One day I was over at the local military surplus store and saw a large ALICE pack with external frame. I was intrigued by the idea of a Bug Out Bag Alice Pack setup. I figured that the price was right and I was in the market for a larger bug-out-bag, so I scooped it up, paid and headed home.
Bug Out Bag ALICE Pack Review
My old bug out bag was jammed full. It was filled with more than gear than I previously listed in one of my prior Bug Out Bag posts. Everything from a Gerber 600 Multitool to Books on Foraging for wild foods. I couldn’t fit one more item into this old backpack of mine, even with all the pockets.
My new bug out bag ALICE pack is Olive Drab and made of rugged heavy duty 420 denier nylon material. It has 3 large vented lower outside pockets and 3 smaller upper outside pockets. There are no zippers on this beast to blow out or get snagged, so that’s a bonus! It also has an extra wide heavy padded kidney pad and strap all secured to a heavy duty anodized aluminum frame with heavy padded shoulder straps. Waterproof lining. I haven’t measured it but Amazon claims that the dimensions are : 22″ x 20″ x 19″ (inches).
Once I got home and emptied my older bug out bag, I could see there was a lot of equipment and would be surprised if any bag, short of a Bag of Holding (D&D; nerds know what I’m sayin’ here), could hold all this stuff.
I began the daunting tasks of piling all the items from my floor into the “new” bug out bag ALICE pack. After what seemed like hours (but was probably 6 minutes or so), I realized that there was nothing left on the floor. Here I was, staring into this giant green bag that was barely full…
I was sure that my children had snuck into the room while I was occupied and had grabbed some of my stuff, so unloaded the pack for a quick inventory.
Ok, everything was there.
“What in the heck just happened?”, I asked myself.
With no other options, I started re-packing the A.L.I.C.E. pack again. This time watching and running a mental catalog as I went.
Everything went back in and this thing wasn’t even close to full. I had used the generous 6 outer pockets (3 large upper pockets, and 3 much larger lower packets) for my items that needed to be accessible. Then on the larger main area I stuffed, tarp, large heavy duty survival blanket spare clothes, jacket, mess kit, kelly kettle, k-bar knife. I actually started looking for new random things to stuff into it and it seemed to be asking for more and more. Wow, there is a lot of space to work with.
I also discovered that there is a large compartment in the main compartment that I hadn’t accounted for, so I filled it with ALL of my books on primitive skills: foraging for wild foods, trapping and snaring, FM21-76 survival manual. Let me just say that there is still room in this pocket too. I’m actually a bit overwhelmed.
I decided to hold off on stuffing any more items into it, since I was pretty much out of supplies by this time and was jamming coloring books, care bears and a Pillow Pet into it (much to the chagrin of my 3 daughters, who by this point think I have lost it.).
It was time… time to see how heavy it was.
Oh man, it was heavy, I’d say at least the weight of a mid-sized elephant… or maybe 60 lbs. I was seriously doubting my ability to bug out in this thing. Heck, I’d be surprised if I didn’t tip onto my back like an overturned tortoise, but I gave it a shot and shouldered the pack.
Low and behold, the bug out bag ALICE pack wore very well. It was still heavy, but the external frame and straps distributed the weight nicely. It was very manageable, and by this time I had convinced myself that if I welded this external frame to a Plymouth Grand Fury station wagon, that I could lug it on my back through the woods. My wife says there is no way… but she’s not the one wearing this pack either, so she’s not qualified to make that call.
If you want a solid pack, that has been proven and has stood the test of time by hikers, campers and our military troops in the jungles of Vietnam, then you will be pleased with the bug out bag ALICE pack. I have the large size, which I can highly recommend, but there are also smaller sizes with and without the external frame. Check them out, if possible at a local surplus store so you can try them out and see what size works best for you. If you do order one online, verify the sizes as I have seen some confusion between some online vendors.