There have been ALICE v. MOLLE threads that have had some valid points about how ALICE is "outdated" etc. and that MOLLE is the way of the future.
Well here are some "secrets" to making ALICE gear work (I will post pics when I get camera to work again.) If you plan your load, you will find it to be comfortable, I just spent 22 hours wearing LBE for field exercise, yes my unit still uses ALICE gear.
1. H-harness is a must, the Y-harness let's your load shift too much.
adjust belt so that load is mostly on shoulders not the waist.
2. Limit what you carry. Long term things go in the pack.
3. use hydration pouch (camelbak) v. canteens to take weight of water off of hips reducing fatigue.
freeing up belt space for more lethal items.
My personal setup:
new style pistol belt
Blackhawk webgear H-harness w/hydration pouch
butt pack (poncho,MRE,550 cord,batteries, firestarting gear)
2- 3x30 rd mag pouches
1- compass pouch (carry compass, or handcuffs)
1- m12 holster
2- 2x9mm pouches (1 for surefire and multi-tool)
LARGE ALICE PACK--
1.pack items in order of importance (ie. immediate items in outside pockets)
2.heavy stuff towards body.
3.Upgrade straps and kidney pad.
4.Don't pack 100 lbs of gear in one bag.
If I may:
- replace the metal hooks on the harness with paracord through the belt grommets.
- replace the metal ALICE clips with either MALICE clips or cheaper, single use black wire ties.
- balance your load left to right and front to back.
- place larger pouches over to side (like ammo pouches) instead of front. This will also enable you to get to your mag pouches in the prone.
- keep the back clear of crap. When you wear a pack, don't put pouches/canteens etc. on the back, unless you wear the belt low, so that the pack rides on your back, not on your pouches. This will also allow you to wear a pack waistbelt for heavier loads.
- keep the shoulders clear of stuff. No knives, flashlights, pouches, etc. Unless your unit's SOP requires you to wear your first aid case on the left shoulder, keep it slick. Keeping the harness straps slick means the pack straps will ride better, and if you have to go to weakside shooting, nothing equipment related with prevent you from getting a good cheek weld.
Your LBE should have, at the minimum:
ammo (for your primary and secondary weapons)
first aid kit (for you, not for someone else)
secondary weapon (if you have one)
water (either canteens or Camelbak, as long as neither affects your pack fit)
Good to have:
compass (if you aren't issued one, buy a Silva Ranger CL)
ditty pouch (a pouch other than your magazine pouches to hold a flashlight, Gerber tool, pencil, paper, camo stick, pogey bait)
Knife (either bayonet for your rifle or a practical field knife)
Raingear can go in the pack unless you ground it and it's raining, and then it's worn or attached to the back of your harness.
I used to set up my LBE to live off of it in case I couldn't get back to my pack. I would have (all on belt):
4 ammo pouches (I never had grenades, since I was in the peacetime army, so I could put them close together)
1 field knife (when I could get away with it)
1 compass and pouch
1 battle dressing pouch with two dressings (remember, entry AND exit wounds)
1 buttpack with raingear, 2 or 3 MREs broken down to entrees, crackers and cheese spread, camo stick and poncho liner (I wore my LBE low so it would clear the ruck) and two pair of socks, all in a water resistant bag
It makes for a full belt, but I never went wanting.
I can't agree about the H-harness, at least for me.
I don't like the straps riding across my shoulder blades and my gear is well balanced.
I realize I'm in the minority here, but for me the Y-harness works.
Like others here:
1. Replace the metal hooks. You wouldn't get away with this on garrison gear, but personal gear definitely
2. Get that crap off the harness. Whoever thought of that was an idiot.
3. Get a belt pad (Eagle or Blackhawk).
4. Get a belt-spacer for heavier clothing.
1 GI belt
4 3x30 mag pouches (two for mags, two for junk and pogey)
2 1qt canteens (it's an old setup, but it works with a backpack)
1 Butt pack (I replaced the slide fasteners with fastex buckles (excellent upgrade)
1 Small utility pouch (holds mini-mag flashlight, folding knife/multitool and a pair of medical shears)
I've always worn my gear low, directly on the hips.
