So 3 Day Packs... can you have too many? I think so. Over the last few years I’ve gone through (and shed) a Kifaru Marauder, Eagle FSBE, a couple of BHI Hydrastorm series, an Eagle RAID, and a few others I can’t recall off the top of my head.

If you play this game long enough you go through a lot of kit.

The one pack that has survived the purges and has been the hardest to get rid of is my Eagle A-III, now going on 10 years old.

The Eagle A-III is an iconic piece of kit.

Pack technology and design have come a long way since the days when the A-III was one of the few, generally available with features and durable construction for serious use.



The distinctive shape, layout and design have been ripped off by so many wannabes and there are so many “military type” packs on the street nowadays that the A-III no longer stands out as overtly military particularly in an innocuous color like black.



To me, my old A-III not only has a great deal of nostalgic value but it also fills a practical niche for a full featured, every day carry pack that blends.

I haven’t kept up with the line and it’s various updates over the years but here’s how mine is set up and how it’s fared.



The Eagle A-III is constructed of a single layer of 1000D Cordura. A standout feature is the pocket layout and shape of the pack. All the pockets feature large, heavy duty YKK coil zippers each hooded under rain flaps. The pockets start with one large, main compartment with two successively smaller ones built on top of it. The large, primary pocket zips all the way down for full access and has a flat compartment built into the back which can accommodate a frame sheet or hydration bladder. There are no internal organization features built in. The smaller, secondary pocket (sewn on top of the primary) zips about 1/3 of the way down to allow top access. Finally, the tertiary pocket is sewn flat and has a zipper that allows slot access. One gripe I’ve always had about this pack is that the internal seams, particularly around the zipper were not bound, and from time to time, I have to go in there to sear and smear the fraying material. This hasn’t effected the pack structurally in any way, it’s just one of those minor annoyances.



The pack is ergonomically pear shaped with a wider base and a rounded, narrower top portion which makes it sit well on the back while allowing for good range of motion and arm swing.



The exterior of the pack supports a heavy duty, box X reinforced carry handle of rolled webbing. It’s always been easy to carry the pack that way and has held up nicely over the years. There are a set of accessory loops running vertically from the carry handle to allow attachment of two modular cylindrical pouches to the exterior. I used to get my kicks thinking about all the extra cool guy stuff I could carry if I had a couple of those to go with my pack. I long ago attached an HK snap hook to one and a carabiner to the other to improve the overall utility of the pack.There are also four compression straps and two sets of secondary straps sewn into the side of the pack. The compression straps are really great for strapping extra items to the pack exterior or taking the stress off of the zippers when you’ve overloaded the pack. I have yet to find a use for the secondary straps and probably should have amputated them years ago.



Underneath the carry handle is a drinking tube port covered over by a piece of velcro and elastic. The elastic has long since rotted out and I don’t think I ever had a hydration system in there.



It’s been so long since I tossed the waist strap that I can’t speak intelligently of it’s use or design. Only a pair of vestigial 2” metal triglides remain where it hooked onto the pack. I should probably cut them off. The pack also came with a sternum strap, a set of top straps and sleeping bag compression straps that have long since been tossed by the wayside.





The A-III was built with adequate shoulder straps featuring good padding and an anatomically friendly curve. The serious load was borne on a length of 43668 webbing sewn into the strap which supported a couple of metal D-rings and ended in a ladderlock. The D-rings have corroded under the webbing but it doesn’t bother me much. About 7 years ago, I began to get concerned about where the shoulder straps pulled at the top of the pack (where most of the weight is borne) and reinforced the entire area with a piece of 1.5” 17337 webbing. It changed the way the pack carried somewhat but forever ended any concern that the straps would rip out the seam at the top of the pack. I also beefed up the upper part of the straps themselves so that they maintain their shape and structure more, particularly when under load. It carries much better. I was sufficiently annoyed with the ladderlocks at the bottom of the straps that I replaced them with a pair of 1” SR buckles a while back to make it easier to drop the pack or hang the pack via the shoulder straps over a horizontal beam. The ladderlocks are still on there, underneath the side release buckles just in case one of them fails.



As much as I love my A-III, one thing I had a serious longing for after having sampled some of the newer designs out there was some means of internal organization. That’s the issue the Modular Panel Inserts were conceived to address. I’m happy to say that they really breathed new life into my old pack.



I can’t say enough about my old A-III. It’s like an old pair of comfortable jeans or jungle boots you just can't throw out. They still look sharp after all these years and still perform. Eagle built these things right. There aren’t many pieces of kit that I hang onto for this long, and it has long been surpassed by a lot of state of the art kit, but my A-III is going to be in service for years to come.

