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Old 08-06-2019, 04:46 PM
DEFTanker DEFTanker is offline
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Default Enhanced LBE vs Backpack



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I am a novice hiker with a tendency to over pack... every time. Its the last minute grabs that really weigh me down. I am curious though if I could limit my supplies obviously that would be better, but I have an Enhanced LBE and was considering using that instead of a back pack. My tent, sleeping bag and woobie all fit into a crush tube that could be worn on my LBE belt like a fanny pack. I could attach a smaller bag to the harness with some essentials, the rest can be attached to a web belt and front pockets.

Anyone have any experience with this or thoughts?
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:12 PM
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NW GUY NW GUY is offline
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CHANGING weight shift points like that depends on you age, physical condition your physique,.... soooo many factors.

That is truly a one size does not fit all situation.

ie.. I am 6'2" weigh 225 and am large build...
but I was playing college ball and wrenched my back severely at one time.
After I healed up and got squared away I could still hump a pack that would break a camels back, but any weight not perfectly distributed around a belt would eventually cause my spine to get out of kilter and then back to the chiropractor.

Also a heavy belt without load bearing suspenders can cause intestinal difficulties because of how tightly it will have to be cinched to stay in place.

just throw'n it out there.
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:17 AM
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The only issue with LBE is that it doesn't ride like a purpose-built waist belt that supports a backpack's suspension. It's usually not an issue on shorter patrols, but if you're doing a distance trek, it won't be comfortable.

I would still recommend a pack. Keeping weight down and unnecessary items off the pack-list requires discipline, and that's often improved with experience.

I do like a civilian version of LBE for minimalist trips (small pack, older Maxpedition Devildog lumbar pack, and my HPG Kit Bag or RIBZ front pack). Distribution of weight can be done well, but you really have to be more disciplined to keep it distributed and not exceed the comfort level for the system.

Another consideration is bulk and having crap sticking out all over. If you're on a nice, wide-open trail, that's fine, but if you have to bushwhack, climb over/through rock formations, maneuver through swampy areas with catch-me-vines, it will drive you crazy.

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Old 08-07-2019, 09:39 AM
biathlon biathlon is offline
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Modern load bearing gear is designed for short term wear to facilitate entry/exit from aircraft and vehicles, NOT extended use for comfortable backpacking!

It's just way to easy to attach a few ammo pouches to a waist belt on any of the better packs nowadays. Wisport, Kifaru, Eberlestock, just about any of them will work. Believe me, the expense is more than worth the elevated comfort level for extended trips.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:30 AM
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Thank you, that's what I was looking for. I don't have a lot of free time so I haven't had the ability to set it up yet, so now I don't have to worry about it
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:10 AM
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How long are your hikes ( day, overnight, section hike, etc ), what is the terrain, weather, etc, what size pack or other combination are adequate for the ten essentials at a minimum.
What are your physical limitations, if any, as well as your general level of fitness.
As was said above there are many variables.
If you KNOW that its your last minutes additions that are your downfall, adopt a packing plan that minimizes that issue.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:40 PM
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I like an external frame with a wide padded hip belt, it can take a lot of the weight off the shoulders. I can also easily remove the pack and transport stuff like firewood, building materials, and harvested big game.

When I build my INCH cart, the shafts will such that they can push up on my pack frame for level or up hill travel.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:29 PM
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Using a smaller pack can help you avoid last minute grabs, as there is no place to stuff them.

But a decent pack is always better than the best LBE. Thatís one reason why the military still issues packs.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:00 PM
enemy mind enemy mind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajole View Post
But a decent pack is always better than the best LBE. Thatís one reason why the military still issues packs.
In general I agree with your statement, but what are your thoughts on combination systems, such as the molle II vest that is designed to be worn with a pack?

The combination, if the vest is not overloaded, or loaded out of balance, seems to work well. It allows one to put absolute essentials on the vest, and all else in the pack. Of course I think that a good pack alone is much more comfortable than wearing a vest loaded with gear, even if it is balanced loading. It is hotter in warm weather, and just being all strapped up can be uncomfortable. By splitting the load between the pack and a vest, one can carry a lighter load in the pack, or increase the amount of gear even though the essentials are vest mounted.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:22 AM
IC_Rafe IC_Rafe is offline
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Always go for a pack, but if you tend to overpack, make a list and stick to it. Also, don't buy a big pack. buy one which just holds your gear at the heaviest capacity. I'm one who always thinks he'll be cold, eventhough it never happens, and these two things do tend to keep my packweight down a lot.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enemy mind View Post
In general I agree with your statement, but what are your thoughts on combination systems, such as the molle II vest that is designed to be worn with a pack?

The combination, if the vest is not overloaded, or loaded out of balance, seems to work well. It allows one to put absolute essentials on the vest, and all else in the pack. Of course I think that a good pack alone is much more comfortable than wearing a vest loaded with gear, even if it is balanced loading. It is hotter in warm weather, and just being all strapped up can be uncomfortable. By splitting the load between the pack and a vest, one can carry a lighter load in the pack, or increase the amount of gear even though the essentials are vest mounted.
I think the vest is all about access, not load bearing or balance. Like the stuff on the belt, things on the vest can be grabbed fast, while moving or while prone, without digging through the pack. Itís in the name, the FLC...fighting load carrier. You can drop your ruck and not lose your basic loadout so you can still fight when the SHTF.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajole View Post
I think the vest is all about access, not load bearing or balance. Like the stuff on the belt, things on the vest can be grabbed fast, while moving or while prone, without digging through the pack. Itís in the name, the FLC...fighting load carrier. You can drop your ruck and not lose your basic loadout so you can still fight when the SHTF.
From the OP ......

