Was tired of lugging around my bulky expedition, internal frame pack on day trips. Though it is comfortable and light (BlacksCreek Barbarian Featherlight), I found it just enabled me in bringing more crap I didn’t need, when only for a day hunt, etc.
So, I liked the idea of “going in light, coming out heavy” to save trips after a kill, and make me only pack the bare essentials to get by and move fast. I wanted to have a sturdy frame with modular options to haul meat, sheds, or whatever else. Also, have a small back/pack attached for essentials, but not too big, as I gravitate towards being a packrat. I’m working on this part by clipping my Barbarian fanny pack on for essentials.
A few I modeled and had in mind were the Mystery Ranch Cabinet/Mule/Pop-Ups, Eberlestock F1 Mainframe/Carrier/Just One, Alps Commander, Full Curl, etc. In short, those are all probably great, but I just didn’t want to spend the money.
So…., I built one myself:
Alice Pack Frame: $50
MOLLE II Shoulder Straps w/ load lifters: $35
MOLLE II Belt: $15
MOLLE Truck Seat Back Organizer/Panel: $14
3’x3/4”x3/4” Angle Aluminum: $5
Snap Buckles: $12
10 Yards of 1” Nylon Webbing: $12
Paracord, Rivets, other bits: Free
ALICE Frame: Lots of data on converting these to be more comfortable (MALICE, HELLCAT, etc.). The MOLLE straps/belt are pretty nice (brand new), so they have some good cushion. The frame has been criticized versus other options, but I wanted something bulletproof and simple. The MOLLE frame may be more comfortable, but it seems loud, bulky, plastic, not as durable, etc. The ALICE has also been criticized for being short, which it is. I’m 6’, so needed to put the shoulder straps on the top frame rail and figure out something for load lifters…
Load Lifters/Bayonets/Stays: This was a redneck engineering feat for sure. I thought of chopping the frame and sleeving the sides to allow for vertical expansion to use the original frame connections; however, nixed that one. Opted for 2 aluminum angle pieces to craft bayonets instead. Similar, though sloppier, to hillpeoplegear.com, I flattened the bottom/top ends to allow for attachment to the frame and rivet to load lifter straps. I wanted and kept the angle of the aluminum to provide strength, and only flattened the very ends to attach things to. Otherwise, I feared they would bend.
MOLLE Panel: It’s supposed to be an organizer to hang on the back of a truck seat, but I figured it allows for complete modularity with attachments, if I ever wanted to put something else on like strap my tripod on, water bladder, etc. In hindsight, I probably should have gone with a rigid one and maybe riveted it to the frame. Instead, I used the edge MOLLE loops to strap it around the back of the frame with paracord. I figured I always have paracord, so might was well have some there too, as I could use it in an emergency if I needed to.
Cargo Net/Load Hauler/Sling: Definitely used Kifaru’s design to mimic, among a few others on the internet. Sewed the joints together with bow serving, as it was the strongest stuff I could think of. Via the picture with my oldest, it seems to be holding so far.
Anyway, I’m cheap and like to mess with stuff. I thought Kifaru, Eberlestock, Mystery Ranch, etc. are all great, I just couldn’t spend $300+ for a setup like this (try $500-$700 for some fancy tactical stuff).