Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bobcat: Kid friendly modifications

So now you have your Bobcat all set up on your medium ALICE pack; and you're wondering, how can this work for one of my kids? The following pics are of my Bobcat conversion on a USMC radio pack which is nothing more than a slightly enhanced ALICE medium pack.

Because children have narrower shoulders, the following mods will make the pack very usable and easy to carry for pre-adolecents and smaller children. The Bobcat then becomes an excellent low cost, bullet proof pack for for both cub scouts and girl scouts.

First thing to do is read my Bobcat modifications in my earlier post. Frameless ALICE Modification: "Bobcat"  Use all modifications, except substitute the LC2 shoulder straps with LC1; and add a small sternum strap that can be purchased at stores such as REI and Campmor etc.

The next pic is a set of LC2 straps so you can see the difference between the LC1.

So, we start with a set of LC1 straps and a sternum strap; I purchased the sternum strap at REI. Notice the shape and position of the straps. The slight angular shape and the padded portion oriented to the top. This is the correct position of the LC1 straps and is how they should be attached to the ALICE pack.

Undo the quick release on one of the straps and separate the upper and lower portions. Do the same for both straps.

Next, slip one end of the sternum strap over the web portion of the shoulder strap.  

Reassemble the quick release, sliding the top of the lower strap portion under the loop of the sternum strap. Look at the pic closely if this seems confusing.

Snap the outer tab down; and then repeat the assembly for the other side.

Now you have a kid friendly Bobcat that will hopefully provide many years of enjoyable hiking and camping for your entire family; pack or troop.

The following pics are of my three sons about three years ago. My youngest was eight at the time and the pic shows he is easily utilizing the Bobcat with the addition of a MSS attached to the bottom. My older boys were eleven and thirteen and had graduated to Hellcats. The kid friendly mods help younger children pack much heavier loads than the standard day packs will accommodate. 

For any one who wants to outfit their family on a budget; the Bobcat and Hellcat are hard to beat; you can start young and let the system take them into adulthood. Happy trails.