ALICE pack question

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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ALICE pack question

Post by 74 or more » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:28 am

He guys. As you may have noticed from some of my other posts, im kind of a rookie. So I guess now is a good of a time as any to apologize for my dumb questions. Particularly about packs and boots.

Im currently building my first BOB and I can't decide what bag I want to go with. I've been looking at ALICE bags but the one thing I can't get past is that the only thing keeping your gear from the elements (rain, snow) is a draw string and a flap. Have any of you with ALICE bags ever experienced a problem in this area?
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Kutter_0311 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:21 am

The ALICE bag isn't what should be keeping your stuff dry, it just holds it on your back.

Waterproof all your stuff with ziplocks. Then you can use it as a floatation device, like us Marines :wink:
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by 74 or more » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:32 am

That answers that. Thanks for the help. I appreciate it
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Willmark » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:46 am

Also the reason why the pouches have drain holes in um! ;)
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Shaper » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:50 am

There is also a mil spec dry bag that is made to be used with the ALICE.

Combine that with ziplock and/or vacume sealed bags...water no can defend.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by 74 or more » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:07 am

This might just be a rookie comment but wouldnt it just be easier to get a bag that is more water tight/wicking/proof? All those drybags and vacuum sealers seem like a bunch of extra stuff that I don't have to carry.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Shaper » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:21 am

74_or_more wrote:This might just be a rookie comment but wouldnt it just be easier to get a bag that is more water tight/wicking/proof? All those drybags and vacuum sealers seem like a bunch of extra stuff that I don't have to carry.

Umm, I'm not advocating carrying a vacume sealer, lol. Vacum seal what you can, ziplock the rest, stuff it all in a dry bag for extra security and call it a day.

Edit for clarity: the point is to have multiple layers of protection in the case of equipment failure.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by mystic_1 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:27 am

The Alice pack is made of material that is, in itself, fairly water resistant, however no pack is really waterproof, short of some specialized packs. There are just too many openings, fasteners, seams, etc on a pack. Even higher-end packs like Kifaru make no claims about water resistance.

In my case, "all those drybags" consists of three or four meduim-to-small drysacks. Not a lot of weight or volume cost. They also help keep the pack's contents organized and modular.

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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Frosty709 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:29 am

74_or_more wrote:This might just be a rookie comment but wouldnt it just be easier to get a bag that is more water tight/wicking/proof? All those drybags and vacuum sealers seem like a bunch of extra stuff that I don't have to carry.

I run drysacks in my rucks anyway. Even if they are "more" water resistant, they are never 100% water PROOF. But that's just me, I don't mind carrying the tiny bit of extra weight, I just really like having my stuff dry.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by omega_man » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:43 am

Trash bags. Line your ruck or just keep one handy to cover the whole thing when it rains
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Shaper » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:50 am

omega_man wrote:Trash bags. Line your ruck or just keep one handy to cover the whole thing when it rains
this is also good practice.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by zombie_kibble » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:02 am

has anyone tried the tire cover type thing for waterproofing an alice. just wondering if i should try it or not
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Skull_Hide » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:13 am

I rain-proof mine with silicon, just saying.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Willmark » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:31 am

From my time in the fire service, everything gets wet eventually. It's simply a matter of how long you can keep things dry... until it then gets wet.
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Citizen711 wrote:
So, you're going to go with an inferior rifle so you won't be tempted to spend more money on it after the fact? Interesting bit of logic there.
Some folks just want a decent rifle, not a new religion.

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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by TacAir » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:51 am

Willmark wrote:From my time in the fire service, everything gets wet eventually. It's simply a matter of how long you can keep things dry... until it then gets wet.
^^^QFT^^^

The ALICE large that was issued to me came with one large (Ruck sized) bag and several smaller bags, all were mil-spec water-proof. WHich meant that things just look longer to get wet as Willmark noted.

