Here's a guest post from my good friend Tim.. I hope you enjoy it.
ALICE. Even the name sounds comfortable. Like ordering your usual at the hometown diner on a Tuesday morning in November. ALICE. All purpose Lightweight Individual Carry Equipment. Some say she was named Alice so the troops could call her unsavory things. I disagree.
I purchased a large Alice pack with frame, kidney pad, and straps recently. I bought this system with the naive expectation that I would be using it in it's stock form forever. Not true. I don't believe I have ever left anything that I have purchased in Its stock form- even my 1996 Geo Tracker - but that is a different, and much more embarrassing, post altogether.
I took my first trip with Alice and N.E.V. in August of last year. She was good to me. Not great, just good.
I am a six foot four inch guy who doesn't mind weight on my shoulders. I definitely felt Alice. She felt top heavy and not so good on the shoulders even though i had a kidney pad and tried to pack her so the load would be felt on my lower back. Having used other non-military backpacks before, all I wanted was a sternum strap. This was not an option. (ok, sure, EVERYTHING's an option when you have paracord, but it wasn't a pre-installed option.) The kidney pad was quite inadequate for a guy of my size. I knew the kidney pad was the first place to look for a comfort upgrade so I went go out on a limb and ordered a much larger Molle kidney pad for Alice.
Piece of cake right?
I then started looking into Molle shoulder straps, as I found the smaller Alice units to allow the frame to dig into my back at the top. I ordered a set of Molle straps from eBay, on purpose this time. I figured there has to be a way to make them work. They're only straps. Besides, they are one unit where the Alice is two small pads. The Molle unit allows sufficient coverage over the metal frame on the Alice.
After receiving them I removed the old straps from my frame and put these on like so:
The MAlice pack is born. It's like giving a piggy back ride to a unicorn. yes. It's that much better. I will need to modify the straps for the main flap so it's a quick release.. I don't like the stock design.
There's nothing new under the sun. I am definitely not saying I'm the first guy to do this. I know I am not. This is just a quick description of how I went about modifying my Alice to work for me. I hope this write up helps you if you are so inclined to go out into the woods with some ex-enlisted equipment.