Short back rucks and belt kits

Just wanted to cross-reference this here, since we tend to talk about this stuff in other threads.  I have been looking at several different rucks and belt kit combinations over the past few years.  For my money, if you live a sub-tropical place like I do, and make no mistake, if you're in the south east US, you are in this category,  it pays to take a look at  this combination.

I've mentioned a few I've been "kit-bashing", such as the Large ALICE and TT/LBT updates, the short back Bergen, the Jarhead FILBE, and the Doggy Molle Large.  Most of these revolve around the Down East 1606 frame.

I've also seen the Jay Jay's Jungle ruck w/1606 frame.  And someone else mentioned the Platatac Jungle ruck, and the Crossfire DG-16, which features a new DE frame (and suspension) that looks phenomenal.

I find it fascinating that guys are in totally different locations around the globe and working towards the same solutions.  Probably would never meet up in the past.  Nowadays we can communicate and cross-pollinate, if that's the right term, our ideas, and designs.  

I am pretty low-tech, more akin to field mods with some limited technical capability.  Jay Jays is more state of the art, with a very competent and skilled workforce.  Crossfire has pulled out all the stops with cutting edge technology in frame and suspension design.  Any dim-wit can do what I'm doing; Jay Jay's strikes a nice balance between quality and price; Crossfire gives you the very latest in ruck design for the working professional.  So you have a  range of choices here, from mild to wild.  

Original Post

Man, too many threads. 

But this will do. You have mentioned the concept of a short ruck that rests on top of a waistbelt/fannypack. Right? 

I sorta like that you are going there as I did that in the waywayback. A pack like a 3DAP with frame sheet before they existed (a sort of padded back ascent pack I had) and I sewed straps and camlocks to the bottom of it, and to the top of a big fanny pack. Did 3 day weekends in the flinthills, etc. with it. Worked fine. 

So... poking at options I remembered the Kifaru Tailgunner. And lookie:

That pad with black on it is the belt retention pad for any of their rucks. So you can add a molle waist belt. And shoulder straps, though I would try not to. 

Stick pouches on the waist belt, and you have a big-fannypack battlebelt. Use compression straps judiciously and don't overload it. 

But then, find a nice short back ruck, toss the waistbelt, and get something to allow you to clip it to the top of the tailgunner. Might work immediately. If not, then it would seem also possible to be crazier and get all custom. Like, make the ruck stays extend down so they dock into the buttpack somehow. I can see it in my head. 

If I hadn't just settled into two new rigs and a new ruck/transport system, I'd try this just for funzies. Hell, I could have kept the Zulu as my short back ruck for the top of it, but I sold it. 

Anyway, it's an idea. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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My bad, I thought I was putting the topics where they belonged so a guy looking for info could find it, but it did make a bunch of different posts.

Yeah, the docking concept with two rucks.  Always was a great idea, just tough to pull off.  You are essentially back to a short back and belt kit, with a bit more room for E&E or sustainment kit.  The "buttpack" top and the rucksack bottom need to be shaped to work together; and yeah some way of extending a lumbar pad to tuck in behind the belt.  

I guess I'm late to the party!

What you have described above is in production and testing with the US Soldier enhancement program, as well as many unit level purchases. The battle belt has a holster on the back to receive the bottom of our pack frame. The belt and pack can be connected, like every other pack on the market; it can also be left disconnected so you can remove your pack while retaining your belt kit.

The frame and pack contour perfectly to the back plate or your back, without pontoons/extra pieces. The parts are interchangeable very quickly for mission customization. The frame can be attached to an ALICE medium pack.

Does this seem like what you are looking for?

Also, we are working on a new frame shape that will provide more standoff for even better ventilation when not wearing a PC.

Thank for pointing out this thread Jon.

 

 

Yeah that's not a bad system.   Your stock pack would work for me, but I think the military guys would prefer an external frame for heavier loads.  So yeah, if you could put a DG-16 frame on it, it would be GTG.  Even better, instead of top sleeve, if it had tabs to integrate with the frame.  I'm getting a bag from Crossfire that will be a cross between the DG-16, and the legacy Mk 6.  The tabs that fit the bag to the frame make all the difference.  Instead of all the weight just hanging down for the sleeve, it is evenly loaded around the frame.       

