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Posted: 6/11/2016 7:01:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2016 7:03:33 PM EDT by Iram]
I'm looking for a pack for casual backpacking use. I'm just talking about a long weekend in the woods a few times a year; no through hiking the AT; no trailblazing; no crazy shit.

Is it worth considering a cheap surplus pack for that use? I'm toying with the idea of one of the Old Grouch Hellcat ALICE packs, but I also see plenty of FILBE or MOLLE packs around my local surplus stores for under $100.

I don't want something that's going to fall apart on me, but I'm having trouble justifying a $300+ pack from REI.

ETA: Same question about sleeping bags. Are surplus un-issued sleeping bags worth looking into?
Link Posted: 6/11/2016 9:07:48 PM EDT
Molle packs ride better than the CFP 90 mountain pack, which rides better than the ALICE for me.
I put Alice on a gen 4 Molle frame and it carries better.

The Kelty Tioga I bought at the resale shop for $10 works the best, even if it has purple on it. Hint it's a ladies pack, but it came with skin so soft and a mess kit.

The MSS surplus sleep system is heavy but works well
Link Posted: 6/12/2016 8:24:16 AM EDT
For the packs:
Underlying theme for USGI is "they work". Nothing to get excited about. I would look more at hunting type bags from your local sportsmans/basspro for lighter and more comfortable options. Same with the sleeping bag options.

USGI large Alice with a frame works well if you need to carry bulky weight. I wouldn't pay any more than $50 shipped on ebay for one.
USGI assault packs work but they aren't comfortable at all with any more than 25lbs. Look for under $25.

With the sleep system, if you can find the separate components, the bivy bag and the green bag are the two I would go for. They are good enough, but modern commercial stuff smokes it in weight & performance. The larger black/grey bag is large and heavy. There are a couple threads here with links where you can buy individual bags from the system.
Link Posted: 6/12/2016 9:08:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/12/2016 9:14:50 AM EDT by Thorgrim]
I've got a medium ALICE with MOLLE II shoulder straps and waistbelt that works good for that sort of thing. Heavy, but comfortable and indestructible. I did eventually invest in a more expensive Deuter large pack for my actual backpacking because I just need to carry so much shit when I go with my kids.

Sleeping bag wise- Go commercial/civilian all the way. Hit up ebay for used backpacking bags and get a bargain on a (sort of) lightweight synthetic bag. For a sleeping pad, I use a Thermarest Scout. It's light, affordable, packs small,and it's comfy.

You don't need to spend thousands to get into the woods overnight like the backpacking boutique culture would have you believe.
Link Posted: 6/12/2016 3:14:16 PM EDT
The thing about the MSS is I am not going to be sleeping out in -30 weather anyway. The diehard backpackers I've known own 3-4 sleeping bags at a minimum, one for each temp range, but you can go with a lightweight civilian bag for not much more than the whole MSS if you look around and don't need a really cold weather bag.

A good place to look for a pack is often the Goodwill. I've never bought one from there, but have seen major brand hiking backpacks there for sale at a fraction of the cost new. Another good idea is if you live near an REI is to go to the garage sale they have every 6 months or so, packs are usually less than 1/2 for the used ones, and usually in like new condition. I think you have to be a coop member to get in, though.
Link Posted: 6/13/2016 3:13:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2016 7:11:05 PM EDT by tsg68]
Most military packs are heavy compared to outdoor packs. I like the USMC ILBE and FILBE packs because they are designed from civilian packs and thus are similar in features with the added benefit of MOLLE webbing. But they are still heavier than their civie counterparts...
Link Posted: 6/13/2016 3:50:00 PM EDT
You can get great, used, light, civilian packs on eBay cheaper than heavy, not comfy mil surplus. Packs fit well when you measure your spine and get the right size. I don't understand why people use military gear when they don't have to, civilian stuff seems so much better.
Link Posted: 6/13/2016 6:17:43 PM EDT



Man, I see it all the time in my line of work. Tired ass, worn out dudes with badly fitted and heavy ass surplus packs. Don't get me wrong, the mil makes their shit durable and heavy for a reason - so the gear will last thru years of abuse generated by 18-25 year old dudes. The only problem is that many of us aren't 18-25 anymore.

If you have surplus gear and it works for you, go for it. If you don't but currently have a job, find a deal for something lighter and better.

Like others have said, there is some stuff that'll work fine for a night or two out. A lot of the newer mil stuff is basically 10-15 year old civvie technology - and not easily sourced for dirt cheap. The bivy and jungle bag from the sleep system, the newer thermarests and the USMC ILBE come to mind.





Link Posted: 6/14/2016 3:43:59 PM EDT
In a word, military packs suck. Like was mentioned above, check out an REI Garage sale. REI brand and Kelty are good packs IMO. If you can spare the scratch, I just got a close out deal on the Eberlestock website for their "legacy" Jackhammer pack (as a standard Alice frame instead of their newer aluminum one). It was $200 shipped. Great price on a great pack.

