A lighter Hellcat, or the Wildcat pack system

This is how one can utilize the MOLLE Medium/DEI 1609 U shaped pack frame with a Medium ALICE pack with no sewing needed.

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The complete pack system

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You loop the LC-2 Upper connector strap into one of the slots on the vertical horn of the frame on each side;

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Then you insert the tail end back into the frame pocket

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Pull the tail end to secure the frame into the frame pocket

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And insert the tail end into the strap metal loop on the rucksack

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Now it is going around the shoulder pad’s webbing, as is standard

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Finish the upper setup with the friction buckle as shown. This method ensures the pack frame does not slip out of the frame pocket, and stabilizes the pack to the shoulder straps as well, by pulling up the frame towards the top, and with the metal loops, pulling the pack towards the user’s neck

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This is how mine looks when complete. You can opt to pull the strap over the neck padding if desired, however I believe doing it this way may irritate your neck due to the webbing.

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The lower frame to pack connections; loop the strap through one of the horizontal slots on each side, and fasten as standard. The lower shoulder strap is looped through the vertical slot on each side of the frame.

Redid the A-tacs tent fly closure

I redid the A-Tacs pyramid tent’s fly/door closure, so that there is an overlap to keep inclement weather out. I used US Military herringbone patterned 1″ binding tape with button holes cut and sealed with a lighter, it may look slightly crude, due to not having a buttonhole attachment and proper zig zag stitch Fashion Disc for my old Singer 328K machine…but it works pretty good… Easiest to open and close from the inside, although it closes OK from the outside

Now..on to the photos!DSCF1977

3-quarter view in direct sunlight; there’s a slight slack on the sides, but it could be made taut by using the back pull out to another pole or to a tree, or to a ridge line.

 

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Another 3 quarter view, mostly in shade.

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Side view, please excuse the reflective glare; It shows how the crossed poles are leaning forward instead of being vertical.

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Head on to the closed door; The way I set the whole thing up, I staked the back corners and the center door tie down first, then raised the tent with the poles, then staked the last corners down… it might have been better to do the door corners and doors first before the rear corners…. I may add a couple center panel pull outs to the sides if I feel it is necessary.

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With one door out of the way, and other door staked down. There is room enough for 2 skinny people in there, or one person with equipment.

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Close up of the herringbone tape with buttonhole slits melted into the tape and sewn to the door panel.

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Close up of the Army BDU plastic buttons. I used the machine, with a riser plate, and a special button foot, hand cranked using the L and R needle positions on the machine.

 

MOLLE II Ruck on Large Coleman frame!

Picked up a vintage Large Coleman PEAK 1 backpack with the large frame; and then got a MOLLE II pack with Main Ruck and Modular Sleep System carrier on Gen 2 MOLLE frame; decided to see how the MOLLE bags interface with the large Coleman PEAK 1 frame…. it works beautifully! I have extra space on the frame for the lashing of other things, or if I remove the MSS carrier, another Main Ruck bag!

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Coleman Peak 1 pack, it is roomy, and very nicely made, just very old. (1989 date on the hardware)

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Side view of the thing.

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Suspension view, the straps and belt are not comfortable at all for me.

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So I put the MOLLE II suspension from the stock MOLLE gen 2 frame on the far right side, onto the large Coleman frame on the far left, in the middle is the small “Junior” Peak 1 frame that is useful with the ALICE series of bags but cannot interface with the MOLLE bags due to the MOLLE bags attachment points being much wider.

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Frames without bags, one could lash a lot of items to the frames if so desired.

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MOLLE Main ruck, with MSS carrier attached to the bottom, and MOLLE Sustainment Pouches attached to the sides, I’ve had the Sustainment Pouches for a long time, going back to my old bike packing system..a few years, and they are still holding up very well!

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bare side to attach to the frame

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Upper pack bag’s attachment points, a short strap on the top, and a metal tab thing midway

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Another view of upper bag’s attachment, mid tab, then bottom tab by the shoulder strap attachments

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MSS carrier bag’s attachments, all 4 of them are in use, and again, they are the metal tab system, and they fit the frame as if the frame was designed for it

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Complete MOLLE II backpack on the Large Coleman Frame; there’s about 9-10 inches of space between frame bottom and bottom of MSS bag for the lashing of items.

