A Comparision: DG-3, MR Overload, DG-16

Well it was back to the Team Room today to work on our new belt kit, but also had a chance to compare rucks.  Here they all are:

 

DG-16, MR Overload, DG-3.

Notice the DG-16 is much like the classic Bergen, whereas the DG-3 closely resembles an Overload, or vice-versa.  

Again in profile, the DG-16 resembles the Bergen in width; the DG-3 and Overload are slimmer.

 

 

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Original Post

Now let's go head to head.  If I actually loaded the DG-3 up all the way, they would be very close in height.  But notice the suspension height difference.  These are both adjusted for belt kit, although my buddy is about 6'1" or thereabouts.  But realize the Futura framesheet does bend over your shoulders.  But the top load stab straps are much higher.

What's interesting here is the tri-zip, versus classic top lid design.  But the top lid is tailored more to a cone shape.  I didn't like this until I saw it next to the Overload.  Now I kinda get it.  

Tri-zip top lid.

Classic top lid.  Notice similarities.

Side shot.  Again notice top loader strap position.

And one more shot.  Notice side bolsters versus concave cut out for plates.  If I moved harness upward to accommodate armor.  

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

And DG-16 versus Overload.  Both adjusted for belt kit.  The top loader positions are much closer here.  But check out the Bergen profile compared to the more tailored top of the tri zip.  

Here again we can see the classic shape versus the newer style.  How about that sleeping bag compartment on the DG-16?  Crossfire made much of MR's production while they were business partners awhile back.  There was some cross-pollinization going on.  Interesting comparison of a top loader versus a trip zip design.

    

Again notice position of the top loader straps.  

And a shot of the bolsters versus the plate cave, which is even better on this ruck.  Shoulder harness adjusted upward of course.  

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Some thoughts.  This was somewhat surprising, as I was planning to ruck head to head with the DG-16 versus the Overload.  Now I think I'm gonna start with the DG-3 instead.  The resemblances were remarkable.  First of all, I didn't realize how close in size they were.  The Overload may be a bit bigger, but not by much.  The key difference is in the frame height; the DG-16 is very close to the Overload, where the DG-3 is much shorter.  This is gonna be a key factor, based on your height. 

The contoured top lid now makes sense to me.  I'm so used to the classic Bergen shape.  Someone asked about this in the DG-3 thread.  The Overload can be fitted with the over-fitting (classic) top lid if desired.  The DG-3 kinda combines both; it's shaped like a tri-zip top, but opens up like a classic lid.  It is sewn down and has no provisions for another lid, which you could argue it doesn't really need anyway.  So this is one of those things you have to decide if it's for you or not.  I have no use for a detachable "bolt bag", but some do.   I can also live without a tri-zip; but again some don't want to.  

Now I am really torn.  The DG-16 sings to me because it's a classic Bergen design, with some nice modern upgrades.  Not to mention a really good frameset.  But the DG-3 has the new contour of the tri-zip, but with a hybrid top lid, of sorts.  And also a really good frameset.  

A word on the top loaders.  The DG-16 puts them essentially in the same position as the Overload (with the harness properly adjusted), whereas the DG-3 is much lower.  What is so important about this.  If you want true top loader strap adjustability, they really need to be above your clavicles, actually about a 45 degree angle to the shoulder strap.  This is hard to do on a military ruck, especially of a short back type.  The frame will not typically extend beyond the shoulders because soldiers wear helmets and this causes interference, if not outright injuries.  MR gets around this somewhat by having their framesheet top bend over.  (As opposed to a true hunting pack, which extends the frame way up to give the top load straps the angle they really need to operate.)  Being a hybrid of sorts, the MR frame is an external that acts like an internal in this regard.  Combined with a full hip belt, it does give you some load shifting capability, between hips and shoulders.

The Crossfire packs have no real "on the fly" load shifting capability; you have to manually adjust this by the positioning of the harness, and using the waist belt, or a belt kit.  But there's a trade off involved here.  Because the Overload is longer frame based, it doesn't make as good a short back ruck as the Crossfires.  This may or may not be important to you.  For me it is, because I prefer a short back ruck and belt kit.  YMMV.  

A word on body armor.  Because I don't have to, I don't combine it with a full sized ruck for long distance insertions or patrols.  Especially in the semi-tropical south-east.  If you work for organizations that insist on this, I think the Crossfire frame designs are superior in this regard.  You are gonna get a lot more ruck stabilization, with it closer to your back, fitting around the rear plate, versus the plate sitting on the ruck high center point, with two bumpers trying to keep it from sliding around.

But this is just a quick primer on overall layout and design.  I'm gonna ruck all three and see what actually happens.               

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Yes the DG-3 will fit on the DG-16 frame.  The top jock straps and frames are the same dims.  All the slots will line up with the tabs, except the bottom two, because the bag is 2" shorter.  The DG-3 frame is 18" versus 20" on the DG-16.

Well, actually I shouldn't say the bag is 2" shorter; they are very close in size; the DG-3 is just slimmer and taller.  The attachment system for the frame is just positioned down further on the DG-3, raising it up on your shoulders.  

But, with a DG-16 frame, you are lowering the frame back down for use with a hip belt, if that's what you want to do.    

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

OK just got my warning order.  We are going to test out a new 12 mile route up in the Uwharrie for his team to train on.  It will be DG-3 versus Overload.  Stay tuned.    

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

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.                            

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

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