Hey, all. Been lurking for a while (forum is a great repository of knowledge, by the way), but I did have a question for the gurus -- a while back, maybe it was here, maybe AW, not sure, there was a thread devoted to alternatives to the standard ALICE frame. Seems to me, there was some mention of Coleman sheet frames, or some such.

Anyway, for the mutual benefit of all, (and not to be a pain in anyone's posterior), I'd like to get the lowdown on that frame replacement. Pro's/con's, expense, compatibility, availability, etc.
Original Post
I remember seeing a thread about modifying or building packs based on the Bull-Pac frame. It is a rugged aluminum frame designed for hunting/packboard that is tested to over 200 pounds. It looks like a really nice product, and probably the best external frame, or certainly the toughest. Its not going to fit directly on the ALCIE pack, so you'll need to do some sewing to secure it properly, but for sheer toughness, I don't think the Bull-Pac can be beat.

There is also a Coleman Ramflex frame. It is a polymer frame so it absords shock better. It is quite popular but I believe it is no longer being made.
Brad:

I think your next project should be a "new" ALICE-type frame. You have improved basic rucksack design with the RAID but no one has yet tackled the design problems of rigid frame pack technology. Who will do it?
confused eek big grin

"Body and spirit I surrendered whole, To harsh instructors-and received a soul."
Rudyard Kipling, Epitaphs, 1919
It is in the works! Have been lurking and listening to your needs and requirements. I would be happy to discuss this with you off the board. It seems that discussing your own product is improper and I do not wish to offend any board members.
Kevin
AstonKJ@aol.com
While Coleman doesn't seem to be manufacturing/selling the Ramflex frame anymore, it appears that another company has purchased the Ramflex design.

Outdoor Products is selling a variety of packs using the Enduroflex Frame, which seems to be the same as the Coleman Ramflex.

You can check them out at www.outdoorproducts.com

If this is indeed the old Coleman Ramflex, it might be worthwhile for Brad to retail them on here as an alternative to the ALICE
quote:
Originally posted by kevlar:
It is in the works! Have been lurking and listening to your needs and requirements. I would be happy to discuss this with you off the board. It seems that discussing your own product is improper and I do not wish to offend any board members.
Kevin
AstonKJ@aol.com


Discuss away! It won't bother us.

Stephen

High Performance Tactical Gear!
www.Lightfighter.com
Thanks, guys. RAMFLEX looks like the way to go. Now another question: Am I going to have to cut it down (in addition to other mods) to still be able to wear a helmet as well? Seems like manufacturer's predjudice against the short man, but I'll sit on my opinions and not go off on a rant..

Ever wonder WHY the gear cube on a standard miltary wall locker makes the short man stand up on a chair?
PREJUDICE and SHORTISM... Okay, I'm done...
Stephen
Thanks for the invite to discuss the pack system. I have also been frustrated by the lack of a good frame system. I finally decided to do something about it. I am now in the final prototype stages of the frame system and pack bag components. System highlights include
1. Aircraft grade alloy frame that is adjustable for torso height
2. Solid construction with only welds, no rivets.
3. Ergonomic design to the natural curves of the back and body.
4. Polymer wings that transfer load to hips.
5. Integral shelf that allows frame to carry odd shaped or hard box shaped items like water cans or crates.
6. External frame allows numerous attachment points and strap options.
7. Bilaminate foam hipbelt that actually wraps around your hips for load transfer.
8. Packbag will allow PALS or ALICE attachment points.
9. Estimated volume of 4500 cu in
10. Beavertail and additional sleeping bag carrier can be attached to frame shelf.
11. ALL components made in USA
12. Hope to be priced along the lines of similar packs on the market.

I will be happy to answer other questions and suggestions. Stephen, I have some pics that I could send to you for posting(not sure how to do it). If you would like to see them for posting let me know.

Kevin
ARUC SYSTEMS
Wow! The pack and frame looks great! I see you have the PALS web with an extra strip in between to fit ALICE clips, right? The frame design also looks pretty nice, its a good size. The built in cargo shelf is a nice feature, too.

