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ALICE pack or more civy looking pack?

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So I was looking at this ALICE pack here as a new BOB:


Although this bag does seem to be a great choice, I wonder if I should go with something more "Civy" looking. When S does really HTF I believe it would be a wise choice to have a more neutral looking bag. I would prefer a more civy one too hold my gear, I have an engineers bag like this:

and I would like it to fit in whatever bag I get. I feel like the ALICE pack would be a bit of an overkill for it, although I do have a wider bag full of a ton of Mainstay bars, but I feel like that would be too much weight to haul around on my back.


One choice would be to buy a rain cover for a backpack and throw that around the bag to cut back on suspicion, but I'm still undecided about the ALICE.


Are their more Civy looking bags, even like Maxpedition style bags that are a little less wide, but well padded and very durable? Or should I stick with the ALICE pack?

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I'm going with the civilian gear, for several reasons:


1. It doesn't suggest that I'm military trained, or military equipped.

2. It blends in more with the large civilian population where I live.

3. Military gear, with few exceptions, is NOT better designed than civilian gear. That's the nature of high volume, low cost, multiple source supply chains.

4. You have more financial options with civilian gear, because you can draw on a broad range of sporting gear and buy it 'off season'.


Those first two are the big reasons I'm not loading up on camo/surplus clothing and gear. Discretion and deception are the keys to avoiding trouble. I don't look like a threat, and I don't look like I'm hunting trouble. That might mean the difference between being ignored, and being sniped from cover.


As an example, I have a Firefly external frame backpack, made by Outdoor Products. It's in dark green, tan and black colors. It can be custom fit by the user to anyone, short or tall, wide or narrow shoulders, without tools. The straps and hip belt are attached to the frame, not the pack, so you can use the frame to haul fuel/water/ammo cans, animal carcasses, anything at all. The frame has dozens of places to attach a bungee cord or tie down, just for this purpose. My pack comes with its own rain fly (in a special compartment for it) and offers more cubic inches of storage than a medium ALICE pack. It cost me $65 on, and it has a manufacturer's warranty. I humped an ALICE pack for years in the Army, but I wouldn't choose one over this pack unless I got the ALICE for free and had no money to spend on something better.


Here's a link to my pack (I'm not saying buy this specific pack, just that there are better choices in the civilian world, rather than a surplus ALICE pack)

Edited by survivalcyclist

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If you go the civilian route it is always easy to make a camo tire cover to put over any pack or BOB.Something like There not hard to make and can be rolled up right into your bag.I make them in different camos for the seasons.If your trying to not be seen in snow green camo for a BOB is not always the best choice.And most people do not have the money to buy 5 different BOBs.Just make some of these and your good to go.Plus if your really good at it you can put on the inside some waterproofing.I just buy the cloth in a roll online.

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I think the look of your pack isn't really the most important part. I have three different one's that I have used for quite a while. I bought this one for my wife and she really loves it I also have a not that exact one but similar. I also have an issued Marine Corps ruck pack. My favorite is a pack I got for free, the Air Force was throwing away their old ruck packs and I scooped one up and took it home. It isn't as big as my MC issued ruck but it has a aluminum frame that is very light. It has the fold over top to keep water from getting in the pack and you can store things you need to get to fast in there. It also has a bottom that zips open to put items in that you can get to faster. I like it the most because it is the most comfortable, leaves the most room between my back and the pack itself. That really helps with sweating. It also has a great waist strap that takes a great deal of the pressure off of my shoulders. I feel that the look of a pack should be one of the last things that helps you decide. It should be comfortable, be the size of what you need to carry. It should have a great waist strap as well. I dont think a camo pack will make you look military trained or equipped. Anyone can go to a army navy store and buy military stuff. I wouldnt pick a pack that stands out in color either. I do like the looks of the pack that he mentioned above as well. Not a stand out color and looks to be a great price for what your buying. There are quite a few things to consider, such as the frame being internal or external.

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I use a snowboarding/skiing backpack. It has a few external pockets as well as a good sized main compartment. It also has some external straps, and MOLLE type webbing to hook stuff onto it if need be. It's waterproof,black and not overly huge so you pack what you will NEED, not eveything and the kitchen sink. It;s also about HOW you pack your gear as well as WHAT you pack

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For me its about the MONEY...

I bought 2 Alice packs/w frames and canteens/covers with 2quart bottles for $65.00..

I can use the New Plactic spray paint to get it more "common" if need be..but its my "BOB" primarly a"grab and run" and for my scouting the local Mountains..

the other packs LOOK realy nice and both Daughter would love them .lol

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I'm sure most of you know how to do this, but here is some info on how to back your bags. It depends somewhat on wheter you are hiking uphill or down, but you'll get the general idea from the link. In general heavier stuff closer to you and your center of gravity. Essential things up top where you can grab them easy, etc.


Also, fit is key. Get a waist belt for your BoB, you'll be hauling a lot of weight and need to put it on your hips, not shoulders. Make sure the pack fits. Don't buy it if it doesn't fit, the money you'll save wont be worth it when you are out in woods and cant walk anymore. Go to REI or a similar place and have them measure you. For example, I'm 6'1 and 185;bs, but need a medium bag to fit my torso and waist.

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my 2 cents:


I have a large Alice $35 a Miller 2 assault $35 and a knockoff maxpedition$35 or so.


None are discreet. a PO saw my maxpedition and decided I must be illegally carrying.


The molle 2 doesn't hold much but its comfortable and expandable via the molle straps. I like having a water bladder in there, very convenient hiking.


The Alice pack works well for the money. I'd carry 45 pounds in it or so to the range. It allows air to circulate behind your back so it doesn't get sweaty like the molle assault, but it sways more too.

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