Now I use dry bags in the ALICE, and stuff my MSS enclosed in the bivy in hope it will stay dry(er).

The ALICE is not a bad starter ruck, albeit heavy. We have a fellow that sells them locally (Anchorage) for 25 USD, with USGI LC-2 frame and doggie straps. They look almost new/unissued. Prices on the web vary greatly, so some shopping is in order.
You might want to look at the so-called Hellcat rigs which are a mix of MOLLE and ALICE gear. I use the MOLLE waistband and doggie straps on mine.

Good luck.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Willmark » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:02 pm

I've yet to receive my first ALICE as its in transit! Thing I like about it is the price, damn cheap and great value to boot. Because of its low cost to value ratio I can focus on other areas of my prep and use those dollars not tied up in my pack to allocate towards other needs.
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Citizen711 wrote:
So, you're going to go with an inferior rifle so you won't be tempted to spend more money on it after the fact? Interesting bit of logic there.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by TheLastOne » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:54 pm

My plan:

sprayed the bags I own with the waterproofing stuff. It won't last forever, but is better than nothing. Also have waterproof pack covers (my osprey has one built in), also my poncho fits over me and the bag.

I am of the mind that everything will get wet eventually, but every little bit will help. I do the ziplocks AND waterproof nylon bags (get em at REI, I think walmart even has some in the camping section)for kit like fire stuff etc.

vacuum sealing stuff makes NO sense to me because once you use it, you won't have a way to re-seal it unless you're hauling a pump along, and without it resealed you likely will be taking up more cubic inches than you planned for and might have to ditch stuff anyway. Ziplock freezer bags are pretty good at having the air squished out and being sealed for stuff like socks/clothes fwiw.

/edit: ain't a darn thing wrong with alice packs, they are a great place to start, even if you don't stay with them forever!
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by hawk55732 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:10 pm

TheLastOne wrote:My plan:

sprayed the bags I own with the waterproofing stuff. It won't last forever, but is better than nothing. Also have waterproof pack covers (my osprey has one built in), also my poncho fits over me and the bag.

I am of the mind that everything will get wet eventually, but every little bit will help. I do the ziplocks AND waterproof nylon bags (get em at REI, I think walmart even has some in the camping section)for kit like fire stuff etc.

vacuum sealing stuff makes NO sense to me because once you use it, you won't have a way to re-seal it unless you're hauling a pump along, and without it resealed you likely will be taking up more cubic inches than you planned for and might have to ditch stuff anyway. Ziplock freezer bags are pretty good at having the air squished out and being sealed for stuff like socks/clothes fwiw.
/edit: ain't a darn thing wrong with alice packs, they are a great place to start, even if you don't stay with them forever!
As to vacume sealing, I think they are talking about using it with food. That way it takes up the least amount of space until you use it. Once you open it it wont be going back in anyway. I also recall one guy talked about doing the same thing with a stocking hat and a pair of gloves and keeping it in the bottom of his pack. He didnt use it most of the time and figured that vacume sealing it would keep it small until he might need it.

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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:37 pm

omega_man wrote:Trash bags. Line your ruck or just keep one handy to cover the whole thing when it rains
Quoted to reiterate - just line the ruck with a contractor bag.

Unless it is a "dry bag" (for rafting and other water adventures) no packs are water proof. Some are marginally water resistant. My moderate-end 40 litre pack ($200 range) is moderately water resistant and comes with a built in rain cover. Things I want or need to keep dry are packed in a plastic bag or small dry bag.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Verity » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:41 pm

omega_man wrote:Trash bags. Line your ruck or just keep one handy to cover the whole thing when it rains
the easiest and cheapest way to waterproof your pack
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by SNAFU84 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:05 pm