For me, I think the MSS is worth the money you pay for it. As has been said, the bivy and patrol bag are awesome. The black bag is heavy and bulky. But you can't find a system that is comparable temp wise and with a solid bivy for anywhere close to the same price.

A quality, comfortable pack will easilycarrythe extra weight of an MSS. For me, I would rather spend the money on a good pack and save some money on the MSS.
Link Posted: 6/14/2016 7:02:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/14/2016 7:03:06 PM EDT by KNDAKGEAR]
My go to is a UK issue Bergen from the 1980s . I always though it was more comfortable than an ALICE pack. Internal frame,waist belt that actually can reach your waist,etc.

Link Posted: 6/15/2016 4:48:21 PM EDT
FYI, in case you are interested in checking out the MSS, here is a link for some inexpensive surplus bags.....

http://www.ohioprepsupply.com/sleeping-bags/

Never dealt with this company and can't speak to their service or how used these bags are. At $8 for a patrol bag, it might be worth it to check it out.
Link Posted: 6/15/2016 5:44:10 PM EDT
$44.13 shipped to me for the black and green bag
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 7:13:47 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cap6888:
In a word, military packs suck. Like was mentioned above, check out an REI Garage sale. REI brand and Kelty are good packs IMO. If you can spare the scratch, I just got a close out deal on the Eberlestock website for their "legacy" Jackhammer pack (as a standard Alice frame instead of their newer aluminum one). It was $200 shipped. Great price on a great pack.

For me, I think the MSS is worth the money you pay for it. As has been said, the bivy and patrol bag are awesome. The black bag is heavy and bulky. But you can't find a system that is comparable temp wise and with a solid bivy for anywhere close to the same price.

A quality, comfortable pack will easilycarrythe extra weight of an MSS. For me, I would rather spend the money on a good pack and save some money on the MSS.
View Quote


I use the shit outta the patrol bag. That and the bivy with a USMC Thermarest is GTG.
Link Posted: 6/16/2016 7:39:07 PM EDT
Military packs suck balls compared to commercial.

Unless you like heavier shit that doesn't hold as much and has uncomfortable straps.

Here's a good start
https://www.amazon.com/Osprey/pages/3037669011
Link Posted: 6/18/2016 8:00:53 PM EDT
It is my opinion that much like buying Boots, Packs are not the place to cut corners if you want to be comfortable and enjoy time outdoors instead of fighting your kit. Look for used gear on ebay and other places, or watch for coupon codes. I prefer Hill people gear packs for outdoor shenanigans.
Link Posted: 6/19/2016 3:41:32 AM EDT
Osprey for backpack. Down sleeping bag. Good value is Big Agnes.
Link Posted: 6/20/2016 10:09:39 AM EDT
I actually like my USGI Medium Ruck. Only thing about it that I don't like is the lack of compression straps for holding jackets and sleeping bags.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 8:22:02 AM EDT
I have a medium alice and a USMC ILBE. The medium alice isn't bad, I use it to do 4-6 mile rucks with 50+ pounds. One big thing would be to cut the two cinch down straps and add some clips on there to make opening and closing the back a lot easier.
On the flip side is the ILBE. It's kind of a pain in the ass with all the straps but it's pretty comfortable and it's huge. I use it more as a suitcase when I go on trips since it's hands free and pretty comfortable. It's also a big easier to walk with because it sits high and narrow instead of low and wide.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 8:28:14 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DevL:
Osprey for backpack. Down sleeping bag. Good value is Big Agnes.
View Quote


Osprey is awesome. And they're so good about their guarantee. They'll fix stuff you buy used.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 9:28:39 AM EDT
Well a used ALICE would do it.

A while ago I bought the Osprey 85L pack from REI and it was $272 after discounts and sale. I hear you about saving money but you don't need to spend a mint to buy a decent pack and most of the civilian ones are quite nice.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 9:29:33 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By cap6888:
In a word, military packs suck. Like was mentioned above, check out an REI Garage sale. REI brand and Kelty are good packs IMO. If you can spare the scratch, I just got a close out deal on the Eberlestock website for their "legacy" Jackhammer pack (as a standard Alice frame instead of their newer aluminum one). It was $200 shipped. Great price on a great pack.

For me, I think the MSS is worth the money you pay for it. As has been said, the bivy and patrol bag are awesome. The black bag is heavy and bulky. But you can't find a system that is comparable temp wise and with a solid bivy for anywhere close to the same price.

A quality, comfortable pack will easilycarrythe extra weight of an MSS. For me, I would rather spend the money on a good pack and save some money on the MSS.
View Quote


+1

I also have a Kelty Falcon that has been really good.
Link Posted: 6/22/2016 5:55:55 PM EDT
I have a medium ALICE with TT straps and TT waist belt and TT buckles. I seem to be the perfect size for that pack and like it very much. I went that route after pricing new packs at REI and such. I have about 120.00 total in my pack.
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