Quote:
I have an Enhanced LBE and was considering using that instead of a back pack.
I was thinking about what the OP said there, an either/or decision on his part.

When the OP said .......

Quote:
I am a novice hiker
I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that he was not outfitting himself for combat, for which the gear criteria would be markedly different than for hiking.

The way I utilize the molle II vest is to attach pouches, such as the Eagle Industries general purpose pouches to the bottom on each side of the zipper, then two slightly smaller pouches above those at chest level. Small pouches, sheaths, etc, can be interspersed around where there is room. Two one quart canteens are attached to each side, slightly to the rear, but not so far back as to interfere with a pack. These help to balance the loading on the front.

Triple shingle mag pouches can be mounted behind the lower Eagle pouches, and with full magazines, that does constitute a heavy load, resulting in front to back balance issues. Anything mounted on a vest, or the old VN LBE for that matter, that is consumable, such as water or ammo, will cause balance issues as it is used up.

I wear the vest as high as possible without interfering with the pack straps, as on rough terrain, one must be able to bend at the torso without interference.

I do not utilize any of the pouches for heavy items, rather for things like first aid kit, fire making kit, water filtration kit, a small knife, such as a mora in its sheath, a couple of garbage bars, mosquito netting in a grenade pouch, small folding trowel, all the small, light weight stuff that normally rattles around in the pack.

The pack carries the big stuff, and the real food, maybe other things like more water, depending on what I think I may need or want.

Any belt mounted gear is restricted to a possible large blade, pistol and ammo for same. I don't like carrying a lot of weight on even an enhanced pistol belt type system.

This creates a system where I always have the absolute necessities for bare bones survival on my person, in the event I am not in possession of my pack. The pack can be smaller also, or big if you want to carry a lot of stuff. The vest alone can be worn when you aren't staying overnight, but want to have certain necessities.

The distribution of gear about the body is interesting, but must be pragmatic, and that will be determined by trying it out in rough terrain, over time.

One very real consideration if one is hiking through public areas is, what do you look like, what is the connotative meaning of what you are wearing to somebody that is not a veteran, or sees you in quasi-military gear right after some violent killing has taken place and is all over the news. This consideration, I think must be taken seriously, as somebody may call the law on you simply in light of your gear selection. I guess one could dye all the military gear pink or something.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enemy mind View Post
I wear the vest as high as possible without interfering with the pack straps, as on rough terrain, one must be able to bend at the torso without interference.

I do not utilize any of the pouches for heavy items, rather for things like first aid kit, fire making kit, water filtration kit, a small knife, such as a mora in its sheath, a couple of garbage bars, mosquito netting in a grenade pouch, small folding trowel, all the small, light weight stuff that normally rattles around in the pack.
I've played around with this concept and I've settled predominantly on the Hill People Gear Kit Bag for backpacking. It does need to NOT interfere with a pack's waistbelt and suspension system as that is what is necessary to carry a pack comfortably all day as well as give the pack stability if navigating over rougher terrain.

On a "military look" style, many of the load-bearing chest rigs will do. My favorite has been the Tactical Tailor MAV and some of the ESSTAC chest rigs. While the MOLLE compatible platforms do allow more versatility for general purpose pouches and the ability to configure what you need, they add up in the weight category.

Another option I really like for capacity is the RIBZ; often referred to as a "front pack", but wears much like a vest. It doesn't attract much attention (unless it's their camo version), but can carry essentials close at hand, integrates well with a pack, and if not over-loaded, balances well with a pack.

The key is not to overload such a kit. It's supported mostly by the shoulders and after a dozen miles or more, it will fatigue you if overloaded. Additionally, many of these carry platforms can trap heat, leading to over-heating. I like the Kit Bag as it minimizes that, but when in colder temps, I actually like the RIBZ for what it is and how it carries.

What's nice about these setups is that you can drop your main pack and still scout a distance from your camp, collect water, day-hike, etc., yet still have the majority of your essentials on your body if something doesn't go according to plan. Also, the higher chest carry methods work well if you have to traverse waist-deep rivers or swaps, mountain biking or kayaking/canoeing; the latter is important if you've ever been separated from your canoe or kayak and get stranded with just what you're wearing. When kayaking, I've put most of my essentials in Ziploc bags, which makes them serve as extra floatation with a PFD.

I really like the layered concept, but it takes dirt-time, lessons-learned, and a little T&E to find the balance and not over-load chest/front packs. They have a lot of value if done wisely.

ROCK6
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:27 AM
Rural Buckeye Guy Rural Buckeye Guy is offline
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I test everything on mtn bikes for ease of riding and getting on/off. Parts of my state are extremely rural and hilly but others are flat as a table from the last ice age. My AO is the transition point between the two so I reasoned that bikes and strategically placed deer stands were most efficient and flexible, hence the reliance on gear friendly to climbing and peddling. Still working that out. I’m a med guy so I’m working out a peddle powered garden cart too for gear and casualties as well. So far the chest rigs with a sling pack are winning.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:45 PM
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I have really started to shy away from most recent military pack designs. i have since moved to Ultralight civ gear or when doing military gear sticking to the US ALICE and UK Bergen style stuff. All that molle strapping on most military packs adds a ton of unnecessary weight. If you're looking for good military gear try a Karrimor SF Saber 45 from the UK or just buy a ALICE pack from a surplus store and put a DownEast frame and strap set on it. Anything else will be heavy and snag on every branch and bush you come in contact with. I should also note that even though there are camo options for these rucks i stick to OD or Coyote brown for all gear to look less like a soldier when out in the woods or in town. when people see molle and camo together they instantly think "tactical gun nut" If you mix and match your clothing and gear with OD and Coyote brown colors you blend in well in the woods just as good as camo. This is how the Apache did it .....it worked well enough for them it will work fine for you.
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