ALWAYS challenge authority.

Original Post
I also love me A-III. Mines only been kicking around with me for about 2 years but still looks brand new. It is amazing how well it blends in these days, espically in black like you stated.

It may not be perfect but it's close enough for me.

Keep up the good fight

I have a made-in-USA Blackhawk! pack I got... 2000? Still looks brand new.
------------------------------

"Its not about shooting, its about fighting with a gun." -Pat Rogers


The answer to 1984 is 1776.

"I prefer evil sits in daylight for all to see rather than be hidden, forgotten about and possibly repeated." -Consigliere
Picked one up at the PX on Eagle base in Bosnia early 2003 just before we invaded Iraq. I carried it through that entire mission, several state active duty mission and then into Iraq in 2005 I sold it shortly after getting back home in the fall of 2006 I still wish I would have kept that pack. It was my first "real" assault pack I have many since then but now you make me want mine back.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Chance favors the prepared mind" Louis Pasteur 1854

quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
quote:
I have a made-in-USA Blackhawk!


EDITED TO ADD:
You just cashed in all your cool guy points...

Moon



I don't know which comes as more of a shock; that you know what they are, or that I actually had some. Big Grin

------------------------------

"Its not about shooting, its about fighting with a gun." -Pat Rogers


The answer to 1984 is 1776.

"I prefer evil sits in daylight for all to see rather than be hidden, forgotten about and possibly repeated." -Consigliere
I've had my MJK Eagle A-III since August 2007. I ordered it while we were in 29 Stumps for Mojave Viper and it was waiting for me at home when we got our pre-deployment leave. Took it to Iraq with me and used it on a daily basis. Right now it serves as my school daypack and drill daypack whenever we have training. I've tried Kifaru, I've tried Camelbak's new 500d Motherlode, I still love this pack and I will probably get another one to supplement it. My girlfriend, soon to be fiancee, was even asking about it and probably wants one too. Big Grin

--------------------- Evil, utterly selfish, Jewish, Zionist, bourgeois, investment-banking aspiring capitalist pig who only cares about money. "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life." - Henry David Thoreau "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
I had a Ranger Green AIII Molle. It went to a good home; but I regret selling it to this day.

*There are 4 things I regret ever selling; the RG A-III is #2.
------------------------------

"Its not about shooting, its about fighting with a gun." -Pat Rogers


The answer to 1984 is 1776.

"I prefer evil sits in daylight for all to see rather than be hidden, forgotten about and possibly repeated." -Consigliere
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
"The distinctive shape, layout and design have been ripped off by so many wannabes and there are so many “military type” packs on the street nowadays that the A-III no longer stands out as overtly military particularly in an innocuous color like black."


Not to be a nit-picker, or anything... Well... Really, I guess I am being one. I kinda feel I have to point out that Eagle wasn't exactly the first on the scene here. The original Eagle pack so closely matched the early Gregory "Three-Day" packs it's not even funny, and I believe there was even a bit of bad blood between the companies over the issue.

If rumor is true, Eagle may have gotten the design spec from someone in the Army, and didn't fully realize that they were copying Gregory when they did a custom order for somebody, and then wound up adding it to the catalog when everyone else started asking for the thing. I got that story second- or third-hand from a guy, so take that for what it's worth.

About the only thing that Eagle pioneered with this ruck was actually the subdued color and hardware used. I have an original Gregory I bought back in high school in the early 1980s, still sitting in my collection of crap, and it was on the scene years before Eagle ever started making the things. When you look at them, side-by-side, it's pretty clear where Eagle got the design from. Same size, same shape, same everything, except that Gregory had the ends of the shoulder straps covered in that fake naugahyde-looking stuff, and a non-removable waistbelt. At that time, Gregory was the only pack on the market with that profile, and that particular size and shape.

The A-III name even kinda alludes to the Gregory product. Which makes you wonder whether or not some consciousness went into the copying.

Which is why I had to laugh when I was at the Eagle factory back in 1993, and the guy showing me around made a comment about Blackhawk ripping off their designs. Of course, he had no idea Gregory even existed, let alone that the design was theirs in the first place...

I stand corrected.

There is nothing worse than being born yesterday and not knowing what you don't know... but posting like you do...

My only regret is that I was too busy playing four square and tether ball when Gregory was pioneering assault packs.

ALWAYS challenge authority.

