Salute Arc’Teryx — all analysis of ILBE pack system


Introduction of ILBE

Arc’Teryx, Mammut and Haglofs are the three top outdoor brands. Arc’Teryx has many advantages such as wide cover range of products, high technology content and excellent quality as a top outdoor brand. Of course, the price of the products of Arc’Teryx is very high. What is the relationship between Arc’Teryx with high price and the military which usually pay more attention to the cost performance of the products? Following are the introduction and analysis of ILBE (Improved Load Bearing Equipment) as the key point of this article.

The backpacks of Improved Load Bearing Equipment (ILBE for short ) are used in place of the backpacks of the old ALICE. The traditional culture of marines is different from the traditional culture of the army, so the backpacks of the Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE for short) of the army are not adopted by the marines. The marines began to implement the bidding and purchasing for the single soldier carrying equipment in 2002.

Gregory of America and Arc’Teryx of Canada remained at last stage of competition by experimental detect and comparing-screening. Spear UM21 of Gregory is very good, the product provided by Arc’Teryx is an improved new product with its Bora95 as a base. Finally, UM21 failed because of its dead weight (its dead weight reached 10 pounds, and the dead weight of the product of Arc’Teryx is lighter than UM21. But the volume of the product of Arc’Teryx is big than the volume of UM21). It is different form the case that Beretta 92F won to be M9 in the plan of JSSAP of US army because of its low price that the product with high price of Arc’Teryx won in selecting type of ILBE. Arc’Teryx with high price got the order. In my opinion, There are many factors such as enough money provided to army services of US army because of war on terror, the small total equipment because of the smaller scale of the marines than the army which is not astronomical and the contempt mentality of the marines for the army that the marines are stronger than the army, the backpack of the marines also should be better than the backpack of the army.

All series of packs of ILBE system are consist of 6 kinds of packs with different volume, 3 kinds of waterproofing bag with different volume and a hydration which have three versions the first generation, the second generation and RECON version. It is not right that someone says that the RECON version is the third generation version. Because the RECON version can not replace the second generation version, in other words, it is not the replacement of the second generation version. A set of packs usually be consist of a 75L main pack, a 27L assault pack and a 3L hydration. The price of ten yeas ago of this three-piece suit was more than 600 dollars, so ILBE system is the most expensive single solder pack system which was equipped and used massively by the marines of USA even the whole armed forces of USA.

All series of packs







TACTICAL 3L Hydration System—–TACTICAL 3L Hydration System

Waterproofing Bag Main Pack—65L Waterproofing Bag Main Pack

Waterproofing Bag Main Pack—56L Waterproofing Bag Main Pack

Waterproofing Bag ——9L Waterproofing Bag

The difference of the first generation ILBE system and the second generation ILBE system is that the color of carrying and zipper of the first generation ILBE system are different from the color of carrying and zipper of the second generation ILBE system. the color of the former is black, the color of the latter is CB. The differences of the RECON version pack are embodied in the aspect of the main pack, there are detail comparative introductions in the rest of this article.

Look at the differences of the first generation system and the second generation system borrowing the internet photos

Instructions of the ILBE system

The first part ASSAULT PACK TACTICAL 3L Hydration System

ASSAULT PACK with the volume of 27L is the daily pack of traveling to and from work for me. This pack at this level is not designed for carrying very heavy objects, it is just a daily pack with moderate volume and carrying, so it is not very strong. About the pack body, the designers adopt the combined design of woodland marpat of the marines and the coyote brown (CB for short) as the the signature color of the gear, helmet and footwear of the marines.

General view

This backpack is thick at this level of backpacks with a built-in back board on the back whose width of carrying and straps are moderate, it is very nice to use this backpack in life. It has excellent quality because of the fasteners with military quality.

There are 3 horizontal pals webbing of MOLLE system at the sides of the pack for installing other external accessories easily.

6 pals webbing of MOLLE system were exhausted at the positive part of the pack for installing other external accessories easily.

The holder at the top of the pack is very sturdy, the bottom part is the water line outlet of hydration.2 outlets of radio antenna are on the top of the pack.One-way zipper controls the opening and closing of the outer compartment books and other objects can be placed in which.

We can open the main cabin by opening the two tightening belts and the two-ways zipper of the main cabin. The size of the opening is half of the body of the pack for placing more big objects. There is marking of army.

There is a drain hole at the bottom of the pack whose volume is big enough to put in a full box of drinks.

Water bag cabin was separated by a spacer layer with elasticity the whole water bags or all water bags can be placed in which. Diversion pipe can be fixed on the straps with fixing strap with elasticity at the left of the pack or right.

We can see the small compartment firstly when we unzipper the zipper back board and other small objects can be placed in which.

TACTICAL 3L Hydration System——TACTICAL 3L Hydration System

ILBE system of the marines adopt not only Arc’Teryx as the packs but also the famous source water bag of Israel as water bags. Source water bags can be used separately, and be used as an external water bags combination, for example, the water bags combination can be attached to some kinds of packs like MTV or SPC.