Others wear it higher up, around the waist. As long as it works with your ruck.
Great suggestions, my H-Harness attaches to the belt with snaps and velcro, so there are no metal hooks.
ALICE clips must go, that is like some kind of law.
The new breed needs to know how to rig this stuff to work.
I used ALICE for way to many years....I'm glad it's gone
Way to much good gear to pick and choose from these days. Somethings need to be let go.......
The nice thing about ALICE gear is it may not be the highest speed shiny new shit, but it is CHEAP. Which means you can have a couple of rigs set up similarly in the house, trunk of car, etc. fro SHTF for the price of one badass supertactical rig, and you almost always can have one accessble. Your $900 superrig isn't worth spit if it isn't available when you need it!
The cheap cost of ALICE gear also means it is very easy to set up a spare rig or two for various weapons, i.e. one prelaoded for the AR-15, one preloaded for teh M1A. Just make sure they are labelled so there is no confusion which one you are grabbing!
ALICE is not gone yet, there are several Guard units that still use it, not everyone gets the hsld gear at the same time.
My issued pistol was a 1911 and this was 1989-1993!!!! Never saw a Beretta until I went AD in 94, would kill to get that 1911 back.
companies like SpecOps and BDS tactcial make gear that is compatible with both ALICE and MOLLE, so you can get the best of both worlds and if you change from LBE to MOLLE gear then your pouches can go with you.
There are some vastly improved systems out there that still are ALICE based.
and has been mentioned it is cheap enough to have multiple setups, for different uses or to outfit other people in extreme situations.
I am in the process of making and pitching an idea to some of the gear manufacturers that will be adaptable to all systems. I am making prototypes now and will post updates of the progress.
I didn't know there were secrets to ALICE comfort. I have been wearing ALICE since 1995 with no problems. I am 5'10" 165 pounds. How are the rest of you built? I just put the pouches were I want them and thats that.
You are one of the few that it just works for, the rest of us need tape, modifications, and aftermarket gear to make ALICE truly comfortable.
I have been using it for almost 20 years now and I finally have it down.
dont forget saw pouches. two first aid dressings fit in one pouch, check for holes or theyll soak. i put mine on the vertical suspender strap below the pad. i keep my compass in the grenade pouch on the 30rd mag pouch.
thanks for the heads up using zipties, i been using 550 cord.
other things to add: 550 cord, lighter, flashlight, old roll of green tape flattened, bug repellant, aa/m68 batteries, chapstick.
But as they deploy, they are getting the MOLLE set issued at RFI. Newbies to units that have returned from deployment will still get whatever LCE/LBV the state has, but for the vast majority will have the MOLLE FLC.
I don't like ALICE or the issue SDS rifleman MOLLE set up, and the USGI LBV sucks balls too.
I pretty much prefer to go afetrmarket.
However, for you dinosaurs that still insist on using ALICE, you can find an old unservicable USGI LBV and use the shoulder piece to make a really kick ass H-Harness.
The Y-harness works for me. It just needs to be ajusted high. Not that it matters- Alice is dead. I can't see myself using it again.
Alice was always better than the LBV IMO.
Who you calling DINOSAUR?
I am actually working on a bastard alice/molle setup by modifying a molle vest and mating it with my pistol belt, and adding a built in hydration pouch mesh back. I like both systems but still for some reason (maybe it's my Ice Age field training) still like Alice gear.
Tag for when I have a chance to read more and post something meaningful.
You can also make a pretty decent "poor man's" chest rig with ALICE suspenders (preferably the H type), a web belt, and judicious selection of mag carriers/shingles.
