“During my service in the IDF I got used to the fact that comfort was a luxury. A carrier with some padding and thick straps, whose job seemed to include scratching my shoulders, was considered convenient. Of course there were no fitting options or adjusting capabilities. Therefore, if you were very tall or very short back pain was the norm.
When I was called into my first reserve duty in October 2008, I was issued the SOURCE IDF 95L liter backpack. The IDF introduced this rucksack after the Second Lebanon War, when they realized that the warfare scenario had changed and they needed to adapt and plan ahead. In this war, many warfighters found themselves in operations that lasted several days deep in enemy territory without any logistical support. All they could rely on was the equipment that they had brought with them. Without a suitable backpack the soldiers could not carry a heavy load for long distances and thus encountered severe difficulties. Immediately after the war, the IDF issued a tender for the supply of the combat soldier’s rucksack of the future. Over 10 backpack companies competed in this tender. LOWE ALPINE, DEUTER and SOURCE passed the first stage and developed the final models. The SOURCE IDF 90L won and was supplied to the IDF as the standard backpack for combat soldiers. Since then it has been widely implemented during routine activities and during Operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza, after which it underwent a number of improvements.
The IDF rucksack surprised me during my first reserve duty. The rucksack served me as a personal gear bag, as well as a great replacement for the kit bag and also as a carrier for maneuver gear. As such, I used it quite a bit.
This rucksack is certainly a serious upgrade for the combat troops, whether they use it as a platoon/company equipment carrier or whether it is used as a personal gear bag. It has access from the front, top and bottom, a place for hanging the helmet, an adjustable back support system and it’s made of light and durable materials
During one of our staff training sessions, the shoulder strap on the camouflage kit carrier tore and it couldn’t be used. The camouflage kit, for those not familiar with it, is very big, heavy and cumbersome, and contains a lot of parts both large and small. We understood that the whole maneuver could not be cancelled just because of a torn shoulder strap. Despite that, we decided to try to put the camouflage kit into the IDF 90L rucksack. To our surprise we found that all the pieces of equipment fit easily into the bag, and the storage pouch system helped us organize the equipment very efficiently. I also felt an improvement while carrying the weight. The pack felt better adapted to my back during marching and I gratefully returned home with a lot less bruises.
This was a few years ago. Since then I graduated in industrial design and started working at Source, designing backpacks and tactical nylon. Today when I look at the IDF 90L pack, I can appreciate it even more. Every detail is thought of, for instance the choice of materials- The IDF 95L uses a mix of 500D Cordura, for its light weight, with 1000D Cordura, where you need protection from abrasion. The right thickness of the webbing with the right weave, made from the right material, treated the right way, so the straps will not slide on the buckle and release as time passes. The IDF 95L webbings are light but at the same time strong and resistant to water. The pack uses of strong and light nylon buckles. Even the thread used in the pack is a thick bonded nylon thread.
In my opinion, as a designer and a warfighter, the IDF Pro is definitely one of the best military backpacks in the field today.
IDF Pro video: