View Full Version : More ZXR in Universal Camo - Army-man Dream Pack

Dan M
05-17-2006, 12:35 PM
Almost like waiting for a child to be born. /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif After 5 months, the ZXR in UCP arrived on Monday. I concur with Lonepiper, it is one of the most comfortable packs I have worn. The size, style and features make this pack quite the large ALICE killer, and in Universal camou it just loses itself with your ACUs and 2nd line gear. Like all Kifaru packs, it is most comfortable with a chest harness or assault vest that does not rely on "belt kit" so that you can get a great hip hugging support from the Kifaru pack. I loaded the ZXR up with "California winter" gear. I like the D&L Claymores on the side, they make a great sustainment pouch and leave just barely enough room for an e-tool carrier and 2 quart below them. With the E&E there is still room for pop flare, smoke, or additional ammo pouches on the main body, let alone the top of the XTL. I didn't even fill out the dimensional pocket on the XTL. There is great head clearance on the rear of the pack which you can see in my pics with my Advanced Combat Helmet. This is a great pack, and in UCP it blends in superbly with the rest of your ACU/UCP uniform and kit.
Gear layout for pack stuffing



Dan M
05-17-2006, 12:46 PM
Thought some might be interested to see the gear and uniform in the Infrared spectrum (via Sony Nightshot)

05-17-2006, 02:32 PM
thanks for the pics!

05-17-2006, 04:24 PM
Alright, rub it in Dan /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/laugh.gif ! My ZXR will finally be here tomorrow. Great pics as usual. You gotta have Egg build you another e-tool carrier in ACU. Have fun with that rig.


Dan M
05-17-2006, 06:07 PM
Mel, now that my current assignment is a public affairs officer, I will have to get him to make me a camera case instead!

Lone Piper
05-17-2006, 06:37 PM
Sweet pics Dan!! I'm already looking forward to my next ruck march with the ZXR this Saturday!

05-17-2006, 06:55 PM
Man that looks sweet...

05-18-2006, 03:35 AM
Hey Major, what jacket are you wearing in the last few pictures?

05-18-2006, 05:41 AM
That looks great!

I know Dan and some of you other guys have far more serious issues in mind when you choose kit (or in some cases when it is chosen for you), but, in the way of plain old Gucci aesthetics, UCP blends with other UCP gear very well.

Far less obvious where one peice of the ensemble starts and anpother ends.

Blends into a contiguous blob way better than most other patterns I have seen.

Very nice.

05-18-2006, 07:26 AM

Excellent point. While I'm not a fan of the "one size fits all" camo patterns, the one thing it has going for it that can't be argued is that all your gear will match which, as you said, means you can't see the differentiation between one piece of gear and another, which is SUPER important for body armor. It doesn't give the bad guy a place to aim.

05-18-2006, 09:25 AM
In all seriousness, do you guys carry your ZXR for long operations instead of your ALCIE/ MOLLE pack, and if so, what types of loads do you carry? Ie; weight and size of load. thx.

I'm on a limited budget since I am living off the MGI Bill, and I only have enough cash for one Kifaru pack. Currently torn between the ZXR and Navigator system, any insight on which would be better for a scout would be much appreciated.

Dan M
05-18-2006, 10:05 AM
Yes. I will carry it on extended field ops. The first pic shows all the gear I stuffed into it. And there was still room for more.

I started out with the original Zulu to replace my large ALICE. While I loved that pack and it was way more comfortable than the green tick, with 2 long pockets, E&E, MALICE clymore, E-tool carrier, and 2 quart, it was overloaded for extended field time. Once you get past 55lbs on the Omni suspension and 19" stays, you start to really feel the weight and I did not get any "shoulder lift" with the 19" stays. Great pack for for what it was designed for - 3 day, small ruck, assault ruck, radio ruck or something similar.

So I sold it here on the board and got an EMR in coyote. Absolutely huge capacity, in fact more than I really needed. But oh so comfortable. Heaviest I made it for a ruck march was about 65 lbs. (ammo vest and water was another 18 lbs) Significant shoulder lift, almost all the weight on my hips, some on the chest/front shoulders. I needed no external pockets for all my Army field gear...and I still had room in the main compartment.

Then the ZXR came out...and UCP fabric the month before. So now I could get the pack I REALLY wanted to match the new uniform and 2nd line gear.

