Tuesday, 5 Feb 2008

CFP-90 Field Pack
Rating 5 of 5 stars
Design internal frame Field Pack
Size large
Number of Pockets 3
Max. Load Carried 45 lbs
Price Paid $115
Pack Weight 6.5 lbs
Total size 4026 - 4250 cu inches w/o Patrol Pack

The CFP-90 was my second foray into US Army rucksacks. The medium ALICE Pack was not comfortable for even short(er) hikes, and I wanted something with an internal frame and a hip belt. I looked at several civilian internal frame backpacks at local retailers, but none of them ‘turned me on’. The suspension systems were well designed, the size was right, but they were either too expensive, or ugly, or ‘just not right’. I then looked online for various military designs, and saw some very well made packs in the $300-$700 range. These bags were simply out of question! I am used to buying surplus military gear way below retail prices, and somebody wants $300 for a backpack? No way. After some more searching on the internet, I came upon an obscure pack made for the US Army, and never used. The CFP-90 was designed as a replacement for ALICE gear, but never adopted. The Army started using MOLLE gear instead. Which, I suppose, is good for the Army, and great for the civilian hiker because surplus Army gear became even cheaper and easier to get.

I purchased the CFP-90 on eBay for a little over $100 including shipping. The seller stated this was a genuine US Army issue pack, and not some copy. I did see many sellers advertising “improved” versions of the CFP-90, but having read these types of bags are usually inferior, I did not even look at them. My pack arrived a few days later, and after inspecting the tag, I believe this is the real deal. It is made by ‘Specialty Plastic Products of PA’. After a few searches online, this company appears to be SDS (Specialty Defense Systems), a known manufacturer of Army gear.

The best feature of this pack is the suspension system. It is composed of two aluminum mainstays, and a vertically adjustable shoulder strap attachment system. The best way to think of this is like a ‘modified zipper’. There is a plastic ‘ladder’ and the internal triangle rides up and down, and then securely fixed at one point with two large screw heads. The shoulder straps are also attached at the top of the pack. There is a foam pad that rides in the small of your back to keep the backpack away from the body, to maximize air flow, and minimize sweating. This may look strange, but works great. The hip belt is 5″ wide in the back, and narrows to 3″ in the front. It is heavily padded for maximum comfort while carrying heavy loads. There is 3/4″ of padding sewn inside the hip belt. There is a strap that goes on the outside of the entire hip belt, and it can be used to attach ALICE compatible gear all the way around. The shoulder straps are 3″ wide, and also have 3/4″ of padding inside. These are an enormous improvement over the old school ALICE shoulder pads. There is a old style quick release buckle on each strap, as well as a metal ‘clamp’ to adjust the length of the shoulder strap. The CFP-90 also has a sternum strap, which has become standard in all modern packs. Because of the design of the suspension system, this pack is very adjustable. It can ride high, or low on your back, and be as close or far away from your body as you like. Because of it’s size, in order to carry a large load, one really needs to tailor the suspension to fit your body. There are two openings on either side of the shoulder straps for a radio antenna, or a drinking tube for a water bladder.

There are two main compartments. They are separated by a false bottom, so if you had to carry an oversize item inside, the two compartments can become one. Fully expanded the top compartment measures 20″ x 14″ x 8″. This is possible because there are two draw cords on top, for two levels of ‘fullness’. If it is stuffed to a ‘less full’ level, the top compartment measures 18″ x 14″ x 8″. The 8″ depth is measured on the side, if you were to stuff a rectangular box inside. Because the pack is usually stuffed with clothes, and other irregular objects, the actual size is somewhat different. The pack stretches to accommodate whatever is inside. This compartment is compressed via two cinch down webbing in the front. The lower compartment is designed for the sleeping bag. It is a little bit deeper than the top compartment, and measures 10.5″ x 10.5″ x 14″. This compartment is closed via dual YKK self-healing zippers, and cinch down webbing with buckles. If the false bottom is undone the maximum pack size is 31″ x 8″ x 14″.

