Injuries from load carriage

#1
Firstly this isn't some dodgy 'Have you been injured at work?' post. I'm doing my dissertation on load carriage solutions and I am investigating the issue Rucksack 90 and any injuries sustained from carrying heavy loads as part of it. I've done a quick questionnaire (just ticking boxes) as part of it so follow the link. Any other suggestions on how the bergen could be improved to reduce injury and improve troop effectiveness then let me know.

thesistools
 
#4
Agreed the issue boots are poor and need a lot of work. But there is also a proven link between poor weight distribution/centre of gravity and foot problems as well as the obvious back and shoulder pain.

Dog-faced-soldier - is there currently no way to wear body armour when carrying a bergan? Because this obviously has the knock on effect of making you more vulnerable when tabbing with weight. Does the body armour just get slung into the bergan and put on when it is needed?
 
#5
I have yet to find a comfortable solution to carrying any significant weight over and above that contained in basic webbing when wearing body armour. Yes it can be done, but not comfortably. The most common response would seem to be to take out the back plate and put in in the rucksac. Still not really comfortable or practical.

Now it may be unfair to ask the rucksac designer because it is really the body armour designers who need to work on this one but a holistic approach might be even better.

the design should also take into account a method for carrying the basic ammo load, whether by Molle attachment to the armour or by a seperate webbing/vest system.
 
#6
mmm...
weight distribution is important.
However, the aim when soldiering is likely to be that equipment is on hand in priority order, rather than packing for comfort/ protection, and i'd suggest this will have a bigger impact on weight distribution than bergen design.
Unless you've thought of somehting radical and clever.

The other point is that the bergen is designed around the wearer using PLCE webbing. This reduces the potential back length, and hence the ability to get weight to the hips (like in most civillian bergens).

I don't know what the future is for PLCE (with Osprey and all that)- it might be an idea for hte MOD to invest in an Osprey compatible bergen.

Or not.
 
S

Screw_The_Nut

Guest
#7
I dont understand why we cant integrate EVERYTHING into one package. Have the basicrig and attach bergan, webbing, plates etc all into this one rig. Then you can select what you need for the task at hand. Just an idea.
 
#8
I find the problem is that the bergen is a huge sack with two straps on one side rather than a contoured rucksack, so it pulls you over backwards. Civvy rucksacks are shaped to the body and come with adjustable back lengths, whereas the bergen comes either as two-foot dwarf or nine-foot giant, so short people's bergens rest on their webbing, which causes lower spinal problems.
Perhaps the huge 125l inf bergen could be ditched in favour of the NI pack or a bergen somewhere in the middle? 125l is far too big for most tasks; a smaller bergen would be more comfortable and less bulky for transport.
 
#9
There is a ton or work being done in this area for PECOC. Lots of feedback was received from the first attempts at a totally integrated solution and after some more direction version 2 is about to be designed. The way forward is to optimise the day sacks for the body armour and just accept that at the present there is no way you can be expected to carry very heavy loads in a big pack while wearing body armour. Dinf is looking at alternative mobility solutions now.

A couple of comments:

A big sack is still needed as it must be able to carry most of the stuff that’s issued even if its from the helicopter to the base of operations.

There is a ton of good data that says where weight should go biomechanically. It all works in the lab but falls apart over rough ground. Mix in the up, down, fire position stuff and it really starts to make no difference.

Troops do not care where the biomechanical experts say load carriage should be worn and will always find a compromise between comfort and practicality.

The best systems let you shift the weight from the back to the hips and anything in between so over a long distance the soldier can keep shifting the weight. If its in one place, even the 'right' place it causes 'pack palsy' which is a posh work for saying it cuts off the blood supply.

The smart money is on a 45litre day sack or an 'assault pack' (US calls it a recon pack)

Most of the skeletal injuries are lower limb and are sports related. None are directly attributable to the load carriage (although its accepted it can’t help!).
Getting the pack comfortable and concentrating on shock absorbency at the heal is a more productive angle.

Its cold up north: PM me and I will forward the bibliography from a load carriage study that will give you a lot of leads and help with the inevitable mass of references that any self respecting dissertation will need! Remember dissertations are like Bergen’s, the more they weigh the better!
 
S

Screw_The_Nut

Guest
#10
Stokey said:
Screw_The_Nut said:
I dont understand why we cant integrate EVERYTHING into one package. Have the basicrig and attach bergan, webbing, plates etc all into this one rig. Then you can select what you need for the task at hand. Just an idea.
BCB sell an armour/pouch/bergen system. It's on page 4 and 5 of their catalogue, available here:

Catalogue
Thats just the kind of thing i had in mind, make it official and get some r&d funds spent on it, and robert is your mother's brother!
 
#11
The problem with havinga bergan that is designed to go over Ospray is what happens when you don't have it on, like on Ex in the UK.

The new stuff being looked at could do with looking at some of the civvy large backpacks as they have some good design points. I was always told that weight should sit high up so that the preassure is spread down the spine and across the muscles.
 
