The 4 Best ILBE Assault Pack Variations You Can Buy

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This review we’ve put together for the best ILBE assault pack variations which are a little different from how we normally review items.

ILBE stands for Improved Load Bearing Equipment, and it was issued to the United States Marine Corps in 2004. The original packs included the main backpack, a smaller assault pack, and a hydration bag.

The assault pack is the perfect size to utilize as a regular backpack, and it’s comfortable to lug around some heavy equipment.

The brand Arcytery’x created a civilian version of the assault pack shortly after the ILBE sets were issued to the U.S. Marines, but it was discontinued not too long after. This is partially why you won’t find a ton of options online, and many you will find will be gently used.

Therefore, we did a little digging around to find the best listings for the ILBE assault pack, but we also selected some other options as well that include the full ILBE set or just parts of it.

USMC Propper Arcytery'x Generation 2 ILBE Main Pack
  • Plenty of padding and lower back support
  • Three sides of MOLLE webbing
  • Holds up to 120 pounds of gear
  • Very large and bulky
$318 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Overall Pick
5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack
  • Made of water-resistant nylon material
  • Comes with handy compartments
  • Comfortable shoulder straps for heavy carrying
  • Does not include a waist strap
  • No bottom padding
$209 Shop NowClick to read my review
Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 Backpack
  • Made with 100% Nylon
  • Adjustable padded and shoulder straps
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Bit expensive
$199 Shop NowClick to read my review
Maxpedition Falcon II Tactical Backpack
  • Compression straps ensure stability
  • It is lightweight and comfortable to use
  • Have external PALS webbing
  • The backpack doesn’t come with a bottle holder
$140 Shop NowClick to read my review

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Things To Consider When Buying An ILBE Assault Pack

Material

The outer material of most ILBE Assault backpacks is scratch polyester, nylon, or oxford. These materials typically have a denier rating of at least 500, ensuring that your pack will remain durable over time. In comparison, lightweight hiking and backpacking backpacks are typically nylon-made with a denier value of less than 250. This is important to look for because it basically rates how thick and sturdy the material is.

Weight

ILBE Assault backpacks must have durable materials and more pockets and compartments. These backpacks are heavier than hiking and backpacking backpacks for the volume they provide. Nonetheless, It should be as light as possible without sacrificing the quality because lightweight gear relieves muscle strain and allows you to move faster.

Compartments and Pockets

Pockets and compartments help you organize your belongings because it is one of the essential features that most buyers look for in a tactical backpack. It should have a wide variety of external and internal pockets of varying sizes. As a result, it is important that you are always aware of what items you intend to put in your bag so that you can determine which backpack is best for you.

Back Panel

An ILBE backpack’s back panel should be ergonomically shaped and properly padded. Furthermore, the back panel should have ventilation channels to allow sweat to evaporate from your back. 

Hydration System Compatibility

A hydration system is very useful because it allows you to hydrate without having to unpack water bottles from your backpack. Hydration system backpacks have a pocket or sleeve for a water reservoir/hydration bladder and a tube opening at the top.

MOLLE Compatibility

Many packs also include a MOLLE webbing system for custom and modular exterior storage. That’s why it is a huge benefit if an ILBE backpack is MOLLE compatible because it allows you to easily attach additional MOLLE gear.

Now that we’ve covered the factors to consider when selecting and purchasing an ILBE Assault Pack, let’s move on to our top picks.

4 Best ILBE Assault Pack

USMC Propper Arcytery’x Generation 2 ILBE Main Pack

Materials – We thought we’d start our readers off with the main pack that was included in the original ILBE set. This is not the assault pack, but it includes MOLLE webbing across the front to attach the assault pack and plenty of other attachable gear. There’s additional MOLLE webbing on the sides of the main pack with buckle clips as well. You’ll find several zippered compartments throughout the design.

Internally, there is a metal frame, which allows the pack to maintain its structure. It can hold up to 120 pounds of weight. This means there is quite a bit of foam padding throughout the design as well. The back of the pack has a highly padded surface to protect your back, and there is a specially padded area to protect the lower back in particular. Also, to support the weight is the thick waist strap. All nylon straps included at the waist and the shoulders are fully adjustable, so you can carry your pack throughout the afternoon.

Performance – While this is not the assault pack, if you believe a regular backpack-sized pack won’t suit your needs, then you’ll want to purchase the main pack. Even if you don’t need all that space, this is an awesome collector’s piece to get your hands on. 120 pounds of storage is quite a lot, so consider this if you enjoy camping for a week at a time. You could even store an entire group’s items in one pack. With the thoughtful amount of padding, you can carry the pack as you need to, and that lower back support will really see you through some long afternoons.

