Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Why the US Marines ILBE Assault Pack Can't be Recommended Any Longer - U...

The ILBE Assault Pack; unfortunately I can't recommend it any longer as it simply isn't good enough for the money.

$250? No Way!
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ILBE Assault Pack - Updated Review
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Weight : 3lbs

Size : 10w x 8d x 19"h., 3 lbs.

Materials :
725 Cordura fabric

I went back and checked and I paid $25 for mine years ago.

On eBay, these are going for $120 all the way up to $300 which is not even remotely worth it for this pack unless you are a surplus collector and you simply have to have one.

There is a Gen 1 and a Gen 2 version with very little difference. Main the colors and the buckle brand.

I’ve heard this referred to as a “Go to Hell” pack because it’s designed to attach to the outside of the Main Pack and if things go to Hell you can grab your small pack, dump the big one, and make your getaway with your critical gear.

This pack was based upon the Charlie pack which was developed Arc’teryx; The Charlie pack wasn’t available very long and I believe the reason to be this;

It was way too expensive of a pack for how uncomfortable it was.

With the ILBE, it was developed by Arc’teryx and was made by Propper.
You can find on rare occasion the Arc’teryx version of this assault packs and they can be as expensive as $300 or $400!

• MOLLE compatible Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) grid
• Adjustable sternum, waist and quick release shoulder straps
• Hydration system tube exit holes
• Quick release padded shoulder straps
• Padded back with removable plastic panel

The Military Surplus USMC Assault Pack was designed to be attached to the Improved Load Bearing System (ILBE) backpack or carried on shorter missions by the United States Marine Corps.

The Assault Pack has a capacity of 1,500 cubic inches and can handle loads weighing up to 40 pounds.

Constructed from 725 Cordura fabric
Haul handle
Compression Straps

Summary :
Usually I go over the pros and cons and then a summary with my reviews but in this case, I’m going to summarize my thoughts first and then move on to everything else.

Over the years, I have found this to be a pack that I reach for less and less.

First, the pack simply isn’t as comfortable as many other options out there.

Second, ventilation is TERRIBLE.

Third, the price of this pack has reached very high levels which I wouldn’t personally spend.

All in all, for everyday average use, there are better backpacks out there in my opinion and while I like this pack for the military factor, there are better options available that are much more realistically priced.

Pros :
Tough as nails! Very well made.
Very basic pack; no bells, no whistles.
Can carry a lot of weight….
Think of this assault pack like an old truck. It gets the job done but with no luxuries.
Good compression straps which stabilize your loadout well
Can be attached to the main ILBE Rucksack - if you want to connect the two packs, make sure that you have matching generations - a gen 1 assault has to be connected to a 1 ruck, a gen 2 with a gen 2
I like the Marpat camo
Size is good for day hikes - can be used for an overnight trip only if you are going very minimal with your gear.
Expansion possibilities are present thanks to webbing.
Weight isn’t overly bad for this being a military backpack

Cons :
Not comfort for warm weather use - the shoulder straps when this pack is loaded is simply not comfortable.

Back panel is a solid sheet and ventilation is terrible.

Materials will absorb a lot of moisture

Shoulder buckles tend to dig into your ribs

When it is colder and you’re wearing additional layers, this pack is much more comfortable.

Only two pockets make organizing hard….or easy depending on what type of systems that you use. I use kit bags and it’s extremely easy but if you don’t, this could be a con.
Not a large pack but if you need additional space, adding some MOLLE compatible utility pouches is very easy to do.

I mentioned before that I like the Marpat camo but there is a con to this - on the trail it doesn’t matter all that much but camo patterns in public tend to be noticed and there is a negative impression that many people have. The best rule of thumb in life is to go unnoticed and solid color pack makes that possible and more likely.


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