#12
Bravo_Zulu said:
Perhaps the huge 125l inf bergen could be ditched in favour of the NI pack or a bergen somewhere in the middle? 125l is far too big for most tasks; a smaller bergen would be more comfortable and less bulky for transport.
Can't believe you find the bergen too large. I agree you need something smaller for patrolling, though surely this is in addition to the bergen. And on current operations there isn't a lot of bergen humping.

Where, for example, would you put the issue sleeping bag?!?!
 
#13
There does seem to be a definate compromise between performance and comfort. I've been looking at mountaineering rucksacks as a comparison, adjustable backsystems and that Bioflex system from Berghaus, but they simply wouldn't work in a military context. Its just not durable enough and the hip belts wouldn't be compatible with PLCE (like they are now).

With mountaineering you probably wouldn't carry over 25Kg anyway, a weight you can almost double for some infantry exercises. So is it a case of sacrificing the comfort for the increased size that is necessary to carry all the kit? Then trying to combat this by only packing kit that is vital for that mission (reducing the weight) and by increasing the physical conditioning of the soldier?

That BCB system looks pretty good. It says the capacity is down to 90 litres though.
 
#14
Jelly_Fish said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Perhaps the huge 125l inf bergen could be ditched in favour of the NI pack or a bergen somewhere in the middle? 125l is far too big for most tasks; a smaller bergen would be more comfortable and less bulky for transport.
Can't believe you find the bergen too large. I agree you need something smaller for patrolling, though surely this is in addition to the bergen. And on current operations there isn't a lot of bergen humping.

Where, for example, would you put the issue sleeping bag?!?!
I'm pretty short; too short even for the short-back; with my webbing on it's seriously uncomfortable and gives me backache. Granted that at times there may be need of a big bergen; for the rest of the time a smaller rucksack would be better. I never use all the space in my bergen (granted, I don't use the issue doss bag, but I think that designing the bergen to fit around the bag's failings is a bit like moving house because a lightbulb's blown...) and the NI bergen is large enough for most purposes.
A huge bag used when not absolutly necessary is an invitation for people to pack too much junk just to fill the space, and then people complain because a big, ill-fitting rucksack full of shite is giving them back trouble.

edited for spelling
 
#15
Bravo_Zulu said:
Jelly_Fish said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Perhaps the huge 125l inf bergen could be ditched in favour of the NI pack or a bergen somewhere in the middle? 125l is far too big for most tasks; a smaller bergen would be more comfortable and less bulky for transport.
Can't believe you find the bergen too large. I agree you need something smaller for patrolling, though surely this is in addition to the bergen. And on current operations there isn't a lot of bergen humping.

Where, for example, would you put the issue sleeping bag?!?!
I'm pretty short; too short even for the short-back; with my webbing on it's seriously uncomfortable and gives me backache. Granted that at times there may be need of a big bergen; for the rest of the time a smaller rucksack would be better. I never use all the space in my bergen (granted, I don't use the issue doss bag, but I think that designing the bergen to fit around the bag's failings is a bit like moving house because a lightbulb's blown...) and the NI bergen is large enough for most purposes.
A huge bag used when not absolutly necessary is an invitation for people to pack too much junk just to fill the space, and then people complain because a big, ill-fitting rucksack full of shite is giving them back trouble.

edited for spelling
True, but what about us sprogs who don't have the beer tokens to buy ourselves a gucci doss bag? The issued thing is simply too big to go in the NI pack and still be able to get much else in. Sort of like the old 58' large pack?
I'd say a comprimise is in order. A scaled up NI pack with the ability to use the sidepouches off a "normal" bergan perhaps?
 
#16
Sensesworkingovertime said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Jelly_Fish said:
Bravo_Zulu said:
Perhaps the huge 125l inf bergen could be ditched in favour of the NI pack or a bergen somewhere in the middle? 125l is far too big for most tasks; a smaller bergen would be more comfortable and less bulky for transport.
Can't believe you find the bergen too large. I agree you need something smaller for patrolling, though surely this is in addition to the bergen. And on current operations there isn't a lot of bergen humping.

Where, for example, would you put the issue sleeping bag?!?!
I'm pretty short; too short even for the short-back; with my webbing on it's seriously uncomfortable and gives me backache. Granted that at times there may be need of a big bergen; for the rest of the time a smaller rucksack would be better. I never use all the space in my bergen (granted, I don't use the issue doss bag, but I think that designing the bergen to fit around the bag's failings is a bit like moving house because a lightbulb's blown...) and the NI bergen is large enough for most purposes.
A huge bag used when not absolutly necessary is an invitation for people to pack too much junk just to fill the space, and then people complain because a big, ill-fitting rucksack full of shite is giving them back trouble.

edited for spelling
True, but what about us sprogs who don't have the beer tokens to buy ourselves a gucci doss bag? The issued thing is simply too big to go in the NI pack and still be able to get much else in. Sort of like the old 58' large pack?
I'd say a comprimise is in order. A scaled up NI pack with the ability to use the sidepouches off a "normal" bergan perhaps?
I'm not suggesting that we all buy ourselves decent sleeping bags; I'm suggesting that the MOD solve the problem themselves (by buying a few thousand from Snugpak and issuing them instead, for example). I heartily agree about the "compromise bergen": I believe that these exist (Vanguard make something of that type) but aren't on issue as yet. Kitmonster will be able to tell us all about the changes regarding PECOC as and when these things are decided.

