Every Piece of Gear in An U.S. Army Jungle Warfare Soldier

One interesting aspect is that in 2023, this U.S. Army jungle warrior still uses the old ALICE backpack, canteens, ammo pouch, and ALICE gear so those old ALICE packs aren’t lost or obsolete in 2023—modelers can still use them. It seems that “almost anything goes” in the mix-and-match of gear and webbing for jungle warfare.

As such, figure and accessory model kit makers have everything needed to make your own 1/35 modern U.S. Army jungle warrior.

16 minutes and 14 seconds runtime and Insider Business has other “Gear” videos like this one.

Don’t believe everything you see on YouTube. No idea when this was actually made and if this guy is actually an instructor at the Jungle Warfare Center. The gear is old and no longer used in the current force. There are no jungle-specific units, so this gear could only be at the school, if at all.

There are however, units that spend a majority of their time in the jungle. I know how much folks love to look things up on the internet. Try 7th SFG(A) for a start.

I can tell you from my own experience - most SF guys now, then, and for the foreseeable future, love the large ALICE. And I’ve said this many times in the past - it is adaptable, holds an asston of gear, and is very robust. Anyone ever jump a plastic framed ruck in sub freezing weather? I have. The results were predictable. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s gone - there’s a company in Tacoma - Tactical Tailor, that still does brisk business modifying this ruck for another group of fellows who might see time in the jungle once in a while - 1st SFG(A). I recall using my ALICE in the PI in 2004. That may not be recent enough for some folks, but if I had to go there again I’d take it again. (although next time I’d pack a hammock) Long story for another time…
“Sergeant, you no hammock?”
“No dude, I’ve been sleeping on the ground over twenty years…”


I agree on the large ALICE ruck, it is a great piece of gear, just not widely used any longer. I still had one when we invaded Iraq in '03. 3ID was just transitioning to the newer MOLLE rucksack at that time, but I wasn’t issued a new one yet. My daughter used the same large ALICE ruck all through college and when she went through ADA OBC in 2021. She was the only one w/one, but everyone wanted one as it was more comfortable and more user friendly than the current MOLLE ones. It looked cool too. I still use it for hiking and camping. I got it when I was a young 2LT, so it has been around almost 30 years and served two generations of Soldiers.

I may not be the brightest bulb in the drawer, so tell me which is it? It’s no longer being used in the current force, or it was, as recently as 2021? It may no longer be CIF issue, but I guarantee that it is still used by a lot of folks. (I forgot to mention SOCKOR, of which I was also a member. There was a bit of jungle here and there on pen.)

OK, so the older ALICE gear is no longer issued and not widely used in the current Regular Army. SOF can and do use what they want.

Is that better for you?

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Honestly guys bring Alice packs if they are allowed because they prefer them to the new rucks. If it doesn’t say you can’t have it then Joe will bring it.

This is current. Some of these guys are wearing the new, improved hot weather uniform (or as I like to refer to them as the OCP jungle fatigues). Those didn’t come into issue until 2020 and didn’t see widespread use until about a year later. The easiest way to tell that is from the back. The standard uniforms have the gussets. The new jungle fatigues did away with the gussets and have seams that run diagonally across the shoulder blades. The new uniforms also lack chest pockets.

In 2014 I was at Ft. Benning for training. All of the 3rd Ranger battalion guys there were humping modified ALICE packs. I’m familiar with Tactical Tailor. I never bought a MALICE pack, but I am a customer. I like that they still use a good shade of OD green - not that awful sage “Ranger” green. Regardless, if 2014 isn’t contemporary enough, I’ve seen ALICE in use more recently.

When I went to NTC in 2021, I brought an ALICE pack. I personally never took to the various iterations of MOLLE rucks. You’d be surprised how many old troopers (like me) and young troopers alike were using ALICE packs. ALICE wasn’t in the majority by any means, but it was there. Granted, NTC is the opposite of the jungle and I wasn’t humping anywhere because we were in trucks the whole time.

One of the things I noticed is that what’s old is new again. Having been out of the field for several years and since the changeover from UCP to OCP, I was pleasantly surprised at the individual gear being used by the mech brigade we were supporting at NTC in 2021. During most of my career in the GWOT years, certainly in the conventional Regular Army, the rule was to keep adding layers of Kevlar and plates. I know that plate carriers were wisely adopted in Afghanistan, but I was accustomed to the rule that Active Duty soldiers train with body armor. So I brought my plate carrier to NTC. I was the odd man out. Everyone was wearing TAP racks with no armor. When I saw that, I had to laugh and I thought to myself, “I’ve seen this before.” For those who don’t know, the TAP rack is basically a mashup of a MOLLE chest rig and an ALICE Y-Harness when worn without a plate carrier. There is also an Airborne specific rack that is basically a thick MOLLE battle belt with an H-Harness. Most of the students on this video are wearing the standard TAP rack low around their waist like an ALICE setup. I’m surprised that I didn’t see anyone with a battle belt and suspenders, but I’d assume that’s because the students are following a packing list.

