Originally appeared on Badlands Fieldcraft. -NCS
For rural, dismounted patrolling I still like running a rig modeled after the LBE systems of the past. That being said, I’m always looking for a better way to skin the cat, and I feel that an ideal system gives good weight distribution, is comfortable, isn’t too bulky to move in, is quiet, protects the gear from exposure to the elements, facilitates rapid access to important gear and has enough room for everything you need to carry.
I don’t consider myself an expert on every piece of gear issued in the last 50 years, but I’ve had experience with ALICE and MOLLE enough to be able to pick and choose the components I like the best. One piece of gear that I’ve always liked since I first was issued one was the ALICE Buttpack. There’s been a few ALICE Buttpacks and the one I’m referring to is the more modern woodland camo one with fastex buckles.
This is a very durable piece of gear, made from the same tough nylon as military packs with strong webbing and one inch buckles. The compression straps are large enough to fit a large amount of gear inside. I still have a lot of room to go with the gear list above. At one point when I was doing foot patrols in wet rain forest areas I was able to fit an MRE, goretex top and bottom, socks and cleaning gear. At that point it was getting pretty full, and I dubbed it my “Ghetto booty pack”.
Another feature I always liked was the expandable cuff inside is made of the same material at the USGI poncho, a nice way to keep rain out when you need to open it up to get something out in rainy weather.
It’s been a versatile design I always find myself going back to. At one point I had it off my gear in favor for a MOLLE utility pouch. I took a shoulder strap and hooked it to the butt pack and used it as a haversack for day hikes.
I’ve been out on enough patrols that were either FRAGO’d and extended by many hours, or where the weather turned bad suddenly to know that having some basic items with you while out in the bush is always a good idea. I like to have the kind of items that I would need if I had to get by for another 24 hours. Even if I only plan on being out for a few hours, this stuff comes with and it’s always packed.
It’s not necessarily a survival kit, but rather equipment that will help to stay in an extended fight that isn’t planned. I do have some survival gear in it though since you should be layering those kinds of items throughout your gear.