Advices sewing Molle webbing to a rare Alice pack?

Discussion in 'Packs, Bags & Pouches' started by Vrelik, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    Just got my second Cuban Alice pack and I'd like to have it modified with Molle webbing on the lid and bag as well as Velcro in some areas.

    Some friends are suggesting to keep it original because it's like a collectible item and I was hoping you guys can help me decide if what I want to do is viable or not. The fabric looks strong and in good condition depite being like 20 years old.

    My goal is to assemble the pack with a FILBE frame and I want to make the pack fully Molle compatible. Im calling it The Raptor.

    I got my first example a couple years ago and to my surprise is fully compatible with both the LC2 frame and the DEI1606 AC/MC frame. Even the sustainment pouches can be used on it just like any real Alice.

    First picture is my other C. Alice that I assembled with frame.

    Following pictures represent what I want to do.

    My greatest concern is the fabric. In theory should hold in one piece but some around me said that sewing might rip it in the long term because this pack is like 20 years old.
    Any experience or suggestions are welcome.
     

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  2. jayclimber

    jayclimber Scout

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    Great idea!

    Here is how I would look at it... You have other packs and this is a "modification project" that if it works you've got a new pack to use, if not your only out what you paid for the pack and your time and effort. So if you're willing to take a loss on a project possibly not turning out then you've really got nothing to lose.

    From blowing up the pictures the fabric looks stout enough. Start with a test row of Molle and see what happens! Good luck.
     
  3. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What sewing machine are you going to use? Sewing items to a pack that is finished can be an issue with my set up, I can’t get down into the pack because of my sewing machine limitations. Have been looking at the manual Chinese leather sewing machines that have a long arm and deep throat, seems with some work and a couple hundred dollars you can pick up one of these sewing machines and get good results sewing nylon and leather to packs.
     
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  4. Cachersquirrel

    Cachersquirrel Tracker

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    If it's an actual collectible, why not sell it as such on Ebay so that a person that would appreciate that aspect can do so, and then pick up a Medium or Large that can be a project pack.
     
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  5. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Keeper of the Clubhouse swear jar Supporter

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    hello,
    @Vrelik nice pack BTW. Were these issued to the Cubans or U.S military stationed in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay)? I kinda agree with @Cachersquirrel but it's your pack & as you already have another, I would go along with the modifications. I would suggest as I've often done so here, I've taken webbing repairs to the nearest saddlery or shoe repair store for advice as to my intentions, as they have the proper sewing machines, heavy-duty threads, etc.. to carry out such repairs & modifications.
    good luck with your endeavors. :)
    Regards
    David
     
  6. Unlucky Knuckle

    Unlucky Knuckle Tracker

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    I've always been of the mindset that if your gear is modified so you have a better time using it, that makes it more valuable than a collector piece that will sit unused. Check with your local firefighters, they usually have a person that repairs their bunker gear they can recommend you to.
     
  7. sak45acp

    sak45acp Tracker

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    Pardon my ignorance, but what is a “Cuban” ALICE pack? Your pictures appear to show an ALICE like pack with unknown nylon and cotton webbing on one of them. Is this a knock-off, or an early prototype?
     
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  8. CamoDeafie82

    CamoDeafie82 Guide

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    Nope. The color itself is rare, but the general pack shape and layout is actually a pretty common one. Here is a photo of Cuban doctors with their packs for a trip to Venezeula. Seems to be a standardized layout/form made in Cuba. unnamed-1.jpg
     
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  9. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Keeper of the Clubhouse swear jar Supporter

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    hello,
    @CamoDeafie82 that answers my question ^^^^ & @Unlucky Knuckle AWESOME idea & I'm sure that suggestion could be put to good use too. :)
    Regards
    David
     
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  10. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    This is a side project. My main pack is a medium Alice/Hellcat with DEI 1606MC frame, Molle straps, MSC, two sustainment pouches with compression straps and four Fastex to secure my hydration pack externally.

