*Alice Pack Modifications*
By Taisch

Here are just a few ways to upgrade your favorite ALICE gear.

The original cutting and sewing of most cloth-goods leaves loose thread ends and fraying edges. Taking a lighter and running the flame over all the threads melts them back to where they cannot fray, or will seal the holes. This act alone will stop one of the major causes of cloth-goods failure. Note: this only works on meltable synthetics. Next, reinforce any areas that have loose flaps, such as the Velcro tabs, that are not sewn to the edges. If the edges aren't sewn down they can put too much stress on the threads holding them. Also sew some extra thread into pocket flaps, strap attachments, and the pack-frame top pocket. That is the pocket that the frame sits in when mounted to the pack.

If your pack is camouflaged, you will note that the tape edging and the strapping are all just plain OD. This makes the pack or pouches or LBV stand out. If your pack is just plain OD, this next modification will work for it as well. Get a set of the special waterproof fabric marking pens, marker type. Get forest green, brown, and black. Start with any one color, extending the pattern of the camouflage cloth up onto the OD material, and continuing around the edge to make certain that you get all of the plain stuff covered. Go on to the rest of the colors, matching the colors and the pattern to the pack. This will really make your gear blend in better.

The metal buckles and snaps all are normally done in a semi-shiny black. This would be better covered with a light coat of flat paint in the color that matches the surrounding cloth. Surround the object with masking tape, to protect from over-spray, clean with alcohol, and spray. While you have the OD or black spray can out, give the pack a VERY light over-spray to cut down on the shine from synthetic cloth. You will want to test this to make certain that the paint you use will not degrade the strength of your synthetic cloth.

Plastic buckles and clips can have the shine cut down by lightly sanding the plastic with fine sandpaper. I haven't found any paint that works well on this kind of plastic.

Your frame can be camouflaged and, more importantly, made quieter by wrapping all exposed metal parts with 550 cord. This keeps metal-on-metal clicking and clanging from giving away your position.

You can mount pouches and bags on your gear by taking the quick-clips out of the strap behind the pouch and sliding a strap down through the space left. For example, I put extra compass pouches on the two shoulder straps on my LBVs, one on each horizontal snap strap, and one on each front vertical support strap. The same applies to the straps on your ALICE rucksacks.


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