GORE-Tex Professional

Posts Tagged ‘Down East’

“Son of ALICE” Ruck from SpecOpShop

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

SpecOpShop,LLC and Down East Inc have teamed up to bring you the “Son Of Alice” ruck.

According to SpecOpShop, their new Son of ALICE is just like its momma, only hopped up on pockets. They’ve taken the classic ALICE design and modernized it, utilizing the Down East Airborne Assault 1606 frame.

It features 11 body zippered pockets and 2 Slot pockets for toolage. The hydration pocket holds 2 X 100 oz bladders and there is also an interior Radio pouch as well as 2 *Plus* pockets. The upper exterior pocket has 2 interior pouches and the lid is elasticized for a snug and weatherproof closure to main body. The main opening also incorporates a storm skirt for overload capacity and weatherproofing. Overall, the SOA includes 3 grab handles. The shoulder straps and sternum strap utilize ITW Snap-Dragons. They’ve even included 10 Accessory web strips for ALICE clips & pockets.

main body: 3500 in3 + pockets:
2000 in3 (pockets)
Weight: 8 lb. 6 Oz.
Material: 500D Cordura, body & reinforcements 400D Packcloth, extensions & linings

The SOA will be available immediately in Crye MultiCam, Pencott Series of Camo patterns and solid colors such as Ranger Green and Coyote Tan.


Sneak Peek – Down East Polymer Feed Chute

Friday, June 1st, 2012

It doesn’t matter who builds your ammo backpack system, the issue is the feed chute, both from a cost and to a certain degree! weight standpoint. Generally, the more money you spend on a feed chute, the more it’s going to cost. Until now.

Down East, the guys who developed the all but indestructible MOLLE frame as well as the FastMag family of products put their knowledge of plastics to work on developing a new 7.62 feed chute and came up with this solution. The idea is to bring the price point down to make wide spread fielding affordable rather than niche products.

According to Down East, “The internal geometries and materials are designed to allow the ammo to feed more freely, while gaining some range of motion. The design is also easily scalable to 5.56, 30mm, etc. once we have worked the kinks out. Instead of rehashing the WW2 era metal version over overlapping plates, we are going with a patent pending modular design which could be used on a pack, for a fixed emplacement (as in a FOB), or on a vehicle.

This is a first look at their first generation production item that they have just begun wear testing. By design, the chute feeds in either direction and is constructed of interlocking links, allowing it to be repaired or resized. You can cut out an even number of links, or cut one section of connectors and add an even number of links. What is really cool is that the links are made from their proprietary fragmentation resistant polymer (used in the MOLLE and FILBE pack frames) and is available color matched and NIR compliant with the major camouflage patterns (Coyote 498, TAN499, FG 504).

In the photos they have a mesh cover over part of the chute and this is an attempt to reduce the reflectance of the brass without totally enclosing the chute. However, this isn’t required and they could just as well leave the chute completely uncovered or offer a a full fabric enclosure. The end of the chute features a standard type attachment for the M240B. The pack pictured here uses the same sort of bracket to mount the other end of the chute.

The feed cute pictured is 44” compressed and 56” fully extended, and weighs approximately 3.5 lbs. Depending on testing they may be able to further lighten the load.

It’s very important that you understand that this feed chute is for a ground role only. This isn’t meant for aviation applications. It’s a plastic product after all. The big issue here is to determine how long these can stand up to the rigors of day-to-day carriage with ammo on them as well as while firing. I do know that Down East ran over one with a truck and it survived which is promising.

They are still working out cost, but, based on where they are they’re anticipating a fraction of the $1700-2200 that metal chutes currently run.

Look for details on a ver 2.0 soonish as well as some additional info on the pack in the photos which utilizes the 1609 frame developed for the US Army medium ruck.



Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Unfortunately, the Marines haven’t released any photos of their new issue pack called FILBE. Yes, it’s odd, but so is the whole tale of its adoption. However, what we do have is a photo of the pack on a Mystery Ranch NICE frame rather than the issue Down East 1606 frame. You can clearly see MR’s new Removable Bolster System on the frame and word has it that they had a hand in development of FILBE. Interestingly, the 1606 fame was actually developed for use by the Army’s airborne forces who needed a shorter frame to accommodate the seating on cargo aircraft. The pack sits atop the thighs when rigged paratroopers are seated.

