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Right, I'm going to pull the trigger on the AWS pack. They've got a couple of other bits I'm interested in as well.


Having dramas getting in touch with them though. The "contact us" web form on their website doesn't submit, and the email address provided is a dead link also.


Anybody have a live email address for anyone at AWS? I'll phone if I have to, but transatlantic phone calls are never particularly cheap.


I need to to confirm whether they can ship international. 

Originally Posted by jcustisredux:
Working with my idea of an optimized assault pack loadout, I tried working up the features I'd like to see in a true assault pack.

In no particular order:

Detachable shoulder straps and quick disconnects that allow the pack to mate directly to armor. The direct attachment system needs to allow for the pack to be un-clipped, swung to the front, and returned to the back for re-attachment. I am not stuck on this feature, however, as being an essential must-have...yet. I'd have to work with an example a bit to make up my mind.

Top carry strap to allow it to be clipped into a tie-down point on a vehicle if not in use and worn.

2 channels x 6 rows of PALS on the sides, to allow for aerial pyro, silencer, hand smoke, Nalgene carrier, and M4 mag pouches.

Side (underarm routing) and top ports for hydration tubes and/or antennae, PTTs, handsets, etc..

No taller than the standard issued PCs, and certainly no wider.

12" x 12" x 3.5" utility pouch to allow for carriage of M18A1 APERS, 200 rd M249 drum, HIIDE device or TSE kit components. This would probably be better off as a section of the main compartment, since trying to stabilize the weight of these items on the beavertail could be problematic. Horizontal compression strap inside this pouch to allow for items to be secured.

Admin slot for notebook, pens, compass, miniature binos/monocular, GPS, NOD, etc.

Beavertail that allows for carriage of larger items such as a jacket, captured items, etc.

Bottom compression straps to allow for securing soft items such as a Ranger roll.

PALS across the front in a standard matrix.

Stays to allow for it to be conformed to the curve of the back plate.

Under $125.00. Start at that price point and work backwards, deleting features as required to stay under the ceiling.

If Eagle (hint, hint) ran PALS on the sides of the Yote, I think it would be the closest pack in existence to match the form and fit I'm thinking about.

The AWS version of a yote does all this.  I found the Unicorn!  


A review on either the assault pack thread or the Stud Board will follow in a couple weeks when I get back from vacation.

Originally Posted by krax:

Same here, and please include a use for the daisy chain webbing on the front if you found one.

+1000. Been hiking around and climbing mountains for 30 years and have /never/ seen a truly good reason that bullshit exists. Supposed to be easier to clip a 'biner on, loop rope to carry more shit, etc. but never seen it used well and a strip of MOLLE could do that as well.


Also, see it used wrong all the time, so people stuff their ice hammers in there and then they fall out. Sadly, they notice so I have yet to take home a free ice hammer, etc. 

Originally Posted by krax:

Same here, and please include a use for the daisy chain webbing on the front if you found one.

Biners with marking chemlights is the only thing I could figure would be worth any use in a fight, but unless it is rigged to swing forward like you did your Yote Krax, someone will have to grab it for you.


Other than that or a similar use, it's worthless to me. Shit dangling off of a pack invariably becomes a snag hazard.  Better to just have flat webbing there.

Wow this is some post.  What has changed.  Hmmm.  Well, from the big-picture end, we look at what has been learned from the GWOT, as far as what was needed by soldiers in the field.  So the question is if the tail is wagging the dog, or is logistics driving the mission.  Taking a look at it, today, it would seem that soldiers are basically carrying the same things as they were in WWII, as long as there is a reliable logistics tail.  The "3-day"  pack concept closely resembles the "haversack" from those days.  Not that there aren't always exceptions, especially "Special Operations" forces, who sometimes live out of rucksacks, for extended periods of time.  But on the whole, I think this latest conflict has reinforced some timeless concepts, such as realistic fighting loads, but has also given us some significant advances in materials and designs.

If we track from the end-user perspective, then you have to look at conventional soldier load-outs, then unconventional, and even civilians, insurgents, whatever label you care to apply.  I would submit that there is interest here in all three, but that depends on the individual.  So in essence, what kind of supply chain, if any, determines what you have to carry.  This would also include cache sites, or outside help, such as auxiliaries.

