ILBE Assault Backpack

The Improved Load Bearing System (ILBE) backpack was created for use by the United States Marine Corps based on feedback received during initial combat situations that took place during the first US involvement in Iraq. The system was created by Arc’teryx’s Law Enforcement and Armed Forces (LEAF) program and was intended to replace the ALICE and MOLLE systems currently in use. Arc’teryx used the noted design flaws in the previous two systems to create a more efficient load bearing pack without increasing the volume of the pack and maneuverability it allowed for. The ILBE system consists of three main parts, the Main Pack, the Hydration System, and the Assault Pack.

The Assault Pack on the ILBE system was designed to be the main ammunition carrying portion of the ILBE system. It was also designed to contain a Hydration System such as a Camelback Bladder, which is the third component of the ILBE pack. Its standalone capacity is 1,500 inches of cubic space with a load capacity of 25 to 40 pounds. It had two separate storage compartments as well as an inner pocket. The inner pocket designed to house the ILBE Hydration System can hold a bladder containing up to 100 ounces of water.

Like the ILBE Main Pack, the Assault Pack is made from Cordura 725 fabric and is also imprinted with the same MARPAT (MARine PATtern) as the other components of the ILBE. The standard measurements for an Assault Pack were approximately 6″ deep, 12″ wide, and 18″ tall. They came equipped with two quick release padded shoulder straps that were connected by a chest strap as well as a 2″ wide waist belt with a quick release buckle. The Assault Pack also had a removable plastic panel that provided extra stiffness when needed as well as a back panel which was padded for extra comfort.

There are three main configurations for the ILBE system, the Existence Load, the Approach March Load, and the Assault Configuration. Both the Assault Configuration and Existence Load utilize the Assault Pack component. Since the Approach March Load is designed more for extended survival than combat situations, the Assault Pack was not required. Both the Existence Load and the Assault Configuration are designed to be used in combat ready scenarios making the Assault Pack an essential piece of the configuration.

The Assault Pack integrates perfectly with the Main Pack and the Hydration System to create the complete ILBE system currently used by the Marine Corps.  The pack also has  Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) equipment straps on the front and sides of the bag that allow for PALS compatible accessories (also called MOLLE accessories).

ILBE Assault Backpack Details:

  • Measures about 18″ tall x 12″ wide x 6″ thick
  • Quick release padded shoulder straps
  • Built in waist belt with buckle
  • Padded back panel
  • Removable plastic stiffener panel (included)
  • Two storage compartments
  • MOLLE attachment points
  • Woodland MARPAT camo pattern

ILBE Assault Pack (front) ILBE Assault Pack (Back)