Repost: Thoughts On LBE, Plus An Info Bleg

Part I

Part II

The info bleg:

Can any readers provide links for how to load an ALICE pack properly?

What enhancements are worth the bother on the basic ALICE set-up?

Obviously, both doctrinal and field experience is useful.

Thanks in advance.

24 responses to “Repost: Thoughts On LBE, Plus An Info Bleg

  1. I think that the older ALICE equipment is fine for extreme low cost, but the newer MOLLE equipment is much improved over it. Keep the ALICE if you must, give it to someone who needs it and step up if you can.

    Here’s the Fighting Load Carrier:

    You can buy an extra mag pouch and add that, bringing the capacity to eight mags, locating the “grenade” pouched higher, using them for bandages, tourniquet, and so forth. If you duplex two mags, you can have from 200 to 300 rounds on you, depending on caliber.

    For packs, right now, it’s hard to beat the USMC full sized pack (around 5000 cubic inches), available used or new on eBay, and the USMC small assault pack of about 1500 cubic inches for lighter loads.

  2. In packing an Alice pack, I’ve found that you have to keep the weight (ammo) at the bottom and closest to your back, and centered. Otherwise it messes up your center of gravity, you become more prone to falling down when going over terrain and it’s more uncomfortable to carry. I hate Alice packs, they suck. I’ll take a mountaineering ruck any day over that. Unfortunately with a mountaineering ruck, you have to dump it if you ever need to go prone and bring your rifle to bear, because the top of the ruck get’s in your head’s way. Or you can lay on your side, if you can’t dump it right away.

    Keep the light fluffy stuff in the outside pouches of your ruck, (dehydrated food, ponchos, liner, maps, and keep everything in waterproof bags, ziplocks or other reusable ones. It might make sense to have some items in SOP standard locations so everybody knows where to get to a spare mag, NODs, smoke or whatever.

    The Molle war belt is much better than the alice pouch set-up on belts. If you ever crawl around on the ground, drag, whatever, you’re constantly losing gear because the clips break. You can always tie everything off with para cord though in addition to the clips, that’s an improvement, and use the old heavy steel clips, not the flimsy aluminum ones.

    When you have a setup you think you like, don’t just do the jump up and down rattle test before you call it good. You need to go out in the woods or somewhere and run with it, and wear it for a few hours. Find the painful pokey spots and adjust. Also, and most importantly, have a buddy drag you around on your back at least 50 yards in the weeds. That will verify your retention of your gear, and your dragability setup if you ever get hit. Drag handles are not always practical.

    Whatever you do, tie off your strings and straps, or wrap them in electrical tape. They’ll get caught on shit, rattle and could get you compromised.

    Basically if anything isn’t permanently attached to your rig, you’re going to lose shit. Little radios and compasses are notorious for falling off. Keep that shit in pouches. Chem lights and zip cuffs aren’t a big deal to lose as long as somebody has them, and they fit in molle real nice.

  3. Semper Fi, 0321

    ALICE instructions can be downloaded easily online.
    ALICE system was issued to my Recon unit the day I got out. Acquired one later in the Reserves, never fit me. Much preferred the VN ruck. And it sucked too.
    I just got several ALICE packs from a surplus dealer friend, am converting them to MALICE for some buddies.

  4. Assuming a medium pack:
    Inside compartment – socks, t-shirt towel
    Main compartment: Boots, BDUs BS, and MREs
    left rear outside compartment – poncho & liner
    middle compartment TP, pogey bait, stripped MRE
    right compartment: shaving kit and gun cleaning gear
    sleeping bag wrapped in waterproof bag and carrier through the loops on bottom of pack.

    Frame highly recommended by grunts (we strapped them to the attachment points on the tracks)

    • Semper Fi, 0321

      Better explain to non-Marines what pogey bait is = candy.

      • & what is a “Pogey”?

        • Semper Fi, 0321

          The Marines in China before WW II were issued candy (Baby Ruths, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) as part of their their ration supplements. At the time, sugar and other assorted sweets were rare commodities in China and much in demand by the Chinese, so the troops found the candy useful for barter in town.

          The Chinese word for prostitute, roughly translated, is “pogey”. Thus, Marines being Marines, candy became “Pogey Bait”.

          Damn, they always made us pay in cash!

  5. Best Alice Mods- One Word- HELLCAT, look it up.

  6. I use a MOLLE pack on an ALICE frame (and kidney pad), with the MOLLE sleeping bag carrier. The carrier holds a complete pup tent, sleeping bag, towel and complete set of clothing (minus boots) all wrapped in a poncho. main compartment has sustainment load of: boots, 12 pr socks, 5 set underwear and t-shirts, 1 set light LJ and 1 set expadition LJ. Room for MREs and more. Plus the large assult pack hooks on with 72 hrs supplies. LBE with canteens, pouches, butt pack with poncho, 24hrs of food, extra socks and undies plus wool cap and neck gaiter and room left for extras. It breaks down from sustaiment load to 3 to 5 day load to immediate needs load. And last it is all subject to whatever it is I need to accomplish and what kind of terrain/weather I need to do it in. I hope this has some ideas for you to use and don’t forget you will need to modify it for your own needs.



  7. I left out 2 sets of clothing in the main pack. Also, both of my sons, USMC Infantry and OIF Veterans, prefer the older ALICE systems to the newer issue gear.