Forgive me if I’m “preaching”, but this has been a subject of great personal interest for some time. I started with ALICE in the late 1990’s and it was my primary gear set training as an infantry officer. I never really liked MOLLE, but I had to adapt to it over the years. Now that I’m an old soldier, it warms my heart to see this.

I believe that as the force focuses back on conventional operations, we’re regaining our senses with regards to gear. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for plate carriers anymore, but we’re re-learning the wisdom of the “old ways”. There are plenty of old hands on here who remember an Army that wasn’t defined by FOB operations and contracted chow halls. Iraq made us lazy.

An ALICE rig doesn’t trap heat and moisture. There were good reasons that the Army rejected chest rigs and vests for decades before GWOT. Wearing a plate carrier or vest in constant heat and humidity will only invite skin lesions and jungle rot. Furthermore, we’re re-learning the value of canteens. Camelbacks are bacteria and fungus factories (again, I never took to them) and difficult to clean. In the jungle, a Camelback is a no-go. We’ll need E-Tools and machetes to build fighting positions and clear fields of fire. You’ll also note that he is using a medium ALICE pack. Basically, all that stuff that my soldiers in 2004 would have laughed at as “old Vietnam gear” is finding new life. I argued all along that the fundamentals of infantry combat didn’t change just because Iraq was an anomaly. But we can’t underestimate how much fashion plays into it. Guys want to wear the “new stuff” particularly if the SOF dudes are wearing it.

I will qualify this by stating that I didn’t serve in Afghanistan. Many close friends did. I know that adjustments were made to adapt to humping up and down mountains. But it is my professional opinion that even Afghanistan’s light infantry combat TTP’s were unduly and inappropriately characterized by our experiences in Iraq which overshadowed the Afghanistan conflict from 2003 - 2008 and largely defined conventional Army doctrine with regards to FOB operations and motorized infantry tactics. Certainly while ground units did live on austere FOB’s and conducted traditional infantry operations in Afghanistan, there were no shortage of giant FOB’s and LSA’s loaded with computers, recreation centers and chow halls. Unfortunately, doctrine and procurement decisions tend to be determined by the people living on the FOB’s, not the Joes on patrol.

I believe that the modern jungle warfare school is run by the 25th ID’s 3rd IBCT. The last I checked into it, the school was not a TRADOC school, but they accept soldiers from across the force. When the school started around 2012 - 2013, they had to raid the Army’s remaining stocks of BDU’s and jungle boots because the red soil was staining the digital UCP uniforms so badly as to make them unserviceable. So the school was issuing BDU’s for a time. Likewise, the suede boots soak up moisture and didn’t hold up against the elements. While the uniform problem has been resolved, the soldiers are clearly SOL now when it comes to boots. The jungle school gave input into a new jungle boot back in the 2015 - 2016 timeframe. Although the boots made it out to the force, they didn’t go very far. I’ve had a lifelong love of the old OD Vietnam jungle boot. They are still my go-to boot for rucking and hiking. Sadly, the new jungle boots didn’t measure up to the original design and I don’t think you can even find the new ones anymore.

Yeah, fighting in the Pacific definitely forces us to re-orient ourselves.

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I don’t know when this photo was taken, but it is fairly contemporary (within the past 10 years). Note the dude in ERDL’s with ALICE.

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You’ve obviously done more than just sleep in a Holiday Inn Express. :rofl:
Ah, the ERDL…We still wore those in the early 80’s in 10th Group. But the base commander hated them, so they were relegated to field duty.

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Good combo-wombo of uniforms and gear. ERDLs, M81 Woodies and OCPs.

Just like I said, they are used, but not common across the force. I also said it could only be used at the Jungle School as most Soldiers at units do not use it.

Why would the base commander hate ERDL per se? Were you wearing green dominant uniforms? I still believe it’s a superior camo pattern and color scheme for most well vegetated environments. I find the nostalgia for woodland rather amusing.

The point, to me at least, is that we’re not talking about the guys with long hair and sideburns who get to use whatever they want operationally. What warms my heart is that this video shows an E-5 who is probably a high speed 11B team leader who is on a local assignment to teach jungle tactics in Hawaii. He probably wasn’t born when I was issued ALICE gear, but it makes me smile that he’s taking gear that is cheap and readily available and presenting it as an “official” jungle school loadout.

The 3rd HBCT guys using ALICE on my NTC rotation were just grunts. No, we’re not going to see a wholesale switch to gear that’s no longer being produced and issued, nor do I expect to see LC-2 pistol belts, mag pouches and “Y” harnesses. My point is that the Army as a whole is going “back to the future” with its adoption of TAP racks and its tolerance of bits and pieces of ALICE.