Starting with the conventional soldier.  Or a spec ops soldier in a conventional mode.  There have been some discussions  on other threads about this.  Namely the concept of taking a Medium ALICE sized-bag, and using a suite a detachable pouches, and a state of the art frameset to create basically a jack of all trades rucksack.  Used in conjunction with a "Yote" style assault pack, this would cover probably 90% of soldier needs.   Pushing out further, if you add in a Large ALICE sized ruck, then you could hump a bit more for those (hopefully) rare occasions when more is needed.  

The unconventional soldier would use essentially the same set up, but perhaps with different emphasis.  Here is where special missions might require special load outs that exceed the Medium ALICE sized bag more often than conventional forces.  Again depending on logistics train, type or source of re-supply.  And of course mission sets.  

The "insurgent" would be using basically the same set up as an unconventional solider, again depending on mission, but hopefully would have the home field advantage, with sufficient prior battle space prep.  Or some dependence on outside help, either from local auxiliaries, or foreign aid.  Or any combination of the above.

So from these three perspectives, whichever you may claim, we can discuss our ideal ruck system.  Keeping in mind, a lot depends on what kind of logistics train you have, whether you are mounted or not, and even whether you have to wear BA or not.  Not to mention weather, terrain, and enemy actions/capabilities.  There's an anacronym in there somewhere.                 

As to the ruck system itself.  Ideally what I'd like to see is a system of bags, frames, and suspension that can be scaled to the mission at hand.  Starting with a "Yote" style assault pack as the minimum requirement.  Stiffener panel, shoulder harness, but with tabs for direct PC attachment.  Detachable beavertail for helmet cave or other gear.

External frameset.  Usable as either short or long back.  Slotted to accept Medium or Large bags.  Provisions for bottom shelf and back panel for out-sized objects.  

Medium bag.  Roughly Medium ALICE-sized, with provisions for external pouch attachment as needed.   Also provisions for detachable internal back panels.  Can be used as a stand-alone internal pack, or attached to external frame.

Large Bag.  Roughly Large ALICE-sized, with same provision as Medium bag.

Pouch suite.  Per customer requirements.  Some suggestions might be long side pouches.  Medium sustainment pouches for back.  Large "basha" sized pouch for back.  "Claymore" pouch for top lid.  

Shelf/ back panel.  A system for carrying MG, Mortar, Javelin, and Gustav stuff.  Any out-sized stuff that can't be carried in a pack.  Maybe even in conjunction with an assault pack.

Internal panels.  For radios, batteries, even mortar rounds, with the objective to get heavy objects close to the back.    

Materials.  Light weight as possible.  Going down into 500 d, even 330 where doable.  Even into the lighter laminated stuff.  Polymer frames.  

Design.  Ergonomic suspension system.  Minimum use of hardware, Velcro, zippers, and elastic.  Simplicity.  Balance between bomb-proof and prone to failure.  Just enough.   Useable with both belt kit, and chest-mounted LBE.  Also with BA.             

Last edited by Community Member

As to state of the art, I am seeing at least two vendors who are making some very promising kit.  First off is Crossfire from Australia.  I really like their polymer frameset for the DG-16, and also a smaller one for the DG-3.  This design is a cross between an internal and external frame, giving you the best of both worlds.  It is also adjustable from short back, to long back design.   

Their bags are really good as well.  They use a tab system to integrate the bag and suspension into the frame.  They are also looking at a scalable set of bags for different missions, as well as convertible internal/external frame designs.  They currently have a Large ALICE sized bag and a Medium ALICE-sized bag in the works.

A-Pak, or Attack Pak has some very innovative designs as well.  They have done some nice design work in packs designed to work with belt kits, with various sized bags, including roughly sized Medium and Large ALICE.  They are internal designs with an ALICE style top shelf, for use with an external frame.  

If you combined these two, you'd get a pretty good system of convertible internal/external rucks.  If the Crossfire rucks had provisions for internal frames (which I think they are working on), and the A-Pak had provisions for tab attachment to external.          

Just a thought.  If the space for BA on the DG-6 could be used for an assault pack as well, then you truly could drop rucks, as in contact front, and have your assault pack still with you.  That would be ideal, in some instances.  I'm thinking on patrol, with a Large ruck, where you could instantly drop it, and fight.  If it was some time before you could get back to the large pack, you would at least have bare essentials for a day or two.  This may or may not apply to you.

The trick would be in getting that concave space just right.  And moving your water bladder as someone reminded me.  

I know this has been tried before, but, I think the newer, more square-shaped bladders, in perhaps a more square-shaped assault pack might make it finally work, along with the right external frame.  

