The best military rucksacks with a frame are:
|1.||MT US Military Molle II Large Rucksack|
|2.||MT US Military Molle II Medium Rucksack|
|3.||MT Military ALICE Pack Rucksack|
|4.||Military Surplus FILBE Rucksack|
|5.||US Military Surplus MOLLE Rucksack|
|External Fram included with rucksack||May be too big for non military folks|
|Durable (Made from 1,000D nylon)|
|Can hold up to 100 lbs in weight|
|MOLLE webbing to attach any MOLLE type gear.|
The Military MOLLE II rucksack is a beast, and one of our favorite rucksacks. The material is made from 1000D nylon, this is important as it makes this rucksack abrasion resistant while also making it water repellent.
The main compartment alone is capable of carrying 60 lbs (with the additional compartments and side pouches, you can carry up to 100lbs of weight) and is 4,000 cubic inches (Please see the our ruck size guide below to better understand the size of this rucksack).
On top of that, it also comes with 2 additional side pouches that are 500 cubic inches each and a waist pouch. The rucksack only weighs 8 lbs which is not heavy at all when the load is distributed evenly
The Molle II large rucksack can be used for other outdoor activities making it a great multi purpose rucksack. Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon) if you’re interested.
If you’re unclear on the difference between an ALICE pack vs a MOLLE pack, check out our recent post: ALICE vs MOLLE packs to find out which options is best for you.
|Durability (Made from 1,000D Nylon)||No Hip Belt given its smaller size|
|Quick Release Buckle|
|Great for Military personnel|
Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon) if you’re interested
|Strong external frame (made from aluminum & Iron)||Padding in the shoulder straps would be better if thicker.|
|Durable (Made From High Density Polyester)|
|Main compartment alone can carry up to 50lbs|
|Quick Release Clasp|
This rucksack is an All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (Alice) Rucksack. To cut the history lesson short, the Alice rucksack design was built back in 1974 as a balance of two types of loads: “fighting load” and “existence load”. In plain english, this rucksack design was made for all environments (hot or cold). This innovative design makes this rucksack function-able for the troops and for regular folks.
This rucksack is focused on Military use. Its used for U.S Troops in Asia and therefore its equipped with all the accessories one may need for those long rucks! It comes with an external frame made from a mixture of aluminum and Iron, the perfect combination to make the frame strong yet lightweight. Carrying a heavy load will not be stressful as it includes well padded shoulder straps and a hip belt (which they call kidney pad strap).
The material is made from high density Polyester 10,00D. It’s also waterproof, the liner can be used as a water bucket which is a great asset for field situations. Given that this is made for Military Use, the main compartment alone can cary 50 – 60 lbs, Adding weight to the 3 front pouches and 2 side pouches can easily add 20 – 30 more pounds of weight.
Check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon) if you’re interested.
|Strong external frame||Padding in the shoulder straps would be better if thicker.|
|Durable (Made From 1,000D Nylon)|
|Spacious – the main compartment alone is 5,000 Cubic Inches|
|Packed with Accessories|
The FILBE is a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) Rucksack. MOLLE rucksacks are the updated version of the ALICE rucksacks. Keep in mind that people still use the ALICE. The design of these of MOLLE rucksacks are more focused on attaching pouches and gear. Gear and pouch attachment is easy and much more accessible. Accessibility and convenience are certainly the focus here as it also includes 2 hydration pouches and 2 sustainment pouches.
The stitching is reinforced and includes a high quality buckle and zippers to ensure durability and longevity. We included the FILBE to our list because of its practicality and multipurpose use. It comes with an external frame, hip belt, and a shoulder harness system to help you carry the weight with proper form. Last, but not least, the main pack is 5000 cubic inches which according to our rucksack size guide, is massive! According to their website, you can easily load 100 lbs. Impressive.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to Amazon (link to Amazon).
Unlike the other rucksacks mentioned in this list, the Molle II has an internal frame. More specifically, the frame is a sheet of hard plastic mounted inside the back compartment. It includes 2 pouches each sized at 500 cubic inches. Collectively, this rucksack has a 5,000 cubic inch storage capacity.
However, this rucksack does not include a hip belt, but is great if you are on and off the field. Its not as big as the other rucksacks on this list making it a friendlier alternative for travel and other outdoor activities
|Can be used for other outdoor activities||Hip Belt not included|
|Spacious – the main compartment alone is 4,000 Cubic Inches|
|Storage – it includes 2 sustainable pouches (500 cubic inches each)|
If you’re interested, check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon).
Difference between Internal and External Framed Rucksacks
|Internal Frame||An internal frame sits right against your back and is capable of shifting to the positions you’re shifting to which helps with agility. Having the rucksack so close to your body, the center of gravity is low. This makes sense as internal frames were initially designed for climbers and high mountain use. However, you may not be able to pack as much items as a rucksack with external frames.|
|External Frame||This is when the back of the rucksack is not sticking to your back. This helps with ventilation (avoids sweaty backs). Heavy weight is typically carried higher. This results in the weight going down to your shoulder, down to your back, and then to the hip and legs. The addition of the padded hip belts further enhances the weight distribution. All in all, this helps you carry heavy weights for a longer time and maintain proper posture when walking, marching, or rucking.|
Ventilation is typically better on externally framed rucksacks since they leave a gap between your back and the back of the rucksack.
However, There are internally framed rucksacks that do include purposely designed bumps to allow for air circulation and avoid back sweats. Check out our best rucksacks for rucking post for more options.
Rucksack Size Guide
A lot of sites out there refer to rucksack sizes in cubic inches, but to the average Joe it’s hard to really understand how big or small a rucksack is. Here’s our general sizing guide to help put things into perspective. Keep in mind this is not measured to the T, but it’s our best educated estimates.
|Rucksack Size||Use||Cubic Inches|
|Small||Similar to everyday backpacks. Can be used for a day hike. Not typically used for long rucks.||2,500 and under|
|Medium||These certainly can be use for rucking, but are not the largest in the market. Could be used for a day or two long ruck.||2,501 – 3,999|
|Large||These are big and are typically required for military use, or a few days long ruck.||4,000+|
If you’re still unsure what size rucksack best suits you, check out our recent post, is a 65 litre backpack big enough.
Looking to ease up your ruck? Check out our complete list of rucking gear to ease your ruck.