With hundreds of miles under my belt using the AttackPAK setup I can say that it's the best setup that I've used to date that allows for useful belt kit independent of the ruck while also serving as a functional  hip  belt for the ruck itself. Most of the loads I've carried are in the 35-55 pound range, and that setup has been exceptional for that range. I haven't taken it out for a soul crusher with a 100-120 pound load since I just don't have a realistic need for that capacity at this point, but they've been great for that moderately heavy range. 

For context- almost 100% of my use has been in high alpine environments. They're very popular at the CD Sniper Adventure Challenge which is typically in WY, NM, or UT and consists of a very, very long land nav problem with some shooting and fieldcraft stages (kind of a "tactical adventure race" with a LR shooting match worked in). A few of us using them have done some light alpine climbing/hiking with them as well. That doesn't leave a lot of feedback for jungle or extremely hot and humid climates and the terrain we typically see there, but for everything I've used it for, I really like the concept and execution of these packs. 

What Shoobe shows is a great way for ultralight trail backpacking.  Almost no weight on shoulders, all on hips, and minimal heat retention on the back.

Are there any studies showing where/how the human body releases heat?  It seems the back/lumbar region is a huge surface area for sweat and heat radiation, and any internal frame pack, in a hot/humid environment, is not the right direction.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

Good question. Found this which seems to support that idea indeed:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/service..._sweat-research.html

Research at Loughborough University to find out where athletes sweat the most has revealed surprising results. Scientists at the University’s Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre investigated sweating in male athletes in a research project sponsored by global sports company adidas.

(sorry, best image is behind a paywall or something)

...

The results showed unexpectedly high levels of sweating on the central and lower back, particularly in the area of the spine.

High sweat rates were also found on the forehead whilst the lowest were towards the extremities, in the research published by the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

Academics were surprised by high levels of sweating along the spine. The back of the body is less exposed to airflow – wind speed due to running – and thus less efficient at cooling the body – the primary function of sweat. So, more sweat will drip off the body without cooling it.

Discussions with colleagues with expertise in evolutionary biology raised a speculative explanation.

Prof Havenith said: “Our research records scientific data but asking ‘why’ raises an interesting question.

“If this pattern that we observe is a remnant from when we moved on all fours, before we walked upright, then sweating on the back would make sense.

...

 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Ha, yeah some eggheads speculating on a bunch of bullshit they'll never be able to prove.  The only time I put on a dog collar, get down on all fours and bark is for my wife.  But let's keep that between us and the internet.  

But anyways, sweat glands, ok, all we got to do is keep the wind at our backs, no problemo.

Huck brings up an interesting point, before this degenerates into a firefight; there are good LBE solutions to carrying 35-50lbs, which may be of interest to civvy's doing whatever they're into.  Then there are solutions for heavier loads, say in the 50-75 lb arena.  Add into the mix are weather and terrain considerations.  

So, in regards to military applications, where a squaddie may have to carry a bunch of shit, I think the external frame is king.  Others may agree or disagree, but when it comes to really heavy-hauling, this is what I've seen, time and again.  So this is why I like the short back, external ruck concept, in conjunction with a belt kit.  I still believe this is the best all-around LBE solution, for military ops.    

In regards to para-military activities, the insurgent still has to carry a bunch of shit, but in most cases, will not have the loads of a uniformed soldier.  So this becomes a gray area, in that a short back external ruck and belt kit may still be worn, however, within this "weight class", so to speak, there may be viable alternatives, such as an A-PAK type design.   I won't comment on competition or other activities, only to say if you are using that as a training tool, great; if not, well, wear whatever you want man.   

However, when we get into hot/humid weather ops, another consideration is ventilation around back.  Now I am not a scientist, but I can fucking-well tell you what an internal frame ruck on your back feels like on a hot summer day, humping up a mountain side.  You are literally drenched.  You are now wearing that 3L bladder.  So, whether you are humping 35 or 75 lbs, if you are in hot temps, then an external frame ruck makes a lot of sense.