For the inlet of water, there is a lid of thread forms with a rounded corner in order to let user open it easily. The lid was connected by a rope in order to prevent loss.

The dust cover is in the part of drinking, the hermetic seal is very good, The lid was connected by a rope in order to prevent loss.

We can see the body of the water bag by unzipping the zipper of the sides of the water bag.

The small compartment fixed by velcro is in the top of the back two straps hided in which.

We can see the top of source water bag by unzipping the horizontal zipper, the body of water bag can be opened for washing.

The straps which is matched with the shoulder straps hided in the part of the symmetric opening in the bottom of the pack.

We can make a water bag for using independently with shoulder straps, straps and the horizontal fixing straps.

The marking on the shoulder straps are the contract number of army of USA and storage number of US army (know as two numbers ).9L small waterproofing sealing bag which is used with assault pack.

Following is the daily method of use of the external combination of water bag adopted by me.

Following are pictures of using assault pack and water bags of the marines in practice.

Let me add some words, although Arc’Teryx get the order in ILBE system, but the packs are made by PROPPER INTERNATIONAL INC as an old local brand of USA which is the biggest manufacturing enterprise in America because of the regulations of America Law that military equipment and the materials must be made in America. So Arc’Teryx is in charge of the design and the control of quality.

The second part


The navy and the marines have good relationship because of that they are governed by the Admiralty of Pentagon and they have natural and indivisible coordination in battle and transportation. The corpsman and minister of the marines usually be sent by the navy. we call the medic officer as corpsman in the navy and the marines, it is different from that we call the medic officer as MEDIC. Corpsman assault pack is designed for corpsman specifically, and recon assault pack is designed for recon units of army. The war environment of recon units is more sinister than the ordinary infantry, and the war distance of recon units is farther than the latter. So the assault pack of reconnaissance troops have more big volume than the ordinary infantry in order to carry more objects. Corpsman assault pack and recon assault pack are same in appearance, the difference of them is that there are three inserters for carrying different kinds of medicine and instruments in corpsman assault pack.

General view, they are same in appearance.

It is a small pack although its volume is 39L (in my opinion, the pack with a volume of more than 40L is a medium-sized pack, the pack with a volume of less than 40L is a small pack). For carrying lots of medicines or ammunition equipment, the designer has enhanced the bearing capacity of the two packs by contrast with assault pack. We can feel that the bearing capacity of the two packs has be improved obviously when we use the two packs.

The shoulder straps of the two packs are more thicker than the shoulder straps of assault pack which can reduce the pressure of user effectively.

We can make the pack forward, and make the weight of the pack forward in order to reduce the feeling of backward by pulling the pull rope on the top forward.

By contrast with the large soft belt of assault pack, the strong belts of the two packs are more stronger than the belt of assault pack for better bearing capacity. Fasteners are fasteners with military quality. Fixing strap on the chest can provide stability to user when used.

The two-ways zipper controls the opening and closing of the compartment out of the pack, so the pack can be opened very easily for taking objects.

Three compartments and a net bag, velcro controls the opening and closing of two compartments, one-way zipper controls the opening and closing of the third compartment.

Volume (see figure)

The opposite part is the net bag with a one-way zipper and a big volume

Bottom pocket cabin can be used by connecting with the inner main cabin or separating separately as required. Bottom pocket cabin has some features such as the near-circular design, two-ways zipper and the wide opening in order to put in and take out objects with large volume.

We can see the symmetrical designed tightening belt form the appearance of bottom pocket cabin.

The main cabin was separated and connected with separating cloth with fasteners when we keep the packs open.

Opening the main cabin by unzipping the two-ways zipper, we can see that the opening of the pack is enough big to take objects, at the same time, we can see the difference of the two packs that there are three inserters which were used to carry medical instruments and medicines.

The inside of the main cabin

The inner marking, we can see that the two names are different.

Medical inserter

Different kinds of medicines and instruments can be classified and stored clearly. Fixing belt and velcro can play a role of enhancing the stability during marching.

Like the separation of the bottom pocket cabin, medical inserter also be connected with the body of the pack by the black semi-circular fastener which can be disassembled when it is not needed. The corpsman pack without medical inserter is same with assault pack.

we can see the back board which was used for supporting the pack after opening the velcro on the top of the main cabin.

We can see the metal bar of the pack which was designed and installed between bottom pocket cabin and the top of the pack after opening the pack


Because the volume of main cabin is not enlarged, its volume is not much bigger than the volume of assault pack except for the enlarged outer cabin and bottom pocket cabin.

Its volume is bigger than the volume of assault pack as a big pack in the small packs for daily use. It is suitable for traveling of suburban areas. Its bearing capacity is stronger than assault pack obviously. All kinds of accessories and packs with the same size can be placed to enlarge the volume of the pack by the help of PAls webbing of MOLLE system at every part of the pack.

