AA1PR’s Large Molle Rucksack Project
Here is my large molle ruck sack project. The normal or standard size is referred to the Rifleman pack while the large is considered to be the 10th mountain division pack. There are so many different versions and so many posts of this type of pack by others on this forum. It is one of those love or hate things. All I have seen here are of the standard configuration with the main pack and the sleep carrier system, which is the rifleman configuration. Unlike the standard capacity of 3000 CI for the rifleman, the large is 4000 cubic inches. The sleeping bag system is built in and the top flap cover is mesh as opposed to the see through vinyl, and it also no storm flap. This is something I may have added later if it proves to be problematic. Oh yeah the standard is supposed to handle 120 lbs and the large 150 lbs. I would think this relates to the tensile strength of the material? One would have to be crazy to hump these loads. I am sure maybe someone some where has but not me personally.
I personally from a back injury can not tolerate an internal frame pressing/rubbing on my middle to low back. So this fitted my needs and was cheap to do. Just in case one is wondering. I tried a CFP90 once and felt like t was rolling on my back all the time. I would really maybe love a spear UM21 pack down the road…if.
I have always wanted one in large but it seems all I could ever find is the ACU or DCU versions and never woodland. So I decided to get it one piece at a time, if it was the only way to do so & I did. So EBay is where I began my search. Like I said, I wanted everything in the woodland pattern. My project cost me $90 when all was said and done. Or get it on EBay for around $60 all assembled in DCU. I do not think that is too bad. I think with the pals webbing and the capacity of this should fit all my hunting or potential backpacking needs nicely. It provides the modularity that one needs. The color may be weird for hiking purposes though, but I will do it regardless. Remember this is no Kifaru or high priced technical pack, but a readily available option. I know many of you are saying why not ACU or another pattern, but I know from experience that woodland is very effective in our hardwoods and around our wooded mountain wetlands. Plus it matches the rest of my system.
I got the pack knowing it had two small holes for $40 including shipping, more on that later. I thought that was an acceptable price as this pack alone from other retailers goes for $150 new plus shipping. You can also tighten up the main pack vertical compression straps by the upper & lower, so you now have 2 adjustments as shown.
Shoulder straps, I was lucky enough to also get the glider straps with this set up. Seems like woodland is hard to get and these cost me $25 with shipping. DCU is the cheapest and ACU is also higher yet. The glider straps allow you to adjust the weight from the hips to the shoulders or vice versa.
Waist belt/hip pad I think this and the frame were the cheapest things to get. About $12@ including shipping. I tried to get all of my components of VG (very good) to like new condition. The frame was NEW!!!
For the frame I opted for a new Gen IV in tan. Tan is used for the DCU & Woodland rucks, while green is used with ACU. In case one needs to know. I will run a bit of sandpaper or Scotchbrite around the edge of the frame to reduce its reflective abilities. Amazing just how much of a sheen can be seen from these. Plus these frames are supposed to be able of supporting 200 lbs if memory serves me correctly. If you need to know about the different models of frames I have seen several nice postings on this subject alone in this forum somewhere.
Back to the issues of the ruck. Mine had two small holes that needed repair, so I ShoeGoo’d them. This stuff is flexible, waterproof and works in the cold even. I figured that the repair should be done on the inside of the ruck where the water resistant material was for better adhesion. Light orange circles show the areas that needed attention & were fixed. Each spot was maybe a 1/8” in diameter. I am sure I could have used it as is perfectly fine. But since I was fixing everything I might as well do these. One hole was on the backside and the other was on the top flap cover. I also ran my lighter over the small loose threads (fraying) that were on the pals webbing and in a few other places on the pack. I thought it would better than having a thread come lose or being pulled out when least expected. The draw cord for the top of the pack has the old alice system tightener. I like that better than the newer barrel locks that break so dang easily. The draw strings are positioned that the lock is on the right side of the pack I moved this so it would be in the center now. I think I may move it so it locks on the left side since I am right handed, for ease of use sake. My rough measurements of the top portion of the pack are 20x17x9 which equals about 3060 cubic inches. The lower portion measures about 17x9x12 or equals about 1836 cubic inches. So that would put this pack around 4500 +/- and with the sustainment pouches over the 5000 CI mark. Not bad!