Then again, for cold weather ops, the internal frame may be a very good choice.  If you don't have to worry about excessive sweating, then you might not need the stand-off of an external.  You may even opt for chest-mounted LBE.  And this opens up space for a long back ruck, with hipbelt.  Which is beyond the scope of this thread, but here for illustrative purposes.

So yeah, again, tools in the tool box.  In my personal opinion, the Crossfire DG-series, with external frame, and integrated bag and harness is the best solution for an armed citizen, doing longer range patrols, in extreme hot weather.  If I was doing the same patrol in cold weather, I might use the same ruck, or go to an internal design.  And to briefly touch on terrain.  A road march on mostly smooth and level terrain is a far cry from a rocky trail up a mountain.  Not to mention land nav in the woods.  An internal might be a better choice for when balance becomes an issue.  And good Lord, I don't even want to throw this one in, but, IF you have to wear BA, the external gives you room for that.  Ideally I would want both.  A design that converts back and forth would be nice.  If not, then I'd pick an external.          

Diz posted:

...I can fucking-well tell you what an internal frame ruck on your back feels like on a hot summer day, humping up a mountain side.  You are literally drenched.  You are now wearing that 3L bladder.  So, whether you are humping 35 or 75 lbs, if you are in hot temps, then an external frame ruck makes a lot of sense.

Then again, for cold weather ops, the internal frame may be a very good choice.  If you don't have to worry about excessive sweating...

They did say they were speculating as to why. But the sweat map comports with what TankerSteve brought up and I agree that we have known also. We sweat a lot through the back. More than anywhere, it turns out, so that's good to know really. 

 

Internal frame designs vary a LOT. I have been unhappy with them for a few decades as everyone went to the molded backplane with full contact. I was raised on these old ones with a few contact pads, not dissimilar to an external frame. 

In my old-days ruck I'd keep the map (I was always the point/nav guy) between my back and the pack, as there was a hole there that dropped down to the waist belt, so a folded map would not fall out. Yes, that much space between me and the pack bag. 

(Bonus: carry things that poke at the pack body), they don't stab you in the spine_

My current Kifaru internal frame ruck is back to that basic method. A few contact points and lots of ventilation. I won't carry above a small assault pack that's all against my body. Even that, on the hottest days, can be a bit of a pain. 

 

Winter:

I have had to deal with "heat casualties" (dehydration) in the winter. And sweating can soak your warmth layers which even when high tech are less effective. Moisture control is at least as important in the cold. Want that same ventilation if you are in a gore-text shell. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

For clarification, this is a LBT 2657 (uh highly modified) on a DG-16 frameset.  It is configured for a short back ruck, to use with a belt kit.  If I wanted to go long back, in conjunction with a chest rig (or God forbid BA), I would raise the shoulder harness, to drop the lumbar pad down, and add back the side pads and hip belt.

Since this bag was originally made for an ALICE frame, it has a top sleeve.  I started out by modifying the bag to take a 1606, but then found the DG-16.  So it's a hybrid of sorts; still uses a top sleeve, but then is tied into the frame along the sides.

A DG-16 bag has tabs for tie in around the whole circumference of the frame, not only sides, but top and bottom.  This allows for what they call a "live" load, in that the weight is evenly distributed around the frame, which twists and turns with you, much like an internal, but still with the load-hauling capability of an external.  As soon as I get one of their bags I will post it.   

Yeah and I do agree, you can sweat your ass off just as much in winter, as you do in summer.  But I would add another consideration is for balance.  If you have technical (or hell just any) climbing and what-not, then you might have to choose.   

Great commentary Diz!

What is the distance between webbing tabs, to make the pack fit that frame? Ours are 4" on center, and 14" wide fully stretched, double bar tacked and triple stitched. The top and bottom tabs actually go all the way across the back of the pack so they do not rely on seam stitching for strength.

