A Comparison of Two Commercial Off the Shelf Backpacks to the Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) in Biomechanics, Metabolic Cost and Performance
ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA MILITARY PERFORMANCEDIV
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On August 14, 2002, the United States Marines Corps presented a Commercial Area Announcement CAA soliciting designs for an Improved Load Bearing Equipment ILBE system. The Marine Corp System Command MARCORSYSCOM determined the top two designs of those submitted from the commercial vendors were Bianchi Gregory and Propper International ArcTeryx. USARIEM was contacted by MARCORSYSCOM to perform a battery of tests aimed at evaluating these two Commercial off the shelf COTS and to compare these packs to MOLLE. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of the COTS ILBE systems on biomechanics, oxygen consumption and performance on militarily relevant tasks. An additional goal is to compare the two COTS ILBE systems to the Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment MOLLE system currently fielded and used by the Marines. Twelve subjects all of whom were Marines participated in the study. Biomechanics testing included treadmill walking at 3 mph 1.34 ms-1 with each of the COTS ILBE systems and MOLLE in two different configurations that include a Fighting loaded with 40 pounds, 18.4kg and Approach loaded with 70 pounds, 31.75kg loads. During treadmill walking, kinematic data provided information on the motion of the body segments kinetic data provided information on the forces exerted on the body and oxygen consumption data provided information on metabolic cost. Performance measures included a marksmanship task, time to traverse an obstacle course, a 2-mile timed march, and completion of Specific Military Maneuvers SM Ms these tests were performed while carrying the Fighting loaded with 40 pounds, 18.4 kg and Approach loaded with 70 pounds, 31.75 kg loads. SMMs included Stand to Prone, Prone to Stand, Donn the backpack, and Doff the backpack.
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