Velocity Systems

Pack Man

I’ve heard Natick’s Rich Landry called quite a few things over the years but never “Pack Man.”


A former Pathfinder in the 82nd, Landry actually completed Jumpmaster school as a civilian on jump status at Natick. He’s dedicated his life to supporting the troops and chances are good that if you’ve served over the past 30 years, you’ve used a piece of GI load carriage equipment that Landry has either designed outright or helped develop.


The new MOLLE 4000 is the cover story for ‘NSSC This Month’. Check it out at

Tags: ,

15 Responses to “Pack Man”

  1. 101pfdr says:


  2. 11b1p says:

    One question Mr. Landry- why the plastic molle frame? Whyyyyyy

    • SSD says:

      I can answer that. Two reasons:
      1. It’s in the system.
      2. It works.

      • andrew craig says:

        anyone who has done any backpacking will tell ou the GREGORY flowform back pack (plastic frame very similar to the army frame) is still just about the best pack on the market.

        • Luke says:

          HA! I’ve never even heard it suggested in the top 50. In fact I’ve never even heard anyone suggest it as decent, let alone the best.

        • Mac says:

          The key word being “backpacking”. You don’t see any backpackers carrying
          any kind of fighting load let alone patrolling with a rifle at the ready.

          The same frame you are suggesting was tested by the USMC and binned because it caused friction burns on the users.

      • Terry B. says:


        Now the frame wars start.

        A fellow named Jason from Down East sent me one of the early 1606s some years ago to play with. When it was first produced you may recall it had a “hammerhead” configuration on the top cross bar.

        The hammerhead was about 2 ins too long to fit into the envelope pocket of the ALICE pack (which is what I really wanted it for).

        I cut off the ends and returned some photos and feedback suggesting that there were a lot of ALICEs and commercial clones still in service and that a lot of folks like me were looking for a better frame to fit those packs.

        Initially Down East didn’t seem too interested and told me they were developing proprietary packs to go with the hammerhead as their main effort.

        I continued to use the modified frame they had sent me. It worked well and I liked it much better than the old aluminum frame – including for Airborne operations.

        Two years passed and I guess I wasn’t the only one that saw the ALICE interface potential because Down East eventually came up with what I believe they first called the 1606 AC or “ALICE Compatible” with a square head. Now they call it the “Airborne Assault Frame”.

        And as you mentioned in the post, the expectation was that it would be great for paratroopers…but that didn’t happen immediately.

        But the Marines looked at it and chose it for their newest pack system. They seem to be pretty satisfied with it.

        I’m just glad to see that it if finally going to go to guys who jump out of planes.

        But of course there are those that don’t like it already.


        • SSD says:

          That’s a cool story. If you want to complain about the MOLLE frame it would be size. The 1606 fixes that. It is more durable than an ALICE frame.

          • Terry B. says:


            I agree. Can’t stand the MOLLE large mainly because the frame is too wide and long IMO.

            And the older I got, the smaller the load I wanted to carry anyway. In backpacking terms I definitely became a born again minimalist.

            I’m one of those gear nuts that contacted manufacturers all the time (mostly unsolicited) to suggest changes to their products.

            Mostly I was ignored. I didn’t take it personally. They had business decisions to make and not every “good idea” makes for sound business.

            I also sent in a few dozen gear recommendations to the Army over the years. In the mid 80s I actually went so far as to have a three point chinstrap fabricated out of 1/2 in tubular nylon for the original Kevlar helmet.

            I jumped it myself multiple times before I sent in photos to prove it was much more stable, safer and comfortable than the 2 point chinstrap and the parachutist retention straps.

            It was rejected of course…and the Army basically told me to “cease and desist” with the unauthorized “testing”.

            Not that it had anything to do with my failed experiment, but when the MICH was fielded some 15 years later I was very happy that someone put a better chinstrap system on it.

            It shouldn’t be as hard as it is, but change does come eventually even in the Army. But it is slow and it requires continuous effort.

            I still send in suggestions to the Army from time to time. ACU chest pockets being the current windmill I feel compelled to tilt. As a retired guy I now carry even less weight than I did on active duty, but I can still try.


        • Terry B. says:

          BTW, since the new Molle 4000 is designed to use the 1606 frame I suspect it would also be possible to use any other ALICE compatible frame on the pack if you can’t live with the frame that comes with it.

    • Luke says:

      He might be to blame for it in the first place.

  3. Aaron says:

    I hate the fact that I can’t use my NICE frame with an SI pack…but since we’re going multicam I can use that once packs are in the system.

  4. James says:

    First, frames are not what this article is about…

    second, having had the opportunity to work with Rich over the years he is definitely one of the load bearing godfathers! He is truly focused on getting the best solussion to the war fighters. He works i a small un ussuming little corner of Natick and you know he is in when you see his bicycle at the top of the stairs!

    Rich, keep up the great work! Thnak you for your service

  5. Bootcat says:

    Out of curiosity, the pack Mr Landry is working on in the top picture is a variant of the MOLLE Medium Ruck (visibly thicker, different padding so I guess it works on the 1606AC frame), and the bottom picture shows an ALICE-style top loader. Which one is the future 4,000 production version? BTW, I never understood the lack of side compression straps on the Medium, the thing just sags without them.