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How to "demilitarize" ACU pack?

Discussion in 'EDC Bags' started by tradja, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    I had been wanting to test drive the Lightfighter RAID design, but they are thin on the ground these days! When I saw them recently on clearance for $49.50 :shocked:, I just had to pick one up. The only thing is, it's ACU.

    [​IMG]

    The only time I see ACU (other than the news) is on our troops in the airport. I support our troops and our mission, but I am not military. Most of my tactical nylon, especially the more public pieces (EDC packs) is solid colors, mostly coyote.

    I used the RAID during a trip to Portland for the BLADE-West show this weekend. I like the contoured shoulder straps, the two internal mesh pockets, the panel loading, the lined design, the size/shape/proportion, and the overall quality of construction. All teh compression straps are a hassle for panel access but are easily managed. RAIDs are pretty scarce on the boards these days, and at $45 the ACU doesn't have much trade value (say, for another color RAID).

    However, what can I do to mitigate or distract from the ACU for EDC use? Does anyone have pics of ACU with other color pouches attached? Dye jobs? Disarming morale patches? Overall civvie treatments?

    Pink paracord woven through the PALS? ;D My wife, a snowboarder, thought there might be a snowboard-chic angle to work. My main concern is not to look too much like a .mil wannabe.

    Thanks for any tips.
     
  2. landwire
    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    The first thing that came to mind was a BIG ol' Krusty The clown patch.
     
  3. godcode

    godcode Loaded Pockets

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    you can spray paint it.
     
  4. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Krylon is an option I had not considered. In general, I haven't been too impressed with the spraypaint jobs I've seen online or in person, whether on cloth or hard surfaces (weapons).

    Harmless patches are destined to be an element of the process - good!

    Other ideas? Pics? Experiences? Solid color pouches?
     
  5. WARFIST

    WARFIST Banned

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    you can go to wally world and get the rit brand dye and try to dye it in ya washing machine. you will haft to use the hot water setting with the dye and some salt to help push the dye onto the fabric fibers! it will tell you that on the back on the bottle as well but it seems like the best way to go.
     
  6. indabayou

    indabayou Loaded Pockets

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    I would try WARFIST approach,but be aware the first time you do it,it probably won't be the color you are looking for.Might have to do the process several times with the same color.
     
  7. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    After I dyed it, would the pack or straps stain my clothes or pack contents when wet/sweaty for prolonged periods? I ask because on one long hike (CDT) where I sweat into a pack daily for 5 months while wearing mostly the same shirt, my pack's factory orange nylon eventually left a big, permanent orange stain on the shirt.

    After several months of UV, wet/dry cycles, sweat, and hard daily use, I "grape stomped" the pack in a hotel bathtub to clean it. The whole bathtub turned orange! Until that point, I really thought nylon was mostly colorfast. I found it funny that the dye would bleed/wash out of the pack, but it wouldn't wash out of my shirt. :)

    For that reason, adding additional, "loose" or poorly bonded dye to a nylon pack isn't a great option for me.

    The ACU dye jobs I've seen online mostly just look like dirty ACU, not a solid color with subtle digi-camo undertones -- even with repeated dye jobs, could I get it even close to a solid color? Given the (inevitable?) staining of my clothes, the gain just doesn't seem worth it.
     
  8. Rancehood

    Rancehood Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks

     
  9. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    I don't want to deal-spot inappropriately. PM inbound...
     
  10. Herbie

    Herbie Empty Pockets

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    I understand where you're coming from and I feel the same way. I have a couple of MOLLE-type packs and even in coyote brown, they're a little too "paramilitary" looking (or at least mall-ninja looking) for me. Beyond the poser factor, there's a real danger traveling with such gear in some parts of the world. It sucks because modularity is a virtue, but the non-mil options (like S&R web gear, etc.) is SUPER expensive.

    That said, my solution was to clip in or sew-in (two different packs) hi-viz panels from a biker's vest. These are the hi-viz neon orange and reflective panels that you see on road workers and cyclists looking to be noticed so as not to get run over.

