In my last thread about ALICE mods (http://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/22/threadid/6408/scope/posts/Default.aspx) the suggestion was made to bayonet the ALICE frame. With images of riveting, welding or any kind of metalwork dancing through my head, I quickly dismissed it.
Well very recently I was looking at the Oneiros Valley NICE frame accessories (http://oneirosvalley.com/collections/nice-frame-accessories/products/g2-load-lifter-panel-llp) and the very similar Mystery Ranch version (the closest we will probably see to MR admitting that the NICE frame could in fact use some more shoulder lift) and the “Well duh…” feeling hit me. Since the NICE is an ALICE decendant, of course it's reverse compatable.
The concept is quite simple, what took me the longest was to decide how to simplify it down to only needing one buckle and to use the closure strap to mount the shoulder harness.
I just used Home Depot aluminum bar stock for this project, in a full sized pack there is way to much flex but with these short stays there is plenty of rigidity.
since I used the shoulder strap mounting brackets for my upper anchor point, the bayonets are perfectly placed to work with an ALICE pack bag:
The Bayonets, beyond adding shoulder lift, also add usable cargo space to more solidly anchor the crap that invariably gets lashed to the top of the too-small medium sack:
with the extra shoulder lift the LC2 also makes a decent dry-bag hauler, and isn't dependant on a tall load like my previous set-up:
these don't just work with HPG shoulder harnesses, they should also work with the spec-ops and tactical tailor shoulder straps too. not a huge fan of the MOLLE II straps, but anything is better then LC-2. For you Hellcat fans out there:
While I had the frame all dusted off I whipped up some water bottle slings too:
not as happy with these, the mounting tecnique is sound, but I'm definetely doing a cordura version next, the webbing and elastic is too finicky.
so to recap: the frame, bayonets, tactical tailor waistbelt and HPG harness, and compression straps (the dry bag set-up) is right at 4 lbs, which doesn't give this any real advantage over a Dana, Duplex, or most internals. total cost would still be over $100 if you had to build it from scratch, but still less then a real hauler. After my success with the dana and MOLLE frame adaptor I'm going to re-visit the prairie belt for the ALICE frame, but I think it will be harder since the ALICE doesn't have 1" webbing slots all over it. The problem with my last adaptor is that the webbing I used to go through the belt mounts on the ALICE just bunched up at the top of the (3"?) slots and had crazy belt sag. This try I'll use a 3" strip of cordura and see if I can cinch it tight enough to keep it from bunching.
If anyone else has any suggestions to "polish the turd" I'm all ears, I find it unreasonably interesting to try to improve legacy gear.