The ALICE, or All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual Carrying Equipment, pack is the standard issue rucksack for the US Army since the Korean war. The ALICE pack can be used as a frameless rucksack or with an external frame. Note that this node only covers the medium pack and not the large.
Height: 20 inches
Width: 19 inches
Depth: 11 inches
Construction: 100% nylon w/ metal clasps.
Price: $50.00 - $75.00 (American) for a frameless pack.
Review: The pack itself is very simple. It has one large central compartment with an large stuff bag at the top. A drawstring and flap close the bag by using a pair of straps that run through ladder lock buckles at the bottom. There are three smaller compartments on the front that are approximately 12"x4"x4" across the front that use a combination of snaps and ladder locks to close. The shoulder straps are padded, adjustable and detachable. Be careful, some stores may require you to buy them separately.
Now on to the advantages. The pack is absolutely cavernous on the inside. I'm not 100% sure, but I'm willing to bet that I could shove a five year old child in the main compartment and still have room for a sleeping bag and a few gyros. The pack itself rides high without raising your center of gravity and doesn't impede your movement at all, especially in the arms. Then again, what do you expect from a pack that is often worn while you are returning hostile fire? The US military has been breaking things and blowing shit up since 1776. If they say that something won't break, then it won't break. Even if you do get a tear the all-nylon construction means that you can repair it by melting the edges of the rip together with a bic lighter. If you use the frame you can strap even more stuff to the outside. If you're careful you can strap over eighty pounds of stuff to yourself. I wouldn't recommend it, but you can.
The pack does have its disadvantages. The system of straps can be very cumbersome and their manipulation can be very time-consuming. However, this can be remedied with a few plastic sidelock buckles and some duct tape.
Conclusion: A lot of people knock the ALICE pack. They say that it is too bulky. They say that an internal frame pack will let you carry more stuff. They say a lot of stuff, but they don't say anything about the fact that ALICE pack will give you more bang for the buck than just about any pack on the market.