I have been looking at a Bergen pack made by a company called Snugpak. I really like this design because you can detach the rocket packets on the outside to a yoke to make a daypack. However because these packs are mainly used in Europe I am having a hard time find people that have first hand knowledge. Any information would greatly help.
They will appear to be quite primitive/basic compared to many of the packs you get that side of the pond. I would say that quality and design was "ok" but not brilliant.
These are essentially a copy of the current British Army issue infantry PLCE bergan..There are quite a few company's that do them aimed at the military/cadet/wannabee market. Another similar design is by Webtex, but these have a really poor reputation for quality...
Personally, I would look for either a used PLCE bergan on the military surplus sites...The latest issue ones are either DPM or Desert Cammo, but the older versions were in OD green..These weren't IR compliant so they were phased out fairly quickly, but that neither here nor there in a bergan for civvie use.
Alternatively go for a better quality civilian pack by such as the Berghaus Crusader or the Karrimor Sabre 60-100 or 80-130
The Crusader (and its stable mate the Cyclops Roc) is the simpler design, but has a reputation for being bomb proof. It was a favorite with both the British and Dutch Marines. In fact it almost has a cult following in the Military.
The various packs in the Karrimor Sabre range are top notch and have all the added bells and whistles such as expandable capacity ect..
All the packs mentioned are aimed as upgraded to the basic PLCE pack and are of higher quality construction and have better suspension systems although having said that, the basic PLCE is streets ahead your ALICE packs.
The Karrimor and Berghaus and the PLCE have the removable side pockets although on the Karrimors, you have to buy them separately, where as the Berghaus sacks mentioned come with them.
I was interested in a Karrimor Sabre 75, but when I tried it on, it didn't fit me well and I ended up up going with the Berghaus Crusader. Although the Karrimor has the more complex suspension system, I found the Berghaus just plain comfortable!
Thanks for the response I have posted this question on many site one of which was in the UK. Thought you might like the link.
Once again thanks