Although military or army backs share and consumer types of backpacks share many basic design and function such as a camo army backpack or a US army backpack, military backpacks are made to withstand more punishing use because military personnel depend on their equipment, which can make a difference between life and death. The majority of all backpacks are designed to distribute load bearing weight evenly between the shoulder straps and the hip area but unlike consumer backpacks, military https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backpackbackpacks are designed to distribute in excess of over 100 lbs while still not hindering movement. Military personnel will often carry extra weapons, rations, ammunition, medical supplies, and other gear needed for a specific mission or patrol. Many consumers are willing to pay for a military type backpack and buy from online military surplus stores, local army surplus stores, outdoor supplies stores, and hunting gear stores. You will also find many local law enforcement agencies using military backpacks. Many countries around the world have their own versions of military backpacks but have very similar features and functions.
United States Military Backpack types:
ALICE. The All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) was first introduced in 1973 during the Vietnam War. ALICE replaced the M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) and the M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE) and is in still in limited some use today by the United States Army, the United States Navy, and Air Force ground units. The method to attach external pouches to a ALICE backpack are a belt strap system with an interlocking slide called KEEPERS or are hooked through eyelets along the bottom of an individual belt. Current load components consist of:
- Belt, Individual Equipment LC-1
- Carrier, Entrenching Tool LC-1
- Case, Field First Aid Dressing LC-1
- Case, Small Arms Ammunition LC-1
- Cover, Water Canteen LC-1
- Suspenders, Individual Equipment Belt LC-1
MOLLE. Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) is the next evolutionary step in module system from ALICE and is currently used by the United States army and also by the British Army known as the Osprey Modular System. The MOLLE design is modular and utilizes the PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing grid to attach multiple pouches, depending on your specific need and situation. Many types of pouches, from ammunition to hydration, can be attached to the external shell of the MOLLE backpack. Components of a MOLLE backpack include:
- Tactical Assault Panel (TAP) which chest rig with PALS webbing or a mount for an Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) or a Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCS) ballistic armor plate. The TAP can carry up to six rifle magazines.
- Rucksack Frame which can attach additional pouches with the PALS webbing.
- Hydration Bladder which is a 72 oz or 2.1 L plastic bladder and 2 qt or 1.9 L canteens.
- Module pouches that are attached by PALS webbing.
ILBE. Currently in use by the United States Marine Corps, Improved Load Bearing Equipment(ILBE) was designed as an improved to the MOLLE design. ILBE backpacks use the PALS webbing grid to attached individual pouches. Since the IBLE backpacks were created prior to the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV), compatibility issues between ILBE and MTV systems has caused the United States Marine Corps to come up with a different military backpack design in 2009 under the name of USMC Pack which is currently under development.
MTV. The Modular Tactical Vest or MTV is currently used by the United States Marine Corps since 2006. Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) are ballistic armor plates that can be used with the Modular Tactical Vest. A PALS webbing grid is utilized to attached SAPI pouches and quick release system was developed to remove the pouches if an emergency situation required a quick removal of the Modular Tactical Vest for medical aid. MTV packs also include an integrate system for routing communication system wires. The original MTV packs were a changed closure system, meaning the vest is put on and removed by using a hook and pile system known as a cumberbund. The MTV vest fastens around the waist each should strap by individual buckles. Many Marines have complained that it took too long to put on and remove so a quick release system was designed later so that military medical personal can have quick access by pulling a cord at the bottom to separate the two pieces of the MTV vest quickly.
Military personal equipment requirements are often changing to adapt to an ever-changing armed conflict situations around the globe. The first indication of the change in demands will always take place with the equipment. Many design implementations have been integrated into consumer backpacks and many of the same backpacks used by the military are readily available for purchase locally or online by the average consumer.