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Suspension side showing how the pack looks with the frame attached, theres another gap between top of frame and top of pack, again for lashing items, or as a very convenient carry handle.

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Sideways view of pack on frame, you can see how it is rather large and bulky, but should be excellent for winter trips or group camping! Or long travels as well!

The MOLLE Suspension system is very comfortable, and effective…although it is very heavy, it gives one a feel of being bombproof and able to take on just about anything short of shrapnel damage or flames.

I paid $10 for the Coleman Peak 1 backpack system, plus $50 for the MOLLE main ruck, and I think $15 for the pair of Sustainment Pouches, so the total invested would be around $75, for what amounts to two complete backpacks, and the results is that I now have a very comfortable, very sturdy backpack system, and due to the metal tab attachments, I can quickly remove the pack bags if I need to just lash things to the frame.

MOLLE Yucca Pack, modded to a big Lumbar pack!

My small MOLLE Yucca daypack is now doing duty as a beefy lumbar pack on a MOLLE waist belt set up and H harness set up… the main modifications involved were very extensive, basically a whole panel of MOLLE webbing on the back of the pack, plus 4 Ladder-loc buckles at specific locations to function better as a lumbar pack.. With some adjustment on how I attached my MOLLE Sustainment Pouches, I found that it functions better, and gives me some space in the main sack and on the outside… instead of taking up all 12 MOLLE slots on the perimeter for the two Sustainment Pouches, I have spaced it so that each pouch only takes up 5 slots each (for 10 slots), and a gap of 2 MOLLE slots in between for my Nalgene carrier and small misc item pouch. This also provides me with a convenient route for the flap straps..

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The pack. The top stuff sack houses my hammock and bugnet and suspension, while the MOLLE Sustainment pouches each hold the kelty topquilt and the hammock under pad insulation, and the main sack holds my clothing. The nalgene carrier in the lower middle houses an IKEA kitchen caddy turned into a wood burning stove, and the Buschraft Outfitters 10×10 silnylon tarp in Coyote brown.

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View of the waist belt set up; the large pouch holds my food and cook set, while the smaller pouch holds my first aid kit and fire kit, then between the canteen and the pouches are two modified 40mm ammo pouches, one holds my 4.5″ blade knife, the other holds a small 2AA Angle-head flashlight. Obviously there are two water bottles on the belt at the kidney positions.

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Belt opened up, you can see how there’s quite a bit of padding, the belt pad is size Medium, and is basically perfect as a waist belt on this pack system. You can also see the suspension straps for the pack.

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The MOLLE panel for the back, Instead of a normal method of alternating straps, I decided to fill the whole panel with butted straps so that I have basically as many options for attaching it to whatever I want to.

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The upper harness attachment system, what it is, is essentially a load lifter system, the pack’s D-rings are the anchors, while the harness adjuster only serves to locate the top point, and the Ladder-locs on the flap is the main adjusting point.. because I do not have internal stays on the pack, this method is needed to get the pack to ride as close to the back as possible.

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For those wondering how’d I attach the pack to the waistbelt… these are the 4 5″ long MOLLE straps I made up from the scraps I have on hand.

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A pic of the modified 40mm pouch, the only mods needed is the addition of a snap below the original snap to enable me to securely close the flap for better retention of the knife.

ALICE frame modular stuff sack pack system;

Decided to see what the MOLLE compression panels could take, and set up a backpack system in which the main bag is removable and contains all of my hammock camping gear cept tarp and suspension tree straps!

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Pack with everything loaded onto it

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Side view with hatchet mounted

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Other side view with knife and flashlight

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Bottom view, that is a vintage M1967 sleep system carrier being used as the bottom panel.

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Suspension view. Even though this frame is obsolete, and usually not comfortable with ALICE packs…it works pretty good for this load because of the packing system.