Whatever interwebs cool points a <50 post guy has can also be cashed in for beat up AAFES pogs i guess.
I picked up a Blackhawk! 3 day pack in 2003 at Campbell. I say it used and snatched for around $30 IIRC (lets just say that it was broken in), OD Green and going strong to this day in Afghanistan. Tried a Kifaru Molle Express, been issued the LBT version both bare and with all the sewn on additional pockets and internal framesheet, a 2005 generation RAID, and got a made in china Blackhawk! 3DAP given to me (not the same). Nothing else works as well for me in as many situations, as close to a catchall as can be expected I guess. For heavier loads I'm rocking a Camelbak Trizip now (pretty good pack on first impresions, like it better than the Express for that "class" of pack/features). All kinds of suspension enhancements are great and help when actually carrying a ton of weight but i've humped 117's all over the place in this thing and even covered some miles with 104's for you old school guys. My ghetto config for this was simply open the top for antennas and cinch the side compression straps. Simple and effective. It's been used for classes, traveling, going to the gym, riding to and from work on the bicycle or motorcycle in varying weather conditions. It's crowning achievement was probably humping a chainsaw (big ass Stihl MS440 with 20" bar) miles into the woods day in and day out while building mountain bike trails. Not optimal but it worked and shrugged off oil, grease, abrasion, and hate. Even in OD it is beat up enough to pass pretty well as some liberal boutique "vintage" bag that will help yuppies simplify their lives thanks to it only having 3 sensable pockets. Love it and will probably use it in some capacity for years to come. This design is just one of those things that makes me wonder what i really NEED. The next time anyone wants to put the cool-guy gadget on their gun or wherever just look at this pack. It would disapprove and you know it.
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:

I stand corrected.

There is nothing worse than being born yesterday and not knowing what you don't know... but posting like you do...

My only regret is that I was too busy playing four square and tether ball when Gregory was pioneering assault packs.


Hey, don't feel bad: Back then, Gregory was the ultimate rock-jock hippy bag, and about as tactical as a flower-painted VW bus. One thing Eagle did do, however, was bring the design into the "tactical" realm. Good rucks, too.

I don't think Gregory got into tactical stuff until Bianchi bought them out, for their expertise in nylon design. Gregory had a lot to do with the M12 holster, and designing the Bianchi clip that went onto the M12 and the M9 bayonet sheath...

If I'm not mistaken, Gregory is still owned by whoever bought out Bianchi, and they still use the name, even though the actual founder long since left the firm... Could be wrong, though.

The model that the A-III appears to be derived from is now called the "Day-and-a-half" pack, but I remember it as being called the "Three-day", or something like that. My memory could be wrong, though. Here's a site where they kinda talk about it:

http://www.polkadot.it/gregory-day-and-a-half-pack

According to that, it came out in 1977, which is about when I remember seeing them in the stores at first. When I bought mine, it was pretty damn expensive, around $150.00, if I remember right.
I picked up one of the "tan" standard AIII packs back in 2003, before they went to MJK. It's more a "desert Marigold" than tan, with very yellowish hues to it. Try as I might, I just can't get rid of it, even with the black, non-matching hardware!! Smile

I also have an MJK A-III MOLLE that I debate whether or not to sell. My wife tells me I have too much gear, and it's getting to the point where I am starting to believe her, because it's slowly taking over my gun room.

TimW Phoenix "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic'. We should stand up and say, we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration" Hillary Clinton

Its not a copy of the Gregory


quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
"The distinctive shape, layout and design have been ripped off by so many wannabes and there are so many “military type” packs on the street nowadays that the A-III no longer stands out as overtly military particularly in an innocuous color like black."


Not to be a nit-picker, or anything... Well... Really, I guess I am being one. I kinda feel I have to point out that Eagle wasn't exactly the first on the scene here. The original Eagle pack so closely matched the early Gregory "Three-Day" packs it's not even funny, and I believe there was even a bit of bad blood between the companies over the issue.

If rumor is true, Eagle may have gotten the design spec from someone in the Army, and didn't fully realize that they were copying Gregory when they did a custom order for somebody, and then wound up adding it to the catalog when everyone else started asking for the thing. I got that story second- or third-hand from a guy, so take that for what it's worth.

About the only thing that Eagle pioneered with this ruck was actually the subdued color and hardware used. I have an original Gregory I bought back in high school in the early 1980s, still sitting in my collection of crap, and it was on the scene years before Eagle ever started making the things. When you look at them, side-by-side, it's pretty clear where Eagle got the design from. Same size, same shape, same everything, except that Gregory had the ends of the shoulder straps covered in that fake naugahyde-looking stuff, and a non-removable waistbelt. At that time, Gregory was the only pack on the market with that profile, and that particular size and shape.