I consider our frame a "hybrid frame." It gives the advantage of the internal frame carrying the load close, and the external frame for heavy load control. It has a ventilation channel up the center and between the belt and pack, but lacks large stand off space like some external frames (penalty for having the load further away from CG). It may not be ideal for some humid conditions, but what is? We are working on a new frame shape that will have a larger air gap and a full mesh trampoline style back panel.

As for heavy loads, we have lots of hunters who swear by this design to carry meat quarters out of the woods. Not my load range as an old guy, but it does work. One unit put a 120 lb Talon Robot on our MOLLE Frame Cover.

That DG-16 frame looks bitchin'. In the photo, it looks like the mesh panel is pressed against the loaded pack bag? What keeps the separation?

 

shoobe01 posted:

Good question. Found this which seems to support that idea indeed:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/service..._sweat-research.html

The results showed unexpectedly high levels of sweating on the central and lower back, particularly in the area of the spine.

High sweat rates were also found on the forehead whilst the lowest were towards the extremities, in the research published by the European Journal of Applied Physiology...

 

...

 

Shoobe, great stuff.  I think many of us got this intuitively but it is nice to have science backing this up. 

From the chart, there are some interesting smaller take-aways.  Head/neck, got it.  Shoulders, ok, back, understood.  Front of shins was a surprise.

Diz, I think you laid it out.  A convertible pack that can use a frame for general duty, super heavy and jungle ops, and an internal frame setup for cold weather, climbing and other high-agility/balance environments, would be optimal for GP troops.

Tankersteve 

 

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

Hey man I think the A-Pak actually looks pretty good and may have to check it out.  

I think the tab spacing is about the same.  Both on 1606 and Crossfire frames.  So yeah if you're doing that, then GTG.  Versus a top sleeve that the weight just hangs down from.  OK for road marching, but get into off-road and/or high angle and the load can shift around.  I think the difference between a 1606 and the Crossfire frame is the amount of tie-in used.  The 1606 relies on a cross-beam kind of support, whereas the Crossfire uses a complete rectangle (two on top, 3 per side, and two on bottom).  Which actually flexes with you under load.  The reason the 1606's shit the bed up in Norway was because the inherent weakness of this design; it cannot flex with the shoulders, at the same time it flexes in the opposite direction with your hips.  Well that and the material cold-soaked and became brittle.  

I have no doubt your design can be over-loaded.  I have carried heavy loads in Brit issue Bergens; there's no doubt it can be done.  However, I would love to see a pack, with a stiffener panel or stays, to be used as an internal, but also tabs to be used with a good external frame, such as the DG-6, or DG-3.  Best of both worlds really.

In the end, as concerns using with a belt kit, some guys may find the internal frame just works better for them.  Lots of guys have difficulty getting an external frame ruck to work with a belt kit.  So you may have to decide what features are more important to you.   Although I think the new DG-3 frame, which is smaller than the DG-6 might help out in this dept.  Also be perfect for a Medium ALICE sized bag.  

As far as stand-off, yeah you're right I basically negated that by hanging a 3L water bladder down the spine, which when loaded up, is pressed outward into your back.  So yeah, my SOP is gonna have to change on that one.  The mesh panel will normally give you some nice stand-off.    

Steve- do you think a system could be built that achieved those objectives using the same pack? Maybe one well-made container with multiple options for frame/harness/suspension? For those carrying a no-shit combat load on belt kit, maybe a short-back ruck is always going to be the way to go. For those of us running a few mags and a handgun and some other niceties on the belt and still planning to drop the pack and refit slightly before working an objective, I think a hybrid system of some sorts may be the way to go. If the AttackPAK can be modified or the frame swapped to allow for some airflow, it'll be tough to beat in that role. But as mentioned in the other thread, a return to longer range dismounted operations might simply drive a requirement to refine the tried and true concept of belt kit and a high back. 

On that note- British canteens were mentioned elsewhere as creating a better shelf for a load due to a more square, flat design. Up in the mountains, bottles are typically carried upside down to prevent freezing at the mouth/neck in cold weather. I'm wondering if anyone has ever considered a Nalgene or 1QT pouch designed to carry the bottle upside down, with the bottom being flush with the top of the belt. Is there any downside to that that I'm missing? 

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