How to Pack an ALICE Pack

September 04, 2015
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ALICE packs have been used by soldiers since the Vietnamese War and acted as a carrier for large amounts of gear for longer distances that possible before. A properly packed bag is essential to a successful mission, whether it be on a soldier’s front line or on an adventurer’s mountainside. There are 2 components to the ALICE pack. The webbing is a harness and belt that the bag and pouches attach to. You pick the size ALICE pack that you need as the second part. Small, mini packs are perfect for shorter trips. Medium and large size ALICE packs meet the need for organizing more things for longer trips. The larger bags can be made more comfortable with specific frames that help distribute weight and can also provide a bit more padding in the wearer’s kidney area.

ALICE Pack Loading Guidelines:

  1. First, pack the main section of the ALICE. This largest section should be reserved for clothing storage. This unit should be packed from the base up in the following order: pants, shirt, poncho liner, bivouac sack, and a weather sack with gloves, socks, underwear and wet weather pants. A mess kit and waterproof bag with provisions and snacks should be packed on top of the clothes.
  2. Next, pack the ALICE pack’s pockets, starting from the left side when the bag is worn. Your coat should go in this pocket.
  3. The middle pocket should be packed next. You will want to place emergency supplies here including: duct tape, an army knife, toilet paper (in a waterproof bag), a nylon cord, waterproof matches, rain poncho, and a first aid kit.
  4. In the outer pocket to the right, you will want to place your snacks and food. This allows for easy access as you walk
  5. You will then strap your sleeping back underneath the main compartment using waterproof nylon strapping.
  6. Ammo pouches easily attached to the webbing should be packed with ammo, or in the case of the adventurer, vitamins, insect repellent, soaps and water purification tablets. Things you will need on a regular basis can go in this pouch.
  7. In the top flap of the ALICE pack, you will want to put your hat, maps and other small necessities inside of waterproof baggies. This will make them easy to grab when needed.
  8. Finally, you will want to place your canteens, flashlight and compass in the utility belt neatly. This will assure these smaller items don’t get misplaced down inside the ALICE pack. If you have an air-bag mattress, you will want to strap it beneath the sleeping bag with nylon cording.