ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat *2018 update*

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by sjolly75 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:56 am

RonnyRonin wrote:Wow! sjollys' looks better then mine, nice job! good to see I'm making an impact!
Thanks! We'll see if the fact that I removed the threads (and now have very small holes where the threads used to go through) does anything to the moisture-resistance of the pack. I do like the look of it though, you know, because looking good is so important out there! :)

I should be able to weigh the pack today - I'm on duty and have to do weigh-ins for my Midshipmen before they take their PT test next week. I'll let you know what I come up with.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by sjolly75 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:04 pm

Okay, so I just weighed the pack, and it looks like with the lid, she comes in around 6 pounds. Not too bad for probably close to a 10 pound pack originally.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:34 am

Those of you that removed the embark handles: how do you pick it up when it's fulled loaded? How do you move it short distances when fully loaded?

I've got one I can't seem to sell, so I'm considering modding it a bit. I refuse to cut most everythign off, having learned some awesome tricks. When not carrying HE, the side MOLLE works well for a bladder and a hatchet/machete. I've seen a shotgun scabbard (guy was using a modified 20ga single, about 5lb) on one side, and a machete and 128oz bladder on the other. Scabbard wasn't for quick draw, just for balancing the water and carrying it without having it in his hands.

I've also seen guys install holsters on the hip belt, but I need to research more on that.

If you do ditch the side webbing, at least keep the radio pouch. The best use I found was a half-liter bladder in it with a spare pair of socks and other sundries.

Other cool mods:

I'll have to find pics, but there was a gentlemen in my unit that managed to attach to top pouch to an old-school warbelt (the ALICE-style) so that he could roll the belt up and tuck the suspenders under the lid when it was on the ILBE, and then detach the sustainment pack as a buttpack. I'd like to improve on this idea by hooking it to a cheapo tactical vest and see how it works.

The best advice I can give is to go watch the video on how to adjust it. I mean seriously, the difference between an adjusted pack and a poorly adjusted pack is phenominal.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by sjolly75 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:04 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Those of you that removed the embark handles: how do you pick it up when it's fulled loaded? How do you move it short distances when fully loaded?
We both still maintained the top handle, we just removed the two side handles with the rubber handle, so we still have something to pick it up with. It would be rather irritating to have to lug it by the straps every time I wanted to move it.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:11 am

sjolly75 wrote:
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Those of you that removed the embark handles: how do you pick it up when it's fulled loaded? How do you move it short distances when fully loaded?
We both still maintained the top handle, we just removed the two side handles with the rubber handle, so we still have something to pick it up with. It would be rather irritating to have to lug it by the straps every time I wanted to move it.
Okay, but how are you putting it on your back when it's fully loaded? I personally think the rubber handles are more desirable than the top handle (which I only ever used for luggage tags) because you can throw it up on your back with less overall strain that way.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by sjolly75 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:27 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Okay, but how are you putting it on your back when it's fully loaded? I personally think the rubber handles are more desirable than the top handle (which I only ever used for luggage tags) because you can throw it up on your back with less overall strain that way.
I'm used to putting on the pack without side handles. I don't use them very often, so I decided to remove them. If you use them, I certainly wouldn't blame you when you leave them on yours. :)
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by RonnyRonin » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:49 pm

yeah, this is the first pack I've ever had with side handles, and i've survived years without them.

as non-military and master of my own pack, if I can't put it on by myself, something needs to be taken out. even when it was 75lbs (when I was young and unwise) I just grab the shoulder straps, lift onto one knee, put an arm through and swing it around fast. when available I'd hoist it onto a table or desk, but really not needed.

I'm a firm believer that organization should be done inside the pack with the thinest material possible, like silnylon dry bags or mesh stuff sacks. all the bladder pouches, radio pouches and e-tool carriers are heavy 1000d cordura, and really more of a convenience thing anyway. molle is great on chest rigs and the like, but I think it is mostly a bad idea on packs, anything that needs to be on there can be put on lighter and faster with a kifaru-style dock-and-lock system.

I'm in the minority that my ideal pack is a roll-top tube, no external or internal pockets (exception being waterbottle pockets, like on the ILBE) and no lid.
if I pack it well I can always find things, and I have my various kits segregated in dry bags.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by squeeky25 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:15 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:Those of you that removed the embark handles: how do you pick it up when it's fulled loaded? How do you move it short distances when fully loaded?