    Since I use my packs for dayhiking and the like, I can justify anything that might help me get found should I need it, and it helps tone down the reaction from the people who might otherwise be nervous about such apparel. I don't think I have any recent photos handy, but I'll look.
     
  11. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Herbie, photos would be great if you can find them. Thanks! I am pretty comfortable carrying my solid-color MOLLE/PALS gear, at least for domestic use.
     
  12. Blades

    Blades Loaded Pockets

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    Take it someplace and have it dyed. That might work better then doing it yourself. That or bleach it. maybe bleach a small spot, see what happens.
     
  13. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    What kind of place would dye nylon for me?
     
  14. eggroll

    eggroll Empty Pockets

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    or if you havent DORKed with it at all, sell it and buy a solid color RAID
     
  15. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Good idea, but solid RAIDs are not available right now. Their scarcity has kept their price on the secondary market inflated as well.
     
  16. panzer

    panzer Loaded Pockets

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    So the real question is (beside you not liking the color) what will happen to you if you use the pack in ACU? Most likely nothing. People get very worked up about what they think the public perceives. Living in a college town I see all sorts of backpacks (woodland camo, acu, desert,etc). Most people are too wrapped up in what they are doing to care what you backpack looks like and the police. They profile people based on their overall look and behavior. I am sure you are an average looking guy that doesn't draw much attention normally. The acu pack won't really attract much attention at all. Now if you are traveling overseas it's a different story.
     
  17. Blades

    Blades Loaded Pockets

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    First place that comes to mind is a carpet store. They dye carpet and rugs.
     
  18. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    This isn't really a matter of aesthetics or fashion. If I was still in college, I could certainly rock a smemagh, a batbelt, and ACU all day long. In my work environment, however, camo is not a professional option. "Who cares what the sheep think?" is an important and valid point, but I'm not sure it is the answer to every question, i.e. why CCW at all, when you can just open carry?

    I'm not worried about the police. I'm a card-carrying good guy :) and yes, pretty normal looking.

    I do travel internationally. When I have a favorite/primary pack, it gets used for everything.

    Simply put, I'd prefer to tone down the overtly military appearance of a pack I got for a steal, to increase the versatility of said pack. That's a pretty reasonable goal. I appreciate the responses so far that suggest ways to achieve it.


    This is a great idea. I'll look into it.
     
  19. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    Really? Would you be interested in a CB RAID?
     
  20. Herbie

    Herbie Empty Pockets

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    Depends on your circle of travel. If you travel internationally (as I do, and several in this thread have said they do), then at the very least you end of raising the level of attention you can receive from a variety of people.

    My regular business travel bag is a RedOxx Air Boss that's got their "Safari" color pattern, which happens to be OD green and light tan. (See the website for pictures). A while back I sewed one of my Dad's name tapes (US Army Reserves, retired) onto the front flap for ID. BIG MISTAKE. Just having a two-tone OD green bag with a name tape on it was enough to get me pulled into secondary inspection flying out of both Taiwan and South Korea (two different trips). The second time around they were VERY concerned that I had presented a civilian passport and was traveling on a short-term business visa (I worked for Nokia at the time, visiting a factory there). They were convinced that I was military and the fact that I hadn't identified myself as such apparently made them think I was up to no good (maybe a spy?). It some time to sort out, including calls to my "host" (the factory) to verify what I had been doing in-country. More important than the time was the sobering realization that I was in another country and subject to their laws and principles of civil rights, not in the USA.

    Since that time, whenever I'm flying to someplace other than North America or Europe, I use a maroon Classic Backdoor Bag from Rick Steves. I look much more touristy and it has saved me much hassle. The bad news is that the RedOxx is a superior travel bag.

    I have heard similar anecdotes of increased "attention" from both government and "shady" characters from coworkers who have used surplus Army duffle bags when traveling in some South American countries...

    YMMV, but my answer to the "Who cares what everyone else thinks?" question is sometimes "I do, when what they think can cause me pain if there's a misunderstanding."