I was really trying to wait until I rucked the DG-16 system but just couldn't help it. I thought this little guy looked like a gem; and it is.
It actually fits me better than the DG-16, for a short back external, for wear with belt kit. This one has a 18" frame, versus 20" on the -16, so it's gonna depend a lot on your build. I'm sorta in the middle and can hump either one, with the -3 now being my favorite. I'd say if you're around 5'9"-5'11", the DG-3 is for you; 5'11" and over, the DG-16. To dial it in closer, my torso length is 17", from neck bump, to top of waist. If your torso is longer then the DG-16 is for you.
Again, this is as a short back ruck, with belt kit. If you are running it as a long back, with waist belt, and body armor/chest rig, the DG-16 will work for the 5'9"-5'11" height; so it's gonna depend on how you wear your shit. In this mode I would like to see another frame of say 22-24" for taller dudes.
But back to the DG-3. As you can see, the frame is slightly smaller, all around, than the DG-16. The suspension is very similar, with good padded shoulder straps, and slightly reduced hip pads.
The bag itself is smaller than the DG-16, but still has lots of room. It's like a cross between a Medium ALICE and a 3-day assault Pack. It is contoured closer to the body, like the Alpine packs we've been discussing, but goes up more vertically to give you some extra space when needed. I'm gonna guess it in at about 70L. Notice side pockets for water bottles, but it's also slotted for skis, poles, n other shit.
Betcha weren't expecting this. It's a full center zip. With removable inside pockets. Pretty cool, huh? The top lid has three compartments; one internal with access from the inside and outside, and two external, one pouch for tools/repair kit, gloves, cap, etc., and one admin pouch for notebook, documents, etc.
I wanted to get some close ups of the Crossfire bag attachment system. Here is the top. Notice the "jock strap" center strap. The top of the bag has two attachment points per side, so depending on where you put the top load stab straps, you still have a tab n slot for the bag top. Nice touch. In this case, the top load stab straps are rigged into the center slots, with the top bag tabs rigged into the outboard slots.
Note: The bag has 1 " rings as well, so the harness can be rigged onto the bag without an external frame. An internal frame sheet is provided, which along with these direct attachment points, allows you to convert it to an internal frame ruck. Also pretty cool.
Note 2: Since there were rings there, I decided to rig the top load straps through them, thereby attaching both the bag and the frame to the shoulder harness.
Another attachment shot showing the 3 tabs n slots per side.
And the bottom tabs n slots. I think this is where you make your money on this system; the weight is now tied in around the complete perimeter of the frame.
Complete load out, as humped on test run.
Experimental belt kit. Doggie not included.
I did a 7.62 mi Tab (run), smooth, level asphalt, 70-ish, @ 13:30ish pace. Ruck at 26 lbs, belt kit at 14 lbs. Which is relatively light but still...
I was cruising America, baby. Typical Crossfire ride, smooth and about as comfortable as it's gonna get. Way less discomfort than either an internal or any other external frame. A little shoulder discomfort towards the end, but to be expected without a waist belt. But it did sink into the belt kit and took some load off the shoulders. And loaded mags up front help balance things out.
I think this is gonna be my new Go-To ruck. For most of the year when cold weather clothing and sleep system are not required. For that I think the DG-16 is still gonna rock. But for hot weather ops, this pack is the shit. And I swear, I'm gonna review the -16 most skosh.