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19240Re: New Marine external frame pack - the FILBE pack

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  • John Ladd
    Oct 1, 2011
      If anyone besides me is interested in the military's approach to large-volume backpacks, there are now more pictures available of the new Marine external frame pack


      Looks like the marines use more padding on the harness system, especially at the shoulder and lumbar areas.which probably means it is a hotter, though perhaps more comfortable, pack.  Like the MOLLE, the pack seems designed to maximize weight transfer off the shoulders and back and onto the hips and to allow considerable odularity through even more use of PALS (Pouch Attachment Loading System).

      FILBE suspension system.jpg

      In fact, there's so much padding, you can hardly see the external frame in the picture above.  It's there if you look (right side beneath the sternum strap buckle)

      Apparently they don't like the acronym FILBE though, so it may get re-named soon

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

      On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 2:32 PM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
      You can skip this if you are not a gearhead, or if you are committed to UL principles.  I debated putting this on Sidebar, but thought it might be of interest to at least some of you who don't subscribe there.

      The Marines decided about a year ago to abandon their internal frame pack design (called "ILBE" and based on an Arcteryx design) and return to an external frame pack called a FILBE pack.  The final version just announced, however, incorporates some elements that are more common in internal frame packs (e.g., a lumbar pad and straps to tighten it in the lumbar area).  It's going to be made by Mystery Ranch which also has a consumer line of backpacks.


      As illustrated in the article linked above

      Mystery Ranch ILBE on non-standard frame.jpg

      Note that the picture above shows the new FILBE pack with a different frame than the ones that will be used by the Marines.

      "Shown ... is the Mystery Ranch version of FILBE mounted on their NICE BBS frame as opposed to the Downeast 1606 frame the Marines will field."

      The 1606 frame is shown here.


      Capacities appear to be somewhat smaller that the Army's MOLLE system, though with all the lashing points provided on the main pack, it is presumably very modular and could well be configured to handle the 90+ liters allowed by the MOLLE with side-mounted "sustainment packs".  It appears to load somewhat higher than the MOLLE and to be more compact in the front-to-back dimension.

      Includes a fast release sternum strap that looks kinda cool, though of more use to a soldier than to us


      I'm sure there will be a significant delay before it is available at surplus sites.  Surplus new MOLLE packs are often available online for under $100 and are my personal favorite packs at present.

      Not for the lightweight fans (the specs require that it be capable of carrying up to 120 lbs).  The weight of the pack has not been reported (that I could find), but probably in the 8 lb range even without add-on pouches presumably needed to bring it to 80+ L capacities.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

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