In 2004 mass production started on the ILBE Packs (Improved Load Bearing Equipment) to replace the heavier MOLLE Packs (Modular Light Load Carrying Equipment) and was specially designed for the US Marines to provide durable lightweight means of transporting clothing textiles and equipment. There are 2 Generations of this pack. The Gen. I pack has the black padding and features and the Gen. II pack has the coyote brown padding and features. Both were produced in the Digital Woodland MarPat (Marine Pattern).
The ILBE Pack is designed to carry a load of up to 120lbs but at the same time it distributes the weight so it is comfortable to wear. The key features to the packs comfort is in it’s internal frame with 2 metal ribs on the outer sides and 2 larger spars in the middle. These spars are already shaped to fit most peoples backs but can be custom bent if need be.
Next the pack includes soft padding on both the hip bet and shoulder straps. With the wide hip belt it displaces the weight around your body with less pressure points. Both straps can be adjusted to custom fit your body and has a breast strap that can be raised or lowered to fit both men and women.
To keep the pack snug to your body you will find several compression straps along each side. These can be adjusted for different size loads and keeps your gear in place throughout your hike. Both sides of the pack also includes pockets which makes a nice rest when carrying longer items such as trek poles or holds extra water bottles. You will also find heavy duty zippers on both sides for access to your gear in the main compartment.
The back of the pack offers the ability to customize your pack with MOLLE accessories by using the MOLLE webbing and includes a compartment to help hold a hydration system or the ILBE Assault Pack which can be buckled down and tightened to keep in place. If you choose not to use the Hydration compartment or are strapping a larger MOLLE accessory to the back you can roll down this flap and snap it in place.
The main compartment is protected by a corded dust cover and can also be clipped closed. Opening up the main compartment you can see it provides storage to hold enough gear for a multi-day adventure. It provides the option to hold longer items or you can split it into to compartments with a center flap. With the zippers on both sides you are still able to access the bottom without pulling everything out from the top.