29 comments on “Ruck Sack Packing – A Primer

  1. Pingback: Rucksack Packing 101 | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. How do you move too much gear for your back over a non-road while not spending too much on the machine?

    +1 on efficiency commentary. Everything has to do 3 things, needful things, while being light/compact/sturdy. Skill/knowledge being the ultimate “gear”.

    With a trailer. There are situations when you will not and can not be re-supplied, or ARE the source of re-supply for others, and need to move the most possible that a human can get over a trail. Wheels (or a single wheel) make it possible.

    A really good hand trailer, with brakes, can make going down hills better than unsupported (empty hands) walking. A person still needs to carry a medium pack attached just_in_case, and use water-food-consumables from the cart first to preserve the “run-away” capacity.

    It’s not unreasonable to expect a man to wear a 20% body weight pack and pull a 50%+ body weight cart for 10+ miles every day. He’ll still be able to fight at the end of a week and 70+ miles. Fit women should be able to do this (load scaled to their smaller mass, same mileage). On graded roads, scale trailer load up considerably.

    search “bicycle militia” or “bicycle infantry”. Quiet, cheap, agile, low IR, low-optical, faster than on-foot, underestimated by fueled mechanized forces and heavy infantry.

    On roads or smooth trails, scale up to geared/electric-assisted bicycle designed for cargo. A tandem (wind resistance of 1, power of 2, weight of 2) with a trailer pulls heavy loads long and far, pretty fast.

    Yes, I want a 4-wheeler, or 5K truck with tankers every morning, but sometimes all there is is you.

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  4. Pingback: Rucksack packing primer - Knuckledraggin My Life Away

  5. That USMC Rucksack(ILBE) was sold off by the Corp, They don’t use them anymore because of sever defect. ALL of them went to the DRMO and were replaced by an entirely new system. The failure rate in the ruck(ILBE) is above 50%. The CFP-90 are a screaming B*** to carry, and also have a very high fail rate in the field.(something above 40% it’s the reason why the ARMY rejected them). If you really think you need a pack that moves more than 50lb. get yourself an LC-1 or LC-2 large,they are time tested and bomb proof. My RIG (EVERYTHING) is less than 70lb. and that’s my all up. food- water -ammo- med kit -sox -weapons-sleep gear. The more you carry the less effective you become

  6. Thanks for the input. Personally, we like the new FILBE as it incorporates the best features of the CFP-90 (a bottom access zipper), the ILBE (side access zippers & ‘hood’) and a light, polymer frame. The author has used the CFP-90 extensively and has never had a fail, though we don’t doubt it’s failed before. No system, including the LC-1 or LC-2in our opinion is perfect; the ALICE system, without the improvements of a good kidney belt (properly tensioned) along with later generation dual quick release shoulder straps, was a B**** to carry for old schoolers like the author, but it’s still a viable system.

    As the point of the article was about efficient packing and culling of non-essential equipment or other ‘snivel gear’, we agree that keeping a full pack ‘light’ makes the carrier more efficient.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Pingback: Ruck Sack Packing – A Primer |

  8. Pingback: DTG: Ruck Sack Packing – A Primer | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  9. I have no experience packing a ruck loaded with combat gear and then rucking it cross country.

    I DO, however, have extensive experience living out of a ratty old seabag that I carried on my back for 10-20 miles a day, for about six months straight, while walking up and down the eastern US a couple years ago. Being originally a flatlander from Florida, I had no problem for quite a while carrying what all I’d had (laptop, canned food, usually a gallon of water or sweet tea, and so on)…until I got up around Virginia and hit actual hills. I quickly wound up paring down my load to almost nothing.

    I ditched the cans, half my clothes, my knife, my thermos, my tarp and a lot of other crap. Eventually, when I dropped in to visit a friend in PA, I weighed my bag and found I was down to just around twenty pounds. I spent another three months after that doing more or less the same travel, but with my reduced load and much happier

    I had:
    Lightweight dry food (jerky is good)
    A wool blanket about three times my age at the time
    Large trash bags
    A folding knife
    A fork
    Two changes of spare clothes
    Six pairs of socks
    A gallon of water/tea – tied to the outside by the handle of the jug
    My laptop (ooold netbook)
    My bible
    Toilet paper (one roll)