    My other pack is what I call the Raptor, Cuban/Alice Hellcat with LC2frame, Molle straps and sustainment pouches.

    This new pack is my Raptor II project and ok I won't say she's expendable cuz there's only a few around but I won't die if she rips apart. Let's hope she won't.
     
  11. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    I want to call my tailor to do the sewing. He has made pouches and stuff for me before.
     
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  12. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    Would it classify as one? I don't know if people would be interested...
     
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  13. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    I have been trying to track their origins and it appears they were first developed for the Cuban special forces in the African campaign or some time later. Aparently a few were made and they are hard to find in good condition. I know that some medium Alice found their way into the island and two main models based on the M. Alice were made. The first you saw it in my pictures and the other is wider and has four small pouches. It is also compatible with the Alice frame but does not have webbing like the Alice.

    I will go ahead and will bring pics! Thanks for the advices.
     
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  14. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    It's a Cuban version of the Alice pack. That pack was made in Cuba and since looks like the Real medium Alice I just refer to it as Cuban Alice. The "Cuban" thing I don't like it that much, Raptor sounds way better and suits her since they are smaller and you can turn them into a smaller Hellcat.
     
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  15. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Keeper of the Clubhouse swear jar Supporter

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    hello,
    @Vrelik that is AWESOME. I did have a couple of Rhodesian DPM pouches which were very similar to the British (tropical) DPM material, these ammo pouches could fit the British 58 pattern water bottles side by side in one pouch, the larger front left & right pouches could carry a huge load too. I had these as a belt order. I'll have a browse see if I can find more details on your ALICE pack, good luck with the MOLLE modifications. :)
    Regards
    David
     
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  16. Tangotag

    Tangotag Field Gear Junkie Bushclass I

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    I'd say use it as is.
    Adding that molle webbing with a sewing machine would be a pain to get everything to be straight. It would be easier to undo the side stitching basically disassembling the pack to sew webbing on then re-stitching the pack together.
    Lots of work. May as well make a new pack with all new material for as much work is going to go into it.
     
  17. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    It is your pack. If you want to modify it, do so. If the folks who think it is ‘collectible’ want to buy it from you for a collector’s price, sell it to them. There are always those who don’t want YOU to modify your equipment, no matter what that equipment is.

    Go for it!
     
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  18. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    I believe a friend has a British tropical DPM bdu and another friend got a British tropical DPM tarp tent new for only $25 or something.
    I'd like to see the pouches is that's ok. I have a thing for this stuff.
    Good luck googling for those packs. Hope you find something. Last time I browsed, all I got was the green packs that they gave to their medics. Nothing to do with my packs. So far I haven't find anything about them not even pictures. There seem to be a big secrecy about their military gear or perhaps lack of information?
    I have big hopes that the Raptor will look great and work great when done. Will be one of a kind.
     
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  19. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    I already have to redo some stitching. Doing the whole work will take some time anyway.
     
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  20. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Keeper of the Clubhouse swear jar Supporter

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    hello,
    @Vrelik I GAW the belt order & a Basha to a guy during the Bosnia & Herzegovina war between 1992 & 1995. I'd have to look through some old photos from the time. The Basha was destroyed but I believe the belt order remained intact. The front pouches left & right was near twice in length as the British PLCE which could be worn as side pouches aka Officers pouches, the side pouches were worn side or at the rear similar to kidney pouches, added to the belt order was 2 water bottles.
    Regards
    David
     
  21. Vrelik

    Vrelik Tracker

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    I like that setup. I have used side pouches straped to my belt and leg for extended cargo capacity combined with a hydration pack and pouches on the shoulder straps. The setup offers flexibility and I find it very comfortable. I have a buttpack that I use with the pouches at times.
     
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  22. sak45acp

    sak45acp Tracker

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    Thanks for the history on the pack. I’d say do what you want with it.
     
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