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Ready?4What?

Anyone tried an ILBE pack?

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Has anyone tried a US Marine ILBE pack? I am currently using an Army Assault pack for my BOB and it is pretty much full with no change of clothes and no sleeping bag. My weight is not bad at all, but I have no room for bulky items. The ILBE appears to fit the bill, but at $200-$300, I would like an opinion from someone that has actually used or seen one.

 

One feature that I like is the fact that it has "duffle" style handles on the sides, so that it can be handled easily while not being worn.

 

Any other recommendations (and why) are welcome. One DEFINATE requirement is that it be in a camo or muted color. No bright blue, red, green, yellow, etc. I want something with some semblance of camo, even if it is a solid color.

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For the money and size, I say go with a Camelbak BFM. It is of a comparable size to the assault pack, but it has way better organizational features. If you have a store near you that sells them, they are worth checking out. They can be found for less than 200$ I have lots of experience with the Army assault pack, but none with the USMC. I hope this helps. I hate cluttering up threads with unhelpful responses :-)

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Thanks, But I need something larger than the Assault pack that I have now. The Assault pack will hold everything that I need it to, except some extra clothes and a sleeping bag/mat. I like the Assault pack alot and it will get moved to use by the wife when I find something larger...

 

I looked at the Camelback online and I like it alot. But at $253, I like the deal I got on my Assault pack better. I got the pack, a MOLLE vest, 2 cantine pouches and 3 ammo pouces for $50+shipping (about $12 or $15). The ammo pouches were very dirty but in good condition. A quick run through the washing maching fixed that. hehe

Edited by Ready?4What?

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I have used the ILBE, and I can honestly say that I prefer the ALICE pack. But this is a personal preference. The ILBE did the job designed, but I never got to use it without a flak jacket on. Lots of my friends love it, and alot of my friends hate it. Just about every Marine in the Sniper platoon in my last unit hated it, but alot of the Marines in the company liked it. My beef with it is as follows: The sleeping system we were issued did not fit well (it barely fit actually) and was a real nuisance. The shoulder straps would never stay perfectly secure. the waist belt would always ride too low because of this, and there was no way to raise the pack. It has zippers on the sides, which in my mind are just a seem waiting to rip. And I managed to break a shoulder strap throwing the pack off a humvee (it snagged, and ripped out of the bottom of the pack) and there was no way to jury rig it back together. With an ALICE pack, I never had any of these problems to the degree that I did with the ILBE. Though I have had a frame bend to an obnoxious degree, and it was a little uncomfortable until I could bend it back. For the money, I would say that an ALICE would serve you better. But other Marines may tell you differently.

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Cool. Thanks for the input. I've always heard that the Alice packs were horridly uncomfortable. Also, Everytime I see one for sale it is incomplete. Not being very familiar with them, I was always afraid to try to piece one together. Do I have all of the pieces??? I have some alice straps that I bought for parts on some braided paracord slings. In messing with them, they did not apeat to be comfortable...

 

The ILBE seems to usually complete, except for the top cover (available seperatly). It seems to have the space I need and is the REALLY cool (Tacti-cool?) Marpat pattern. I have never seen one in person, but the straps and belt look comfy.

 

I'm not arguing with you on this, as I have very limited/no experience with these packs. I REALLY appreciate your input. I am also considering a pack by Kelty (not sure which one yet). They supply some of the European armies and their packs are available in muted colors (green, tan, etc). Thus not quite so military looking, but still subdued.

Is sleep system the same as the one from the Army? If so, can you be more specific about your dislikes on it. I am considering it as well.

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The ILBE has its strengths, but I feel the ALICE pack has more strengths. First, it is easier to repair. Second, it is modular, so if your frame fails catastrophically, all you need to do is pony up the 20-40 dollars to get a new one (I am assuming of course that you will use it for more than the end of the world). I had the top flap of my issue ILBE attached to the top of my mountain ruck for a field op, and it was about the handiest thing I have ever set up. Dont be afraid to kit bash gear, it can yield some amazing results. just stay awy from the evil, and horridible MOLLE pack. That thing is junkx10. With regards to the sleep system, the Marines and the Army use basically the same one, and it is pretty good. I dont like the bulk, but it kept me warm in Norway, and did a good job in Iraq. So its works in extremes. Get a good compression system for it and it should serve you well, as long as you take care of it. You should be able to replace individual pieces for that as well. One thing you might want to invest in, with a pack, is good water proofing bags. WP bags are what I used, and they work very well. Any other questions, let me know, I will try and pass on my bountiful knowledge as it is requested.

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I have the evil horrible Molle pack and like it very much. haha It is just too small for the bulky items like clothes and a sleep system.

 

What is the difference in the ILBE and the Ruck? I have seen mention of it, but am completely unfamiliar. Is it like a large duffle with handles or is it a pack with shoulder straps?

 

Currently I am using the 3-day assault molle pack for my BOB with the detachable buttpack for my ammo and gun supplies. What would you recommend for an upgrade? At this point there is 0 room for sleep system or tent. BOB does include ground cover, plastic sheet, and paracord for make do shelter if needed. But I sure would prefer room for a pack tent. haha

Edited by Ready?4What?

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Good question. I am leaning toward the lighter is better end of the spectrum for myself. But if you want a good BOB, IMHO, an ALICE will do you wonderfully (get a mountain ruck, and a good frame.) the major difference between the ILBE and the ALICE is the frame. The ILBE has an internal frame similar to many hiking packs, that is fashioned out of two pieces of metal. They run down the sides, and i believe they are connected by another piece of metal somewhere. Not sure though, I never tore the thing apart. The shoulder straps, as far as I am concerned are junk. They are over padded, and too thin. The waist belt does not hold the pack to your hips, so the weight tends to fall on your shoulders. This, coupled with the crappy straps, tends to make life a living hell (at least for me, though others would agree i think, the whole sniper platoon in my last company switched to ALICE packs). the straps are also directly attached to the pack, not the frame as with an ALICE pack. The ALICE is also set up to allow you to strap things to the bottom, or under the flap on the top. I have also had things wedged in between the frame and me (like a shelter half, or our mosquito nets) and it actually added some cushion. You can also get after market ALICE packs from such reputable companies as Blackhawk Tactical, that are truly kick butt. I have never used them, but I have seen them, and tried them on (fully loaded) and they are about as comfortable as you can get with 100+ pounds of gear in them. As for packing for a camping trip, well, it all depends on what you are bringing. i have had in my pack (all at the same time for a cold weather outing) 4 days worth of chow (Eight cold weather meals), a tent, and extra set of cammies, three sets of skivvies, a stove, warming layers, fuel for said stove, skis, e-tool, 2 qt canteen. For a hot weather outing as a platoon radio operator, everything except the tent, stove, and fuel, add for more meals, and about sixty pounds of batteries, cable, and field phones, as well as a radio. All in this one mountain ruck. The pack can handle it. the ILBE, well, with a standard fifty pound load, I managed to break one of the shoulder straps where it connected to the pack at the base, and we will just say that I was very glad I was moving around in trucks, or else i would have been humping a fifty pound pack with one strap (as there was no way to fix it.) I had the same thing happen with my ALICE pack in boot camp, during our final hump to the reaper, and I tied it off to the frame, and it worked good enough to finish the hump, and then walk back to the barracks. Hope this helps to clarify.

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