Welcome to Crossfire. If you’re like us, you don’t nature hike, you engage in military load bearing exercises. Your pack, which you more than likely call a ruck, is your sustainment load out. You are also wearing either a belt kit or PC/chest rig for your fighting load out. This has to integrate with the ruck into one load bearing system. This is the point of everything we do here at Crossfire.
Our rucks are essentially “short back” military rucks. Made to wear in conjunction with a “belt kit” or patrol belt set up, and/or a Plate Carrier/chest rig. So they sit up higher than your “long back”, with it’s full hip belt, and are hollowed out around back to fit the rear plate.
Are there more comfortable rucks? Yes there are. The civvy mountaineering rucks, with fully padded hip belts are truly amazing. But they were never designed to be worn with a military load out. Our design philosophy takes this into account. A Crossfire rucksack will sit up slightly higher, just at the top of your pants belt, instead of way down on your hips. Now they can be adjusted to do this, and depending on your lumbar size, you can pull it off. But they were designed to be worn up higher, sitting on the shelf the belt kit provides in back.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a DG3 55L ruck. What I want to do, is to describe taking a DG3 out of the box and setting it up for your first “hump”.
All right, look what the big brown truck just dropped off.
Notice there is a cardboard doubler that sits under the flap seam. This is to keep you from slicing through the tape and into the pack. But with enough force, you can slice through the cardboard and into the pack. Just sayin’.
Here’s what the pack looks like, from the factory, cinched up for shipping. She’s a thing of beauty, but also a little intimidating, with all the straps n adjustments. So let’s break that down.
First let’s open it up. Un-do the waist belt and adjust the straps out until you have at least 6”-8” of strap to the pad.
Now open up the shoulder strap adjustments. The ruck is basically ready to don at this point but there’s a few things to check and adjust.
Loosen the top stabilizer straps. This gives you access to the top of the frame.
Remove the upper stab straps from the ladder lock buckles.
Remove the upper stab strap ladder locks from bag loop, and frame slot.
Remove bag tab from frame slot. Notice you have two bag loops and tabs per side. This allows you to run stab straps in the inboard or outboard positions, and attach bag tab to remaining frame slot.
Now insert outboard bag tab into outboard frame slot.
Tuck inboard bag tab down between bag and frame.
Now insert stab strap, buckle “down”, through inboard bag loop.
And then insert through inboard frame slot.
Factory setting on left, my preferred setting on the right. Notice stab strap buckle now rolls over top of frame instead of just sticking out from frame slot.
Both sides rigged up, preferred method. This setting tracks stab straps over shoulder straps, for most people.
And then insert through inboard frame slot.
Turn frame sideways and loosen two mid-shoulder strap buckles. I have laid top of frame to the left here, and have loosened the right buckle. Do both sides.
Now adjust the lower shoulder strap settings. You have three tabs, for three different settings. This will control your lumbar length, or how far the bottom of the frame will sit on your back.
Here is the strap adjusted to it’s longest setting (last tab).
Another shot of longest setting (last tab in chain). And strap pulled through lower shoulder strap slot in frame.
Both lower straps set at max length. Notice how much further mesh panel is from lumbar pads.
Now cinch mid-shoulder strap buckles back tight.
Both mid straps cinched back up tight.
Now run both shoulder strap stab straps through all cross straps. Factory setting is one; I use all of them for max stability.
Stab strap under all cross straps.
Now thread stab straps through upper stab strap buckles.
And cinch down.
Now clean up straps. Tuck under last cross strap, roll to desired length, secure with velcro wrap.
Sternum adjusted and wrapped.
Waist belt adjusted and wrapped.
Now you are ready to try it on and fit up. Open up sternum and waist belt. Try it on. Adjust waist strap. Adjust stab straps. Then adjust sternum strap. When you have it close, now it’s time to load up pack. Re-adjust harness as needed…. And Bob’s your uncle, your all ready for tomorrow’s 10K TAB @ 0430!!!