MR Overload and NICE frame: a quick overview

Got a chance to check out my buddy's new ruck system today.  Did not load it up yet so I didn't get any pics; will put some up next time we meet.  My overall impression is it is a very purpose built ruck, designed for guys who need a little more room to extend the 3 day pack into a longer duration mission, or simply need to hump a bit more kit.  But it's a nice sweet spot, size wise, between a Large ALICE type ruck and your typical 3-day patrol bag.  I'm guessing maybe 70L range.  And this is important based on my buddy's recent experiences.  The Large ALICE allows you to carry way too much shit.  Unless that's just a winter bag for cold weather gear.  He wanted a bag that was slightly smaller, to carry a  realistic load, over extended distances.  It fits the bill nicely for this.

Technically, we're talking about a NICE frame, and a bag which is attached by a system that allows you to pack things (such as a long gun) in between the frame and bag.  Again a very purpose built ruck.  You may not care for this.  But if you do, it's there.  The hip belt is removable for wearing with belt kit.  The sides and belt come off, leaving a lumbar panel.  Or if worn as a hip belt with BA/chest rig, the sides have molle for canteen or other pouches.  A nice touch.  And of course bolsters for BA stab.  The bag itself is a large clam shell design, same as the 3-day.  This is a big change for some, especially if you are a fan of the traditional top-loader.  This makes the lid rather smallish, but you can add a bigger lid, aka "bolt bag" that resembles the traditional MR 2-pouch design and get the top lid space back.

Also, MR upped their game with new hardware and webbing.  This is a huge improvement over earlier stuff with thin webbing and hardware, with dubious locking qualities.  I'm not usually a fan of big structural zippers, but MR has some of the best out there, with water proof design, and a new locking system on the pulls.  So these may actually work.  This was also a jumpable pack, so the hangers are there, along with provisions for  "H" harness routing, and of course a loop for the lowering line.

OK, you guys know I'm a big fan of the Crossfire DG-series, so I'm not gonna act like I'm impartial here.  But I will say this a very well constructed ruck, which gives you a nice size niche for those that need it, and does a nice job of combining a hybrid internal/external frame with a decent bag.  Although rated for much more, I'd say if you kept the weight down to the 50 lb range, it would do a good job of it.  

This will be a good testbed for my buddy, who will soon be issued the new SPEAR series of rucks, with new NICE frames and bags.  So after AUSA, when I have my complete Crossfire DG system, we will ruck both of them up some test routes in the Uwharrie that he's laying in for his team to train on.  So we will see what's what.   Not gonna lie, I think my DG hybrid is gonna kick it's ass, but I will give it a fair shake.             

"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

Yeah, it's a departure from a stiffener panel on the back of the ruck.  The heavy/out-sized items can be directly attached to the frame, and then the bag re-fitted over the top.  The key will be if the new NICE frame has sufficient ass to hold them up, as compared to a conventional external frame.  They are considerably beefed up from the last gen; we'll just have to see.  Technically speaking, a NICE frame is much more labor-intensive to produce than a molded polymer one.  So if it works, and you have an external frame that acts like an internal; brilliant.  But if it don't, then you have an expensive failure.  My buddy had bad experiences with heavily loaded "gen 1" NICE frames, circa 2007-08.  He went back to TT MALICE and frame until recently, when he decided to give them another chance.  

My gut feeling: It's about half the support of the DG-16 frame; as far as stiffness and rigidity; but also has more flex to move with you.  So the deal will be, who got closer to the solution here.  My money's on Crossfire but we'll see.  

It's also funny(?) to note, that you can really see the cross-pollination between Crossfire and MR; they picked up things from each other, although you won't hear them saying that, that benefitted each other.  I'll just leave that one there.    

"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

I have one.  

It is a 50L pack.  

I am a decade or two beyond hauling mortar base plates and ammo cans so I can’t speak to how it would handle those.   I can tell you I have done a two-night hunting trip out of mine and packed out my gear and about 60 pounds of bagged deer meat.   Total weight over 100 pounds.  The pack held up better than I did.   

Nothing is indestructible but I would take one of these over my old Alice pack any day and twice on jump days. 

_______________________ Front Toward Enemy

Ha, yeah they are trying very hard to improve on the old ALICE.

Well I'm an old gray back myself, but in our defense, nobody likes to hump 100+ lbs, so props to ya for that.

You bring up a good point, in that there are several companies making rucks for hunters such as yourself who are actually hiking in to find game, and hauling them out by foot.  There's is much we can learn from these designs as well, such as the positioning of the upper stab straps.

 

 

"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

Yeah same basic concept, only difference would be frequency of use/abuse, and the additional cost of the mil-spec system.  

I would think most good hunting packs would probably stand up to military use.  In fact, you have brands like MR, Elberlestock that come off the same line.  

Why a mil-spec pack costs more and is that really value added, huh, way beyond the scope of this thread, but it exists and the astute buyer can by-pass that if he doesn't mind some slight differences.  

"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

I have the overload  and an old Wolfpack in the ,mil line and I owned a tactic lane.   I have an MR hunting pack called a metcalf and had a pintler.    I have also finger banged about every MR pack they make these days.  

My wolf pack and overload are US built which adds cost.   Hunting packs are made overseas.   Apart from that it is a much stouter construction and that is true for both the bags and the frame (the metcalf is on frame Called the guidelight.).  Hunting packs tend to use thinner nylon and have some pockets that stretch.  The hunting packs also lack a lot of mole, organization pockets, antena pass through slots, armor adaptations, etc.    overall just a slicker and likely cheaper design.    Not sure about things like IR signature, etc.  

I think the hunting ting stuff would hold up OK to .mil use but they aren’t really on the same level based on my small sample.   I can tell you that they can haul some weight.   

MR cross pollinates the lines pretty well so you get the benefit of the design tech in a purpose built pack suited to your needs. 

_______________________ Front Toward Enemy

Yeah you have to decide if mil-spec is actually a requirement for you.  Most of the guys here prefer it, for various reasons, but that's not to say it's an absolute requirement.

I will say they are some actual differences that are optimized for military use, that are very useful.  I just found out some things that are very interesting about the DG-16 frame, but that's for another thread.  But on a related note, the updated MR frame has been beefed up and works well for fast hiking.  So depending on what rucking technique being used, you would want to match that to your frame choice.     

"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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