Mystery Ranch WELBE
Imagine a NICE frame and an ILBE had a baby. Well they did and
it is called the Working External Load Bearing Equipment or WELBE.
Unveiled last week at Marine South, the WELBE is the brain child of
Mystery ranch founder Dana Gleason. It takes advantage of the NICE
frame’s external design and Bolstered Ventilation System (BVS)
technology to keep the load stable even wearing armor with a rear plate.
Game changing? Quite possibly. The Marine Corps continues to browse
for a new pack and the industry is abuzz with speculation over what
direction they will go. While the Marines like the ILBE, it was
designed before armor with an integrated rear plate was standard issue.
The interface between armor and pack bag needs some improvement and the
WELBE may be just the solution. Not only would it allow the
modification of the thousands and thousands of packs already in service,
specialized pack bags could be also fitted to the WELBE. Additionally,
odd shaped loads can be carried when the WELBE is used as a stand alone
mode in a manner like the NICE
frame. The ILBE pack is an Arc’teryx
design manufactured by Propper. A
move to modify in service packs would be good for both companies as the
ILBE would remain in service longer and the Marines would be more
likely to purchase more of the packs in the future.
An added bonus for the market is that the WELBE is also compatible
with the Canadian
issue pack which suffers from the same issue as the USMC’s ILBE.