The ALICE pack frame refuses to loosen its clutch on relevance because it works very well (with some comfort tweaks) and is widely available at very low prices. Eberlestock recently introduced a new pack based on the venerable and ubiquitous ALICE frame called the J51 Warhammer.
The Warhammer is one of the most ambitious re-imaginings of the ALICE frame that I have seen. It shares nothing with the ALICE packs of old except for the frame which is well loved by those who take the time to tweak them for comfort. I always liked its compact size which allowed good range of motion, especially for the wearer’s head. Some packs tend to be very tall and prevent the wearer from lifting their head in the prone position. The ALICE frame does not suffer from this.
The ALICE frame is completely enveloped in the pack. Which should reduce or eliminate any frame noise. Eberlestock states that the Warhammer behaves more like an internal frame pack than an external frame ALICE pack. The large open area in the middle of the ALICE is covered with mesh to allow the pack to be very breathable.
The pack is designed much like a shorter version of Eberlestock’s J79 Skycrane II. Like the Skycrane II, the Warhammer features two large butterfly compartments that hinge open to reveal a larger cargo area that can be used for attaching another pack or for lashing awkward loads that can’t just be loaded into a typical pack.
I find this pack very intriguing and I would love to get my hands on one. You can see more details about the J51 Warhammer on the Eberlestock.com.