Here is the large next to the standard molle ruck for comparison purposes with out frames and stuffed with some clothes to try to get them filled up somewhat. The old standard molle ruck (spare) I use in the boat and possibly in the future in the pulk I want to build. These make great storage bags and what not.
I also wanted to replace the zipper pulls. The original zipper pulls were maybe 3 inches long and of a soft webbing material that slipped from your hand very easily. I did a posting showing how one can do this. The link to that is here: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=63888&p=1366542#p1366542
Old zipper pulls
New ones installed, which I feel improves upon the design!
Here is the top of ruck looking down towards the sleep portion. I have it zipped shut in this picture. It is maybe a bit larger then the standard molle ruck. I feel the sleep bag portion is definitely bigger for FYI also if you look at my approximate measurements. This was/is the weakest link of the system I felt in the past with the smaller standard molle rifleman ruck. What I do not see in my ruck and is not all that important to me, is that there are supposed to be 4 D-rings for the installation of the radio pouch. IN my standard molle ruck I use it for things like carabineers, climbing rope and ice cleats. Also on the inside bottom there are 4 Velcro sections that help to secure the flaps. The grommets there serve another purpose of which I do not know, maybe someone does? They are staggered from each flap section; maybe with paracord, one could lock these tight? Of course there are the pals webbing areas so one may attach the sustainment pouches on the upper side portions of the ruck. Which I will do before we are done.
Sleep carrier opening hopefully shows just how much larger it is overall. This will hopefully allow me to get the MSS in & out easily. Or in warmer climates a light bag and hammock.
Compression straps are around the top portion of the pack and two are provided on each side. Like the standard molle ruck when the sustainment pouches are added these loop through them, to also to secure the load. [Here you can see the fraying of the threads I mentioned prior.]
Pals webbing, I felt this was a bonus and welcome addition over the standard molle ruck. There are these rows of pals webbing on each side bottom. Notice there is the larger webbing left over from the alice system in there also. I would think, so one can have some backwards compatibility. I think that is a nice feature to have, even though it will go unused for me.
Here are the pals webbing on the front of the pack which I consider more than enough. Five larger rows instead of those 2 small rows of the standard ruck. I might now add my hydration system back there…and who only knows what else.
To assemble it I started with the waist belt & then the shoulder straps. The pack goes on afterwards. I attach the waist belt first starting in the bottom slots on the frame and go up 2 and then there as shown in the picture. The waist belt should be positioned on the hips comfortably. Now onto the shoulder straps.
Wear the pack & you will be able to almost instantly feel it is not right and needs change.
One should adjust the shoulder straps so they fit entirely over the shoulders in a comfortable fashion as best as I can describe. Think of the back of the shoulder pads resting on the blade of your shoulders, if that helps. Here is my setup that feels comfortable for me. One should adjust these according to their torso length. I will not go into detail as to how one assembles it as Down East Inc will provide that information on their site for free. I feel the hardest part of this is adjusting the long tension strap after the side straps are secured.
I like to attach the lower portion of the shoulder straps right above the waist belt.
Here are the 2 ways in which the pack is attached to the frame. At the top of the frame is the ladder lock attachment ( I hope that’s the right name) which is self explanatory. The 6 lower attachment points use the folded webbing in the shape of a T web fold. These are inserted in the frame through the appropriate slots/holes. I feel it is easier to start with the bottom t web folds and work your way to the top. When done your pack is ready!
Here is how I attached the glider straps front & back. I also fold the webbing back over the buckle and slide the excess through the frame to neat up the ends from hanging out.
Here is my old but in excellent like new not yet used molle II rifleman all set up and ready to go! I have yet to use this one as we speak.
Finally here is my finished ruck. I have yet to find my sustainment pouches and add them to this also.
I want to add maybe a couple of large pouches to the back and if you have suggestions please let me know. I looked into the Maxpedition but have never used their locking clip devices and I am unsure just how well these stand up or last? I want to be able to access them from the out of the pack for say like an IFAK or fire kit. Things I do not want to keep rumbling through the pack for. Any help, comments or criticism is welcome.
Again I feel these packs are a viable option to get into the outdoors for an economical option and should outlast myself.