As an update, looks like MR has their new stuff on the street.  The updated NICE frame (NICE II?) and the updated mil-packs, like the Jump Overload, Mountain, and 6500.   Since my buddy is looking on scoring one of these, it will be a nice head-to-head comparison.  It will be fun(?) since we can check out actual mil loads, take them up the local mountain, and see what's what.

I'm looking forward to that cuz once I get the complete system from Crossfire, I think it's gonna shine out there.  

Ignore the annoying dude getting the chubby over a pack for his keyboard, but just imagine if you could arive at the ORP, zip off the assault pack and keep moving to the OBJ by simply deploying the stowed straps (or direct connect to armor).

It would likely require the same amount of time as disconnecting an assault pack from the front or top of the main pack by straps and buckles, and make about as much noise.

(Wow this was more long winded then I thought I would get on a iPhone.)

For the concept of the actual assault. ie ramp drops let’s take this village I think either a zip on back panel or a yote sized pack are the most I would want. Zip on panel is ideal, if I have some kinda extra equipment (comms, larger charges, SSE kit etc) then the yote would come into play and then for special equipment (THOR, Javalin, Goose etc) think DG frame with special panels attached to hold the kit.

Zip on panels- I keep different set ups but my most used would be a soft tool pouch/ charge pouch, IFAK, and NVG or diversionary devices. Hydration pouch can hold a 50oz bladder if needed and bottom opening has trash bags for SSE. The bottom like the hydration pouch is Velcro opening so in cold weather I can take my Crye half jacket pouch and hang it off the bottom of the panel like a dangler on the front (I have a hand warmer dangler as well) this is a more ideal setup for urban work as it’s less weight and bulk then a pack.

Yote- I use this when zip on panels just can’t handle the job. I don’t like having a pack on when moving in and out of vehicles or houses as it tends to get in the way or get caught on stuff but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. With in the squad you want to keep dudes carrying packs to a minimum in a city as it will slow you down. For the yote I’m throwing things in like ASIP, NVGs, Extra ammo either for the SAW or 240, signaling and IFF, extra batteries and that’s about it. I want it as minimal as I can get it and I don’t like it armor mounted. I have a radio and I have to be able to get to it. This means taking the pack on and off on my own with no help a lot, also when mounting up on a vehicle and dismounting I have to be able to get it on or off quick, zip on isn’t a option and the clip on methods become more of a hassle, also if I’m carrying a pack it’s probably heavy enough if attached to my armor it’s gonna yank the front plate into my throat and sad the back plate. If I am gonna have to hike in a little ways or maybe stay over night, I still have room to add a jungle bag and MRE or mountain house meal to the beaver tail and I can slap the Mayflower jungle canteen pouches on the side to hold extra water or IV kit, ammo, etc. you can do A LOT with a yote style pack if you know what you are doing and don’t pack crap you don’t need, as well as have TLs actually be LEADERS and police their dudes. Teach them to do more with less and when you see them packing stupid crap tell them they can’t bring it. I can go 1-2 days off just what I can fit in a yote easy. As long and there’s streams or rivers around food, ammo, batteries for comms are my only real needs. Logistics that actually do their job and your dudes are fairly well off.

External Frame- (I’m basing this off Crossfires DG as I have one and they are building the set up I’m describing) so why would you need a external frame for a Assault? Well this is where you get into the stupid heavy special equipment side of the house. A javalin, Goose, or AT4 is VERY helpful to have as a Assaulter as if I’m the Assaultee and I have a city/ town I’m probably gonna have fortifications to defend it in case some dick 11Bs come along to do 11B shit and take it. There’s also anti/ counter IED equipment. The weight sucks but that gear has to come, and like everyone else there is also gear the guys humping the javalin or Goose need that they can’t mount on there back so the frame has to carry the special equipment and some bare minimum supplies (water, snivel, pogey bait) for the dudes as well. Right now Crossfire is working on a solution for just this. 1 frame that you can take the pack off and mount a Goose/ Javalin  carry panel, or CLU panel, or triple 84mm panel to. Know your gonna hump the Javalin? Just take your ruck off and slap the javalin panel onto the frame and go with it. Three different panels that work for two weapon systems and the panels themselves pack down and will fit in the bottom of your ruck when not in use. It gives A LOT of versatility.