  8. While there are civilian-produced military packs that are far, far superior, nothing the .mil has issued has yet surpassed the ALICE ruck, large for pure effectiveness in packing heavy loads. On a budget? NOTHING surpasses the ALICE ruck, large.

    • Quick-release buckles on the main straps make for easier/faster access to the main compartment. A chest strap helps with fine tuning….and, in my opinion, having the frame REALLY helps when you gotta live in the field.

      • I did this on all of my packs, there are some “split” buckles you can use so you don’t have to re sew the straps to do it. Just cut off the metal sliders and slide the new ones on.

  9. Not the definition of Pogey bait I’ve ever heard, nor the Mandarin translation of “prostitute.” Pogues are rear-echelon support guys and girls. You know, the ones who sit behind desks. Pogey bait is the stuff they live on….candy, cakes, and shit,……


    • Semper Fi, 0321

      Definition is from online dictionary.
      Nobody today knows what the fuck Pogey bait originally was. It’s from decades ago, probably pre WW2.
      Pogue is a Vietnam slur, not even remotely Pogey bait.

  10. chuckisageek

    Remove the meat hooks on the pouches for the belt and replace with 550 cord.

  11. Here’s how it works. You won’t know what works till you actually try it. So, get the LBE, Alice pack, whatever, pack it with what and how much you think you need, then live out of it for the time period you think it will last. Also means carrying it and moving up and down and all that stuff. You also need to carry out several practice runs of what you would do in the event of a fire-fight, or a rout, or a very hasty movement of any kind you can imagine. Then see, and evaluate how it works. If you do all this with some company, it’s all the more revealing, and you can help one another. While training this way, deliberately try to get your stuff to fail. I don’t mean use the K-Bar on it, I mean be rough as hell and neglectful of it, simulating combat, because in combat, you won’t be thinking about your gear. Your mind is usually occupied with thoughts of killing, or being killed. If you do this exercise more than three times, you’ll have the knowledge and training you need to gear up and move out with confidence and as much certainty as you can get. This is how I trained combat troops for ground movement, carrying only what was on their backs. And this is one way to get your mind right. The para cord is nice, but the only thing I really depend on is my head.

  12. I replace the ALICE clips with a heavy duty “velcro”. Seems to work well and allows easy readjustment of pouches if needed. I have not lost a pouch using this. Prior to this I used zip-ties, which work very well and before that 550 cord. The ALICE clips tend to come loose and can also dig into you .


  13. Sorry JM, I put that in the wrong spot somehow.

  14. Will beat me to it, but from what I’ve seen the “Hellcat” pack is the way to go…

    The original thread: – scroll down to post #28…

    A GREAT tutorial:

    Best of all, for those inclined to just plunk down some cash, go here and buy it already assembled:

    Add a 1606 or 1609 frame from DEI and you’ve got something that should beat damn near anything you can buy at any price. — see

    I can’t speak from experience on any of this – my crippled ass isn’t going to be huffing a pack, it’ll be strapped to the bike or ATV if it even goes that far…

    G*D knows I wish it wasn’t so, but… There it is…

    Still – hope this helps someone…

    • Not to worry, it works. I’ve humped mine over much of Colorado and New Mexico including to the top of Wheeler Peak-twice. Honestly I haven’t tried a Kifaru or a Eberlestock but I am very happy with my little modified Alice.

      I haven’t tried a Down East frame yet but one mod I did do to my frame was to drill out all the rivets and replace them with nuts and bolts (loc tited) as I have heard they tend to let go.

      I have several of these packs in each size, I bought most of them at garage sales, gunshows and flea markets for a few bucks. I bought the MOLLE bits to finish them off Ebay. I doubt I have as much in all of my packs combined as I would have in a single high end pack.

  15. Prairie Fire

    Earlier comments about keeping the front of the harness clear in front of hipbones, are spot on. Putting mag pouches that far back will necessitate using hangers (either what came with the M1956 mag pouches, or what comes with its improvement.) Idea is that as weight is taken from the front of the belt and moved aft, you need to grab on to the front of the suspenders at their various tie-in points and support the weight of the mag pouches in some way. Otherwise, clearing the front of the belt for prone use will just load up the back of the harness. A person needs to tie in those side-mounted mag pouches to the front of the rig, do what is necessary to accomplish this.

    If I was into putting together an Alice rig at this late date, I would be looking online for the old M1956 H harness in the tall length. They are becoming fewer in that tall length… and the regular length was made for short people, for those less than 68″ height.

  16. I was in the Army during the transition from the LBE to the LBV (Load Bearing Vest) and ETS’d before MOLLE became the standard issue. Because most of my time was spent with the LBE I am most comfortable with it vs. newer vest-type systems but of course, YMMV.

    Mine was set up with the buttpack and a canteen tight on either side of it while the two mag pouches were tight against those. My compass was carried in a 1st aid bandage pouch directly in front of my right side mag pouch. This setup left plenty of open space on the front of the belt so I could comfortably lie in the prone. My 1st aid bandage was carried in it’s pouch on the left shoulder loop.

    After transitioning to the LBV I never quite got used to it. It was more like an extra layer of clothing than an efficient way to carry magazines and I longed for the old familiar “battle rattle”. Nowadays I have no idea what our guys are using but if I had to set up something for the coming times I would follow the advice previously given to “use what works for you” and recreate my old LBE setup. Thanks for the article.