scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Backpack Advice
Dryer, Mark GS (CLF N4621A) (DryerMS@CLF.NAVY.MIL
Tue Aug 08 2000 - 07:03:37 CDT
Caveat: This is my personal opinion; others may, and probably do, disagree
Stay away from military surplus A.L.I.C.E packs like the plague! You want a
backpack with a well fitting and well constructed hip belt that fits snugly
around your waist and bears the weight of the loaded pack. Your shoulder
straps should not bear any of the weight, but should only keep the pack from
falling backwards off your back. This allows the large bones and muscles of
your legs and hips to carry the weight, not the much smaller muscles and
bones of your shoulders. If you do not have the accessory frame, the
A.L.I.C.E. pack hangs by its shoulder straps and has no hip belt; if you add
the frame, it digs into your back, pushes into the pack reducing its useful
volume, and the "hip belt" keeps it from swaying when you run but does not
support its weight. (In case you wonder, I am a retired Army Infantry Drill
Sergeant, with considerable experience with A.L.I.C.E. gear.)
The advice that I give to families joining my troop is not to go out and buy
backpacking equipment. Borrow or rent equipment for the first few trips you
take until you find equipment you like. If you buy a very nice, well
fitting internal frame pack and then discover that you rather have an
external frame pack that you can lash miscellaneous small items to; or you
buy a down-filled sleeping bag and then discover that one with synthetic
fill will keep you warm enough plus it's lighter and packs smaller you will
have made a small investment in the wrong equipment.
When you are ready to buy, go to a good outdoor outfitter where a
knowledgeable salesperson will assist you. Stuff the pack full of ropes,
boots, cookware, whatever else is handy and walk around the store with it.
Make sure it adjusts to your back. Unroll the sleeping bag and get into it
to make sure it fits you and you can easily operate the zipper. Open up the
tent and make sure you can set it up alone. Do not buy anything from a
catalog or on-line unless you have seen and handled the same item in person
so you know exactly what you are buying.
As I said, your mileage may vary.
SA, Troop 1
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Remember - it takes two to Tango; however, it takes ten to play basketball.
From: Steve Berry [mailto:sberry@PDCCONSULT.COM]
Sent: Monday, 07 August 2000 13.06
Subject: [SCOUTS-L] Backpack Advice
My son and I are getting ready to purchase backpacks for our
adventures. I am curious what everyone would recommend as
far as selecting a
good backpack. . . . How do the military surplus
A.L.I.C.E. packs do? . . .