The pack contains the following items;

In the WW2 laundry bag stuff sack;

hammock

under pad

bug net

Kelty top quilt

In each of the 4x USMC Coyote brown pouches;

First aid kit (marked with red cross)

cook set and fire kit

food

back up hammock/gear hammock (Grand Trunk UltraLite)

In the MOLLE Water bottle carriers are the water bottles (self explanatory)

USGI M16 pouches carries my tarp in one, and hammock suspension in other

IDF revolver ammo/handcuff pouch houses my compass

Green Buttpack up top carries my clothes for up to 3 days

horizontal MOLLE pouch on very top carries my stakes, cordage, bandannas.

I do have room enough in the WW2 laundry bag to carry more insulation if I need to.

I notice that the MOLLE compression panels will likely need a 3rd buckle in the middle, and 2 more straps to attach to the frame, so that it compresses better around the main stuff sack.

External Frame packs and Vintage ALICE Goodness!

Decided to do redo my hiking backpacks and return the Improved Hellcat pack frame to stock format of Coleman PEAK-1 bag, original straps and all; and packed it with stuff for the Significant Other except her clothes….What is surprising is that the removal of the military equipment cut out around 5 pounds of unnecessary weight; though at the loss of modularity….right now with stuff except clothes and water, it weights 16 pounds overall. The big green Academy Broadway Jasper pack is full of stuff except water, and carries extra items for two people, weights in at 22 pounds, but empty, the pack weights around 5.5 pounds, still a significant weight loss compared to the MOLLE equipped Coleman pack frame before. I also decided to return one of my old ALICE bags to a like-new ALICE frame and stock straps/belt (all 1978-1979 vintage and NO SCRATCHES OR DAMAGE!) that was given to me by the S.O.’s mother, turns out empty, it weights 9 pounds….only 2 pounds less than the MOLLE version, and still almost double the empty weight of the Jasper pack and the Coleman PEAK 1 pack.  Also did the Bobcat Mod on a camo ALICE bag with camo LC-2 straps, its not bad but not good for heavy loads.

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The three external frame bags;

DSCN2081View of their suspension components;

 

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Bobcat modded Medium ALICE

DSCN2083View of Bobcat modded ALICE straps;

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Loaded up before I transferred all the crap in there to the Jasper pack; here, it weighted 32 pounds O.O (with a full 1 gallon of water and too much food, enough for like 5-6 days hahaha)

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showing the Bobcat mod, which consists of a 11″ long steel tube in the frame pocket and the straps attached around it to the metal rings of the pack. It works OK, but is best for lighter loads than whats shown here.

OK, people are probably wondering HOW is it I have so much stuff in those bags…..for the purposes of pictures, the ALICEs are loaded with extra items I have.

Academy Broadway Jasper pack list;

-blue CCF pad

-12×9 poly tarp

-10 stakes

-bug tent in lower compartment

-first aid kit in side pouch

-granola bars and chocolate packets in side pouch

-fire kit in small side pouch

-2 pairs of pants

-2 shirts

-2 pairs of underwear

-3 pairs of socks

-fleece pull over

-2 2qt canteens (empty right now)

-Kelty top quilt

-Food for 3 days

-canteen cup

-weight currently at 22 pounds without water.

Coleman Peak 1 pack

 

-Down 20 degrees mummy bag (too small for me, but perfect for S.O.)

-2 1qt canteens (also empty)

-canteen cup

-kitchen items; forks, spoons, skewers and pot holder

-2-3 days of food

-granola bars

-weight 16 pounds, no water or clothes

Green Medium ALICE pack

-empty weight; 9 pounds (EEK)

-twin air mattress

-one old sleeping bag

-two empty canteens

Camo Medium ALICE pack; Bobcat mod

-MOLLE straps inside

-MOLLE belt inside

-2x MOLLE sustainment pouches and MOLLE panels

-2x USGI 3 day training packs

-Hex tarp

-Bat-wing tarp

-extra stakes

-hammer

-total weight; 18 pounds

 

