When I began to look into SOTA I was having trouble deciding what rucksack I would use. So choosing one took some time. I have a few ALICE packs like what I used in the military but I was convinced that there was a better option. I settled on the Marine Corps ILBE system.
The Marines are phasing these out so they can be purchased for under 150 dollars. This is a picture of the main pack. It is a well built pack capable of carrying up to 120 lbs. It is a great all purpose long haul Go Bag. It has a cavernous main compartment that could easily pack all the gear required for a multi day excursion.
These packs were designed to carry 2 mortars on the left and right side of the pack. These are a great place to strap in antenna accessories or any long hardware such as tripods or poles.
The big reason the Marines are phasing out the ILBE is because of the complaints that this pack is uncomfortable. The issue is that when a soldier is wearing body armor this pack is extremely uncomfortable. Since I don't have to wear body armor I don't have that problem. I have used this pack on the summits I have activated so far and found it to be perfect for my needs.
As you can see I have set up the top pack cover as a field desk for my KX3.
When packed my KX3 sits inside the rucksacks purpose built radio compartment. I have a Rubbermaid container that fits inside the pouch nicely and protects my KX3 from moisture and any bumps.
The ILBE system also comes with a detachable day pack. The day pack is perfect for those fast afternoon activations. It has the same radio compartment as the larger pack so it is very easy to adapt your radio gear to the smaller pack.
Both packs are covered in Molle webbing. This webbing allows the user to change the pack for the mission at hand. You can find every imaginable accessory from radio pouches to magazine holders. My "Field Desk" is a Molle pouch from Condor.
I don't have the hydration bladder that comes with the set but I have found that any bladder will work. I use my Osprey pack bladder inside the recon pack.
All in all this is a great pack with all the options a ham could need in a Go Bag. And right now they can be purchased on Amazon or Ebay for a song. I would recommend them to anyone.