Gear Review: USMC ILBE Arcteryx Military MARPAT Assault Pack

You can think of this as Part 2 of the Tango Main Backpost  I did earlier.

After ordering the small Arcteryx Military Assault Pack that went with my ILBE Tango Arc’Teryx Main Backpack I waited with anticipation for it to show up.  It arrived arrived a little over a week ago and all I can say is wow!  I love this pack.

First, this is a smaller pack than I usually carry of the bug-out variety (I’m not comparing this to the Tango – but to other but-out bags I’ve had), which is good because it’s caused me to reevaluate what I take for gear.  I can get most everything in this pack that I did in my other pack except for the wool blanket; however, I’m going to compress one of the patrol bags down and see if I can get that to fit in there.

2012-11-16 14.47.01

This is a basic pack with two compartments:  the main compartment where most of the gear is stored and a smaller pocket on the front that I’m using to store things like a headlamp, lighter, and other readily accessible items.  

I’ve heard this referred to as a “Go to Hell” pack because it’s designed to attach to the outside of the Main Pack and if things go to Hell you can grab your small pack, dump the big one, and make your getaway with your critical gear. 

Using the two as a system here are my thoughts.  First, I’ll carry the more vital gear in the smaller pack – stuff that I use all the time when I go camping or just out in the woods for an evening fire. 

Stove, headlamp, food, a canteen of water and canteen cup, gloves, hat, first aid kit, knife and firesteel, first aid kit,  lighter, Sawvivor (I’m really liking that saw), poncho, cozy, and other small items will all live in this pack.

Then when it’s time to go on a big hike I can put my sleeping bag, clothes, water, sleeping mat, and so forth, in the big pack.  Once I’ve got the main pack loaded I simply attach the assault pack and I’m ready to go.  When I’m not out on an extended campout I can detach the assault pack and store the main pack away without having to transfer gear back and forth.  Simple and elegant!

Below are some more pictures of the pack and as usual I’ll write a few notes under each picture.

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It’s got nice thick shoulder straps, a carrying handle on top, and MOLLE hookups, which I used to connect my canteen pouch/cup/and canteen.  The buckles are heavy duty plastic.

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As you can see the main pouch can hold a good bit of your more important gear.  It’s got rugged zippers with cord tied through them for easy handling.

2012-11-16 14.46.08

At first I didn’t think I’d like the vertical opening in the pack, but after using it for awhile I find it easier to get in and out of than a horizontal opening.  It’s not a huge pocket, so when I open it up gear doesn’t fall out, but it’s big enough that to hold things like a spare knife, one my home made MREs, lighter, headlamp, and if I need to put a map and compass in there I know there’s plenty of room for that.

Overall I really like this pack.  When used in conjunction with the main pack it has no downsides for me.  It’s small, rugged, compact, and holds just the right amount of gear.  If you’re looking for a light bug-out bag for a 20 mile hike this is bag is for you.

Next week I’m going to write a post about putting the assault pack and the Tango pack together and post some more photos here for you.

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

BTW:

A quick note about the sleeping bags.  I slept out again this weekend and this time I used it properly.  The result was that I was very warm at a temperature of 19 degrees F.  Awesome!  And I didn’t even use the bivy sack this time.
If you’re thinking about ordering one don’t delay.  I was surprised at how fast they’ve been going and as of this writing I have four left.

21 comments… add one
  • poorprepper November 21, 2012, 12:14 pm

    Don’t have the $ in my budget right now for a new sleep system. Will you be doing another buy in the future?

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor November 21, 2012, 1:55 pm

      If there’s enough interest I’d be willing to do it again.

      Reply
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. November 21, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I’m really liking that term ‘Go To Hell’ bag, thats a good description of just the necessities bag. For me, bug net and a hammock are two items which carried in mine if sleeping outside might be necessary.

    My brother tells me I should also add Breath Right strips or facsimilie, claims my snoring will trigger earthquake tremor radar, lol.

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor November 21, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Those would probably fit in this pack pretty well. Keep in mind this is a pretty small pack, which is one of the things I like about it.

      Reply
    • irishdutchuncle November 21, 2012, 4:47 pm

      j.r.:

      that kind of snoring is no joke. get yerself checked out for sleep apnea, while the grid is still up.

      Reply
      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. November 22, 2012, 4:56 pm

        Thanks irishdutchuncle, I already have been using a CPAP for the past 4 years. You are correct – its not a laughing matter.

        Reply
        • irishdutchuncle November 24, 2012, 9:18 am

          I’ve had mine about that long also.
          (My wife couldn’t take it any longer, so she recorded my snoring, and played it back for me) Now it’s the only way I can get restful sleep. My next project is going to be an off-grid power supply, to keep it running during the next hurricane.

          Reply
  • smokechecktim November 21, 2012, 2:16 pm

    i use a two bag system but with mine I have all my med gear in the small bag. Drop the big bag and take the med bag to take care of a casualty. I like your idea and may have to develop a 3!! bag system.

    Reply
  • T.R. November 21, 2012, 10:11 pm

    I wish we would get off digital camo , it doesn’t work and looks like crap . The only decent digital I have ever seen was ATACS ……because it wasn’t all pixilated .

    Reply
  • sirlancelot November 21, 2012, 10:35 pm

    would be interested in a bag. looking for something that might keep me warm in a un-heated apartment should the lights go off.

    Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor November 22, 2012, 9:08 am

      sirlancelot – in the upper right-hand corner there’s a new link called “SHTFBlog Store”. Click that link and it will take you to the sleeping bags. Better hurry – there’s three left as of Thanksgiving morning!

      Reply
  • Ray November 22, 2012, 6:11 am

    Yeh.Looks good, I got/modified a new BOB this year, I found a NOS ARVN ruck sack. Don’t laugh , With a 1973 LC-1 lower pad it rides well ,and carries all the crap I want to move. I sewed on 2 M-1 garand /M-1 carbine ammo pockets(4 garand clips) added 1 rescue flare and one rescue smoke(the best way I’v found to say DOWN HERE)The rest is pretty much the same same,MREs, SVEA stove, sox, hammock,poncho liners(2) Fire kit , wash kit, sewing kit,shoe kit(blowouts are a bitch in the wood) first aid, Rain gear, Odds and ends for the time of year. A note on guns,Here in the commonwelth of Kentucky, Fearal /wild hogs and dog packs are allready a major hazard when camping in eastern and southern Ky. I think this will get MUCH worse if TSHTF. PS anyone planing on camping in eastern Ky; Because of strip-mineing and oilshale drilling/fracking MANY places now have RADIOACTIVE ground water and soil. If Y’all dont know the history of the place, be VERY warry of the ground water.

    Reply
  • sirlancelot November 22, 2012, 10:45 am

    roger that !

    “check is in the mail”

    honestly haven’t done any real camping or hiking in years. the lights went out for 24 hours during sandy and thankfully it was warm outside.

    that won’t be the case this winter and city dwellers like myself with electric heat will be pretty cold :-( Happy Thanksgiving , keep up the good work !

    Reply
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    I want to buy this particular bag.

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