I don't quite understand the pack bag, though. It looks like there is a strut to hold it open for easier loading. Some of my commercial packs have that feature too. But is the lip/top flap just not attached yet, or what?

Is the frame going to have some kind of adapter to fit an ALICE frame sleeve? That would be really nice.
Questions:

  • As asked above, where's the top flap?
  • How much does the frame (or frame and bag) weigh?
  • When worn, is there any space between the frame and the wearer's back for airflow?
  • Are the shoulder strap quick releases connected by side-release buckles only?
  • Why are the two large side pockets permanently sewn on, rather than putting PALS webbing there? Do they form a lower pocket behind them for lashing skis to the sides?
  • Is the bag just one big bag, or are there smaller pockets inside, like a radio pocket?
  • Have you considered any vertical compression straps?
Ratso

Good eye! That is exactly how the 1" webbing will work. This allows any of the PALS attachments systems to work and allows you to use ALICE gear. The ALICE clip opening is about 2 1/4" and this will fit over 2 1" strips side to side but not the standard PALS webbing which spans over 3 inches. Still a TON of ALICE gear out there and people should be able to use it. I do not like the standard metal clips but there are many options. I am fond of the TT MALICE clip, really good idea.

Your right. No lid is on the pack in the pics. Still working on the prototype. It will be a simple lid. Kind of a cross between and ALICE and CFP-90 lid. I will send pics when ready if you would like.

No strut but an interesting idea.

The storm collar is going to be a roll top kind instead of the standard cinch closure. I like the roll top because it tends to secure the top of the pack bag and has less slop in it. Oh, and no zippers. I personally hate zippers on field gear. I found that they fail and are difficult to use when dirty or covered with fine talc like sand. I carried a Berghaus ROC in the Gulf in 90 - 91. The zippers froze up because of the talc like sand did not allow a smooth action needed by zippers.

Alice Adapter- Hmmmmm. Let me think about that. If I figured a way to attach it to the lower frame so that it is sitting on the shelf it would leave room open on the upper frame. Would kind of be like the pack and frame used during the VN war. I do not remember the designation. Do you think this would be an option folks would like? Go with the new frame system and use a Large ALICE bag?

Thanks for the questions. Keep em coming

Kevin
ARUC Systems
I don't know if you guys will be making the shoulder straps or using other after market straps (Eagle Ind.'s are real nice) but side release buckles make lousy quick release systems. They do not release cleanly with heavier loads, and they tend to crack (moreso than standard ladder lock) if you hit something hard like a rock or concrete. I have never seen a Kifaru or Gregory UM-21 in person but I notice they use some kind of push button type quick release like a seat belt. Maybe that would work better than Fastex buckles. Another suggestion for QR buckles is to use a cam buckle. I'm not sure how strong they are but It might be easier to flip the latch on a cam buckle with heavier loads than with Fastex.
Razor and Ratso,

I think you are right about the QR issue. I have a couple options. I think the Kifaru uses ACR QR buckles which are OK. I do not know about the UM-21. Maybe someone has some pics of that QR system. I am leaning towards 3 QR options
1. 1" Snap Dragon buckles by Down East look under the new product section www.downeastinc.com
2. Heavy Duty Super Loc ladder lock buckles
3. Or a QR system like on the CF ruck.

The side pockets are sewn on and yes there is a slot pocket behind it.

I am going weigh my frame, ALICE, and MOLLE I and II. I will let you know what the naked frame weights are.

There is space between the pack frame and your back. I have kept this to a minimum for better balance. You can see that the center cross support has a pad that will be about 3" wide. This should allow for good ventilation and still be a stable platform.

The main bag is not divided. It does have an internal sleeve for hydration system. The pack also has attachment points so that it can be used without the frame if needed. We put a larger sleeve to hold a foam pad if needed. The pack does not have a dedicated radio pouch. I decided to have 2 D rings placed at the top to secure that kind of pouch or equipment.

Hope that info helps. Any suggestions?

