Ok we finally got out for a good hump. Uwharrie has been moved out, but we humped up to the base of Morrow mountain. 6 miles, rolling terrain, in the foothills leading up to the mountain proper. Beautiful fall day, sunny, slight breeze, in the 60's.
First of all, let there be no misconceptions; military style rucking just plain sucks. There is no way around that. When you have to wear a belt with fighting load out, and stick a ruck on top of that, it is not as good as a civilian with no fighting load out, and a big hipbelt cinched down to support the load.
There are times and places for a short back ruck and belt kit, and then there's times and places for a long back ruck with chest-mounted kit. Whichever way you go, is a decision you must make, for your terrain and situation.
Since we are in the US southeast, where it is hot and humid at least half of the time, belt kit makes a lot of sense. Keeping your chest clear for some kind of breathability might be essential for your good health if not your sanity. So rucking in a jungle environment is a different challenge from say, up in the mountains.
While civilians are constantly lowering their packs weights and enjoying the new-found comfort, soldiers are stuck with carrying heavy loads, no matter what. Weapons, ammo, and equipment are heavy. Really the only good thing is 5.56 ammo, which allows you to carry twice as much as any .30 cal. It's still heavy but you literally get twice the bang for your buck.
Ok, I know that's a big leads up, but needs to be re-iterated.
Me: DG-3, with usual kit, for 48-72 hrs, including 2 extra batts, and 200 rds 5.56 linked. Approx 35 lbs. Belt kit with 8 loaded mags, 2 x 1 qt canteens and brew kit. Approx 15 lbs. All up 50 lbs.
Him: MR Overload with usual kit, for 48-72 hrs, including 2 extra batts and 200 rds 5.56 linked. Approx 40 lbs. Chest rig with 4 loaded mags, 2 x 152's, and 2 x 1qt canteens. Approx 20 lbs. All up 60 lbs.
We kept up a steady pace, around 15-16 min/mile for entire ruck, with no breaks. Basically just blowing it out our hoops to see what's what. It was hard and painful. I can still feel my lower back as I write this.
Some conclusions. Since I was running a belt kit, and he was running a chest rig, we were comparing the two different modes of carry. Our conclusion was for this terrain and weather, the belt kit wins out. When you are encased in nylon, back and front, you are baking out there. No where for heat to escape. Except your asshole I suppose. Running a belt kit and short back, although less efficient (read more painful) will keep you from becoming a heat casualty. I realize this is a personal choice, and you may opt differently.
Going up from 30 lbs of kit to 50 lbs (for me) is a huge difference. Besides just the general suck, it brings out some deficiencies in your gear. My belt kit shoulder straps need some work. Ditto chest rig straps. This is where the fun begins. Little niggles become big issues. Your fitness becomes very apparent. The mental game comes into play.
What about the rucks. Well, the DG-3 performed superbly, even when loaded up with a legit mil-spec load out. This is the heaviest I've had it, and it carried the load well. The suspension and frame continues to impress. However, I have reached the conclusion that the DG-3 frame is actually a bit short for me, for use with a belt kit. It did not nestle down into the belt kit as well as the DG-16. But this is just a personal preference, based on torso length. I initially thought the DG-16 frame was too long, but now I find it's probably just right. I will load it up and take it out with belt kit for the next hump.
The MR Overload. My buddy still swears by it. And it did get the job done. So nothing here to really decide one way or the other, just yet. He was happy with his ruck, and I was happy with mine. Relatively speaking. We both had issues with our fighting load out straps underneath the ruck straps. But he did concede that some kind of belt kit is required. So next time we will run them head to head with belt kits.
So sorry there were no startling revelations involved here, at least not yet. I will re-make the shoulder straps for our belt kits so that they support but don't interfere with the ruck straps. Hopefully with this variable out of the equation, we will see more of how the rucks themselves perform. Although this does illustrate the difficulties of integrating the LBE.