Lowa Zephyr Mk2 GTX

Posts Tagged ‘Antaeus’

The Arc’teryx Antaeus – SSD Exclusive

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Ten years ago, Arc’teryx developed the Improved Load Bearing Equipment (ILBE) pack for the Marine Corps. Based on their award winning Bora technology, ILBE was a monumental leap forward in load carrying capability for the military. Over the ensuing years not only did Arc’teryx continue to lead the way as a commercial pack innovator, but the Marines adapted how they fight and consequently, how they use load bearing systems. Loads changed radically including the adoption of armor vests with bulky armor plates as standard fair. In particular, rear plates play havoc with the balanced carrying of a load on the back. Unfortunately, ILBE was not updated, so early this year Arc’teryx took it upon themselves to create Anteaus ILBE as an internal project. Now in its fifth version, this pack, named the Antaeus is the most technically advanced military pack we have seen. Unlike ILBE it is not a modified civilian pack but rather leverages technologies developed for the commercial market, but applies them in ways more appropriate for a tactical pack. However, when you look at the Antaeus, you can see that it has a similar pedigree to the ILBE.

The portage handles are still there as well as the articulated waist belt. While they are improved, the Antaeus also features quick release sternum, should and waist straps. And, like ILBE Antaeus is a system. It is made up of three components that can be used alone of in concert with one another. The core of the system is the 3967 cu in main pack. Designed as a top loader it features a simple lid and lower side pockets designed for water bottles or other items requiring quick access. Additionally, the assault pack is a 2135 cu in beast that most will find sufficient for short duration missions. It can be attached piggy back style to the main pack or strapped down under the lid depending on the load configuration. Finally, a 730 cu in lid can be used as a waist pack or attached in a more traditional role on either the main or assault packs. It features multiple pockets in order to help compartmentalize items such as medical supplies or communications devices.

The differences are numerous as well. This pack has been designed specifically to accommodate someone wearing body armor with a rear plate. New foam has been integrated into the shoulder straps. Conventional wisdom would tell you that you don’t need padding if you are wearing an armor vest but unfortunately, a heavy pack with narrow shoulder straps still digs into the shoulder despite the layers of ballistic material. Arc’teryx has dealt with this by relying on dual density foam and a unique should strap shape which spreads the load across the shoulder. Additionally, the concave, non-slip back pad will stabilize the load so that it does not teeter on an armor plate yet still provides ample lumbar support for those not wearing armor. Also, a heavy-duty U shaped zipper facilitates easy access to sleeping gear or other bulky items located at the bottom of the main pack. This design reduces stress on the zipper and does not compromise the integrity of the pack’s ability to carry a load if the zipper fails. Finally, the pack is not slathered in PALS webbing but rather features limited amounts where additional load carrying capacity would be most effective. This helps mitigate both weight and cost.

While it appears that the Marine Corps is adopting an externally framed pack similar the Army-issue MOLLE, Arc’teryx plans on continuing refinement of the Antaeus for those that require an internal frame military pack. The Arc’teryx LEAF (Law Enforcement Armed Forces) program is also developing an entire new family of packs based on the latest in commercial pack technology. They will be unlike anything you have ever seen.