Lightweight Tropical Rucksack
NSN # 8465-889-3773
The Lightweight Rucksack was the primary rucksack utilized by United States troops during the Vietnam War.
Its ensemble consisted of a nylon pack with a cinch cord, top flap and three exterior pockets and a tubular aluminum frame with padded shoulder straps and waist belt. The Lightweight Rucksack was developed in 1962 as a part of the United States Army's efforts to develop suitable equipment for use by what were then advisors in South Vietnam and later the deployed ground forces, through testing by the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at the Panama Canal Zone. Four different patterns of the LW Rucksack exist, with the latter two models featuring attachment points which allow the pack itself to be mounted in two and three different locations on the frame, respectively. A prototype rucksack was produced in 1962, featuring a welded frame. The 1964 model was virtually the same, but with the contract information stamped in the pack rather than sewn in on a label. The next improvement came along in 1965, when the frame was changed to a riveted version rather than a welded one. The last modification was made in 1968, with the addition of a middle horizontal back strap. The LW Rucksack replaced and augmented the M1956 and M1961 versions of Field Packs and was later partially replaced by the Tropical Rucksack of the M1967 MLCE (Designed more specifically for jungle warfare in mind). The Pack was typically mounted low on the frame allowing bulky equipment to be strapped above. Stocks of LW Rucksacks were replaced in United States military service beginning in 1974 with the adoption of the ALICE equipment. LW Rucksacks are currently quite desirable amongst collectors and period reenactors alike, and often retail for anywhere between $250 and $350 USD at dedicated militaria dealers and online auctions.
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