What we say – The USMC ILBE pack is the best choice for those who need more than just a backpack and like to go on extended hiking or camping trips. This happens to look great with your collection of military gear you keep in your office too!

Pros
  • Plenty of padding and lower back support
  • Three sides of MOLLE webbing
  • Holds up to 120 pounds of gear
Cons
  • Very large and bulky

5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack

Materials – The 5.11 Rush-24 is a high-strength, water-resistant rucksack made of 1000D nylon with a total capacity of 3342 cubic inches/55 liters. What’s more, it’s a multipurpose pack that has everything a true survivalist could want. Its tactical design makes it ideal for carrying a survival kit. It is made of 1050D nylon and has YKK zippers and MOLLE webbing, allowing you to attach compatible pouches to your pack for extra space for your gear.

Performance – This heavy-duty large military backpack has a front pocket that measures 15.5 x 11.5 x 2 inches and can hold a lot of your essentials. This is a sturdy, fully loaded survival pack with all the bells and whistles that can stand up to a lot of wear. And it comes with a variety of storage choices to keep your gears organized and accessible.

What we say – The 5.11 tactical rush pack is outstanding and simply one of the best bags money can buy. It includes a lot of pockets and storage, and it is meant for long-term and rugged use. It is also suitable for hunting backpack, army backpack, tactical sling bag, survival, hiking rucksack, or everyday outdoor use.

Pros
  • Made of water-resistant nylon material
  • Flexible zippers
  • Comfortable shoulder straps for heavy carrying
  • Comes with Handy compartments
Cons
  • Does not include a waist strap
  • No bottom padding

Kelty Tactical Raven 2500 Backpack

Materials – The Kelty Raven tactical backpack is made of 500-denier nylon that has been reinforced with 1000-denier nylon, which is durable but prone to scratching, so it must be handled with care. This backpack’s back panel is stiff, and the shoulder straps are wide and well-padded. The backpack also has a hip belt and a sternum strap. It has a large main compartment and a smaller front compartment. The front compartment contains various little pockets and holders to allow you to organize your gear.

Performance – This backpack is designed for radio operators, and it allows you to easily transport a military radio as well as various antennas. However, because the radio-specific holders can be removed, the backpack can also be used for more general tasks, making it a multi-purpose bag that can also be used for outdoor activities and purposes.

What we say – The Kelty Raven backpack is a superb assault pack that is also suitable for hiking, mountaineering, and tactical packs. So, if this is the style you’re looking for, this Raven backpack is for you. And you can’t go wrong with it because it’s a quality bag.

Pros
  • Made with 100% Nylon
  • Adjustable padded and shoulder straps
  • Comfortable to carry
Cons
  • Bit expensive

Maxpedition Falcon II Tactical Backpack

Materials – The Maxpedition Falcon II tactical backpack is made with a triple coat of polyurethane for water resistance. And a final coat of DuPont Teflon Fabric Protector for weather resistance. As a result, when it comes to durability, this bag is extremely dependable. Straps handle, and modular attachment points are also available in military-grade nylon webbing. Its genuine Duraflex buckles and hardware add extra strength and functionality, making it comfortable to use anywhere you go.

Performance – The Maxpedition Falcon II backpack features a roomy main compartment, a large front admin pocket, and two small zippered front pockets for accessories. With multiple mesh pockets and holders, all compartments allow you to easily organize your gear. It also has a hydration bladder pocket behind the back panel. That is why this bag is so practical.

What we say – The Maxpedition Falcon II backpack is an excellent choice for those who require a tough tactical backpack for day-to-day tasks. It is an appropriate bag for your planned expedition.

Pros
  • Scratch-resistant and water-resistant nylon fabric
  • Compression straps ensure stability
  • It is lightweight and comfortable to use
  • Have external PALS webbing
Cons
  • The backpack doesn’t come with a bottle holder

Our Favorite ILBE Assault Pack

The assault pack is the one element from the ILBE set that would be the most useful to everyone without being overkill on weight and storage space. All the options listed above are excellent choices. Now, if you’re wondering what would be our top pick? Our choice is the 5.11 Tactical RUSH72 Military Backpack because of the high quality it offers. Even though it is a bit pricey, it provides long-term and rugged use as well as good value for money. We hope you found this information helpful, enjoy and keep yourself safe out there!

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