On the right side there is a large pocket that measures 18″ x 6″ x 3.5″. It is closed via a draw cord, and a flap on top. The flap is secured by a cinch strap, and there is a second cinch strap closer to the bottom. You can fit a small tent, or a bivvy bag inside. On the left side there are two smaller pockets. They measure 9.5″ x 6″ x 3.5″, and are also closed via a draw cord, and flap on top. There is a cinch strap that secures the top flap, and compresses whatever is inside the pocket. There are two loops sewn in on front, above the sleeping bag compartment. They can be used to attach a sleeping pad, tent, or anything else you can think of. On the bottom there are two rows of webbing to attach even more gear. You can hang a tent, sleeping bag, etc there. They are far apart, so this is not a MOLLE compatible configuration.

The fabric is said to be waterproof nylon. It does not look rubberized on the inside like my MOLLE Assault packs. I have carried around 45 pounds inside this pack, and it is very comfortable; surely heavier loads can be carried. Properly adjusted, a lot of the weight sits on your hips, so it does not feel nearly as heavy as a lighter ALICE pack without the hip belt. I have stopped using the CFP-90 for most of my camping trips because there is no need for so much space for a 2-3 day trip. If I was to go camping for a week, this pack would definitely be on my back. There is an optional Patrol Pack that can be attached to the top of the CFP-90 for extra storage, and for day hikes. The patrol pack is not comfortable because there is no framesheet, and everything bunches up and hurts my back. I never take it with me anyway, because there has never been a need for more space.

You can buy a genuine CFP-90 Field Pack on eBay. Beware of reproductions and fakes. The real US Made military version will have an NSN number.


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US Army CFP-90 Field Pack Large W/ Internal Frame, Excellent Used Condition

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CFP - 90 Field Pack with Internal Frame

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Backpack Mil-Spec Replica U.S.Military Combat CFP-90 FIELD PACK Large NEW

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50 Responses to “CFP-90 Field Pack”

  1. Craig Says:

    I have 2 LC2 w/frames One medium and one large, and one CFP90 the large LC2, I have loaded with about 60 lbs and done some 10 mi hikes, The frame makes a huge difference. The CFP-90 this is another story. I have done the same hike with this pack loaded down to 120 LBS with the patrol pack (and I looked like a bedouin nomad. ) extremely more comfortable especially under extreme loads.

    Depending on the need and the time in the filed depends on the equipment

    LC2 - Medium W/Frame. Max load 45 LBS Camping 1-2 days.
    LC2 - Large W/Frame. Max load 60 Lbs Camping 3-4 days.
    CFP-90 W/O patrol pack Max load 116 Lbs. Camping 4-7 days.
    CFP-90 W/Patrol pack Max load carried 120 Lbs. Camping 7+ days.

    This is all assuming a hike in of 10 Mi, on a 90 deg day, over hilly terrain and is the load I packed for and hauled over that distance. Now your mileage might vary, depending on your size, physical fitness, and sheer raw strength.

  2. Jerry Says:

    I read the CFP-90 review, and sounds like the pack for me.

    Any suggestions about where to get the better quality one(made by Lowe, as I understand it)?

    Thanks for the data.

  3. dmitry Says:

    From what I have seen, SDS is one of the better manufacturers of these packs. Stay away from “better than mil-spec” CFP-90. There are plenty of sellers online and auction sites that will try to sell you off-brand (imported) field packs. Make sure that any eBay seller has a genuine CFP-90 with a picture of the sewn-in care tag and NSN#. Check out one of my pictures to see what the care tag/NSN look like.
    Some may come with the additional patrol pack, some may not. I have never used the patrol pack that came with my CFP-90. It’s un-padded, cumbersome and useless unless you attach it to the top of your main rucksack for extra capacity.

  4. Frank Says:

    These packs were actually issued to the Army for a number of years in the very late 80’s up to the mid 90’s, maybe even later. I used this pack when I was with Spec Ops and also seemed to be issued to Rangers, Airborne, and other specialty units (or those willing to buy the pack themselves).

    I have to agree this pack was the greatest. Lots of room, well made, and comfortable. This pack was made to bring all the civillian pack comforts and more to the military and succeeded in doing this more than just about any piece of gear I had used.