The pictures of using of corpsman assault pack and recon assault pack of US army in practice.

The third part

MAIN PACK—-75L main pack & RECON MAIN PACK—– 90L recon main pack

The main pack of ILBE can be divided into two types MAIN PACK and RECON MAIN PACK as the main pack with the largest volume and the strongest bearing capacity. There are five aspects of obvious differences between MAIN PACK and RECON MAIN PACK, following are the introductions of the differences.

General view

Firstly, we can easily find the difference in volume of the two packs, RECON MAIN PACK is designed for recon units whose volume is enlarged for carrying more equipment.

The volume of main pack reached 75L, the enlarged volume of recon main pack designed for recon units reached 90L. Generally speaking, the ratio of the volume and bearing weight is 1:1, in other words, the two packs can bear objects with 70-90 jin weight (I carried 80 jin objects in my pack ago). The bearing capacity can meet the need of the marines for carrying, and 80 jin is the limit weight one person can bear(there are packs, ammunition and other objects to be carried for the marines). When we need bear the equipment with limit weight, a bearing system with excellent design, strong bear capacity and good comfort can reduce the pressure of users. The two packs have many same advantages such as strong bearing system, strong bearing capacity and comfortable,heavy shoulder straps with good stability. But by contrast with the bearing system of outer rack pack, their permeability is a little worse.

Detachable belts

Heavy shoulder straps and belts

Quack release device refers to that he can get rid of the pack when the user is in danger such as drowning, hurt and other emergencies.

There are symmetric handles at the left and right side of the back board.

Seeing from the sides of the pack, the second difference is that RECON MAIN PACK change the part of MAIN PACK which is made of leather into the material with the same color of the body, and the number of tightening belt is 3 not 4. There are pockets which are used for carrying the foot stool, moisture-proof pad and other objects in the bottom of the two packs.

Unzipper the two-ways zipper of the besides of the body of pack, and take out the objects in the pack.

The fasteners used are ITW fasteners with military quality like the fasteners of other ILBE system.

Let us see the third difference that there is a skin which can be rolled at the front part of main pack. The skin is used for wrapping mortar shells. every marine must carry a mortar shell in order to reduce the pressure of the mortar man and increase the carrying capacity of ammunition in battle. So the device is designed for ILBE MAIN PACK which can be rolled and fixed by the fasteners.

There is not the skin at the front part of RECON MAIN PACK which was replaced by a big add-on wrapping cloth with lots of PALs webbing of MOLLE system. We can see that there are many horizontal PALs webbings at the front part of the body of the pack after Opening the fasteners and removing the cloth. Without the skin, the marines of recon units not need to carry the mortar shells.

The scientific name of this cloth is tail which is a good annotation of the position of this cloth. The tail has stability function that it can wrap and fix the other external packs.

ACCESORY PUCH is the forth difference.

There are two detachable ear packs at recon main pack which can be used with the packs which conform to the specifications of PALs of MOLLE system. The scientific name of ear packs is ACCESORY POUCH. It usually be called ear pack because of its position. The volume of this two ACCESORY POUCHS is not small, three cans can be placed in the outer net pocket compartment.


We have side before that the prototype of ILBE main pack is civilian version of BORA95. But the prototype of ILBE main pack is civilian version of BORA65 if we get rid of the top pack. Recon main pack adopt the same design with main pack about top pack.

It is connected and fixed with the body by the four symmetric fasteners.

A two-ways zipper controls the opening and closing of top pack which has a big volume equal to the volume of a small assault pack.

We can see the opening of main pack after getting rid of top pack. Tension straps with fixing function are designed and used for top pack and main pack.

the length of the opening of recon main pack is longer than the opening of main pack. There are two tightening ropes at the opening of recon main pack, but there is only one tightening rope at the opening of main pack. The volume of recon main pack was enlarged just because of the changing of the opening.

The difference of inside of pack is the fifth difference. Let us see main pack firstly, there is a radio pouch fixed by fasteners which was used to fix communication equipment. We can see the separating cloth when we get rid of radio pouch.

We can divided the cabin into two parts by opening the separating cloth which was connected and fixed by the semi-circular fasteners.

Radio bag without separating cloth in the recon main pack is more big.

Lastly, let us see the waterproofing sealing bag designed for main pack which have two types 56L waterproofing sealing bag and 65L waterproofing sealing bag.

Following FILBE system were included in the army in a large scale in 2012, ILBE system will fade from our view gradually. But in my opinion, FILBE is the result of compromises under the background of reducing military spending by contrast with ILBE system with high price and excellent comprehensive performance. In bidding on the project of FILBE system, the famous Mystery Ranch also failed because of high price. Antaeus of Arc’Teryx was commended to the marines for bidding as a new project based in ILBE system under the background of reducing military spending. Of course, Arc’Teryx failed. So IBLE system should be the most expensive a set of packs (bearing system) included in the army of USA in a large scale in the history of US army.