Hopefully, the Marines will display an issue version of the FILBE at this week’s Modern Day Marine.

Breaking News – USMC to Buy New Pack

Friday, April 8th, 2011

The USMC has just released a presolicitation notice for a new pack system to replace the current ILBE. This will be a full and open competition with no set asides. The Marines have been looking for some time for a new pack and there have been quite a few rumblings in industry that it would be a government owned design rather than a competition for a completely new, commercially derived design. Expect it to resemble MOLLE more than ILBE. There is an odd bit in the presolicitation that sort of promises a chance to see a pack that sort of looks like the model they want. “Interested offerors are further advised that MARCORSYSCOM, PM ICE, may host a USMC Pack sample viewing during the week of 6 June 2011 (date is tentative) at a location still yet to be determined. This event will be strictly for the purpose of viewing a like-USMC Pack model – which is not an exact representation of the product detailed in subject solicitation.” It is perplexing that they know what the pack looks like that they want but that they don’t have any prototypes of it. This hardly engenders confidence in the process.

According to the solicitation, “The USMC Pack system is specifically intended to provide the Marine with a load carriage system that fully integrates with currently fielded body armor systems. The estimated maximum quantity is 245,721 USMC Pack systems in addition to associated sustainment components.”

Furthermore, the actual solicitation is expected to be released in the next 60 days and “The Government anticipates awarding Firm Fixed Price, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contracts to no more than two (2) offerors that are each capable of producing at least 123,000 Pack systems within twelve (12) months of contract award. Each ID/IQ contract will cover a five (5) year ordering period. Evaluation factors will be set forth in the forthcoming solicitation. Potential offerors are advised that Evaluation will require offerors to submit a minimum of (2) product demonstration models for compliance to a USMC Pack system drawing package and product description (PD).

Interestingly, the Purchase Description also speaks of a “Family of Load Bearing Equipment (FILBE)” that will be available in the following patterns and colors:

Class 1 – Coyote Brown 498
Class 2 – Woodland MARPAT
Class 3 – Desert MARPAT
Class 4 – Snow MARPAT
Class 5 – OCP
Class 6 – Tan 499

Details of the pack’s design are still a mystery but we expect it to include the following features/components:

A) USMC Pack
a. Main Pack
(1) Frame
(2) Shoulder Harness Assembly
(3) Hip Belt
(4) Main Bag
b. Assault Pack
c. Assault Pouch
d. Sustainment Pouch (Qty. 2)
e. Hydration Pouch (Qty. 2)
f. Hydration Carrier
g. Hydration Bladder System
(1) Hydration Bladder
(2) Hydration Tube with cover
(3) Hydration Bite Valve with cover
h. Sternum Cinch
i. Sub-Belt (also known as “Girth Hip Belt”)
j. Repair Kit
k. Care and Use Manual

FILBE will also include the following components:

B) Chest Rig
a. USMC Chest Rig
C) USMC Equipment Pouches
D) USMC Holster
E) USMC Corpsman Assault Pack
F) Individual Water Purification System

Based on information we received from multiple sources we believe the frame to be the Down East 1606 frame first developed for the Army’s airborne community but as of yet still unfielded by that service. Additionally, the sternum cinch sounds mysteriously like the Mystery Ranch, Mystery Cinch. That’s because it is!, at least according to the Purchase Description although it adds that pesky “or equivalent”.

Down East Opens Online Store

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Down East has opened their web store and offer not only two variants of the popular 1606 MOLLE frame but also complete pack systems as well as suspension components in Coyote, Black, and MultiCam. Down East recently released a new variant of the 1606 frame that is compatible with the ALICE pack which has really increased its versatility. Unfortunately, the store does not yet have the 1609 Open Perimeter frame which is used in the new Army Medium Rucksack but we hope they will offer it soon.


High Speed Gear TRASH Bag

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

North Carolina-based High Speed Gear produces a wide range of tactical nylon equipment and accessories. Based on the continued popularity of the ALICE pack, they developed the TRASH Bag. HSGI always wants to integrate new capabilities into their products so they recently produced a variant of the TRASH Bag that will not only work with the venerable ALICE frame but also the new Down East 1606 frame. While the 1606 frame is indeed an external system, many feel it works as more of a hybrid due to the way it hugs the bag and wraps around the wearer. The 1606 is much more of an interface than an end unto itself.