I've got one I can't seem to sell, so I'm considering modding it a bit. I refuse to cut most everythign off, having learned some awesome tricks. When not carrying HE, the side MOLLE works well for a bladder and a hatchet/machete. I've seen a shotgun scabbard (guy was using a modified 20ga single, about 5lb) on one side, and a machete and 128oz bladder on the other. Scabbard wasn't for quick draw, just for balancing the water and carrying it without having it in his hands.

I've also seen guys install holsters on the hip belt, but I need to research more on that.

If you do ditch the side webbing, at least keep the radio pouch. The best use I found was a half-liter bladder in it with a spare pair of socks and other sundries.

Other cool mods:

I'll have to find pics, but there was a gentlemen in my unit that managed to attach to top pouch to an old-school warbelt (the ALICE-style) so that he could roll the belt up and tuck the suspenders under the lid when it was on the ILBE, and then detach the sustainment pack as a buttpack. I'd like to improve on this idea by hooking it to a cheapo tactical vest and see how it works.

The best advice I can give is to go watch the video on how to adjust it. I mean seriously, the difference between an adjusted pack and a poorly adjusted pack is phenominal.

Can someone point me to this video on adjusting the pack?

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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:25 pm

http://ilbepack.com/images/manualfront.pdf

That's the PDF, looks like the video I used to use has been taken down. I'll post back if I find another good one.

Ninja-not-really-edit: I found the old Gregory Mountain Products vid: [YouTube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fH-3ztyMig[/YouTube]

IMO, just as good, since the key elements are the same.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by warlan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:10 pm

I have a few question for discussion. OK This bugs me . Cutting the fat . OK you guys modded a pack to get 2lbs less. Now you have a trash bag with straps . The pack is awesome with the molle and the handles and the top lid modded with a battle belt waist strap.. All of you out there are worried about weight . Why? Cut the fat off you not the Pack your carrying. Bulky stuff goes into the main, molle pouches on the molle ladders,organize the pack properly and you wont have to waist time in removing the key points of the pack. Everyone talks about cant were body armor with the pack . Again (carry the right gear and armor) My Sop is the Wasatch with a thigh rigs, I have a custom thigh rig for the left side weak side .
If you chose to have a pack with a waist belt from hell then use a chest rig that carry plates,
The Wasatch http://store.yahoo.com/optacticalgear/wasatch.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
,MaxPedition small chest rig http://www.opsgear.com/index/page/produ ... +Chest+Rig" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

just a few options
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by sjolly75 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:37 pm

Warlan,

First off, welcome aboard! One of the things we like to see for the newly registered is to go and introduce yourself in the Introductions forum.

Second, I'll be honest with you. My regular pack is a Granite Gear CHIEF Patrol Pack. Big enough for what I need, and comfy to boot. Unlike some on here, I don't wear armor for a living (or for fun), I am here mainly to get ideas for Boy Scouts and the rest of my outdoor adventures. So armor doesn't even play a part. I modded the ILBE mainly to see what I could do with it. I had an extra (they're pretty cheap), and was bored at work one day. Don't judge me too harshly! :)

I don't quite consider it a trash bag with straps, there are still some PALS webbing on their to attach a pouch or two, and I kept the lid for organizing small items that I need to get to quickly - and like others in the thread, I organize in the main bag with smaller mesh bags and such.

Those are some pretty nice chest rigs - although I don't think my son's Scout troop would appreciate me running around with a bunch of AR mags! :shock:
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by warlan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:53 pm

Oh not judged sorry to cone off that way. I just like to share my experiences
On my soap box
Also i am into Modded gear for years now. To each his own but i would not chop for weight unless a pack has a ridiculous heavy frame in or on it. Change your gear from heavy to light items. I am Known in the past as a gear whore . Cut the gear weight . Stoves: ditch the stove that need fuel use canteen cup stove,canteen cup also saves space,sleeping Bags get rid of what you got and by the SOL bags and a Woobie(GI blanket) ,ditch the water bladders and buy a MSR filter,Buy platypuses bladders, set up a water still along with the filter,ditch the tent by a SAS British Lean to ,GI hammock,bug netting, ditch the GI shovel buy a gear filed spade, .. This is what i and my friends do. There is two much new gear out there that you cut the weight with and still over achieve the main goal survive . I cant stress enough why carry so much water when its every ware , Water stills are easy. Buy a ranger hand book .