    I would give my right arm to have one of these bags again. Adding some pals strapping on the inside and out would make it totally unbeatable.


  5. James Says:

    Agreed, this is a good pack. I just recently bought one to replace my old Jansport, which finally had the hip belt come apart after many years. I have to wonder why the Army ditched these.

    I found a good issue one made by Specialty Defense on Ebay, and I like it so much that I’d like to buy another one in ACU so I can use it on future ruck marches. Problem I’ve seen in examining modern production ones in ACU is they’re missing the vertically adjustable shoulder strap rail part. Are you aware of any modern production of these in the new ACU pattern? I’m only aware of Atlantco’s Tru-Spec, which I’ve already seen, and Rothco, and neither looks like they accurately copied the full spec.

  6. Scott Hannah Says:

    I’m about to get one of these pack:).What is the size of the hip belt will it adjust to
    38 to 40 inches? I like this web site!!!!!!!

    Scott Hannah

  7. dmitry Says:

    The belt will accommodate at least 38 inches, maybe as much as 48.

  8. Beni Says:

    Is it possible to get a “new never issued” CFP-90 pack made by Specialty Defense Systems? I found one on ebay and the guy shows the tag and everything, but I was under the impression that if you were going to get one from SDS or Specialty Plastic Products of PA, then you would be getting one that was used?? He’s selling it for under $100 so I’m wondering if its actually genuine??

    [Edit: Yes, you can probably find a brand new SDS pack for less than $100. In fact I bought mine from eBay a few years ago for $99 plus S&H, and it was brand new. Watch out for the “improved” versions; those are usually knock-offs and worse quality. I am not an expert, but I believe SDS was the primary manufacturer, and I also believe Woodland Camouflage was the one and only color.]

  9. matt marek Says:

    My wife bought me this pack 4 years ago for a birthday present …. i still think its the most durable pack out there. I run about a 45-50 lb. load , that includes h20. I have a 3liter bladder inside w/ 2 canteen attached to back. There is really more room than i need in the pack for a 4-5 day hike. I carry all lightweight backpack gear ….. 2man tent , sleeping bag in lower compartment. In upper compartment i have 3 change of clothes , food , micro stove & lantern & mess kit . In outer lower small pocket i have 3 cans of fuel for stove & lantern plus fire striker & emergency tender . The upper small pocket carries my rain cover & poncho . I also carry a lightweight jungle hammock in long exterior pocket for times when tent is not practical . With all this gear and the terrain I cover I have never had pack failure . Yes it is as comfortable as a numerous civilian bags but on average the pack weight itself is about 2 to 3 lbs more. In my opinion well worth the weight compared difference because of the durability factor. I would suggest this bag to anyone who was serious about their gear!

  10. Larry Koziol Says:

    Yes, this pack will definitely fit a +40″ waist and is a great pack. I generally go w/ minimal gear and can get buy w/ just the patrol pack but find this pack useful when I’m am acting as a mule for my family of 8. They carry their day packs and I carry the food, water, and heavy and or bulky gear. I purchased this pack in great condition for $75 from A&M Surplus in Bellevue, NE. I highly recommend the patrol pack; though it does not compare w/ the comfort of a civy day pack I use mine daily as a go bag (goes w/ me everywhere) and it is great to be able drop my lrg pack @ camp detach the patrol pack and go scouting or for a hike or ride. Mine is woodland camo and that is the only thing I would change as I would prefer one that is not so military looking for overseas travel.

  11. Josh Says:

    I just bought a GI CFP-90 combat pack on e-bay, but it doesn’t look like it comes with the entire suspension kit. I can see the metal staves and padded shoulder and hip belts, but I don’t see the adjustable triangle or lower back pad. Should the pack come with all parts standard or is this and ILBE? If so, do you know where I can get a different suspension kit? Thanks!

  12. dmitry Says:

    I am not sure what you are referring too for the suspension parts. The shoulder straps are attached to the rucksack via the adjustable triangle. Do you have the label with NSN number, manufacturer and item name sewn in? Check and see what item you actually have on hand. Send me a pic (via email address in About page and I can try to help you out.)

