SHTF blog – Modern Survival

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.
2012-11-16 14.47.27
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.
2012-11-16 14.46.41
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.

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