The A-III name even kinda alludes to the Gregory product. Which makes you wonder whether or not some consciousness went into the copying.

Which is why I had to laugh when I was at the Eagle factory back in 1993, and the guy showing me around made a comment about Blackhawk ripping off their designs. Of course, he had no idea Gregory even existed, let alone that the design was theirs in the first place...

******** EGG Sends *********

quote:
Originally posted by eggroll:
Its not a copy of the Gregory


Egg, not to argue with you, but that picture is of a newer version of the model. The one I have out in the shed is damn near line-for-line identical to the A-III. Set it next to the Eagle A-III I had stolen from me in 2001, and it's practically identical. The only differences apparent are very minor, placement of straps and such, and a removable waistband. The primary features, shape, zipper panel opening, and others are all there. Eagle did add the outer pocket, but the base shape and layout are all practically identical. When you add in the Gregory accessory packs that went into the buckles you see on the Gregory front panel, the resemblance becomes uncanny.

If you know something more factual than what I've related, I'd love to hear it. There was discussion back in the day about where Eagle had gotten that design from, and the Gregory pack was supposedly the source.

When I was at the Eagle plant in 1994, I remember talking to someone about it, because there was bitching about how Blackhawk had ripped off the Becker and the A-III. Someone else there was talking about how they'd gotten the initial A-III design from someone in the Army, and only after producing it to spec did they discover that they'd inadvertently copied Gregory's design. That info didn't come from anyone in authority, though--Just the guys hanging around the factory the day we drove up from Fort Leonard Wood to raid the factory "store", such as it was back then.

If you followed the gear world, back in the late 1970s, the Gregory pack was a very distinctive model, one that nobody else was making anything close to. That panel loading front, coupled with the "bucket" base was unique, and eventually widely copied by about everyone else in the business. If there was something similar on the civilian market back then, I never saw it, and I was at that time a fanatical follower of that sort of thing. The Gregory ruck was the only thing like that on the market, in that size. There were other tear-drop panel rucks on the market, but they were all small day-packs.
quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
quote:
Originally posted by eggroll:
Its not a copy of the Gregory


Egg, not to argue with you, but that picture is of a newer version of the model. The one I have out in the shed is damn near line-for-line identical to the A-III. Set it next to the Eagle A-III I had stolen from me in 2001, and it's practically identical. The only differences apparent are very minor, placement of straps and such, and a removable waistband. The primary features, shape, zipper panel opening, and others are all there. Eagle did add the outer pocket, but the base shape and layout are all practically identical. When you add in the Gregory accessory packs that went into the buckles you see on the Gregory front panel, the resemblance becomes uncanny.

If you know something more factual than what I've related, I'd love to hear it. There was discussion back in the day about where Eagle had gotten that design from, and the Gregory pack was supposedly the source.

When I was at the Eagle plant in 1994, I remember talking to someone about it, because there was bitching about how Blackhawk had ripped off the Becker and the A-III. Someone else there was talking about how they'd gotten the initial A-III design from someone in the Army, and only after producing it to spec did they discover that they'd inadvertently copied Gregory's design. That info didn't come from anyone in authority, though--Just the guys hanging around the factory the day we drove up from Fort Leonard Wood to raid the factory "store", such as it was back then.

If you followed the gear world, back in the late 1970s, the Gregory pack was a very distinctive model, one that nobody else was making anything close to. That panel loading front, coupled with the "bucket" base was unique, and eventually widely copied by about everyone else in the business. If there was something similar on the civilian market back then, I never saw it, and I was at that time a fanatical follower of that sort of thing. The Gregory ruck was the only thing like that on the market, in that size. There were other tear-drop panel rucks on the market, but they were all small day-packs.


I'll second thekirk. I will try and dig up an old Gregory catalog, I remember the one he is talking about, mainly because I wanted one for a long time growing up.

---------------------------------------

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Do or do not....there is no try.

[url]www.jonestactical.com[/url]

quote:
Originally posted by thekirk:
quote:
Originally posted by eggroll:
Its not a copy of the Gregory


Egg, not to argue with you, but that picture is of a newer version of the model.


This page seems to be closer to what Kirk is talking about.

IMO the lack of internal organization options is a deficiency of the A-III. A few strategically placed strips of velcro and a mesh pocket on the inside of the main compartment would do wonders. I'm considering getting one and going to town on it with a Speedy-Stitcher.