You say you are torn between the Navigator and the ZXR. A top loader (with bottom access) and a panel loader. So the question is, what are going to carry in you ack and how organized do you want it to be and how easily do you want to access it? If you search here on the boards you will find numerous discussions on this classic dilemma, so I won't regurgitate them here.

I am an infantry officer, just finished 7 years in a light/air assault battalion. So a lot walking, even after the trucks,/helos/HMMVs, dropped me off where ever. I don't carry a lot specialized gear that needs to be organized in a pack - like a medic, an EOD technician, or perhaps an FSO. So a panel oading pack is not that useful to me. I grew up on old ALICE, so a rock solid top loader you can just stuff at stand to and stomp on it if I have to, is what I prefer.

I see you have an AKO email addie. Are you an infantry scout or a cavalry scout? I'm not sure there is going to be a real difference in your pack needs, unless you are going to carry a radio. For that I recommend a smaller pack or even the Omni yoke that you can piggy back to your main ruck. If you are doing Army combat arms duties, I recommend the ZXR. Unless you have a specialized role that requires good organization and quick access to your gear/supplies like I mentioned earlier (or you are doing alpine duty, then get the EMR). Your mileage may vary. Hope this helps.

05-18-2006, 03:48 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Stryker_11A:
Hey Major, what jacket are you wearing in the last few pictures? </div></div>not the Major, but i'm guessing it's his Orc Industries MCU L5 softshell jacket.

05-18-2006, 05:24 PM
Merc82, I don't have an ZXR, but an MMR, Marauder, and Zulu. My first Kifaru was a Navigator. I would say that it's a great pack. But when you add 2 longs and a back pocket and load it up, it's just too much. I pack with compression sacks and can really load it down. I find that for a generalization I load about 10 lbs. for every 1000 cibic inches. So I was looking at around 60 lbs. in my Navigator. It was too much for me. My last 17 day trip to the field I had right at 70 lbs. in my MMR with 3 longs, 1 claymore, and 2 2 quarts. My Marauder added 20 lbs. to that load when I piggy backed it for a VERY short walk. The suspension was fine, I was just overloaded. With the original 70 lbs. I was good to go. That is about my maximum anyway. If you can live with the 4000 cubes the Navigator will be great for you. If you plan on adding lots of pockets you'd better look at the MMR/EMR or ZXR. I think if the ZXR were available when I ordered my MMR I might have went that way. I don't think it has as many bells and whistles as the EMR/MMR and I like that. I also decided after trial and error that I preferred a top loader for my heavier loads. I use my Marauder on a daily basis for work and love the panel opener for the smaller packs. The Marauder replaced my Eagle RAID.

DanM, Sir, I'm curious why you preferred the ZXR over the MMR? I've got another Bee that is interested in my MMR and am considering the ZXR if I do the deed. Can you tell us in your opinion if there are any advantages/disadvantages to the ZXR Vs. MMR. I personally don't care about the cargo hauling ability and prefer not to have side zippers. Is the suspension OK with 70 lbs.? Any comparisons would be welcome.

And finally, my current gear is coyote but I keep seeing deployed Navy personnel in ACU's, God forbid! I tend to believe the SeaBees will eventually follow in the Corps footsteps far as coyote gear but hate to spend any more dollars until I know for sure.

05-18-2006, 05:42 PM
Thanks guys, just the feed back I was looking for. Looks like I'll be going with the ZXR and just attach my Londonbridge Assualt pack to it. Currently I am assigned to a dismounted ARISTA cav scout team, but before I was 11bang bang in the 504th PIR, 82nd. I have been told by my PSG that I can get back on jump status through the Texas National Guard, so thats my reason for wanting to be able to jump it. Also looks as though the TXANG is bringing back a airborne LRS company, so I might try to transfer to that.
There is even a small chance that I might get called up for this border watch stuff, but I highly doubt it. I am also thinking about going with the coyote brown as it is easier to darken equipment but harder to lighten. Again, thanks for your in-depth reply, really makes it easier for me to make a decision.

Dan M
05-18-2006, 08:38 PM
Stryker11A: MM is correct. It is the Orc Industries MCU Level 5 shell. Quite a deal at $96 vs what I see for GEN1 or 2 ECWS in UCP.
Here is a shot the foliage fleece cap, the MCU Level 5 and the TT MAV. MM has a great review of the MCU here. (http://www.militarymorons.com/gear/clothes.2.html#orcind)

I have not tested it out in inclement weather, but I have used the PCU Level 5 and Level 4 shells. They rock, and I much prefer for Infantry type work in the weather - unless it is a torrential downpour and you are stationary.