Out of all the packs, the Jasper’s modified waist belt fits the best, 2nd only to the MOLLE hip belt, and the Coleman Peak 1 straps are the most comfortable, 2nd only to the MOLLE shoulder straps… the belt it has is too small for me; so its ok for the S.O. for now. The worst straps is a tie between the Jasper straps and the ALICE LC-2 OD straps on the stock ALICE pack. The Jasper straps’ metal buckles are right in front of my armpits, where they should NOT be…..however, the upper mounts is at the perfect 45% angle, so I think I only need to modify the straps by extending the upper mount somehow. Not sure how to best proceed….There is the option of making complete new straps with a set of cannibalized LC-2 long straps similar to the woodland ones in OD, with which I would mount the bottom of the backs to the lower cross bar between the top and the bottom, and have load lifters to the original strap cross bars, this would give me 6 points of adjustment. Ideally if there was another bar below the cross bar, that would be the perfect place for new straps…I am not sure what model Kelty is closest to this frame… Or Jansports for that matter.

As for the Hellcat mods; I think I want to do it again with a DEI 1606AC frame, and probably with new, lighter materials similar to the set up on the Coleman Peak 1 pack, but in Olive or Camo…

For actual bug out bags, it is hard to beat the practically indestructible ALICE packs, especially with the Hellcat mods…..When one considers the need for the fabric to actually stand up to abuses such as dragging in the mud, tossing in the truck, or whatever vehicles have you, and so on….the ALICE and the MOLLE equipment are pretty good for that… BUT….unfortunately, it can also make you a target, hence my decision to pack these two civilian hiking backpacks, which are pretty tough, and also pretty much common everywhere (the Kelty/Jansport style one, not sure of the Coleman but…)…and so will aid greatly in the “gray man” thinking. Out here in the PNW, people do not give second thoughts or focus on the bearded guy wearing surplus winter jackets and a civilian hiking pack; nor do they focus on the obviously large hunting camo wearing guy with the old army backpack and old hunting rifles….In some areas, people are more attracted to the guy who wears 5.11 everything and has a black or coyote backpack with miles of MOLLE; but they do not really notice the guy with woodland/desert MOLLE; nor do they notice the guy with the 30+ year old framed hiking backpack.

ALICE/MOLLE Hellcat pack mods; another version

Here is my current version of the Hellcat Pack; but with a different look;

Based somewhat on this blog’s instructions….however, significantly different sleep system used. http://libertytreeblogs.blogspot.com/2011/04/building-hellcat-hybrid-ruck-from-us.html

I currently am using USGI ALICE straps and belt pad on this particular version, but I have a MOLLE belt on the other pack, along with longer ALICE padded straps (Similar to Tactical Tailor’s Super Straps) ; May modify my MOLLE shoulder straps to use ALICE style Quick release buckles if I cannot find another MOLLE Quick Release tab and strap  The pack currently used, is a Medium LC in standard green, and instead of a MOLLE MSS Sleep System carrier, I used a M1967 sleeping bag carrier to hold my compression bag that holds my underquilt for the hammock; and USGI ALICE pouches for carriage of water and foods. Inside the pack; I have 2 days of clothes, extra socks and underwear, and because of the relatively cold weather, a set of Polypros long johns underwear, acrylic fleece sweater and USGI Extreme Cold Weather Parka with liner and hood. In the compression sack on the bottom, is my Underquilt wrapped in an USGI poncho.

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main pack view; from top to bottom, flap holds nylon tarp, then center pocket holds canteen stove and cup and fire starting kit, then USGI M1967 sleep system carrierDSCN1685

Right side quarter view, top to bottom, SAW ammo pouch to hold my foods and such, and 2 qt canteen, right lower ALICE pocket holds first aid kitDSCN1686

Left side quarter view, modified AR15 pouch for SKS clips, Kershaw fillet knife, 2 qt canteen pouch, mallet behind left lower pocket which holds hammock tree straps, tarp guy lines and stakesDSCN2768

earlier version of the Hellcat pack; 4x MOLLE first aid pouches up top, two SAW ammo pouches on lower sides, shows the MOLLE kidney belt lashed to frameDSCN2769view from rear, long ALICE padded straps, MOLLE kidney belt, behind the straps, Spec Ops HUMP hydration bladder and a 2-man nylon tent, folded into a square and lashed to the frame along with its poles and stakes.