Who does design these things, though? Is it designed by a civilian company, specialists at DERA or the army itself?
 
#17
There's a lot of research going on into applying ergonomic design to this military scenario with various interested organisations (civilian contractors and military). I've talked to a few people at the DLO (Defence Logistics Organisation) who are trying hard to develop new kit that tackles these problems. They do a lot of user trials and user led research that has helped to move kit on. I just think a lot of the time new kit designs don't get through and the main issue goes back to the same old classic excuse...£££.

Got a couple more questions I was wondering about. The PLCE design is very much an infantry solution but how well does it work in other roles? What would need to be changed for a more armoured role or for engineers etc? Obviously a MOLLE based system would be better I just mean changes to the current kit. Ta.
 
#18
Bravo Zulu- are you in the infantry?

I remember the days when we had 58 webbing with a para bergan. Then you knew about 'the bergen fitting against the webbing'.

We all bought Berhaus Cyclops Roc or Crusader- The Crusader being the pattern for the PLCE bergen. This was worn with kidney pouches on 58 webbing. Some soldiers used a series of waterbottle pouches as this gave them a few extra inches to fit the beren in. There were also 'drop pouches' that hung even lower. On the other hand, some people carried two bum rolls- one below and one above the kidney pouches.

IIRC the original intention with PLCE is that you didn't have pouches at the back- as opposed to the old '58 when they went right round your belt. The theory was that webbing was for fighting. Hence you didn't have loads of pouches for the kitchen sink. You just carried ammo and a brew kit. The rocket packs formed a daysack when needed- mostly for NBC kit and waterproofs.

The idea was based around 'armoured infantry' where you would not expect to be away from echlon for extended periods.

Of course, soldiers love carrying loads of stuff if they can- so everyone gets loads of pouches and fills it with stuff. I know of one soldier who carries a boot brush and polish in his webbing. Why?

And on top of that we now carry daysacks too! Ask a soldier around in the '80's about daysacks. He'll probably look at you funny.

One way of looking at what military kit is good is "who buys their own bergan?" Not that many really- compare this with 'boots' or 'when we had 58 and para bergens' and it's in fact neglible.

People 'supplement' with a daysack (the rocket pack idea is sh1te) This should be issued but no one can seriously think it should replace the bergen- could they?

What would be a mistake would, imho, is replace the bergan with an oversized daysack. The daysack would become a repository (on the basis the more space you have the more you carry) for loads of kit.

Webbing should be for fighting- ammo and water- and you shouldn't wear pouches at the rear to carry extra stuff round. Not only does it interfere with rucksacks, but you can't sit in vehicles either. Daysacks are 'in', so put all that junk in there. Daysack goes under the lid of the bergan when carrying that.

In terms of injury- I would suggest that it works like this. The loads carried are anomolous with what commanders and soldiers can reasonably get away with. Introduce a system that means soldiers don't 'get injured' or 'have greater comfort' load carrying- and they will increase the amounts that soldiers carry up to the point that a few 'start creaking under the strain'.
 
#19
bobath said:
The problem with havinga bergan that is designed to go over Ospray is what happens when you don't have it on, like on Ex in the UK.
The new stuff being looked at could do with looking at some of the civvy large backpacks as they have some good design points. I was always told that weight should sit high up so that the preassure is spread down the spine and across the muscles.

My bold, who cares about exercises in the UK. Train as you fight - that means body armour these days so if your Exercise isnt in Armour and you are not SF, you are not training properly. Operational conditions should dictate kit.
 
#20
Dog-faced-soldier said:
bobath said:
The problem with havinga bergan that is designed to go over Ospray is what happens when you don't have it on, like on Ex in the UK.
The new stuff being looked at could do with looking at some of the civvy large backpacks as they have some good design points. I was always told that weight should sit high up so that the preassure is spread down the spine and across the muscles.

My bold, who cares about exercises in the UK. Train as you fight - that means body armour these days so if your Exercise isnt in Armour and you are not SF, you are not training properly. Operational conditions should dictate kit.
Very true.

I'm wondering though. Would you tab in body armour? Current operations aren't really about tabbing- in the Falklands sense of the word. I might be wrong here, but reckon if I were tabbing to Goose Green, I'd not be wearing Osprey- unless it was as an extra layer to keep warm!

Current operations are about patrolling- but here the load carrying requirement is less- the bergen isn't worn- osprey with pouches and a daysack appears to be the thing soldiers want (or at least use). Note to OP-the main load here is Osprey and pouches- someone could correct me, but i reckon about 45lb.

So, back to the bergen- this I would suggest should reflect the needs of light role infantry as this is the operational role that will place the greatest demands on it- in fact in other types of warfare then there is a low demand on the bergan- that black holdwall might even crack the nut!
 

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