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64 Pat Rucksack Mounted on Downeast 1606AC Airborne Molle Frame


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Down East Inc in Maine manufactured the original pack frames for the US Molle II System.  The first frames absolutely sucked in the eyes of endusers.  The plastic was brittle and broke easily, causing many a trooper to suck it up and drive on with a broken ruck on his back.  The design was changed and the plastic improved, and has since, served its purpose for the most part.  And as Canadian Troopers complain often of their issue equipment, the US Army is no different. 

A few years ago, Down East introduced their 1606 "Airborne" Molle Frame, a shortened and narrow tapered improved design.  This Airborne Frame changed from the M1944 Packboard-style layout to a more compact A shaped form.  This frame was available for aftermarket purchase and was adopted as part of rucksack designs for the Australian Military.


Some clever individuals adapted the 1606 Frame to the US LC-2 All Purpose Lightweight Individual Carry Equipment, aka "ALICE" Pack or more affectionately referred to as the "Green Tick" for its bloated form that just sucks the blood out of you on long road marches.  Down East responded by changing the 1606 design slightly so the top brace would fit into the Alice pack frame pocket with no modifications resulting in the 1606AC. 


After a short eval over on www.Lightfighter.net of the 1606AC installed onto a current Afghanistan-theatre-issued Multicam (or Operation Enduring Freedom Camo Pattern-OCP) Molle II Large Rucksack: 
http://lightfighter.net/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9046084761/m/57520638663 a Canadian Forces Trooper inquired if the 1606AC was adaptable to the 1964 Pattern Rucksack System.  After some experimentation in the wee hours of the morning, I was indeed able to securely mount the 64 Ruck Bag, Valise and A7 Straps to the 1606AC Frame.  My "Jump Ruck" is a Mat Tech modified Ruck Bag, with 82 Pattern Shoulder Straps and US LC-2 Alice Pack Waist Belt.
I was able to first install the 82 Pat Shoulder Straps/Lat Pad, the 64 Pack with the vertical attachment straps extended to at least 18in long, and a US Alice Waist Belt with strap assy.

The 1606AC is about 2.5" shorter in height, and about 2.5" wider at the horizontal supports.

The ruck will ride higher. So if you have the 64 Bag full, plus your Thermarest and Valise, you may have problems with the Gallet bumping against the Valise, limiting your visual range.

The good news is, when you cinch the load lifters on the shoulder straps, the 1606AC Frame really flexes as your walk, it won't beat you up like the Alice, 64 or 82 "birdcage" frame.

The 82 Pattern Shoulder Strap Assy needs to be installed first. It would fit better if the 2 horizontal straps could be shortened on the buckle side. Take some Timmies down to your Mat Techs, have them alter the 2 horizontal straps, lengthen the two vertical ruck attachment straps to at least 16", 18" would be even better, and make two longer waist pad install straps, at least 30" at a minimum, 32-34" is even better.


Install the 64 Pattern Rucksack Bag on the frame, run the two vertical straps through one of the 2 horizontal slits under the lat pad, up through the one horizontal slit on the wide horizontal support arm, around the rectangular rucksack ring, back through that horizontal slit.

Run the lower friction buckle through the large handle hole in the lower frame and cinch down the vertical ruck attach strap.

I attached the two rectangular lower ruck attachment rings to the Alice Waist Belt using the custom or US GI Strap. Run the strap from inside the frame, thru the middle waist belt slot, around the Alice Waist Belt Ring, around the ruck ring, and back through the same waist belt slot. Do the same for the other side and cinch down with buckle, tape loose end.

Use the other waist strap to secure the two shoulder strap attachment rings on the ruck bag bottom corners. Run the strap from inside the frame, through the lower waist strap slits around the ring, back through the either slit. Do the same for the other side then cinch down the strap and tape your loose ends.

Attach the shoulder strap quick release strap thru the top waist belt slit.

I attached the A7 Straps through the large slots on the top frame, then down behind the ruck bag to the larger 2 slots just above the handle holes in the lower frame. Then through the long horizontal slits under the handle cut-out, and back up over top the ruck bag to better cinch down the entire Valise and Ruck Bag.



I haven't tried tabbing with this 64/82/Alice/1606 Ruck-Frame combination as of yet. So your mileage may vary.
With a heavily stuffed ruck bag and valise you may have trouble going prone then trying to get eyes on the C79 Elcan while wearing the CG634 Gallet Ballistic Helmet.