  13. suburbansurvivalist Says:

    Josh may be talking about a main pack that has been modified, like this one;


    The black triangle has probably been removed and the straps sewn into the top of the pack, which completely changes the feel of the system and removes the benefit of the suspension. I purchased one like that on eBay for $69+shipping (it was incorrectly described as a PATROL pack modification, rather than a MAIN pack modification) and sent it right back. Might have to open a dispute.

    I finally located a CFP-90 main/patrol new, but paid $150 incl. shipping. Worth it. Also made by Specialty Plastic Products of PA.

    Thanks for this review - helped me decide to get a CFP-90.

  14. peter wise Says:

    hi,great site for the cfp-90.does anyone know where i can buy one fromin the uk.best wishes .peter.
    [Edit, no idea. Try UK eBay site, or perhaps regular eBay auction with international shipping.]

  15. John Kevin Says:

    Grest info, the gear has worked for me. Started in 67 with a WWII USMC combat pack, cargo bag, shelter half, web belt canteens. This is retired and hangs on the wall.

    1973 Alice Pack med. Also have a olive seat pad that fits in the pack frame and pads my back. Installed the Enhanced shoulder straps for a better fit. Thinking about a padded waist strap with Alice clips. Still in use, overnighthers and my SAR ready pack

    M-1951 H- harness with butt pack, pouches and 1 quart canteens. Still in service day, and some overnighters. Sometimes used when Mtn. Bike camping and will also wear my hydration pack.

    Camelback Mule in woodland camo, day use but extend to overnight if I wear the M-1951.

    CP-90 Pack with patrol pack. The patrol pack was not a good design it was square and quite small not in size but fit. Found antother patrol pack tear drop shape and a much better fit. I use the patrol pack as a stand alone day use pack. Iatttach the Camelbak Mule pack to the CP-90 Pack.

    WWI and WWII mess kits, cookware set, USMC 2 person Combat tent and the Ind combat shelter. M416A1 Jeep trailer.

    Been using the keyhole saw, after buying my first pack in 67 and I wanted a hatchet, and he bought me a keyhole saw.

  16. Regulator Says:

    I was issued a CFP-90 in 1987. We were light infantry an regularly did roadmarches of 10 and 20 miles with these pack loaded around 80lbs. They are durable, I still use the same pack I was issued, even though I’m long outta the Army.

    We were the first units to get these packs. Mine has a model of “Experimental” and was made by Lowe Alpine Systems. Oh, and the originals were made of Gortex.

  17. Regulator Says:

    Also, the day pack is designed to clip into the load bearing assualt vest that was issued with the pack. The original day packs had plastic clips and snaps, the newer civilian ones may have straps now. They just weren’t designed to be used without the vest.

  18. Dave Says:

    Great pack. I managed to get several never issued ones through base salvage when I was in Germany. I issued them to my guys for deployment use, and kept a couple for just in case. Carries as much as I need for 10 days and the extra pack makes a great carry for short shots. Compared the the Alice systems I used previously it was like suddenly modern bag. Why it didn’t become regular issue I’m not sure, but glad it didn’t so I could lay my hands on some.

  19. tony Says:

    I have the backpack, but i am missing the shoulder straps and aluminum mainstays. Any one know where to get these items with out buying the whole thing?

    [Edit: Mainstays can be made at home from 1/8″ aluminum stakes from the hardware store. Shoulder straps are unique, and probably have to be salvaged from another CFP-90. Try searching on eBay, or other online sites for them, or a ripped-up backpack you can salvage. Other users may have more ideas too.]

  20. Glenn Says:

    I bought a military issue used cfp-90 pack at the local gunshow about 10 years ago. I have had many packs in the past ranging from my old Alice ruck sack when I was in the army in the late 60s, it sucked real bad! I have had some high end packs that were much better but still not (rough) enough for me. The CFP-90 was great!!! I can carry 150lbs with no problem and it is very easy to carry. Only one problem. I had about 50 lbs in it on a trip and when I grabbed it and jerked it out of the car trunk the plastic slid backing above the back pad ripped right out! I think the plastic got brittle. I took some JB weld glue to it and it is as good as new??? (Smile) This pack has the “Quick-Release” shoulder straps that allow you took dump the pack very fast. If your looking for a heavy duty “Military” pack that you can use in a tactical situation then this is the one for you. I paid $50 for mine. Best pack I have ever owned or used.