Dan M
05-18-2006, 09:04 PM
If I had the MMR instead of the EMR, I would probably have sold it for the ZXR. Since I have the EMR, I will probably keep for family backpacking - I carry gear for me and 3 small boys. After a few montsh of my EMR use, I was wishing that I had the MMR, but it was not long til I knew that an "improved Zulu" was on the way.
I have found in the last few years of gear immersion, that the marketplace has really evolved to provide modular, multi-funtional gear that can be tailored for specific needs. Used to be everybody had the same gear, hence the term "Common Table of Allowances (CTA-50).
So, first you need to define your requirements for the gear: what will you carry, where will you carry it, how many different functions do you want it to perform, how flexible do you want it etc. Then look at features of the different products and how they were designed. The MMR is a junior EMR. It is for "extended dismounted field time". With the removable frame, you can haul cargo. It is taller, has more volume, and gets better shoulder lift, allowing to carry more weight.
Although I am Infantry, I am a recent field grade officer, and frankly, my days of "extended dismounted field ops" ended when I passed that guidon to my successor air assualt rifle company commander. So the EMR and MMR are relative overkill for me. The ZXR is in the sweet spot. It has just the right volume, enough PALS real estate, just enough should lift, and a great suspension, waist belt and shoulder straps.
I am surprised you are considering CB if you are planning on using it in a Army environment. One of the resons I took the trouble to post the pictures was to point out the great match between the cordura pack and the ACU and the 2nd line tactical nylon. CB is a great color, but look at how my OD shingles stand out. The CB stands out just as much. But hey, your mileage may vary. Hope my comments help in some way.
Here is a pic of CB/OD and ACU together :rolleyes: :

05-19-2006, 02:27 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by seb5:
... So I was looking at around 60 lbs. in my Navigator. It was too much for me. ... </div></div>With due respect to seb, I need to disagree or at least put forward an alternative opinion on the weight limit.

It might just be new love, but I have just been using my Navigator for 60-70lb loads and found no problems with that weight.

The distances were relatively short, but I think based on my previous experiences humping rucks, the distances were sufficient to make a fair assesment of the pack's capabilites.

As always its different strokes for different folks and what might be right for me might not be right for seb, you or anyone else, but I think the Navigator, and presumably any other Wraptech suspension is capable of carryihng 60-70lb, and I'd guess more in relative comfort.

I would think that in choosing between a ZXR and a Navigator, the big issue would be the pros and cons of the toploader/panel loader trade off more than the harness's capailities, especially given that as I understand it the ZXR and the Navigator are substantially similar in harness and therefore I would think lift/ride charateristics.

Although a panel loader can be easier to access in some ways, especially at the halt, if you have a lot of pockets on it, a top loader may be easier for access on the march, due to perhaps not needing to undo as many compression straps to access the main section, depending on what and where whatever it is you want to access is packed.

For straight non mech/non motorised grunt work, I'd suspect that a top loader might be better.

Bear in mind my time was with the Australian Army our doctrine and tactics were/are different and because of that our loads and the way we use gear is different. And it was all a long time ago.

05-19-2006, 05:09 AM
Dan M, I completely agree with you about the extreme contrast with the OD/CB on the ACU platform; however, I was not issued the ACU before I got out in 2005, and I don't see my NG unit issuing it to me in the near future. The other reason why I am prefering CB over the others is that I plan on spending alot of time this summer out at Big Ben National Park doing to rock climbing and hiking. I would love to be able two buy both a CB (for civilian use) and Army Digital for rucking it around. Second thought, could I get it made in FOLIAGE GREEN? That might even serve both purposes, looks ok for civi use, and should mesh well with ACU.

05-19-2006, 05:16 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Merc82:
Dan M, I completely agree with you about the extreme contrast with the OD/CB on the ACU platform; however, I was not issued the ACU before I got out in 2005, and I don't see my NG unit issuing it to me in the near future.</div></div>The mandatory possession date(issue in the Guard and Reserve) of ACUs is OCT 08.