The Down East 1606AC Alice Compatable Airborne Frame are  $35.91 plus shipping at direct sales: http://downeastinc.com/cgi-bin/online/storepro.php

My interest is incredibly peaked.

What's the load rating for the frame? The past 2 years now I've been using the CPGear 64 GenIII Pack on an American ALICE frame. The 'squeaking' from the metal frame to the shoulder straps when backpacking drives me insane. Then the flex factor also has me drooling a bit...

REGARDLESS if you have any idea about the load rating I would be forever thankful.
Thanks a bunch - where'd you aquire this information? If it's on the website I'm at a loss. I'll assume you called/emailed them?
The Crowe it's pretty easy to find, google Down East frames, click on the Down East Inc page, on the left side of the webpage theres a tab that says "Pack Frames"  click on each of their frames and it lists the specs and max weight, etc

Ah - I was at the right site... just the wrong area (The Store vs. their product listings).

Cheers -Skeletor-!
since my last post i`ve been emailing Mark Wheeler from cpgear and he sounds interested in making these frames available on his web site, so you`d be able to purchase the 1606ac frame and 64 pattern rucksack (available in arid cadpat and woodland cadpat). good business for him but i think he`s is a little unsure if there's a market for the frame, so if you think you`d buy the frame or rucksack completely let me know so i can give him a quick potential sale report. it would save us on shipping the frames seeing as how cpgear is in canada.
chinooktech - Deff interested in a Canadian Vendor... I hate getting my leather cherio violated by shipping charges.

Although I would be more inclined to love the 1603.
I didn't want to start a new thread for this, since the 82 pattern shoulder straps have come up, does anyone know or know how to find out what the 82 pattern rucksack's quick-release shoulder straps are called and if there is a patent on them?
ballz said:
I didn't want to start a new thread for this, since the 82 pattern shoulder straps have come up, does anyone know or know how to find out what the 82 pattern rucksack's quick-release shoulder straps are called and if there is a patent on them?

I can't imagine a patent on anything other than the plastic hardware used for the rigging. Just take it apart and you might find the manufactures name printed on the pieces.
Manufacturing of any kit is a cut throat business and pretty hard to patent...doesn't take much to change something to get around a patent
Crapgame: Thanks for your pictures and insight! I just placed an order for the 1606 and it will be here in no more than 7 days! Im really happy its coming quick bc my ALICE frame is being held together with guntape as a result of a freak tabbing accident this weekend past :facepalm:

I have a BFT coming up on the 1rst of June, does anyone know if there is a break-in period for these frames? Last year I did the BFT in 1:50, and Im training to do it quicker this year. Id like to make sure im not going to break my new frame 8)!

Anyone else have any tips for rigging styles for fast moving with a 60lbs ALICE BAG?
ballz said:
I didn't want to start a new thread for this, since the 82 pattern shoulder straps have come up, does anyone know or know how to find out what the 82 pattern rucksack's quick-release shoulder straps are called and if there is a patent on them?

"I lost my yoke...and also my valise"


I received my frame today and put it all together. It was kind of tricky because my shoulder straps are from the ERYX system (padding is like couch cushions  ;D). The way this frame swoops in from the top to the bottom it conforms to your back, and IMHO carries the weight much better. the true test will be tomorrow as I have an 8km march. Ill report back tomorrow and let everyone know how it held up!
I ordered mine yesterday from DEI.  Does anyone know why the DWAN considers their a domain with a bad reputation?  Has anyone else ordered lately.
Ya I just received mine a few days ago. I ordered it online from the GPnet and picked it up at the CFPost 7 days later. This is an amazing product!
I should add that IOT use this frame and my tackvest, I had to remove the bottom straps that connect the back of the vest with the sides. It might just be the kidney strap that I have, but I should have done this while I was still using the issue jump frame.
Roger that and thanks for the heads up and accept these Milpoints in return!
Frame received today.  It will not work with the CP GEAR P64 bag as the straps are very far apart.  Works great with the issue bag.  I used the CP Gear GENIII shoulder straps and waist belt.  For a back pad I used the CP Gear extra back pad for their P64 yoke, it needed to be lengthen but it fits just fine.