  21. Thinking Through Bug Out Bag Firearms « Suburban Survivalist Says:

    […] have a CFP-90 backpack that can haul upwards of 90 pounds, but I don’t want to carry that much and couldn’t move well […]

  22. Bruce Says:

    Great pack. Beware of the plastic adjustable slide spline. Mine just broke and it was barely used but over 16 years old though. Lowe told me that they no longer repair them but would send me a 20% off on a new pack. It was a great pack and probably the best I’ve ever worn or owned but is now useless. I think storing it in the attic with 120+ degrees for many years didn’t help matters. These packs were standard issue for SF and LRS army units in the early to mid 90’s. It was not uncommon to pack them with 120lbs. of gear. I use to take it on 30 day field exercises and not even dent the capacity of the pack. I’m frugal when it comes to changing clothes though and I didn’t have to worry too much about carrying alot of food since was usually already provided and had water points along the way. I believe you could easily live out of this pack for 2 weeks if you pack it with the essentials. At any rate, that is my pack’s eulogy. I’m just looking for a new one. If you have any incite other than JB weld (good stuff btw) please inform me.

  23. Jesse Poscablo Says:

    I have traveld to many places as a civilian and milatary personel this pack among many and i mean many packs that i own, and the cfp90 is my choice for a variety of use. i am a short man and when i adjust my pack to what ever weight and length of hikes or travel my pack is very confortable and may i add even up to 80 lbs and with the patrol pack which i do use for extra storage but remember i have alot of experience with this pack. i also own several molly packs and all of the attachments do fit my cfp90 along with my alice gear attachments if i were to get rid of all my packs i would only keep my cfp90 pack.

  24. Rayburn Tolbert Says:

    Just a little info, at rangerjoes, they have a remake of the original pack, its by phenix, I wouldn’t buy it because I already have an authentic one used by a soldier, but the site says that with the patrol pack, the cubic inch is 6590 Cu.In. which is far more room than than any high tech $500 pack I’ve seen.

  25. Gene Says:

    They hold a lot, and are comfortable, but I have issues with durability. I broke one in Afghanistan in 2001, and a second in Iraq in 2005. The suspension system is what broke. I liked them, but, I don’t trust them. Both times, I had to field repair them with 550 cord.

    Check out the British PLCE Infantry Bergen. It’s solid.

    [Edit: I have heard from several people with plastic slider is the weak point of this pack, so take that into consideration if it’s going to see heavy use. From what I have heard, the Berget is an excellent heavy-duty pack as well. -Dmitry]

  26. Sean Says:

    I just got one of these, and I have to say its one of the better investments I have recently made. This is a much better backpack than any of the consumer market backpacks I have owned. If you have to carry a lot of weight, this is the pack. The genuine GI issue is truly a one size fits all due to all the adjustments they provide you with. I was lucky to find a genuine GI issue SDS made version off eBay. $130 for the SDS CFP-90 with the SDS Molle II Patrol Pack. eBay seller id - qb8472

    I think someone else mentioned this. The major difference between a genuine GI issue and “better than mil-spec replica” is the shoulder pads height adjustment. The replica is not adjustable, the straps are sewn onto the pack. The genuine issue has a Y pad that slides up and down a track for adjusting shoulder height and weight distribution. You can see it in the pictures the author seeded. If you want the genuine one, try to look at pictures showing the shoulder straps mounting point. There are also other minor differences in the pockets and strapping.

