September 04, 2015
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ALICE stands for all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment, and these packs are used by our military, hunters, survivalists and adventurers, alike. ALICE packs were designed as a two component system that can be customized for the user. They come in several sizes that accommodate the user’s needs.
The belt system/webbing is the initial part used to “build” the packs. It is what the other components attach to and can include ammo pouches, canteen covers, and a multitude of other cases and holders. The bag itself, the 2nd part of the system, has pockets all around the pack and includes the cover and a frame for the bigger bags. The frame helps balance the load and sometimes includes a kidney pad. The frame and padding make the ALICE pack more comfortable to wear.
ALICE packs are quite rugged and are moisture resistant, which makes them highly valued. The packs are capable of carrying large loads. There are typically no zippers on the packs, which allows for more packing space in the bag. The majority of the gear and the bulkiest things are normally packed in a large center compartment, with the smaller items going into the side pockets. The strapping system holding things in place can be a bit cumbersome but allows for maximum capacity. There are no easy-access pockets for extras like water bottles, but when used with the ALICE frame, the wearer can modify add-ons simply enough using additional straps.
How is an ALICE Pack Different from a MOLLE Bag?
MOLLE (pronounced like the name Molly) bags are also used by the military and adventurers of the world. MOLLE stands for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment. This design makes gear attachment and access to the gear fast and easy. The main backpack, a hydration bladder and numerous modular pouches all fit onto the tactical panel. The MOLLE’s interior pack has several locking pouches for securing small items. The hydration pouch on most bags eliminates the need for a separate canteen. On some larger MOLLE models, there can be an internal sleep system accessible by zippers. The MOLLE also differs from the ALICE packs in that the pouches and bags use Velcro closures that can be a bit noisy, and the packs are not usually waterproof.