See how how easy this was to save weight i just saved you guys a tone. To bad all these company's sold us on these ridiculous items . To cut more weight ( MRES) buy just the entree,peanut butter and meal heaters. Not only are they awesome to heat meals with ,(no smoke)put them in the dirt to sleep on,if you need a diversion(hasty) take the heater roll the top tight use tape or twist ties and they will make a descent sound when they expand.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by warlan » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:04 pm

Rodger that about running around with chest rigs, My chest rig is only set up for a rainy day other wise just the pack and a day pack . I didn't mean to rip apart your mods you did on your pack. I sometime over step. I just have been there done that with modding stuff .
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by RonnyRonin » Sat May 18, 2013 12:14 pm

warlan wrote:Change your gear from heavy to light items. I am Known in the past as a gear whore . Cut the gear weight . Stoves: ditch the stove that need fuel use canteen cup stove,canteen cup also saves space,sleeping Bags get rid of what you got and by the SOL bags and a Woobie(GI blanket) ,ditch the water bladders and buy a MSR filter,Buy platypuses bladders, set up a water still along with the filter,ditch the tent by a SAS British Lean to ,GI hammock,bug netting, ditch the GI shovel buy a gear filed spade, ..

See how how easy this was to save weight i just saved you guys a tone. To bad all these company's sold us on these ridiculous items . To cut more weight ( MRES) buy just the entree,peanut butter and meal heaters. Not only are they awesome to heat meals with

the pack is part of your gear, and one of the heaviest of the "big three" (pack, shelter, sleep system) thus one of the easiest places to shed weight. In the case of the ILBE most of that weight is wrapped up in features that detract more then they add, I would cut most of that stuff off even if it didn't save a single ounce.

while I respect anyone who can sleep in a gi woobie, I can't. I do however have a sub 2lb sleeping bag good down to freezing. I consider canteen cups heavy, I use a titanium mug though, same idea. only cook pot you need.

as for what you said about cutting YOUR weight before your gear, that is sound advice for most, unfortunately for me I'm 6'2" and under 160#, if anything I need to gain some weight.

but lets break it down: what can you add to your pack for 2.2lbs? I have all the gadgets I feel I need already so I would add food. the freeze-dried meals I use weigh in at 5 oz, 2.2#=35.2 oz. that means by shedding a bunch of webbing and nylon I didn't use I can add 7 REAL meals to my pack, for you calorie counters 14 "clif builder" bars is about the same weight and twice the calories.
3780 calories covers a lot of ground, and keeps you alive longer then any amount of molly webbing could.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by SR69 » Sun May 19, 2013 9:13 am

warlan wrote:I have a few question for discussion. OK This bugs me . Cutting the fat . OK you guys modded a pack to get 2lbs less. Now you have a trash bag with straps . The pack is awesome with the molle and the handles and the top lid modded with a battle belt waist strap.. All of you out there are worried about weight . Why? Cut the fat off you not the Pack your carrying. Bulky stuff goes into the main, molle pouches on the molle ladders,organize the pack properly and you wont have to waist time in removing the key points of the pack. Everyone talks about cant were body armor with the pack . Again (carry the right gear and armor) My Sop is the Wasatch with a thigh rigs, I have a custom thigh rig for the left side weak side .
If you chose to have a pack with a waist belt from hell then use a chest rig that carry plates,
The Wasatch http://store.yahoo.com/optacticalgear/wasatch.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
,MaxPedition small chest rig http://www.opsgear.com/index/page/produ ... +Chest+Rig" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

just a few options
Sometimes, a person needs "just" the space inside the pack, but the toughness of that particular material.
I have my pack loaded to the max with 75lbs of gear easy for a bug out situation and I don't use any of the
MOLLE on the exterior. I do use 2 straps for my sleeping pad to be stored on the outside, but that's it.
Besides all that, they just got all the benefits of an Arc'Teryx Bora with only 2lb more weight to the pack,
but in an infinitely stronger, more durable package and for about $400. "less" than what a Bora would've been.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by SR69 » Sun May 19, 2013 9:32 am

RonnyRonin wrote:
warlan wrote:Change your gear from heavy to light items. I am Known in the past as a gear whore . Cut the gear weight . Stoves: ditch the stove that need fuel use canteen cup stove,canteen cup also saves space,sleeping Bags get rid of what you got and by the SOL bags and a Woobie(GI blanket) ,ditch the water bladders and buy a MSR filter,Buy platypuses bladders, set up a water still along with the filter,ditch the tent by a SAS British Lean to ,GI hammock,bug netting, ditch the GI shovel buy a gear filed spade, ..