A GI has to make an effort to track this stuff down, and that’s assuming his NCO chain will approve of it. But there is still a love for ALICE in the force that defies 25 years of PALS webbing and a generation gap. I am also seeing a much broader tolerance for personalized gear loads than existed 20 years ago when the tyranny of the CSM demanded that every limb had to be wrapped in Kevlar, covered in plates with sleeves down and buttoned. But use of ALICE (or LBE style MOLLE gear) will largely be relegated to the SOF, infantry and cavalry outfits. People who don’t go to the field, or who don’t live out of a rucksack in the field, will use whatever is issued to them.

One final example…

For full disclosure, I’m in the Army Reserves now. Last year I taught a combat packing class to a Civil Affairs unit. My partner was a master sergeant, 11B, Airborne Ranger with almost all the other high speed qualifiers (except HALO, SCUBA or SF). He has one Iraq and two Afghanistan tours and 14 years Active Duty, mostly as a paratrooper. He taught the large MOLLE pack and I taught the ALICE pack (a modified medium, to be exact, with a FILBE frame). At the end of the class, the ALICE was a much bigger hit than any of the issued items and the soldiers were asking where they could get one. My master sergeant friend asked me to get him a medium ALICE for normal duty use and I did. He now rocks an “obsolete” medium ALICE too.


What’s old is new again. I’m just curious as to where this old TA-50 is coming from. Are there US companies still making it to specs? Is this old stuff picked up at an Army/Navy surplus? Or is this some cheap ass foreign made crap that fails in the field?

There’s so much leftover LC-1 gear that’s circulating on FleaBay that’s still in unissued condition, that it wouldn’t be to hard to get your hands on a full set. It’ll get a wee-bit pricey, but not impossible to acquire.

To be fair, I’m a bit of a gear whore. I collect web gear and militaria, so have original WW2 and Vietnam War era web gear, with uniforms and whatnot. One of my many hobbies.

I just have to look in any one of four tough boxes in my garage.

Why would the base commander hate ERDL per se?

10th Group used to be a tenant unit at Fort Devens. (Hence the ASA instructors’ fear of us hooking up with their students)
Our Group Commander outranked the Base Commander. For some reason there was bad blood. It didn’t help that we tested the very first Gore-Tex - it was great stuff. Both the tops and bottoms could be folded up and stored in their own pockets. And it was way less “swishy” than the crap today. Trouble was it was Crayola green. And we also tested the brown Gore-Tex boots. There was also a policy that motorcyclists could wear what they wanted in the form of protective gear over their uniforms while riding. I’m sure it irked him to see me (and a few others) riding on the base in our bright green jackets and brown boots. We also tested the Lowe rucksack system, which had a few good features - it had a bottom compartment that unzipped, for sleeping bag and items not needed too often. The whole ruck attached to a large padded belt with two metal pins, and could be ejected by pulling them out. Of course the belt had a small go bag and ammo pouches. It also had two pouches which contained straps for a STABO rig. The biggest problem with it was that it rode too high. Often while skiing we’d duck our heads under a branch only to have the ruck snag the branch and take us out. We eventually turned them in, but I managed to keep the belt, which I still have to this day.
In addition to ERDL we wore the tropical combat uniform with the slant pockets. It was my favorite. After a “yard sale” incident on the slopes, it would dry out more quickly than the BDU’s, which we rarely wore. So summer or winter, I felt it was the superior uniform.

I’m not sure what you mean by “long hair and sideburns.” Mine never grew that well.

Seen plenty of OG Ranger School graduation pictures, showing students still wearing the old OG-106 Jungle fatigues, even after BDUs were common issue.

Case in point - half of these Ranger students are wearing OG-106 fatigues while the rest wear the BDUs.

I got a set of those at home (1968 manufature date).

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Those haircuts. I think I spy a set of of ERDL’s or two.

I love those 1980’s pictures. Since I had a passion for militaria and the curiosity to boot, when I was an LT I would ask my NCO’s what their favorite things were from back in the day. To a man, they all said they loved their OG-107 jungles. Your posts just further reinforce that. I never knew anyone who said they loved their BDU’s until they had to switch to digital UCP’s.

Yes, there’s a ton of LC-2 gear laying around. I live minutes away from Ft. Carson and there are several good local surplus stores. They have tons of LC-2 gear, much of it is very rough, but with some digging you can easily get some choice items. ALICE packs are harder to find in good shape. They tend to sell quickly, and they’re getting expensive. I suppose expensive is a relative term. A solid large ALICE can be had for around $100 with a serviceable frame. That seems like a lot for an ALICE pack, I know, but it’s modest when comparing it to modern pack offerings from, say, Mystery Ranch or other high end manufacturers.

I recently pieced together one of the new OCP MOLLE II rucksacks that are general issue in the Army. It wasn’t cheap, but was able to get the plastic frame, lumbar pad and sustainment pouches (2ea.) in unissued conditions while the main pack was slightly used, but still very serviceable and the shoulder straps were used but properly repaired.

Did I mention it was not cheap? Total price for everything was around $300. Had to spread out the pain over a few paychecks, but i have it. Still, I mis my old LC-1 large ruck.

Simpler is sometimes just better.