This was long winded but I’m hoping this gives a idea of what I consider needed equipment for a Assault. I don’t think we can just have 1 pack to do it all. Easy answer is a yote style bag but if we start looking and what all an assault entails, I think we boil down to a combination throughout the squad or these three options, zip on panels, yote style pack, external frame for special equipment. 

Wanted to add to on the yote. At least on my AWS, I can fit a rolled up skedco in the beavertail. I keep a 23 foot long piece of red webbing in the beavertail at all times just to have a additional casualty carry method but it’s nice to know I can fit a litter in there if needed. I’ve actually been interested in seeing just how far and how many rolls I can push the yote into kinda like how I been pushing the DG frame. I know I can set it up for comm use as that’s how I’ve been using it, and I have ideas for kitting it out for CLS, 240 AG, Grenadier, SAW. Eventually I want to get to playing around with that. I’m supposedly going back to the grenadier role but I’m popping smoke and getting out of this unit so won’t be playing with that idea for a bit till I get settled into my next unit.

When I first saw a review of the Eagle Yote, I made the same assessment.  I am glad it is usually out of stock because that drove me to buy an AWS version, which is definitely an upgrade and much more versatile with the side PALS.  If you peep the review thread I have here on it, you’ll see where I stuffed a 7.62 can in the beavertail.  5.56 nutsacks would work equally well.

Where could the AWS version be improved, besides beefing up the straps?

-Horizontal row or two of MOLLE on shoulder strap to clip ASIP handset to, keeping that thing put and out of the way is a bitch and I don’t like it attached to me cause if I have to ditch the pack, it’s still attached to me.

-Remove the MOLLE for attaching it to your back. I don’t use it and it’s just more weight and snag points for me.

-Maybe a wider more beefy carry handle? The thing carries more weight then you would think and hauling around it loaded by two fingers is annoying, wouldn’t mind a whole grip but it’s not a deal breaker, the ability to mount the handset on the shoulder straps is my only real gripe.

thats about all I can think of, I wouldn’t want to change it to much. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

I’d have to pull mine out of storage to check out the heft, but yeah, I recall the top carry strap as being fairly lame.  I concur on that.  Also on the means to clip a handset into the strap.

I’ve always thought that if it could be made a hair deeper, it would offset the fact that it only has a 3/4 front opening. Maybe make it four columns wide.

The webbing on the back can be removed with a little careful effort.

I think the daisy chain loops up the side can be switched out for at least a single column of webbing. That would allow for tourniquet holders, multitool pouches, etc.

The daisy chain on the beavertail could probably go as well, replaced by two rows of PALS which could expand capability to add an admin pouch or even a  small shingle.

The Eagle one is back and you can get it from OPTactical for 240.  Warrior makes one, and IIRC Platatac does as well.  @Community Member, I emailed AWS about this a few months ago.  They told me they still make it, you can order it by calling them, and that the coyote one w/o the strap kit is still $120.  You can actually order it from Ronin Tactics also (albeit at a higher price), since AWS is the OEM.  The Ronin one has slimmer, more contoured shoulder straps, which imo is a definite plus.  Unknown if the current production AWS one does as well but ebay listings would suggest that it does.

Agree on getting rid of the daisy chain loops.  I'd also like to see the pouch on the outside of the beavertail moved to the inside or removed entirely, since with an empty tail and a loaded pouch, it tends to swing all over the place.  Plus you wouldn't lose that capacity with it zipped off.  Really anything to cut bulk is a plus.

Why is it preferable to build outwards from the Yote instead of starting with a slightly bigger pack (like an AVS 1000) and compressing it down when carrying less?  It'd be longer (not really wider or thicker) but if you have to deal with a strapped pack anyway it carries more comfortably imo, especially when loaded up.  Just wondering.



Theres a couple reasons, my primary is due to where I spend a lot of my time, which is in the back of a Bradley. There is very little room to begin with, add kit and that room vanishes fast. Smaller packs just fit better. Second is because if there is room, PVT Snuffy is gonna pack more stuff in it. Dudes are inherently lazy, if they have to take the time to MOLLE something onto the side, it’s cause they need it not want it (at least that’s the hope, some of these suckers like adding crap). Then also, if I start with a bigger pack and compress it down, I still have that weight from material I’m not using, everything adds up and I hate carrying useless weight. (Fun bit of trivia, went on a mission into Iraq several months back, within our squad we had a little over 3k rounds of 7.62. 1000 rounds of 7.62 weighs 100 pounds roughly. How much did our AGs Assault pack weigh? 80-100 pounds) 

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