For my main compartment, I use a dry bag with a draw string and I like to keep the top of it empty enough that I can roll/fold it down on top of itself to close the opening a bit better. Inside the dry bag I keep all the stuff I really don't want getting wet, sealed in ziplock bags, like my socks, underwear, extra base layers, fleece, or extra gloves/toque. If you pack it right and force all the air out of every little space, you can fit all this stuff into your main compartment really well. For my sleeping kit, I stuff it inside my bivy bag, roll on top of it a couple times to get the air out, then twist all the excess material at the top and tie it off with some paracord, then I stuff all that in my valice. Like what you would do if you were crossing a water way when you wrap your pack in your bivy bag and seal the opening to create an air pocket to float on. So far, knock on wood, this method has kept everything I take into the field dry. For me, the most important piece of clothing (depending on what season it is) is socks. So I keep them extra protected. Even if your boots are wet, you can put some shopping bags on your feet to keep them dry for as long as possible. Unless you have goretex socks.

Oh...i've seen someone do this before. When you're out in the field and its raining, your clothing will eventually get wet. It's inevitable. Even if you're wearing rain gear. When you go to change out of your wet clothing and into your dry clothing, don't stuff your wet clothing back in your pack. :lol: I had a guy on course with me do this and he complained for the whole 5 days that he didn't have a dry piece of kit and couldn't figure out why, lol. His misery kept me entertained even while our instructors were screaming at us, lol.

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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by Kutter_0311 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:22 pm

SNAFU84 wrote:When you go to change out of your wet clothing and into your dry clothing, don't stuff your wet clothing back in your pack. :lol: I had a guy on course with me do this and he complained for the whole 5 days that he didn't have a dry piece of kit and couldn't figure out why, lol. His misery kept me entertained even while our instructors were screaming at us, lol.
:lol: I guess some people just have to learn the hard way! :lol:

IMO, this is another great reason to bag things separately. Dirty stuff replaces clean in the bag, but inside out, so I know what I have to wash later. If something is soaked, wring it out, or just hang it off your ruck and let it dry.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:10 pm

Don't forget the old deflated air matress/foam pad on the inside of the main ruck trick.
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Re: ALICE pack question

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:27 pm

74_or_more wrote:This might just be a rookie comment but wouldnt it just be easier to get a bag that is more water tight/wicking/proof? All those drybags and vacuum sealers seem like a bunch of extra stuff that I don't have to carry.
The thing to remember about ANYTHING that is waterproof, is that while it may keep water out, it can also keep it IN. Combine that with the way packs are constructed, and you have the possibility of an awful lot of water ending up being part of your load, water you hadn't counted on.

I like the medium ALICE, on a frame. It works for me, YMMV. I pack my stuff in zip-loc freezer bags, squeezing the air out to save on room. This keeps things like clean underwear and socks dry and clean, and even squeezing them leaves SOME air inside the weave of the cloth. Combined, these packets add to the flotation device capabilities of the pack. I don't PLAN to need it this way, but knowing I can gives me a warm fuzzy. I like my warm and fuzzy items to stay that way, so I use a multi-layer approach, like a lot of others do. Zip-locs, dry bags, and I use a spray-on waterproofing silicone on the nylon of the pack. Hard containers are also chosen and used on the basis of being watertight. I also carry a few empty Freezer sized zip-locs to put things in like opened rations (the Mainstay brand has a zip-loc seal built in, but I haven't opened one yet that the seal didn't rip loose, and the Datrex rations are not exactly waterproof once the blue bag is open), or items I can't dump, but need separated, like dirty socks. :?

USUALLY, the risk of items getting wet is from rain, not a dunking. Choose and arrange your gear with water shedding ability as a criteria (not the only one, obviously), and you should do just fine.

ALICE pack, or anything else, choose your gear FIRST, and the pack after. Choosing a pack that can hold your gear is smarter than choosing your gear so your pack can hold it. Also, try to keep as much of your gear IN the pack, as opposed to ON it. Whatever you do have on the outside, make sure it's on there stable and secure- loose, floppy gear robs you of energy as you walk.
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