_______________________ "When the great day of battle comes remember your training and remember above all else that speed and violence of attack are the sure road to success." -- GEN George S. Patton, 1943

I fully agree with Glock-A-Roo. a few internal organisation like the one you can find on a Camelbak BFM, and maybe also a full clamshell opening, and the A-III would boost Eagle'sales again!
That is the main reason why, like Chris, I bought about everything on the market...Butstill use my A-III!
By the way, Chris, where did you find these modular panels? are they custom built?
quote:
Originally posted by Duke:
I had a Ranger Green AIII Molle. It went to a good home; but I regret selling it to this day.

*There are 4 things I regret ever selling; the RG A-III is #2.


+1 I had a RG AIII Molle and sold it. To this day it's the only pack I regret selling! Mainly because it took me so long to find one in RG....

I have a Black Non-Molle right now & I am considering getting another Molle one soon.

_________________________

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

 

"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - Adolph Hitler

 

"Dont' believe everything you read on the Internet."  - Abraham Lincoln

I was issued a tan A-III in '07, and then told to keep it. I complied immediately........ Don't use it often, mostly as an overnight bag, but it's still a stout piece of gear.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So low speed, i'm in Park.

"I could stand to hear a little more.." Jayne

Training is brief. Death is forever. PAY ATTENTION.

Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

Have a MC with the side pockets and my favorite, a RG (from ASSBAGS). I use the RG all the time. Great gunshow bag when I used to go. Outstanding beef jerky capacity.

-------------------------

IT'S A COLT.  THEY'RE LIKE THE HK OF GUNS.

HRH (Ret.) The Most Reverend Consig

Stupidity is not a skillset.

 

 

 

 

 Joined: 28 Nov 2004: 0037hrs        Location: The worst run state in the U.S

I've probably got "too many" AIII's (never mind, that isn't possible). By far my favorite is a black one that has the sewn on Nalgene bottle holders and an extra utility pouch on bottom pocket. Great bag.

"If I had a Grandpa, he would look like Delbert Belton"

Let those who love the LORD hate evil. The one who guards the lives of his godly ones will rescue them from the power of wicked people. Psalms 97:10 Trooper Troy Duncan-EOW 5-19-84 Deputy Erik Jon Telen-EOW 8-21-2001

I got issued one o these in Black in Jan 1995. I turned the same pack in to supply in Feb 2009.

The pack survived a couple of thousand flight hours, several trips around the world and untold loads being carried in it. Over those years it was one of my go-to packs for everything from carrying lunch and warmies out to the range, to hiking in crazy places while TDY, to invading foreign countries. Wink It's just a good pack that stands the test of time.

I'll be the oddball and say that one of the things that I loved about that pack was the simplicity. I'm not a framesheet or internal organizer kind of guy. Select what you need and pack appropriately. Use the external straps to gypsy strap the rest of your shit to the outside if you are an overpacker like I am and you are set.
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
quote:
By the way, Chris, where did you find these modular panels? are they custom built?


It's a secret.



That's just not right.

Big Grin

---------------------------------------

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Do or do not....there is no try.

[url]www.jonestactical.com[/url]

have had mine for about 11-12 years...it doesnt have the hydroport or the extralayer of nylon for the stiff insert; and that my only issue with it. apart from that, its still going strong Smile

"V: The only verdict is vengeance. The vendetta. "Those who would pound their swords into plowshares always end up plowing for those who don't."

The best damn pack ever made. The king daddy of them all. Love it!

___________________________ "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available. If you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body." - Charlie Sheen

quote:
Originally posted by Romeo Joker:
quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
quote:
By the way, Chris, where did you find these modular panels? are they custom built?


It's a secret.



That's just not right.

Big Grin


Sounds like you have something to do with those panels?
I can smell that old gear nylon smell from here. Smells great!

"Be a man of principle. Fight for what you believe in. Keep your word. Live with integrity. Be brave. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Serve your country. Teach. Mentor. Give something back to society.  Lead from the front. Conquer your fears. Be a good friend. Appreciate your friends and family. Be a leader and not a follower. Be valorous on the field of battle. And take responsibility for your actions."
Major Douglas A. Zembiec, USMC

quote:
Sounds like you have something to do with those panels?


I think if I used this thread to peddle my wares, worse than getting kicked off, I'd discredit myself and the subject I wrote about. If you'd like to discuss the matter offline, I'd be happy to take it to a PM, but this thread is about my Eagle A-III pack.

ALWAYS challenge authority.

quote:
Originally posted by Chris:
quote:
Sounds like you have something to do with those panels?


I think if I used this thread to peddle my wares, worse than getting kicked off, I'd discredit myself and the subject I wrote about. If you'd like to discuss the matter offline, I'd be happy to take it to a PM, but this thread is about my Eagle A-III pack.


Classy!

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