The secrete is to throw away the "ALICE" gear and buy some modern comfortable stuff, but thanks for the tips, man I used to hate the way that Y harness made your load swing.
Except for not having a built in hydration carrier, the medic MOLLE LBV would be what you are looking for, and it's already built. It't the enhanced LBV, but instead of having the four mag pouches sewn on, it is covered in MOLLE webbing. Same padded shoulder straps, and belt attachment points. Good luck finding one though.
should be easy to get an LBV and just modify it and add the PALS webbing to it.
As for the Alice pack itself I would get the aftermarket "Super Straps" to replace the stock shoulder straps. Then get the better kidney/low back pad and the pad that goes on the waist belt. And speaking of the belt, use the damn thing to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Some say not to so you can ditch the pack easier, and I agree if contact is immanent. But that strap is there for a reason.
I used mine, with all the pad/strap mods listed above when I was an AG. It was mandatory really. I was carrying in/on my ruck'
1200rds of 7.62mm (basic load)
210 rounds of 5.56mm (basic load) in magazines
M122 tripod w/ flex-mount and t&e
spare M240B barrel
two 2-quart canteens of water
plus the clothing/snivel items on the packing list
Beleive me when I say that that is a hell of a load to carry on a "movement to daylight" in the CONUS. Do it in Thailand or Panama and it becomes brutal. And those times when it was shoulder straps only that kind of weight will put tears in your eyes on any type of moement. So I became a pro on packing it right, and modding my ruck' to carry the load well.
So like I said, get the better shoulder straps if anything, and use the damn waist strap to carry the weight properly unless you are expecting contact.
the shoulder straps must be replaced, if you are anything less than a masochist.
i just figured out something new last night. on a gi m16 3 mag pouch, take the grenade holders and pull them forward. you can attach a first aid/compass pouch, or pistol mag pouch, or a shotgun pouch. you could hold the grenade pockets tight with a ziptie also. just an idea, im gonna mess around with it some more.
If I had to do a long-range dismounted patrol (basically anything that is not urban/MOUT/CQB), I think the 'old school ALICE stuff is fine (as long as you take the time to modify it as these gents have suggested. As to another type of mod that was done...I cut-off the frag grenade pouches on my magazine pouches and put both mag pouches, side by side, on the weak-hand side. Additionally, I liked the old M14 20 rd mag pouch because it had the ability to attach smoke grenades to it. So, I had one of those on the web belt also.
I cannot comment on the Mechanized guys, but, I can definately agree with Cyclic240B....
There is nothing "light" about Light Infantry...
If you have the newer, camoflauge, more padded shoulder straps, you don't need to replace them. They are more padded than some of the aftermarket ones, but if you have the older OD ones that only have a short section padded then replacing them is a must. A good waist strap is also a must. Add those to the frame, and replace the ALICE webbing on the sides with MOLLE/PALS webbing on the ruck itself and it would be just about perfect. I'm planning on doing that with mine, as well as adding the claymore pocket, and sleeping bag pocket on the bottome from Tactical Tailor eventually.
I have several rigs of ALICE gear set up for AR-15/M-14/Shotgun/SKS. I have boxes full of it and putting multiple rigs together was an easy thing to do. I also have spare rigs just to have on hand.
+1 on the zip ties replacing the ALICE clips. Also used an old canvas H-suspender too. I think I still have that final, ultimate ALICE rig someplace. Was set up with three M16 pouches, a SAW pouch on the right side middle, and in a Mississippi summer before the Camelbak came along, it sometimes had a pair of two-quarts swapped for the paired 1 quarts. Butt pack aft with the WW top strapped beneath.
I was handed the LBV at my first active duty posting. That wasn't too bad with tweaking, but I loved my tweaked SDS MOLLE vest. Only retired that for my SOTech Hellcat when I needed more room for 203 grenades.
Now ALICE ruck mods, I could go on for a long time about those. I used the same very same large ALICE ruck from 1991 through 2002, and it went through three or four evolutions.