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Posted: 11/18/2011 12:51:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/18/2011 12:57:19 PM EDT by AzB]
I've described some of this setup to several folks on here, and it's always been hard to describe. It's basically how I made my Snugpak response bag into a chest pack without changing anything on the Snugpak so it can still be used as a lumber bag, attached to any molle straps like on the waist belt, or even worn as a front belly bag while wearing a pack that has a waist belt. This offers enormous amounts of versatility and convenience. There are also pictures of the waist belt mod to my Osprey; for those of you familiar with the Osprey, they always include these goofy waist belt pouches that are darn near worthless. The only thing I end up using them for is carrying little bits of trash I pick up. So I removed them and sewed on some molle straps. This allows me to attach pouches, holsters, or nothing at all, depending on my needs. There's also some pics of my rifle carrier as well.

The pics should be lots easier to understand than my rambling descriptions.

Here's the Snugpak bag. It is shown as purchased, the only mods I made were those two female buckles on the top. They are simply looped over the straps on the Snugpak that are designed to attach the bag to molle or pals straps. I also added a stiff piece of padded plastic to the back of the Snugpak, in the pouch where the waist strap is stored when not in use. This keeps the Snugpak from drooping when not completely full. The waist strap can still be stored in that pouch.

The two buckles are the light green ones closest to the camera on top. These are used to attach the top part to the pack via straps with male connectors attached to the pack. The waist belt is used to keep the Snugpak, well, snug. So it doesn't bounce around during technical or spastic movement.

Here's a view of the Snugpak attached to the pack from the side.

You can see how the waist belt attaches. I simply used a shoulder strap from an old carry on bag that attached with clips. These clips are attached to the molle straps on the belt, but could also be attached to the compression straps on the pack, the bottom of the shoulder straps... whatever is convenient. These straps really don't have much stress on them, so it's not a critical connection. The only reason the straps and buckles are this wide is so that I can remove the Snugpak and still wear it as a lumbar pack with no changes. Simply unhook the connections and adjust the strap length, and away you go. If you have no need for using your chest pack as a lumbar pack, you could do away with the wide straps, big buckles, and the extra strap length.

Here's a close up of the buckle and the attachment to the pack.

And here it is unbuckled.

Note the molle straps added to the waist belt. I find these much more useful than those little pockets Osprey installs. I love the Osprey packs, they are so incredibly comfortable, useful, and lightweight... a major weakness is no molle on the waist straps. Problems solved! It's darn near the perfect pack now.

Here's a closeup of the top of the Snugpak. You can see the straps attached to the shoulder straps of the pack. I used small carabiners to attach the straps to the load lifter straps. Other packs have loops or buckles on the shoulder straps that can be attached to. I have 5 packs, and every one has an easy method of attachment. The straps can be left in place when you remove the Snugpak, so that it only takes a few seconds to reattach it with the quick release buckles.

Here's a view on my Eberlestock:

You can see the top of the rifle attachment. The strap holding the barrel is a quick release cam lock. You can tug on the strap, the gun, and the surrounding straps, and it will stay put. It's very secure. But touch that cam lock, and the rifle simply falls right into your waiting hands. It's completely out of the way while scrambling over rocks, climbing hand over hand, wading through creeks, etc. But if you need it, the rifle is in hand in less than a second.

Here's a shot of the whole rifle attachment. Keep in mind it's completely adjustable, you can lengthen or shorten the strap on the bottom carrier based on the length of the weapon, you can move the strap forward or back on the waist belt to change the angle of the weapon, and the top strap is large enough to go around the largest of barrels, while still coming free in a snap.

The bottom basket holds the butt loosely, but doesn't allow it to fall out, no matter what kind of gyrations you are putting yourself through. It also put almost all the weight of the rifle onto the waist belt of the pack, so if your pack has a robust, well designed waist belt, you'll never feel the weight of the rifle. If you've ever carried a rifle slung over your shoulder for the major part of a hike, you'll appreciate the comfort. It's truly awesome.

I know you're thinking either this man's a freaking genius, or there's no way this could work. Well, either way, you should head over to Kifaru's site and watch the video.

Kifaru gun bearer in use

I stole the idea from Kifaru, they are the geniuses. Watch the video if you don't think this works, it's amazing how effective and easy this thing is. I've never found a better way to carry a rifle with a backpack on.

Back to the Snugpak chest rig:

Keep in mind that the Snugpak carries important gear like first aid, sunglasses, flashlight, binoculars, emergency kit, etc. This allow me to drop the main pack and use the Snugpak as a summit pack, or just to wear around camp to make sure that I always have basic gear on me when getting water, exploring around camp etc. Just in case. It also allows me to CC my handgun while heading into a civilized area, if the need arises. The Snugpak can also be attached to the waist belt of the pack via the molle straps, or to the outside of the pack if the pack has any kind of attachment points like daisy chains or molle. It's a very versatile setup that allows a lot of flexibility.

Here's one more pic showing the chest pack, waist holster for handgun, and rifle mount all in one.

FWIW, I normally carry my pistol on the left side, and the rifle on the right. (I'm fully ambidextrous) This way I can quickly draw either weapon without interference from the other. With the pistol on the right, there is some minor interference while drawing, and the rifle does contact the pistol grip occasionally. Not a big deal to me, as I normally carry a pistol on the left and shoot rifles right handed, so there's no learning curve here for me. I can also carry the pistol in the main pouch of the chest rig.

Hope this helps.

Link Posted: 11/18/2011 12:55:44 PM EDT
In case it wasn't clear, two identical sets of buckles were used for the Snugpak waist belt and pack attachment. This allows the Snugpak to quickly attach/detach from the pack, while still allowing the Snugpak to be used as a lumbar or belly bag. The male and female buckles simply alternate sides.

Link Posted: 12/30/2011 7:39:15 PM EDT
Great post. I have an osprey pack as well, I do a lot of backpacking but always been wondering how to work with my backpacking background to bring together a system for shtf or the like.

Everybody running out and buying surplus .mil gear makes me laugh. There is a reason we all switched to down bags and lighter gear in the backpacking world...
Link Posted: 12/31/2011 10:37:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By jeep123:
Great post. I have an osprey pack as well, I do a lot of backpacking but always been wondering how to work with my backpacking background to bring together a system for shtf or the like.

Everybody running out and buying surplus .mil gear makes me laugh. There is a reason we all switched to down bags and lighter gear in the backpacking world...

I hiked the AT with an ALICE pack and a bunch of mil surplus gear. My pack weighed over 70 lbs at one point.

I've got it down to 35 lbs now, 28 lbs in summer. That's fully loaded with food and water for at least a week.

A lighter pack is soooo much better. More comfortable, faster, fewer injuries.

Link Posted: 1/8/2012 5:07:24 AM EDT
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