Injuries from load carriage

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Its_cold_up_norf, Mar 25, 2008.

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  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.

  2. It's not the bergan, thats fine. It's the boots!
  3. Ive an idea for you. Design a rucksack that actually works with body armour on (or a clever alternative).
  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.
  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!
  10. 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. 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. 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. 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?