    Lessons I learned:
    Backpacks get heavier the longer you carry them that day
    Backpacks get heavier when you go up hill, and doubly so down
    Trash bags are a /godsend/. They’re waterproof, and will let you waterproof your bag, as well as being wearable as very lightweight waterproof wear for you (one as a poncho, one slit up the side and worn under your hat). They’re also cheap so it’s okay if they get snagged, ruined or lost. If you can sleep upright (I can), you can even sleep dry in them.
    There is no amount of dry socks that will stay dry when it doesn’t stop raining for days on end.
    The blanket was more useful as ground cover and keeping mosquitoes off you than as an actual blanket

    And most importantly – WHAT YOU THINK IS ESSENTIAL, PROBABLY ISN’T. Keep fed and hbydrated, dry your socks when you can, and carry as little as you can possibly get away with.

    P.S. Yes, I’m aware I could have carried more if I’d used a better backpack than a seabag with no back support at all. It’s what I had at the time, and I didn’t exactly have copious amounts of funds. I’m also aware that I had ample resupply opportunities and that in a “fighting” sense resupply is scant if ever. This just means even moreso that you need to carry as little fluff as possible, to maximize how much food and ammunition you can carry.

  10. “I have no experience packing a ruck loaded with combat gear…” is probably not the way to start a comment related to an article about packing a ruck.

  11. Great writeup. Most buy a pack and NEVER test it. I’ve got 4. But keep going back to the Alice. Medium Alice forces me to stay light. Can only fit so much. It’s relatively comfortable. And you can usually find them cheap. Buy a pack and test it.

  12. Hello all, good read. My biggie about loads and where and how its carried, go and see the OTHER (expert) hiking and they say Heavy stuff on top , military say’s low . I know my like’s and feel. I will say the Rattle of crap in the pack,yours or some one else coming up the trail, is like a bell on a cow. I have had time to relax off the side of a heavily used trail while the cargo packers go by and wave. So who is correct, heavy on top or down low. I do understand cross country ( elk ) with a pack will flip you very fast. Day pack OK. I do like the quiet and good food, no matter where I is.

  13. I have found that carrying the load on your hips versus your shoulders makes the long walks much easier, whether climbing, descending, or on flat ground. I think of it as a pyramid, of sorts. Heavy on the bottom and work up from there to the lightest.

  14. It’s my understanding that the ruck generally shouldn’t contain stuff you need rapidly. As such, I think I’d prioritize loading for center of gravity/ease of carry rather than ease of access. Does that sound reasonable.

  15. Yes, and in regards to access, at those times when you need something that might be in the middle of the ruck, it’s why we like the FILBE as it has side access zippers as well as the bottom sleeping bag zipper. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. So, what is wrong with the British guy’s packing job? I’m guessing it’s heavy shit in “zone 3” instead of “zone 2” but I can’t see it. (I’m on my phone )

  17. It’s hard to speculate as it’s a print, but one thing’s for sure: he looks terribly off balance and uncomfortable. This past weekend I was discussing this subject with a retired soldier who knows for sure he has permanent nerve damage in his upper back/lower neck from highly overloaded and unbalanced packs carried for long distances. The next photo down showing young marines also gives a good demonstration of an ill-balanced pack when one looks at the marine on the far right. He’s leaning way into the wind to keep balanced…

    Thanks for stopping by.

  18. The ILBE Main pack is way over engineered and too heavy on its own. It will carry half a ton, but is hell on your body, I sold mine and I collect packs like a Hummel collection gathers dust. Picked up a Kelty Eagle 128, sold it. I am ready to dive into FILBE’s, they look like almost perfect. I have many Alice packs, put many miles on them, put a Molle waist belt on a medium and you will find a way to pack less. It might be the ultimate SHTF pack. It does interfere with a battle belt, but with a little tweaking, it works well.

    Couple any good pack with a chest rig and you have a well balanced, easy accessible load-out.

    Love that first pic, looks my early days of packin’, 6-packs and side of beef. Oh to be 20 again with more than half a brain.

  19. Agree wholeheartedly on the FILBE. ALICE was not nice to my back, even with the ‘improved’ kidney belt….CFP-90 was better, but by the time I was issued one, I wasn’t in the field much at all, so it worked out for the almost 20 years I had it. The FILBE has been the best.

    And I’m with you on being younger and smarter! Thanks for stopping by!

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