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.