See how how easy this was to save weight i just saved you guys a tone. To bad all these company's sold us on these ridiculous items . To cut more weight ( MRES) buy just the entree,peanut butter and meal heaters. Not only are they awesome to heat meals with

the pack is part of your gear, and one of the heaviest of the "big three" (pack, shelter, sleep system) thus one of the easiest places to shed weight. In the case of the ILBE most of that weight is wrapped up in features that detract more then they add, I would cut most of that stuff off even if it didn't save a single ounce.

while I respect anyone who can sleep in a gi woobie, I can't. I do however have a sub 2lb sleeping bag good down to freezing. I consider canteen cups heavy, I use a titanium mug though, same idea. only cook pot you need.

as for what you said about cutting YOUR weight before your gear, that is sound advice for most, unfortunately for me I'm 6'2" and under 160#, if anything I need to gain some weight.

but lets break it down: what can you add to your pack for 2.2lbs? I have all the gadgets I feel I need already so I would add food. the freeze-dried meals I use weigh in at 5 oz, 2.2#=35.2 oz. that means by shedding a bunch of webbing and nylon I didn't use I can add 7 REAL meals to my pack, for you calorie counters 14 "clif builder" bars is about the same weight and twice the calories.
3780 calories covers a lot of ground, and keeps you alive longer then any amount of molly webbing could.
^^^ Yep.

The easiest way to cut weight in a pack with the capabilities of an ILBE is to drop $800. on a Kifaru.

I don't think I'd ever use any of the MOLLE on the exterior of my ILBE unless we were in an EOTWAWKI situation
at which point it wouldn't matter to me and I'd do whatever I'd have to do. For me (and I can't speak for Ronny
here or anyone else), the ILBE is a BOB/INCH pack. If I wanted a pack for recreational camping, I wouldn't make
it my 1-do-it-all pack if I could afford to go on Craigslist and pick up a $200. recreational hiker's backpack for a
fraction of what the original owner paid for it (usually $50.-$75. or so). Again, I can't speak for what Ronny's
intentions were for this pack, but for me, it's a GOOD pack.

My Big 3 consists of a USGI MSS w/Thermarest Z Lite SOL & camp pillow (8.75#), an ICS 2000 (6.5#) and my ILBE
(8.75#). That's for a bulletproof sub-zero kit that can withstand substantial storms without any additional shelter
requirements. In it's 3-Season iteration, it's down to 19#. For comparison, it's 10# more than an ultralight kit
(e.g. Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 pack, USGI Patrol Sleeping Bag, Thermarest, Big Agnes Ultralight Tent).

Which would I rather have for a shtf scenario? Give me the USGI gear any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
While someone's on the side of the trail Duct Taping their Gucci-gear for the umpteenth time, I'll be happily cruising
by them with the full knowledge that my kit is Rapture-Ready. ;)
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by Flying Lead » Sat May 25, 2013 12:29 am

Great thread here! I just traded some stuff for a ILBE, didn't need it, just always wanted one for some reason. Spent 3 minutes looking at it thinking "this is the most over engineered thing I've ever seen" and "WTF is that for." Planning on rereading this and doing some serious work on the pack.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by SR69 » Sat May 25, 2013 6:11 am

Flying Lead wrote:Great thread here! I just traded some stuff for a ILBE, didn't need it, just always wanted one for some reason. Spent 3 minutes looking at it thinking "this is the most over engineered thing I've ever seen" and "WTF is that for." Planning on rereading this and doing some serious work on the pack.
Just wait until you load it and play with it a while. You're going to have fun with that thing.
I personally think it's going to replace the venerable ALICE pack as the "go-to" BOB. :wink:
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by Flying Lead » Tue May 28, 2013 9:24 pm

Oh yeah, you're right there. This thing blows the socks off an ALICE. I was thinking about a "base camp" type bag. Not exactly an INCH, but a bag with a larger tarp, comprehensive cooking set and few extras. For short range out and back overnight camping mainly, but with the capability of 2 to 3 night outing with more than just basics. Also make a hell of a BOB for the truck. More than a pot with an esbit stove and tuna packs. :mrgreen:
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat

Post by hawk55732 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:31 pm

Just a quick note. The ILBE is made of 750 denier not 1000.

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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat UPDATE: ILBE Rolltop!

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:28 pm

finally got rid of the awful black drawstring closure. tried a lighter weight (1.9oz?) coyote closure but the drawstring kept binding up and not sealing well. cut that out when I finally sourced some MARPAT cordura, added a 330d roll-top closure:

Image

adds some serious winter BOB or INCH overstuff potential, I couldn't even get the original over-the-top strap to buckle.

Image

probably approaching the capacity of a Bora 80.

