In the 1990’s the United States Army made the decision to introduce the Individual Integrated Fighting System (IIFS) to its soldiers. The IIFS was meant to replace the old All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) that soldiers had been using for many years to carry their tactical and personal gear. Part of the new IIFS was the Combat Field Pack M-1990 (CFP-90).
The purpose of the CFP 90 is to enhance the safety and comfort of the soldiers, in two main ways. First, by more evenly distributing the weight of their load; second, through the many ergonomic and comfort features found in the pack. Some of the features offered by the CFP-90 include: lower padding on the back, lumbar support, shoulder padding, and an adjustable suspension system. It also features compression straps that enable a soldier to tightly strap down heavy loads to ensure minimal load-shifting. It also offers a hip belt to ease the strain of heavier loads.
CFP-90 Carrying Capacity and Features
The CFP-90 field backpack (there is also a smaller CFP-90 patrol pack, which can be attached to the larger field pack) features two compartments. The first is the lower sleeping bag compartment; the second is the main compartment. The main compartment has a false bottom, allowing the pack to be completely opened if there is no sleeping bag being carried. Between the 2 compartments there is a total of 1200 cubic inches of space for equipment.
Supports and Compression Straps
There are two removable internal metal supports that run lengthwise on side each of the pack. These provide extra support, but can be removed if not required. Compression straps are located on the interior and exterior of the CFP 90 to secure down any equipment for minimal shifting during movement.
On the outside of the pack are 3 external pockets. On side has one long cylindrical pocket, the other has two smaller pockets to organize smaller gear.
Introduction of the PALS System
The combat field pack was one of the first backpacks to adopt the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS). PALS is a system of nylon loops that covered the outside of the pack. The PALS system allowed different pouches and equipment to be attached to this webbing framework. It allows the wearer to customize the equipment and placement of that equipment for their personal style and preference. These pouches can also be customized for specific mission needs or areas of responsibility.
The PALS system is now common on all current issue military backpacks as well as tactical vests and equipment.
Summary of Features:
- The pack is made of eight ounce sturdy back-coated nylon that is not only durable, but also water resistant.
- The CFP 90 weighs eight pounds when empty. That includes: straps, belt, frame, and nylon.
- It can carry up to seventy pounds of equipment.
- 1200 cubic inches of internal cargo space.
- PALS equipment system.
The CFP-90 is an effective load bearing unit that is made with the soldiers comfort and safety in mind. Since it allows the user to carry heavy loads with relative ease, it is even used by civilians for activities like hiking and camping.
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