My old Voodoo packs finally gave up the ghost. I purchased two packs about 5 years ago for about $125 each with the intention of keeping them for a bugout bag. Well if you’re going to have a bug out bag you should at least test them out, right? I did every weekend and over time the bags just wore out. Mostly the shoulder strap padding. The stitching has held up and I really don’t have an issue with the products themselves. I think for the money and the amount of abuse I have put them through they have been troopers. I will keep them for a range bag or light loads in the future. I can’t say they are ready for the trash bin.
So I was standing in my gear room thinking that I didn’t want to spend $400 plus for a new pack (like a Mystery Ranch) , and I really didn’t want to use my big ruck for my weekend hikes. Looking around I had an old medium ALICE pack sitting in the corner that I have never used and was given to me years ago. I also have a MOLLE II pack that is currently issued. That got me to thinking, how could I combine the two very incompatible packs into one.
Thinking that I was pretty smart and I was doing something that had never been done before I started ripping apart both packs with the goal of combing the two into one franken pack. Well I did it. Not real well I have to admit, but I did it! And I have taken it on two rucks so far with pretty good results.
I started poking around the interwebs and found a lot of videos and articles on how to do what I thought, being the smartest man in the room, had never been done before. After recovering from the smack in the back of the head I realized I wasn’t so clever. This has been done before, and by smarter people.
After reading some, I found out that I was pretty close in my attempt.
First thing I did was cut the old cinching hardware and replaced them with fasttech buckles.
The waist/hip belt and shoulder straps installed
Shoulder suspension straps attached to the frame
Replaced the internal radio pouch hardware with fasttech fastener
Added a drag handle
The magic bag of fasttech buckles. These replacement buckles came with the MOLLE II ruck as a standard issue.
Now, you’re sitting there thinking, cool! you didn’t show me how to put it all together. Well there are smarter people than me so I will include a couple links on how to put it together properly along with how to create a drag handle, which I have to say is stupid easy to do. Some call the above modifications a HellCat, some call it a Malice like Tactical Taylor, or just a Alice pack mod. Whatever you call it, it is a pretty easy project to do in a few hours and it is pretty cheap with Alice packs in the surplus market running pretty inexpensively. A quick Google search gave me $20 for the frame and $50 for the sack. Midway sells both the frame and sack for $110. The MOLLE II straps and waist belt run around $75.
I used the two videos that are included below. Each very informative and provides a step by step on the processes. Stupid easy.
Alice packs have been given a pretty bad rap over the decades, and rightly so. The original Alice was never intended to carry the weights it ended up carrying, and there are a lot of guys out there with bad backs, messed up necks and knees that can attest. I only have about 12 miles on my back with this modified pack and so far it has treated pretty good. I will admit that I am only carrying about 35 lbs on my weekend rucks and I only carry what I need to get me by for a day or two. Nothing long term or an extended time out in the field.
A brief history of the Alice Pack