    PS. - Someone have experience adjusting these backpacks? I’m not sure if mine is set up properly. I have a vague idea of what they’re for, coming from no experience with these backpacks =). If someone would be willing to go over the different adjustments and their purpose. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Bruce - I have a idea that might help. I noticed on mine, that part looks like a natural weak-point. I bet yours broke right across the line of stitches sowing the strap in-between the plastic? I was thinking to reinforce mine. I could sow pieces of nylon strapping onto the plastic. Tie-down strapping or something like that. I would have to drill small holes for the thread. If I punch the holes instead of drill them, it will make it weaker than it needs to be. With punching I am just pushing the material sideways and down, stressing the plastic further. A drill will remove the material and not create addition stress to the plastic, other than the line of holes for the thread. And I would probably use Kevlar string for the thread. Google “Kevlar thread or string”. McMaster also sells it. Just be creative, I’m sure you can find a way to fix it.

    Anyways, excellent backpack. Glad I made the purchase. Can’t wait to hit the trails this summer.

  27. JC3Hawaii Says:

    I lucked out and scored a CFP-90 at a local swapmeet about a month ago. Got it for $25 sans the patrol pack and it hardly looks used at all. In researching the pack this AM I stumbled accross this excellent website. I broke iin the CFP-90 last weekend on a short 5-mile hike. Loaded in tent, sleeping bag and enough gear for a two person 3-day trip. Pack weighed in at just over 70lbs. with H2O. Performed perfectly. Reminded me of my old North Face Snow Leopard. Anyway regarding Seans note about fitting the pack I pretty much applied standard internal frame fitting standards. The attached generic websiite covers basic fitting and the system CFP-90 is pretty much similar to civilian available packs as far as torso and shoulder strap adjustments go. Good luck, you will love this pack!

  28. JC3Hawaii Says:

    Opps, here is the pack fitting guide website http://www.academy.com/index.php?page=content&target=sports_tips/camping/fit_backpack

  29. Tim Says:

    Has anyone purchased the Phenix version of the CFP-90 from Ranger Joes, or heard any reviews from someone who has? I’m looking for a solid pack for Search & Rescue missions and the CFP-90 looks like a good fit, but I hate buying something without trying it on. Also, does the CFP-90 have an inside location for a hydration bladder? Ranger Joe’s description notes an internal radio pocket, but says nothing of the actual size. Thanks.

  30. Kyle Says:

    DON’T GET THE PHENIX FROM RANGER JOES! That’s the crappy copy version. Notice how the shoulder straps are directly sewn to the back without the slider adjustment.

    Another happy owner of an issued CFP-90 here. The pack easily carries as much as I can lift. Have had it for a couple years, use it for everything from deployments to weekend hikes.

  31. Thinking Through Bug Out Bags (BoB) « Suburban Survivalist Says:

    […] my BoB is a U.S. military surplus CFP-90 Main Pack with Patrol Pack, purchased on eBay for about $150 with shipping included. I selected the CFP-90 specifically […]

  32. Tim Says:

    Don’t doubt that the issued CFP-90’s are better than any after market versions. However I need a ACU pattern pack, and the issued packs are only in the woodland pattern. Don’t want to spend the big bucks on the latest large MOLLE rucksack. Any suggestions then on a good ACU pack (3 day+)?

  33. Tom Says:

    I got a CFP-90 at a blowout rummage sale a few years ago for about $20. Based on the information I got from the person having the sale, the previous owner was ex-military (USMC) and spent a lot of time out of town. In this instance he left for a job probably in the middle east and had never called or returned. From the looks of what he left behind, he had spent some service time in Europe. He didn’t need his parachuting or cold weather gear in woodland camo in his new area of operations apparently.

    My pack was made by DJ Manufacturing. Nobody mentioned that manufacturer yet, so I thought I’d mention it. The care tag is green and is sewn in at the top. This is the tag info:

    Field Pack, Large
    With Internal Frame

    I found out exactly what it was by looking up the information from the tag on Google.

    That’s also how I found out about the history of the CFP-90 pack.

    It had no patrol pack with it when I got it, It’s woodland camo nylon backed with some type of waterproofing, there are two external pockets on the left side and a single deep pocket on the right side. Side pockets have a pass through sleeve behind them for poles, or whatever. There is an internal pocket near the top and I can easily fit a gallon jug in it, so water a bladder is not an issue.

    The zippers are not YKK, they say “Ideal” and have long pull tabs. The buckles are all either Fastex or ITW Nexus.

