I'm just doing this as exercise and preparation for military should I decide to enlist. I don't have a frame for the pack, is that something I should get? When I put a 35 lb plate in there it pokes out because there is no backing for the pack. Heavy solid objects don't seem to sit very well in ALICE packs. Any advice?
This is actually some good advice. Ill stop being a pussy
Shane is tracking on this. It's not just the weight, but also the bulk. When you do most military training (FTX, Schools, etc) you will have a prescribed list of what needs to be in your ruck. For right now I would suggest getting rid of the plates and going with sandbags. Start light...35 pounds is OK...and then progress both in wight and distance. Do not run with a ruck if you plan on having knees/lower back in your older years.
You need a frame. After you get a frame then pack the weight so that it sits high in the ruck and close to the body. There is a pocket for a radio that was purpose built for putting the weight close and high.
Frames are key, also as was already pointed out, the weight goes on top. finally, 35 lbs isn't even the minimum weight for a ruck run, 45 is. i'd recommend getting used to 65 if you are going to join the infantry. If you aren't joining the Infantry, well then what are you doing?
Ditto on everything Aaron and Sean said. Get a frame, make sure the belt is tight around your waist, carry the heaviest part of your load up high on the pack. The only thing I would add is find a mental "happy place" to go to when you are on the move.
I would say experiment with the belt/hip pad. I know some that it works well for. I can't use it well. I find it puts too much pressure on my hips and tends to rub me raw after awhile. It also makes it difficult to dump your ruck if the tactical situation calls for it.
Load it with sand or corn.
At an outdoor outfitter they used sandbags to help check packs when I was shopping. But corn may be better as it is a little less dense then ground rock. This should fill out your back better.
The frame will help, but the pack was built for a specific torso length. If your torso isn't that length it'll never fit the way a good pack should.
My suggestion, go and get measured at an outdoor supply store, and buy a pack that can be sized to fit you. Once you do, it'll change your whole perspective. However, once in the military you'll have to use what they supply.
Ok, this is from a former Marine Grunt. Get the frame. Also use the belt. The A.L.I.C.E. Pack was designed to rest on the hips. Not the shoulders. Makes a worlds of difference. Also, for added weight, use 1 gallon water jugs. Water is very heavy. Also serves multiple purposes. You can drink it as you go, thus it helps with hydration. Its easy to lighten the load for your return trip.
I agree with the posters above. Heavy items up top. Get the plates out.
Lot's of good advice so far. I once did 100 miles in four days with an ALICE pack. The long and the short of it is that they really aren't all that comfortable. If you customize your pack to the point where it's comfortable, you're defeating (what appears to be) your purpose - preparing yourself to carry weight in an ALICE pack.
A couple other thoughts: Build up to heavier loads gradually to avoid inuring yourself and delaying your preparations. Start with 15 or 20 lbs and gradually increase to 55 - 60 lbs over a period of 12 - 14 weeks. Learn the Airborne Shuffle. If you try to run with a 55 lb pack the way that you run normally, you're going to injure yourself. I made a video of the Airborne Shuffle for another forum. Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QldGPM_Z9-8
As you view the video, keep in mind that my speed in the video is relatively fast. I've built up to the point where I can run 8:15 miles for quite a distance while carrying a pack. It's going to take you a while to get there (and there's really no need to get to that level of speed). You might target a 12-14 minute mile with a 55 lb pack.