Modular Assault Pack, or MAP for short, is a kind of small hydration pack that can be only installed on the back panel of body armor or plate carrier via MOLLE, most of them cannot be carried standalone. The original MAP was made by Allied Industries (CAGE: 7P200), it takes parts in many Load-Carrying Systems such as MBSS, SFLCS, RLCS, FSBE II, etc.
Despite its tactical/military uses, the MAP itself is a perfect small and thin pack for EDC usage indeed, but there leaves only one problem: the classic MAP has no sling or shoulder straps and can be only installed on a PALs panel, it occupies 4 * 8 PALs webbings. So, naturally, a PALs/MOLLE panel with sling or shoulder straps is always the first idea that comes to you. But unfortunately, there no such products in the market, even I expect it urgently. Some brands make MAP or similar products with shoulder straps or reserved buckle for that purpose. But if you just have an old-school MAP at hand and want to use it as day pack, maybe I can help you.
Before we get started, I’d like declare to my principles about the modification work like this:
- Recoverable. Try to avoid destructive or unrecoverable modification: cutting, sewing, punching, etc. As a bottom line, unless it is broken or modified already, unrecoverable modification is forbidden on the main part.
- Fully utilized. Make the most use of the main part and reduce the requirement of foreign, additional or custom parts. If you can’t find proper part in the market and tend to make a custom part for your purpose, make sure that it is necessary and useful enough.
- Reusable. The solution should not to be a case-by-case one and can be reused in other similar situation.
In this case, the main body to be modified is LBX-0306 Mini Modular Assaulters Pack, a small MAP products. It’s a little shorter than the classic MAPs like LBT-9039A. The front compartment is removed and replaced by a combination of Velcro panel and buckle strap for quick detachable pouch. It’s too bad that LBX-0306 has discontinued for long, only flat LBX-0306A is available.
Let’s get started!
Enable The Availability
First thing first, let’s remove the dependency of vest back panel of MAP and make it possible to be carried standalone. There is MOLLE panel on its back, so I’d like to make a multifunctional converter for it.
The converter has three features: two 25mm webbing loops with tri-glide buckle for shoulder straps, one 50mm webbing loop for sling and carrying handle. It meets three requirements in one custom part.
As for the lower connecting points, I found a perfect solution. By utilizing the MOLLE panel on its sides, I insert it with Original S.O.E. T-Ring Adapter on both sides and use the D-rings as lower connector.
Now we have connectors for shoulder straps and sling on the top and bottom, with proper straps or sling, we can carry it without a vest.
While I finished sewing and had the converter on my hand, I realized that the distance between the 25mm webbing rings seemed to be compatible with Hill People Gear Pocket Sling, I bought one immediately and found it did worked.
Now there leaves only two minor concerns: the MOLLE panel on its back is not so friendly to your jacket, and the pack is pliable without the support of vest back panel.
Let’s deal the MOLLE problem first. Ideally, the best solution is an isolation plate with MOLLE, install it and you’ll never worry about your T-shirt and jacket. The plate will support the pack, too. In fact some of the MAP-like products do have such thing, for example, BLACKHAWK Cyane Dynamic Pack. But unfortunately, the panel doesn’t sell separately.
Brands like Hill People Gear, London Bridge Trading and many others have products like backpack insert MOLLE panel, but non of them have what I exactly need. So I decided to find something else. Finally, I focused on side plate carrier pouch: most the pouch of this kind occupies four PALs in width, exactly the same as MAP, so that it can be installed to the pack. One more thing, some of the plate carrier pouches are designed to be against closely to wearer’s body, the fabric is smooth and fine. With these pouches as back panel, there is no need to worry about your clothes. Finally, I found Crye Precision JPC Side Plate Pouch Set, it meets my needs perfectly. All I have to do is install it and stuff the pouch with some EPE foam.
Now we only have one problem: find some proper material to make stays for the pack. PVC supporting sheet is a common solution, but for LBX-0306, there is only one half-heighted, meshed and loose compartment in the inner side back and can not hold supporting sheet firmly. Instead of the PVC sheet, I found some fiber flat bars as stays. Both 25x3mm and 30x3mm can be inserted in MOLLE webbing. Insert the stays and your pack is unbendable!
Thanks for reading.