  34. Keith Says:

    I have an internal frame pack that is similar. It is the LCS-84. It was apparently issued to cold weather troops and was designed by lowe alpine before they designed the cfp90. Anyway, what I like about the LCS84 is that the straps are attached with webbing and are adjustable. Unlike the CFP90’s plastic suspension, this is not nearly as prone to failure. It also has four pockets instead of two short and one long. The drawback is that it doesn’t seem to have an interior divider, although it does have the fartsack access zipper in the bottom. I’m not sure if it never came with one or if the previous owner customized it. It was issued to a cold weather Marine that I knew in the late 90s, so he could have modified it. It also doesn’t have a flap to cover the top of it, not sure why. There are four female buckle ends inside as if something attaches to them, but I’m not sure what. Anyway, it is a big pack for packing a heavy load. I’m a big man, so naturally I get to hump the heavy gear on trips, not to mention that my gear is naturally heavy due to it’s larger size. So it’s a good bag for me. If anyone has any info on these packs, I’d appreciate it. Thanks

  35. "Ripcord", 5 SF GP,(Airborne), Ret. Says:

    I spent a lifetime in Special Forces starting with the 10th SF GP. We were stationed in Germany when I was first assigned 1n the 50’s. I have worn almost every kind of issued load bearing equipment from that time up through most of the 80’s That includes all climates from tropical to arctic. I have to correct some erroneous asumptions by some contributers here WE were the very first to be issued the CFP-90. We tested them under the most trying conditions and made suggestions on how they could be improved. They were first manufactured by the military division of Lowe (modified from some of Lowe’s civilian designs.

    It is still an exellent design, but for a little bit more, one can have the even better UM-21 system which was originally designed by Bianchi in coperation with DARPA. By the way, I think that the CRP-90 Patrol Pack is next to worthless. The UM-21 patrol day pack is far mor user friendly and can be easily attached to the main UM-21 main rucksack. I have two CFP-90s and one UM-21,

  36. Tom Says:

    I just got one these packs off a buddy who is getting out of SF and downsizing on all the crap he has at his house.
    I also have the military issue sleeping bag system. My question is…. are you meant to pack the MSS into it’s black exterier stuff bag and THAN put it in the lower compartment in this pack, or do you typically stuff it right into the pack, and leave the stuff sack at home?
    I’m looking forward to using this during this winter on a 5 day excursion through western Virginia.

  37. dmitry Says:

    That’s totally up to you. I usually stuff the sleeping bag inside the lower compartment, and leave the stuff sack alone. This saves me some hassle stuffing the sleeping bag inside the sack. If your sleeping bag is a difficult to get into the CFP-90 lower compartment, then use the stuff sack first. I have a sleeping bag that compresses to about 1/3″ of it’s regular size, once stuffed into the sack. The MSS may be the same way.

  38. Chris Says:

    I have a CFP-90 that I purchased several years ago because I thought it was a cool looking pack. I am now into backpacking and would like to use this pack, but I don’t have the hip belt. I ordered a belt from a surplus store ( they assured me it was the correct belt for the CFP-90) and it is not the right one. Does anyone have any pictures of how the belt is attached to the pack. That would help out a lot so I don’t have to purchase another CFP-90 pack just to get the belt.


  39. dmitry Says:

    The belt has loops, similar to ALICE loops you would use with old-school ALICE clips. The aluminum mainstays of the pack go through these loops and hold the pack and belt together. It is not at all a complicated system, unlike the more secure attachment of MOLLE belt to the frame. -Dmitry.

  40. Joe in Missouri Says:

    Found a UM-21 for…. you ready for this? $1,435.50


    Thanks for all the great info in this thread.

    Joe in Missouri

  41. TW Lewis Says:

    I always thought the ALICE regular was worthless, I do like the ALICE Large and humped many a mile with it, the larger pack seemed to distribute the weight lower taking the strain off of the upper-middle back. You have to add the chest straps on almost any pack for anti slipping and comfort. I tried on of these CPF90 packs (USMC) and it was great. Primary complaint I had with ALICE Large was the aluminum external frame always loosens or comes apart every few years and requires replacement. The sleeping bag was ALWAYS a problem with any ALICE pack. The new 90 takes care of both of those problems. I always disliked civilian packs because the tend to rise up way behind the head, I prefer my packs to top off at the shoulder level. This new pack is a keeper.