HSGI Trash Pack

Designed to replicate the footprint of the Large ALICE pack, the TRASH Bag adds a carrying handle and in place of the ALICE’s pockets, it is covered in PALS webbing. Internally, the radio pouch has been replaced with PALS webbing.


The lid is removable to reveal a generous top opening with a spindrift. It also integrates a panel opening on the back. The panel flap has two mesh pockets to help organize equipment.

HSGI TRASH Panel Opening

The packs are offered in 1000D Cordura. HSGI built a prototype in 500D but felt the weight difference was negligible. While the photos depict the TRASH pack in MARPAT, that pattern is currently unavailable. Rather, the pack comes in Khaki (standard), Smoke Green, and Multicam. Other patterns are available if the customer supplies material. The pack does not come with a frame, waist belt, or shoulder straps.

To order visit www.highspeedgearinc.com.

Prototype Down East Pack Sneak Peek

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Down East has been selling a demonstrator pack for several months now. It does the job of showing off the utility of their 1606 frame but it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that they feel would properly compliment their frame.

Down East Prototype Pack

In order to rectify the situation they recently entered into a collaboration with Eagle Industries to produce a modular pack system based around the 1606 frame. So far two prototypes have been built and Down east hopes to go into production later this year with a model based on lessons learned from the demonstrators.

Down East Prototype Pack Side view

The main bag is about 2000 cubic inches and with all of the compartments extended and filled it maxes out at 5100 cubic inches. It is manufactured from 500D Cordura and features a removable lid, sleeping bag compartment, radio pocket, and numerous compression straps to help manage the load.

Pack Lid

The lid can be separated from the pack and used as an assault pack. It is designed with easily deployable, simple set of shoulder straps and accommodates a water reservoir.

Pack Cover

The pack also includes a rain cover that stores in a small slot at the bottom of the pack. The rain cover is lightweight and stays attached to the pack via a tether. Not only does it protect the pack’s contents from the environment it also provides a smooth exterior so that attached items are less prone to snagging and can be used to adapt the pack to changing operational environments through camouflage patterns applied to the cover.

There are numerous features that we have not disclosed in this article for two reasons. First, they may not find their way into the final design and second, we see no reason to give Down East’s and Eagle’s competition a leg up.

The pack is still in prototype phase and several will be going out for field testing this summer. Based on feedback the pack may enter production as early as this Fall.

Down East at SHOT

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Down East are the geniuses behind such products as the FastMag, Snap Dragon buckle, and MOLLE Frame. Amid little fanfare they unveiled their latest incarnation of the FastMag at SHOT Show. As the prototype FastMag passed from hand to hand among gear aficionados, the inventors explained the evolutionary improvements over previous versions. The greatest improvement is the attachment mechanism. A thin, rubberized, PALS compatible strap has been integrated directly into the design and pulls over a tab to secure the pouch via tension. Additionally, they introduced the ability to shingle the FastMag with Tactical Tailor’s MALICE Clip. The pouches can be stacked on top of one another or in conjunction with soft pouches as seen below. Additionally, you will notice that the bungee is missing. Down East felt that it was superfluous and drove up cost. Instead they engineered holes into the design so that the user could integrate a bungee if they felt the need. The new design is still in the prototype phase but if past performance is any indicator, these should begin to be available soon.

Down East FastMag Down East FastMag Attachment System Down East FastMag

To announce their new Direct Sales program, they also showed a version of their rucksack. In order to test their latest frame (DEI 1606) and suspension (in this case made by Eagle), Down East commissioned Log House Designs to manufacture a 2400 cu in pack. They are pleased to now offer limited numbers of these for sale in UCP and Multicam (available Late Jan 09) as well as civilian Black and Navy Blue. The pack is a simple top loader with ample PALS webbing to attach accessories and features a comfortable suspension.

Down East Rucksack Suspension Down East Rucksack Down East Rucksack

For more information visit www.downeastinc.com.

Photos from Soldier Systems Daily, Down East Inc and Mil Spec Monkey.