Image

trying out a kifaru duplex hip belt on the ILBE, FULL OF WIN. I think I will buy a second belt so I can put this back on my hauler frame.

Image

Normal/reasonable BOB size above. nice and short for going through thick vegetation. I like that you can actually see the bulk of the camouflage on the pack now that most of the molle hypalon and packcloth has been removed. Looks a little like the AOR2 Mystery ranch packs I see on ebay for $600 a pop. might hit the coyote straps with some krylon to break them up a little.

all that left to do is shorten the straps (always the hardest part for me) and get a final, more accurate weigh-in.
Last edited by RonnyRonin on Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat UPDATE: ILBE Rolltop!

Post by SR69 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:18 pm

RonnyRonin wrote:finally got rid of the awful black drawstring closure. tried a lighter weight (1.9oz?) coyote closure but the drawstring kept binding up and not sealing well. cut that out when I finally sourced some MARPAT cordura, added a 330d roll-top closure:

adds some serious winter BOB or INCH overstuff potential, I couldn't even get the original over-the-top strap to buckle.

probably approaching the capacity of a Bora 80.

trying out a kifaru duplex hip belt on the ILBE, FULL OF WIN. I think I will buy a second belt so I can put this back on my hauler frame.

Normal/reasonable BOB size above. nice and short for going through thick vegetation. I like that you can actually see the bulk of the camouflage on the pack now that most of the molle hypalon and packcloth has been removed. Looks a little like the AOR2 Mystery ranch packs I see on ebay for $600 a pop. might hit the coyote straps with some krylon to break them up a little.

all that left to do is shorten the straps (always the hardest part for me) and get a final, more accurate weigh-in.
That rolltop has to be the absolute baddestass mod I've seen to an ILBE! I'm totally going to post this on my forum! LOL

So far, for my ILBE, I've just completed collecting together the bits for my "7 Component System" which consists of task specific dry bags and compartments. On the ILBE, the mods will be a sewn in signal mirror shoulder pouch, a MOLLE 5"X7" pocket on the left belt side while the right side will hold a bear spray canister. I was contemplating an upside down "U" shaped zipper for the sleeping bag compartment, but then thought to myself how often will I need to pull out my sleeping bag "before" my tent? Final mod will be a PVC rubber bottom so that when I sit the pack down, it will have something substantial between it and the ground.

I just recently picked up the Assault Pack and have used strapped to the ILBE. Great system. I also used my ILBE to hump close to a hundred pounds while traveling recently. Once it was up on my body, I had no problem with it. It's amazing how well this pack distributes that much weight.

I also just picked up an Eberlestock Reversible Rain Cover in Multicam which surprsingly mimicks the MARPAT Digital Pattern on the Camo side and Blaze Orange on the inside. I'll be posting the complete set-up soon on SBC.

Damn. Now I'm going to have "visions of rolltop ILBE's dancing in my head." Thanks a lot Ronny! LOL
No really, great stuff man. Thanks for sharing.
My Wilderness Survival Discussion Forum:
LINK: http://survivalistbasecamp.freeforums.net/posts/recent

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Kommander
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat UPDATE: ILBE Rolltop!

Post by Kommander » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:34 pm

This thread along with the other ILBE thread inspired me to get my own a few months ago. I finally got to try it out and while I like it It does seem to have allot of stuff I am not sure I need on it. How did you go about removing all that stuff, particularly the side panels, without damaging anything else?
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RonnyRonin
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Re: ILBE mods: Cutting the Fat UPDATE: ILBE Rolltop!

Post by RonnyRonin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:28 am

Kommander wrote:This thread along with the other ILBE thread inspired me to get my own a few months ago. I finally got to try it out and while I like it It does seem to have allot of stuff I am not sure I need on it. How did you go about removing all that stuff, particularly the side panels, without damaging anything else?
big ass scissors.

most of the stuff is set into a seam, just cut as close to the seam as you can. whatever is left will fray/unravel but isn't connected to anything else in a way it will spread. I left all the bartacking and just cut as close as I could, some of the other guys removed the bartacking which is a bit more work. to remove the hypalon panels I used a seam ripper on the edges, but a box cutter, ex-acto knife or a pointy pocket knife will work too. just pull up one stitch at a time and cut the thread.

just double check what all is in your scissors, it is easy to cut more then you intend if you get too zealous. there is definitely a small slash in my ILBE from a stray snip. go slow.
share your tobacco and your kindling, but never your sauna or your woman.

AK, Glock, Pie.

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