  42. Mark Says:

    I have just purchased a couple of these and one was in fair condition. It was missing the supports, screws for the back triangle connection, and the plates to secure it. Fixed it with flat aluminum bar stock from Lowe’s, drilled both plates and tapped one for screws. Used Plastic Dip to coat the ends of the bar stock to protect the pack and now I have 2 packs.

    This is a wonderful pack and in a way I would love to get my hands on the patrol pack even thou I hear it is not worth it. Just want to see if I can make it work or improve upon it.

  43. eric Says:

    I just bought one of these packs on ebay. I have been using the medium alice for a few years now. They are indestructable, just not any creature comforts. I use the alice for my bug out bags and got tired of emptying them if i need a pack. This is where the cfp comes in. Im anxious to see how it works for me. They are obscure, to say the least.

  44. Tom Says:

    Does only Gov’t issue have the U.S stamped on the sleeping compartment.My CFP-90 which I got off E-bay Doesnt have a ticket but the zippers are Ideal with a pull tab not YKK and the buckles are ITW Nexus Fastex,It looks like the military tag was cut out.I heard the early Lowe’s CFP-90’s were made with Gore-Tex

  45. Ken Says:

    I just bought my CFP-90 pack from a website called IMSPLUS for $112.95 complete with patrol pack or $74.95 without the patrol pack. Mine is coming in black but my local surplus store sells it all for $160.00 so I naturally ordered it online but they had a exact one there “in black” like I ordered and got to look at it way before mine arrived via shipment.
    That is going to be the best one I will use. I used the old Large Alice rucksacks when I was in the Army and they worked fine for the many miles,countries and missions I was involved but this one is far better. I also purchased the ECWS sleeping bag and tried it. It fits great in the lower half of this pack and technically goes down to -40F. But to do that you have to go to sleep wearing long underwear but I have a friend that used his down to 0F just fine. Anyway, this is my gobag and should take care of me for my needs.

  46. Randy Says:

    Thanks for the review. I bought one of these at a gun/knife show several years ago for 30 or 35 bucks. I never really bothered to find out exactly what it was. I just new I liked it. I have loaded it up with gear/ food for car camping. I have also used it for canoe camping. I have never done a “proper” backpacking trip. I do believe now that if I ever do, this pack will be the perfect pack to do it with.

  47. June Wise Says:

    Have you checked out Cheaper Than Dirt? http://www.cheaperthandirt.com 1-800-421-8047 They have every things from guns/amo to packs, clothing and all in between. New and gentely used itema from the U.S.A, Germany, Swiss military and more.

  48. Tom R Says:

    I currently own 3 of these packs,the first one I purchased was a D.J manufacturing which was made in 1991 which is in great condition but was used by a soldier.The second one I have is a Specialty Defense systems which is the same company as Specialty Plastic Systems which was made in 2003 the last year they were made.I also have a F.C.I pack that is pretty bad shape I got it cheap to use for parts such as the Torso-Trac which is the plastic piece on the back where the shoulder straps connect to.I paid around 70$ for the DJ,The
    SDS I purchased brand new for75 Bucks it came in plastic and was brand new.The F.C.I I got for 40 bucks because of the crappy condition of them.The DJ and the SDS packs came with the patrol pack.A way you can tell if they are genuine is on the bottom compartment it should have a US stamped on it,same with the patrol pack.I highly recommend this pack.

  49. Marc Says:

    Anyone know where to get replacement parts? Specifically the plastic plate where the straps attach. The “yoke” per a us army parts list. Thanks!!

  50. Lonnie Says:

    If anyone is looking for one of these packs, I just came across a few new ones, one still in plastic. These are mil surplus with NSN tag, 8645-01-286-5356. I’ll have them posted to my site in a few hours for about $119.99 with free shipping: http://www.tannehilltactical.com

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