Kevin
ARUC SYSTEMS
quote:
Originally posted by mark92a:
Yeah, where is GG??
Havent seen him in a few days...


GG' computer connection down for a few days . Will be up here real shortly .

Now my input on the frame . Better quality is a plus ! Four issues I see ,

1) Frame tops/tips to accept an Alice type ruck look a little sharp , may eventually cut into the padded material . Maybe place some caps or mold the tubing . But I hear that the ALICE adapter being called already .

2) Shelf on bottom is good , but what if someone place a sleeping / ghuillie suit pouch under the main ruck , ( like my mods ) .

3) The stay in mid back , looks to be a back killer ! As your back is arched , it looks to apply a great deal of pressure in that area . Seeing all the grunts on a march , they all seam to be bent over with a heavy load .

4) Contact on the waiste belt to frame looks to be in center of back , not anchored on or near sides . Would this cause it to roll / pivot somewhat on the hips ?

This is my .02 of observation .

Gene


" I TAKE MY GEAR SERIOUSLY . THAT'S WHY I MAKE MY OWN !"
Gene,
Thanks for the questions and your observations. I will try to address all of your points.
1. Frame top - The top of the tubes will have caps to protect and seal them. My initial goal was to come up with a system to replace the ALICE. So when I designed the frame it was not designed to specifically fit ALICE bags. The frame is slightly wider and will not slip into the frame pocket on the pack. It seemed to me that if someone wanted to use an ALICE frame there were already a bunch of great choices for mods(HSG/TT). You guys have that down to a science.
Alice Adapter- Did you mean to fit onto my frame? Your right, that would be a great thing for all of the folks that would like to use an ALICE bag. I honestly have not had time to work on that idea. I have been using all of my free time to finish this one up. But it seems like a good idea. Got any ideas? Seems right up your line of expertise.

2. Shelf - It would be a very easy thing to have a separate bag strap to the bottom of the shelf for a fart sack or G suit. If an ALICE bag(HSG/TT)on my frame the lower pouch may drop down thru the frame and work fine. What is the size of that pouch? I can let you know.

3.Mid back stay - Looks can be misleading. The middle stay has very little contact with your back. It is actually very comfortable. The hipbelt transfers load to the hips so your posture remains more upright. This eliminates the hump back posture of shoulder carry only systems.

4. Waist belt- The strap you see in the center is for the pad portion only. Under the pad are 2 "wings" of polymer. These are bolted to the lower cross-member.The waist belt pad has a pocket on each side. The pad slips over the wings and the center straps secures it in place.The wings distribute the load across the pad and transfer the vertical load to your hips.

Did I answer your questions? I have not figured out how to post pics so I will send some to your email.

Your idea about the ALICE adapter is a great idea. I would like to hear your ideas.

Kevin
ARUC SYSTEMS
KEVLAR ,
Thanks for the pictures . E-mail sent back at you before I read this post . I've included some thoughts and ideas with the e-mail as well . Was just thinking of guys whom just want to change the frame only . Looks like the shelf would interfere with permantly attached sleeping /ghillie pouch systems on bottom of ALICE as mine uses a zipper to access .
It looks like using my Ali-Pad with this frame is out of the question also , or just having the hydration pouches on it excluded .

Keep up the good work ,
Gene


" I TAKE MY GEAR SERIOUSLY . THAT'S WHY I MAKE MY OWN !"
Looks interesting.

Is the waist belt bolted on to the frame, or is that just my impression?

I take it that the end product will have a non-reflective finish over the bare aluminum, or maybe it would be better taped over by the end user to reduce metallic clanking in the bush?

My $0.02.

Cheers.

LR.
Maple Flag,
The bolts are for the polymer wings. 2 wings are bolted to the frame. The padded waist belt then slips over the wings. This provides the weight transfer to the hips. The pic is a prototype. The frames will be powder coated. I do think it would be a good idea to put tape over the powder coating. I have a pic of a prototype bag in CADPAT. Email me and I will send it to you.
AstonKJ@aol.com

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