User:John Bessa/Load-bearing body armor

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Steps involved in fighting are registering an attack, self=protection from incoming fire, preparing and positioning weapons, returning fire, and finally chasing the enemy when they start feeling the return firepower.

  • Under these conditions, a soldier might want to unload unnecessary gear such as sleeping gear and food, but will want to keep ammunition clipped on for returning fire, and may need other supplies such as water, and first aid.
  • This implies two layers, a "permanent" layer with the ammo that might also include body armor, and the less critical layer with supplies.
  • The load-bearing component of a military pack system has to be body armor. Weapons, water, ammo, and short rations need to clip to that, and the load bearing body armor components need to conform closely to the body, like an exoskeleton, to properly distribute the weight. It also needs to extend the original ALICE system so that the loads can be carried w/o the body armor.
  • The pack itself with long-term supplies has to clip to the body armor with quick release clips at the shoulders and the small of the back where weight is transferred to the body armor.

Pack designs[edit]

Frame pack[edit]

  • Hip belt transfers the weight to the front
  • Frame transfers the weight downwards to the hip belt
  • Straps hold the frame to the back


  • Weight is transferred to where it is best supported
  • Frame acts as a column to support weight
  • Pack load can extend upwards where carrying is most efficient
  • Straps or mesh across the back allow for air circulation
  • Sacks or bulky objects can be lashed or strapped to the frame


  • Weight pulls downwards from the straps


  • Low center of gravity
  • Easy to organize

Tube pack[edit]

  • Bag is tube-shaped, or "D-shaped"
  • Structure can be a stiff foam sleeping pad the circumference of the bag
  • Weight is divided between straps and belt
  • With a small load, the pack resembles a rucksack where the top is folded inwards.
  • The sack can be increased in height above where the straps meet and connect to the bag
  • Side pockets can be added


  • Physical maneuverability of a rucksack
  • Extensible from small to large
  • Light weight as it uses existing equipment for structure
  • Unbreakable

Weight-bearing Components[edit]

  • Shoulder straps
  • Hip belt

Weight distribution[edit]

  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Combined distribution


These parallel the ALICE design, which uses a commonly accepted load-bearing strategies [1]

Short (inner layer)[edit]

Fighting and survival equipment

  • Weapon
  • Ammunition
  • Water
  • Short rations
  • First aid
  • Radio communication
  • Compass and maps

Long (outer layer)[edit]


  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Long rations
  • Medical supplies
  • More Ammunition

Outer layer connectors[edit]

The sack needs at most four quick-release connectors and possibly only three to connect to the body armor, or the short layer.


Straps, if continued along their vector, meet just below the should blades. In strap designs where the straps meet at a central location, often attaching to a ring, the top of the pack is pulled forward with straps that meet the should straps over or just in front of the shoulder.

Back triangle[edit]

This is the area below the small of the back where the hips meet the back. In the back, this area is called the sacrum, but since the load is distributed across the entire area, and the term "triangle" is appropriate.

Development and body armor simulation[edit]

The LBBA model, through vector analysis, seems to support a solid-body, perhaps "old school," version of armor, as the weight from the pack, or correctly, the sack, pulls (or pushes):

  • Downwards to the "triangle" just below the small of the back
  • Backwards from the shoulders
  • Downwards and backwards on the muscle in front of the hips.

The ideal body armor is for distributing weight purely equally is solid, and it seems that a single piece model would provide both the most protection.

It should be noted that the frame-pack model does not necessarily have to distribute weight equally, as its load distribution can be optionally shifted between the shoulders and the hip belt.

The frame pack model also allows air circulation, which would be a challenge to provide for this single piece armor model.

The single-piece body model has been well-developed for the curing of extreme injuries to the back, and these kinds of body braces are available for every body type. It seems that they could easily be modified for this development, and the molds could probably be adapted for actual body armor manufacturing. As an advantage, this kind of armor would be specifically peace-keeping in nature, as it only benefits load-bearing soldiers, and will probably have no benefit for para-militaries or criminal enforcers.

Here is a page of images collected from the web (that are outside of this wiki's scope) that show the practicality of using existing medical technology for modeling LBBA, and possibly producing single piece "old school" body armor from this existing technology.

Single-piece body armor design challenges[edit]

Another design challenge is so obvious as to be ignored: how does a soldier put on a unified piece of body armor? The answer may lie in the back brace technology, or may be influenced by the weight vectors created by the outer layer, the sack. The inner layer design is less complicated, either relying on clips or straps to attach "short" items. The inner layer is still significant as it is the fighting, and not carrying, layer. Item location will influence the soldiers' fighting abilities.

The best design strategy may be to attempt to reach all the benefits of the frame pack, which include load type flexibility, air circulation, and load adjustment between lower and upper body through the "column."

Since the underlying model is the traditional ALICE design, then it may make sense to create a parallel pack design that replaces the body armor for safer environments, and perhaps training. This parallel equipment may also create a civilian market.

My alice pack.JPG
My alice pack 2.JPG

My ALICE pack[edit]

In 1984, I joined a nearly comical yet heroic journey around the United States called the Rock Against Racism Tour, where Racism was sometimes Reagan. On a school bus I found a mail bag filled with the radical paper, the Yipster Times, and I put my tools in it. A year later I found an ALICE suspender set in a dump in Woodstock, NY, and attached it to the mail bag. I have been using the pack continously since then, as no rucksack I can find is more practical. I used to to recycle discarded computers while riding my bicycle all through the 1990s, as it was "bag enough" for AT-sized computers, which were big and heavy.

The advantages of it were also that it does not cause perspiration to form on the back (more important in cold than hot because perspiration in cold causes hypothermia), comfort, and a low center of gravity.

See also[edit]

Form car This extends the idea of combining protection from explosives in a vehicle design with another advantage as the LBBA does. Bottom protection for a vehicle can be used also to create waterproofness, and hence an amphibian.