Recently someone commented on the fact that I have been gobbing on about a new pack, and this was disturbing, because it is not in common use yet, therefore is a disservice to the LF community. In response, I'd like to say a few words.
First of all, like the title suggests, I have found that commonwealth troops (i.e. UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) are some of the most switched on troops, and have some of the best kit set ups on the planet. I have been privileged to cross-train with the Brits and have seen this first hand. My buddies went on Kangaroo floats and trained with the Aussies and Kiwis. One of my CO's got to train with the Royal Marines. In every case we came away with a new appreciation for soldiering, including load bearing equipment.
One of the things you notice is that their "belt kits" actually fit in with their "bergens". Unlike USGI stuff, where the patrol harness fights the ruck frame. So I have been a big fan of the Brit Bergen for some time now, along with their style of belt kit. If you have read some of my posts, that should come as no great surprise. But what is new is this pack from Oz, and even some Brit-style belt kit (finally) hitting the market, here in the states.
Since the G-WOT, many advances in LBE have been made, including rucks. The US military has tried out Brit-style bergens. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (untrained troops, body armor n shit) they have not worked out well. Lots of back problems from over-loaded rucks that aren't rigid enough to support the load. So many units have returned to the tired and true external frame. Which works but has a down-side; the rigidity that supports the load also wears you the fuck out.
Enter Crossfire and the DG-16 ruck. What if you could combine the comfort of the internal with the support of the external? This would finally solve the riddle that has dogged military rucks. My initial testing has led me to believe that Crossfire has done this. It rides much like an internal, but also supports the weight, like an external. This is huge. For anyone who has humped heavy loads, over long distances, this is readily apparent.
Then you have Velocity Systems/Mayflower "jungle" kit. Not only have they adopted the Brit style of carry, which sits pouches flush with the top of the belt, they have also added new fabrics which are much lighter, and shed water so they stay that way. This too is an evolution in LBE.
So, the combination of a Crossfire rucksack and VS belt kit gives you one of the best combinations of LBE I've ever seen. This is truly ground-breaking work. I have been dabbling in humping and sewing this stuff for over 40 years. I have tried many combinations of rucks and belt kit. This is the closest I have ever come to perfection. That is a tall statement and I intend to continue testing this fall/winter and prove it.
So there are two factors at play here. One is that lots of folks are ignorant of Commonwealth soldiers, and their kit. Although that is rapidly changing. There is an in-grown bias towards US-made stuff and the lack of interest in foreign-made kit. The assumption is made that "our guys" have the best kit, so no need to look elsewhere. In this day and age, you can no longer pretend that's true; all you have to do is open your eyes and look around.
The other is my credentials as someone qualified to comment on this stuff and make these kinds of recommendations. In this new information age, any wanker can get on line and gob on about anything he wants. So some people might question your opinions. And that's understandable. The short answer is I'm nobody and you don't have to listen to a damn thing I say. However, I will share my experiences here with you guys, and you can take it as you like.
So, it is my opinion that we are standing on the steps of a new era in load bearing equipment. For those with enlightened chain of commands, there are rucks and belt kits that promise to improve our load bearing capabilities, which coupled with reasonable loads, may finally give grunts the world over the kit they have always deserved.
Former Captain of Marines