Zulkizuru They are NOT interchangeable and buckles will not work cross-generation. The marking on the shoulder straps are the contract number of army of USA and storage number of US army know as two numbers. Look at the differences of the first generation system and the second generation system borrowing the internet photos. Also notice the small holes in the black portion of the top of the back to allow some ventilation to your gear. These can be used to carry the pack a short distance, but more commonly they are used to get a very heavy pack on your back with NO help from another person.
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There are 2 Generations of this pack. The Gen. I pack has the black padding and features and the Gen. II pack has the coyote brown padding and features. The ILBE Pack is designed to carry a load of up to lbs but at the same time it distributes the weight so it is comfortable to wear.
These spars are already shaped to fit most peoples backs but can be custom bent if need be. Next the pack includes soft padding on both the hip bet and shoulder straps. To keep the pack snug to your body you will find several compression straps along each side. These can be adjusted for different size loads and keeps your gear in place throughout your hike. Both sides of the pack also includes pockets which makes a nice rest when carrying longer items such as trek poles or holds extra water bottles.
You will also find heavy duty zippers on both sides for access to your gear in the main compartment. If you choose not to use the Hydration compartment or are strapping a larger MOLLE accessory to the back you can roll down this flap and snap it in place. The main compartment is protected by a corded dust cover and can also be clipped closed. Opening up the main compartment you can see it provides storage to hold enough gear for a multi-day adventure.
It provides the option to hold longer items or you can split it into to compartments with a center flap. With the zippers on both sides you are still able to access the bottom without pulling everything out from the top.
ILBE Main Pack Care and Use Manual
Improved Load Bearing Equipment