Acteryx Military Packs

6:54 p.m. on February 26, 2013 (EST)
33 reviewer rep
22 forum posts

Hi everyone,

I am wondering if these packs, carried by the USMC are worthwhile? I am seeing quite a few of these used packs in the 40 dollar range. I found an old forum that talked about these packs costing upwards of 600 smacks.

I know they aren't perfect for backpacking (heavy weight, capable of carrying heavy loads). But they are made by Arcteyrx and at a price like that....is it worth it? Maybe they can be modified to weigh less? Do you think they are one size fits all?

here is an example of what i'm talking about:

well, Trailspace refused to let me link. but if you go to amazon they are called: USMC DIGITAL MARPAT ILBE ARCTERYX MAIN PACK BACKPACK

Thanks!

9:53 p.m. on February 26, 2013 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
395 forum posts

They are based off the Bora 80 or 95.  I cannot remember, but I believe both the 80 and 95 have the same suspension system anyway.  The Bora carries really well and is sharply designed.  It's a cross of a similar system Osprey used in the 90s with twin aluminum stays and what Dana Design used in their external packs with the fiberglass rods.  It's a very hearty system with basically four rigid stays.

I own a 1st Gen ILBE.  I use it for traveling and sometimes have ungodly loads I carry up to a couple miles on cement.  Sure, they're heavy because of all the excessive webbing and overzealous pulls, but all of that can be greatly modified/removed.  They also have a Dana Design Beavertail-like apparatus on the back that adds some significant weight.  You could do a lot of gram trimming.  My guess is you'd still end up with a 6LB pack, though.  I'm fine with that weight because I think the return of comfort, durability, and lessened carrying fatigue is a worthy exchange.  Mind you, I still carry various Danas and Ospreys from the 90s into the backcountry.  This is how I roll all the time.  The ILBE isn't far removed from my normal system.

As far as sizing, that's tricky.  I was told they have different sizes, but most soldiers don't know which size they are selling.  Same goes for the stores and online outfits, so they tell you there is only one size.  There are no size tags anywhere on my Gen 1 pack.  The Gen 2 packs might be different, and now that I'm typing that, I believe they do come with size tags.  My hunch is that comes from early on when they indeed only had a single size so they could catch up with the high demand.  Typical Pentagon ill-preparation bullshit.  Rather than make sizes to fit the soldiers, as the packs were intended, they make all one size and let the soldiers deal with the mess and discomfort.  I cannot tell you what size I have, but I suspect it is a Regular/Regular (Arcteryx sizing) or Medium/Medium by more general industry standards.  I have a 19" torso length and a 34" waist.

Gen 1 is marked with black buckles, and Gen 2 is marked with tan buckles.  Gen 1 has a black backpad, and Gen 2 has a tan backpad.  I would look for a Gen 2 because it is easier to find parts, lids (a lot of them don't seem to come with lids), replacement buckles, etc.

To answer your question, this pack is well worth $40.  With lid or other desired accessories, this pack is worth $150 at least.  I don't think my Gen 1 is made quite as well as the older Canadian made Arcteryx, though.  It's difficult to say, because soldiers can abuse their equipment.  I'm not sure if my pack has some stitching problems from normal, common use or from all-out abuse.  I know I like my ILBE, and for backpacking or hunting, they're one of the better deals on the market.

2:01 p.m. on February 27, 2013 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
1,846 reviewer rep
1,315 forum posts

ILBEs are decent if you can get a good price. beware of ones that are under $150 or so, many have damage or missing parts.

The packs themselves are one size, However the hip belt is in 3 sizes small, med, large.

You can trim some weight off them for sure, it's just tedious.

September 30, 2014
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