05-19-2006, 06:09 AM
Hello sir i have to say really like the zxr but one issue i have, can you get a gi cold weather sleep system in there and still have some room left? also for seb5 the navy will be issueing its new blue digital work uniform along with a woodland and desert pattern in 2007

Dan M
05-19-2006, 08:18 AM
A qualified yes on the GI sleep system. It will fit by stuffing but do not expect to use the zippered bottom lid as a "seeping bag compartment". Even the MMR's bottom "compartment" is not large enough for the entire GI sleep system. I fit the entire GI sleep system into the original Zulu - of course, there was only enough room left in the main compartment for a sleep shirt and fleece cap.

As for FG solid, there is another post on the board that says the shop has a small amount of FG cordura, so call and check.

And last message I got from my state logistics officer, was that May 07 was when all our Soldiers sould be issued at least 2 pairs of ACUs. All 4 pairs by OCT 08. We had RFI come to our brigade a few months ago and all the MOLLE gear was in UCP. So now we have WC BDUs and ACU/UCP vests and pockets/pouches.

05-19-2006, 11:28 AM
Thanks for the info Major, I am going to look into the Orc MCU. I appreciate your review and pictures of the ZXR. I am struggling to choose between the MMR and ZXR right now, but whichever it is, definately going to be in ACU.

05-25-2006, 04:22 PM
Dan M:

Could you please take a picture of where the shoulder straps connect to the waistbelt?

I'm interested if it's possible to connect the waistbelt behind the pack so that the waistbelt is out of the way when not worn or if the suspension type in this pack is built so that it is not possible.

Dan M
05-25-2006, 08:12 PM
Wrapping the waist belt around back works just fine. I just tried it. I'll post a pic in a bit.

Here it is with waist belt wrapped back and attached in the rear.

05-25-2006, 09:50 PM
Edlund, I stand corrected on wrapping the waistbelt back around the ZXR. Sorry about that, as I didn't have mine handy when I talked to you on the phone, and not having tried it, didn't think it would work well. Dan, thanks for the pics showing how it can be done.

Dan, a little trick I do with the carry strap, is click the over the top compression strap SR buckle over the carry strap, which keeps it up out of the way. One click, and it's ready to use.


05-25-2006, 11:34 PM

No worries /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

It's kinda hard to explain what i had in mind when english is not my main language, word escaped me once i got on the phone.

Dan M
05-26-2006, 08:50 AM
No problem guys. Mel, I can understand why you said no at first. When I read the post, I said to myself, 'that won't work well, if at all". Then I went out to the garage and tried it out, even put it on. Not too bad as long as the pack is not too heavy. I'll use the SR buckle trick to get the carry strap under control.

Understand though, without the waist belt, your shoulders and back will bear all the weight and the load will not be as well balanced. I would not recommend operating this way for everyday use. Kifaru packs (most) and "belt kit" are not good combinations. If you wear your belt kit low, the Omni Suspension packs can be worn with the belt high.
See these pics:
Zulu with LBV and Belt Kit (http://homepage.mac.com/dmarkert/Army/PhotoAlbum33.html)

07-12-2006, 11:02 AM

I have a question about the E-tool carrier on the side of the ruck in the top pics. It appears to be nylon fabric instead of the old plastic ones. Where did you get it from and how is it working for you? I have been looking for something like that for quite some time.


07-12-2006, 08:31 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Smackdaddyj:

I have a question about the E-tool carrier on the side of the ruck in the top pics. It appears to be nylon fabric instead of the old plastic ones. Where did you get it from and how is it working for you? I have been looking for something like that for quite some time.

Smackdaddyj </div></div>they are made on order for very special people /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif

Vet Medic
07-13-2006, 02:27 AM

I know it has already been discussed but thought I would add that it is important to be able to wrap your waist belt around the back of your Ruck for Air-assault missions if rappeling is the order of the day your pack needs to "swing"away from your lower back while your in the "L" so that you brake hand can get to the small of your back. As a member of the Mighty 101st ABN DIV find this info very useful, and it adds another capability to my favorite addiction, Kifaru packs.

Vet Medic

07-14-2006, 07:53 AM

How do you get to be one of those very special people? I have been looking for one of those for quite some time. I had a feeling it had something to do with that though. Maybe I will get lucky one day and make the right contact.


Dan M
07-15-2006, 09:01 PM
Egg made it for me as a custom order. One day, I will have him make one in ACU.