Military Surplus Patrol Pack Overview
Kevin Felts 07.25.17
The Patrol Pack is large enough to use as an overnight bag, but not too large for a day hike
One of the issues facing military surplus backpacks, nothing spanned the gap between the medium ALICE and something like an over the counter book bag. The medium ALICE is good, but it can get heavy with a frame.
The honest truth is, we needed something that does not have a frame, and just large enough to carry basic gear for an all day hiking trip, or an overnight camping trip.
The Patrol Pack fills that gap.
We are seeing the heyday of ALICE gear. Availability is slowly fading away and prices are inching upwards. As a result, those of us who stockpile military surplus gear should be looking at switching to MOLLE. I am in the process of phasing out my ALICE gear and switching to surplus MOLLE. Over the next few months there will be a series of articles posted about this transition.
I recently bought a military surplus Patrol Pack and took it out on a few hiking trips. Overall, I liked how it handled.
The main compartment has a zipper and is large enough for:
- Cook pot with stove.
- Bottle of mixed fuel.
- TOPO maps, compass and GPS.
- Mountain House freeze dried pouch.
- Eating utensils.
- Poncho liner
This is just one large compartment. If you want to divide your gear up, you will need stuff sacks.
One thing I always liked about the medium and large ALICE was the internal pouch in the main compartment. That is usually where I kept my stove, topo maps, and fuel. For some reason the newer MOLLE gear excludes that internal pouch.
On the back of the pack is an outer compartment that is closed with a pull string and has a flap that is secured with two buckles. It measures around 10 inches wide, 7 inches deep and around 7 inches across.
This was where I put:
- Water filter.
- Rain poncho.
- Toilet paper
- Extra battery and memory card for the camera.
There was still plenty of room for other stuff.
As great as the pack sounds, the designers dropped the ball with the shoulder straps.
The bottom section of the shoulder strap is sewn into the pack, while the top section is replaceable.
There is no standard webbing on the shoulder strap to attack a knife, bandage, or compass pouch.
Why weren’t the shoulder straps completely replaceable? If the bottom strap broke, something could be improvised using the webbing on the bottom of the pack.
Patrol Pack Final Thoughts
The pack has webbing on the bottom, and on the back just above the outer compartment. Gear, such as a tent or sleeping pad can be strapped to the pack using those locations.
MOLLE webbing is on each side, which is where I have a single one quart canteen, one on each side.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, I used a Jansport book bag as my day hiking pack. It was even used on several warm weather overnight camping trips.
I wish I had this pack 20 years ago.