to the main pack, and was executed poorly:


Any significant weight in the assault pack mounted that high and away from your back is an awkward carry.

Also to note, even though the FILBE's external frame provide more options, the adjustability on the torso length is very limited. The FILBE's torso adjustment can be adjusted for two lengths: medium and tall. I have a 19" torso which is considered a medium torso length in most packs, and I have mine one the "tall" setting. If you are a taller or have a longer torso, the FILBE is not the ideal choice.

Even with a properly adjusted FILBE, you will not get the ideal shoulder lift height from the load lifters due to the short frame of the FILBE.

The ILBE torso length can also be adjusted, but it is more of a rudimentary adjustment by moving the hip belt up or down an inch or two.

Bottom line: If I had other Molle / ALICE rucks already, if I wanted options of customization, and if I was carrying large bulky items, then I'd consider the FILBE for the large load carry, customization, and interchangeability with the other packs. Load carry and comfort in a large ruck sack, ILBE all day.
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 1:50:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 2:00:43 PM EDT
Thank you everyone for the information so far, it has been very helpful.

Regarding the frame on the FILBE, is there a specific frame that needs to be used on it? I had heard that it was compatible with several frames. There are several FILBEs on ebay right now for cheap, but of course they don't come with frames.

I'm 5'10 with an average (I guess) torso length. Would the FILBE's frame work with me?

Link Posted: 10/19/2016 4:35:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/19/2016 4:36:04 PM EDT by Half-Bear]
The Down East 1606 variants were made for the FILBE. The ALICE frame and Mystery Ranch NICE frame are also compatible.
Link Posted: 10/19/2016 11:15:59 PM EDT
The ilbe is based on Arcteryx internal frame packs, and when used within civilian confines it's performance will far exceed the FILBE

I CANNOT name a particular advantage a filbe brings to bear when using an ILBE in an outdoorsy hiking context
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 4:15:32 PM EDT
I have an ilbe, and medium alice, and I've used a molle rucksack with the military. I don't have the experience of carrying weight with the ilbe but It's a lot more sturdy and comfortable than the other two. I use mine when I got on vacations because I can pack so much B/S in it.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 5:58:04 PM EDT
What is your budget? What are your requirements? Do you need it to be compatible with plate carriers? (Answer that honestly). A civilian pack is probably a better option. That being said, I got a deal on an Eberlestock Jackhammer in their web only specials section. It was only $165. Looks like they only have multi am ones left and they are $230.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 8:47:50 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cap6888:
What is your budget? What are your requirements? Do you need it to be compatible with plate carriers? (Answer that honestly). A civilian pack is probably a better option. That being said, I got a deal on an Eberlestock Jackhammer in their web only specials section. It was only $165. Looks like they only have multi am ones left and they are $230.
View Quote


In accordance with my goal of becoming arfcom's worst gear queer I don't even have a plate carrier so a packs compatability with pcs aren't even on the radar.

My son is 10 and wanting to get into overnight trekking & camping/hiking with scouts. I'm looking for quality packs as cheap as possible.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 8:50:57 PM EDT
I have both. If wearing armor, go FILBE, if not, ILBE.

They can be found cheap in new or near new shape. Very comfortable without assault pack strapped on it.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 8:52:40 PM EDT
I stopped in at a surplus store today and they actually had both the ilbe and the filbe.

After playing with both of them:

The filbe is definitely bigger. I don't carry a lot of weight but with my son being small I do carry all the bulkier items so that's a plus.

The filbe being coyote brown and not camo is a plus for me.

The ilbe does seem a bit more comfortable to wear. But given that I was wearing dress clothes in a store trying on packs with no weight in them it's hard to say for certain.
Link Posted: 10/21/2016 9:11:19 AM EDT
You are in the same situation that I was with my kids and camping. Military packs should be your last option, they are no where near as comfortable and do not carry loads as well. Anyone who has served knows it's more about carry more shit than necessary, than comfort. If you really want surplus, go with an ILBE, it is way more comfortable.

If you have an REI near you, go there and check it out. If you are a member, they have "garage sales" monthly. This is stuff that has been returned for various reasons and they can't sell as new. You can get some killer deals. If you really want a military style pack, check out Mystery Ranch and Eberlestock. I have had both and much prefer the suspension of the Eberlestck. YMMV. As far as cost, these two are more pricey but are bomb proof. Civilian packs are going to be less expensive, but lightweight, and won't last as well in combat conditions.
Link Posted: 10/21/2016 2:18:07 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cap6888:
You are in the same situation that I was with my kids and camping. Military packs should be your last option, they are no where near as comfortable and do not carry loads as well. Anyone who has served knows it's more about carry more shit than necessary, than comfort. If you really want surplus, go with an ILBE, it is way more comfortable.

If you have an REI near you, go there and check it out. If you are a member, they have "garage sales" monthly. This is stuff that has been returned for various reasons and they can't sell as new. You can get some killer deals. If you really want a military style pack, check out Mystery Ranch and Eberlestock. I have had both and much prefer the suspension of the Eberlestck. YMMV. As far as cost, these two are more pricey but are bomb proof. Civilian packs are going to be less expensive, but lightweight, and won't last as well in combat conditions.
View Quote



I've been looking at civilian packs too, but price is a bit of a concern there. I looks like I can get into a ILBE or a FILBE for around $100. Like sized backpacking packs are $300 and up.

I knew that REI had a "garage" for closeout items on their website, but I didn't know they had garage sales at their brick and mortar stores. There is one on the other side of the city, so I'll have to stop in there the next time I'm through.

Thanks!
Link Posted: 10/23/2016 10:07:18 PM EDT
I have used the Filbe and Ilbe as well as Alice packs. I'll preface my opinion with the fact that I have not nor do I think I'll need to wear one with a PC. IMO the Ilbe is the most comfortable for backpacking/camping. It is heavier than civi packs but is pretty tough.

I would be careful trying to get the cheapest if buying ILbe. The main reason is some of the wear and tear of use is worse that others. If an adjustment strap is fraying or buckle broken no problem that can be easily fixed, but in my situation the first Ilbe I picked up cheap had one of the load lifters stitching torn out. If you can look at it thoroughly you should be good to go.
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