Can You Use an ALICE Pack Without the Frame

An ALICE pack can be used without the frame

The Alice Pack is a military convenience that found its way to the civilians not long after. This battle-proven and time-tested platform is great for moving large amounts of gear and supplies with or without the frame.

As a military surplus, Alice packs can be found at surplus stores and other retailers at a fair price. Some companies started producing bags based on this model, increasing their value but it comes down to personal preference and the depth of the pocket. 

An Alice pack can be used with or without the frame. Larger Alice packs are commonly used with a frame because of even weight distribution, but with careful thinking and other types of reinforcing the material of the backpack, it is not necessary to have it.

Read on to learn more about ALICE packs and how they can be useful when spending time outdoor.

Table of Contents

What Is the ALICE Pack Made Of?

The main compartment of the Large Alice Pack frame is between 3200-3500 square inches, converting over 60 liters. It usually comes with a water-repellent 420D nylon, has rugged military construction, snap-closure pouches, ALICE webbing, drawstring closures, a buckle-closure flap cover, but the straps need to be purchased separately. 

Its capacity is approximately 5000 cubic inches, while the inside storage capacity is around 3275, as the rest is in the outside storage pockets. The pockets are about 10x9x3 inches (three of them), and the other three are smaller with 7x3x3 inches. The Alice pack was made in the USA and was standard military equipment at the time due to its efficiency of storage. There are many reasons why investing in an ALICE pack is a great decision, even if you don’t have the frame. 

Strong Construction

A sturdy backpacking bag is every camper’s dream. Some people even consider it to be one of the sturdiest bags available today. This is probably due to the fact that it is constructed from water-resistant nylon, meaning it can remain dry while holding up to heavy and rough use. As previously mentioned, the bag has several webbings at the sides and back, drainage holes found at the bottom part of the pack pockets, and plenty of interior space for stacking equipment. 

Reasonable Price

Alice packs are the rare case where the quality comes at an affordable and reasonable price. It is not as expensive so you don’t have to sacrifice reliability, and you can find all the additional parts to increase the overall weight potential piece by piece. This is great even if some parts of your Alice pack wear over time.

For example, shoulder straps can break after a few years of use and you will easily be able to find new ones in the market right now. In fact, it is a good thing to browse the internet from time to time, and if you spot a good offer take it. Having a few spare parts can save you the hassle, as well as taking them with you on the next camping journey. Especially if you are one of those ‘you-never-know’ people. 

Modification Availability 

This pack is great because it is compatible with other bear loading military systems, or rather that those systems were probably based on the Alice pack. 

Any component of the MOLE gear can be used with the Alice pack. A perfect example is a MOLLE waist belt because it can be installed on the pack that is compliant with the upgrades and mods from the Alice pack (that can be found super cheap on the market). 

Keep in mind that before making any upgrades to the Alice pack there are a few things you need to do. 

Examine the Entire Pack and Frame

Alice packs have many advantages, but there are a few tricks and flaws you need to be aware of. One of its shortcomings is that its stress point reinforcements are considerably lower compared to modern field packs. Now, if you previously owned a modern pack, this might take some adjusting from your side. The riveted frame might be lacking stability, which is why most people opt to use the frame. 

Be aware of the flaws, there are ways you can readjust the Alice pack even without the frame. Though that may require some serious sewing skills and a strong needle. On the other hand, after careful examination of the patches and stress points, you can take it to a professional to put some additional cotton or other material that will enhance the pack’s durability.

Start by integrating a better and more solid base. Most of the modifications and upgrades for the Alice pack require some sewing, it is based and made for people who have their basic and most important survival skills in their little finger. 

How to Pack in an Alice Backpack From First Aid and Survival Items?

Backpacker trips, as well as trips to multi-day hiking tours, can deviate from the planned route. You may get hurt or come across someone who needs help. Different times of the year also make a difference in what you need to bring from first aid and survival equipment in nature. Forgetting something essential for crisis situations can happen to both campers and mountaineering veterans. Then your whole path can derail. To prevent this from happening, follow our advice, guidelines, and ideas on what to bring in your Alice backpack.

In Addition to a Warm Sleeping Bag, Keep Astro Foil on Hand

A quality sleeping bag is something you will certainly not forget when we go on our next camping trip. A good sleeping bag can protect you from the cold during the night and enable peaceful sleep. Most of us forget about Astro foil for survival. In fact, only professional mountaineers, that is, alpinists do not set out on a journey into nature without it.

But why is it important for every other individual to have Astro foil as part of outdoor equipment?

First of all, Astro foils are small in size and can be easily packed everywhere. Although small, their role is extremely large. First of all, she is here to save you from hypothermia. The reflective surface will attract heat and warm your body faster than just a classic blanket.

Where There Is Room for a Tent, There Should Be Space for Emergency Medical and Survival Means

Make sure that you know the dimensions of your tent both folded and unfolded. After that, put it in your backpack and see how much room does it take. A single or double tent will fit in the Alice pack, but it is important to have a clear idea of how to organize storage.

Instead of using that free space in your backpack for camping wisely and adding all the necessities for survival in nature, there is a high chance you will bring something completely unnecessary little things. Think carefully before you go to the next campsite, make a list of all the essentials and pack light.

While some survival lists may differ from camping trips to camping trips, however, first aid essentials like bandages, patches, anti-inflammatory medication, and diarrhea are only the start.  Also consider carrying a  flint, cut wire, folding knife, and the already mentioned astro foil.

Using an Alice pack without the frame can only be limited by your imagination. It can hold a significant weight load and essentially carry everything you need for a camping trip. Here are 10 more tips to keep in mind while packing:

  1. Decide what to pack – Try to limit yourself to the basics. As an unwritten rule, the weight should not exceed 15kg. The easier, the better!
  2. Separate your equipment – By setting aside all the equipment you want to pack, it will help you decide what is important and what you can leave.
  3. Organize your equipment into groups. – Packing bags will help you separate similar items and keep the equipment dry. How you organize your clothes is up to you.By rolling your wardrobe, you can make the most of the space in your backpack.
  4. Pack heavy items first  Make sure the weight in your backpack is evenly distributed. Heavy items such as tents, cans, and water should be placed on the bottom of the backpack. Make sure that no object protrudes, so that it does not sting you in the back.
  5. Pack medium items in an order. – Larger bags often have a special compartment at the bottom for stacking sleeping bags. This partition is also useful for various footwear.
  6.  Pack light items on top. – Light items such as gloves, hats, flashlights, and maps should be stored in the outer compartments or on top of the backpack.
  7. Items that require quick access, such as first aid, should also be packed on top or inside compartments.
  8. When packing items in backpack pockets, calculate the weight distribution well. If you happen to pack more weight on one side, there will be a greater load on your back and that can throw you off balance.
  9. Attach items to the outside of the backpack. If you have brought a sleeping mat, and you have not packed it inside the backpack, you can attach it to the outside of the backpack. The ideal case would be to tie the rug vertically.
  10. Avoid placing items that are not waterproof or that can be easily damaged on the outside of the backpack.


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