PLCE Bergan mods?

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phaserrifle

Nomad
Jun 16, 2008
366
1
South of England
I recently picked up a surplus plce infantry long back bergan as my big "65l isn't cutting it" bag for longer or more kit heavy trips.

While prodding about the internet to pick up a couple of side pouches, I came across a couple of places (www.dragonsupplies.co.uk and www.dragonsupplies.co.uk) who offer modifications.

Other than getting a padded waistbelt fitted, are any of the mods worth looking at? And which supplier is the best bet to go with?

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Neil1

Full Member
Oct 4, 2003
1,317
58
Sittingbourne, Kent
I recently picked up a surplus plce infantry long back bergan as my big "65l isn't cutting it" bag for longer or more kit heavy trips.

While prodding about the internet to pick up a couple of side pouches, I came across a couple of places (www.dragonsupplies.co.uk and www.dragonsupplies.co.uk) who offer modifications.

Other than getting a padded waistbelt fitted, are any of the mods worth looking at? And which supplier is the best bet to go with?

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Have a go at doing it yourself....my one was a long back too. Here is my video:
 
Apr 8, 2009
1,089
65
Ashdown Forest
If you fancy having a crack at it yourself, then go for it. Otherwise, to be honest, for the money that you would likely need to spend to get a bergen tailored, you would probably be better off splashing equivalent (or less) cash on a surplus dutch army (lowe alpine copy) saracen or similar. This would already come with a floating lid, decent hip belt and back system, and has molle on the front to add pouches if you really wanted...
 

Artic Bob

Member
Feb 1, 2018
39
25
Marches
the only mods i think are worth doing are the mesh pocket and the back pad - the other 'comfort' mods are really for carrying weight that - because you won't be carrying mortar baseplates or 5,000 rounds of 7.62mm link - you just just don't need to protect yourself from.

the carrying capacity mods are, imv, the same - the longback Inf bergen with the two side pockets already hits 120ltrs, for me thats about 10 days food, clothing, shelter, warmth and fuel in UK winter conditions, and about 18 days in summer conditions. if i had room to carry more stuff, i probably couldn't carry the weight... the only mod in that vein that i think is worth doing is cutting off the front pocket and putting a shock cord lattice up the front of the rucksack in order to keep your wet waterproofs on the outside. i have used it to hold a filled drybag, but that was getting towards silly weight..

if you do decide you want some mods or repairs done, i'd reccommend Dixies Corner near Sennybridge.
 

Boucaneer

Forager
Dec 2, 2012
209
5
London
You can zip three side pouches together, with the middle side pouch sitting over the small pouch on the front, if you wanted to carry extra equipment/supplies.

Here is the Mod that was posted on another website.

"
Oct 23, 2004#1
Ive had three fitted to mine for some time, and as i keep getting people asking me how the fook i did it, i guessed it must be a goodish idea.

When fitting the two normal side pouches don't zip up the zips facing the front face of the bergan (where that little mess tin sized pouch is).
Take a 3rd side pouch and zip it to these unused zips.
Extend the male/female buckle on the long strap on the bottom of the side pouch to its full length and clip it to the loop at the bottom of the bergen.
At the top of the side pouch fasten the male/female clips used to attach to a day yoke together to form a loop and then thread the male part of the lid closing buckle on the main bergen through this. Voila.

I found this particularly good for carrying a radio around in, as the old 352/Clansman fits in there very nicely. you DO lose access to that small pouch on the front of the bergen, but what the effing hell use was it anyway?

I posted this because i was told it was a good idea that people might find useful. "
 

Artic Bob

Member
Feb 1, 2018
39
25
Marches
You can zip three side pouches together, with the middle side pouch sitting over the small pouch on the front, if you wanted to carry extra equipment/supplies...

you can. but again you have to ask quite how much more gear someone can carry that won't fit into a 120ltr rucksack, and perhaps equally fun, what happens to someones balance when they put a sidepocket on the front of the bergen, fill it with stuff, and then try and climb over a stile or log...

any weight thats put in the 'front' pocket will be around 60cm from the back of the person carrying it, it will radically - perhaps dangerously - change their centre of gravity and therefore ability to balance. funny to watch, but if it happens to you 3 hours walk from the nearest mobile phone signal it would lose a great deal of its humour.

i have, obviously, seen it done, as i have strapped the tripod for a belt-fed machine gun under the already stretched lid of my bergen and toppled around like an idiot on rollerskates. it is not, i would suggest, a very good idea.
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
882
50
Scotland
I used jayjays for mine, all i had done was the shoulder straps widened and padded a bit. Issue bergens aren't really designed to work without belt kit, i'd invest in a proper civvy pack with a padded waist belt. If you can get one with a semi-frame the makes a bit of room between the back of the pack and your back then all the better.
 

phaserrifle

Nomad
Jun 16, 2008
366
1
South of England
you can. but again you have to ask quite how much more gear someone can carry that won't fit into a 120ltr rucksack, and perhaps equally fun, what happens to someones balance when they put a sidepocket on the front of the bergen, fill it with stuff, and then try and climb over a stile or log...

any weight thats put in the 'front' pocket will be around 60cm from the back of the person carrying it, it will radically - perhaps dangerously - change their centre of gravity and therefore ability to balance. funny to watch, but if it happens to you 3 hours walk from the nearest mobile phone signal it would lose a great deal of its humour.

i have, obviously, seen it done, as i have strapped the tripod for a belt-fed machine gun under the already stretched lid of my bergen and toppled around like an idiot on rollerskates. it is not, i would suggest, a very good idea.
Yeah, I'm not sure I'd want to try it with any serious weight in the front pocket.
As a way to carry waterproofs, or an extra sleeping bag or something else lightweight, it could have merit.

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Boucaneer

Forager
Dec 2, 2012
209
5
London
you can. but again you have to ask quite how much more gear someone can carry that won't fit into a 120ltr rucksack, and perhaps equally fun, what happens to someones balance when they put a sidepocket on the front of the bergen, fill it with stuff, and then try and climb over a stile or log...

any weight thats put in the 'front' pocket will be around 60cm from the back of the person carrying it, it will radically - perhaps dangerously - change their centre of gravity and therefore ability to balance. funny to watch, but if it happens to you 3 hours walk from the nearest mobile phone signal it would lose a great deal of its humour.

i have, obviously, seen it done, as i have strapped the tripod for a belt-fed machine gun under the already stretched lid of my bergen and toppled around like an idiot on rollerskates. it is not, i would suggest, a very good idea.
Well made points on weight/balance.
A good point.
 
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SD63

New Member
Sep 11, 2020
2
0
57
Northamptonshire
Use either Dixies corner or JayJays..depending upon what you want the bergan for, dictates the mods you want. For 'normal' weight, get the backpad mod, the shoulder strap mod and possibly the gullwing (which can be combined with the backpad) To be fair, the standard bergan with rocket pouches carries far more than you would reasonably want to carry for any distance. I used an unmodified Cyclops roc with side pouches on selection in 91 and that had the space to carry the required weight (70lb plus food and water) Don't spend money on what you won't need
 

Mulloch

Member
Mar 24, 2019
42
7
52
UK
I think Ive mentioned this previously. If you have the shortback PLCE it is wider than the long back. This allows you to remove the external zipped pouch and remount it horizontal futher up the body. Ive then mounted three surplus PLCE waterbtl or utility pouches along the bottom edge, remove all the straps and fastenings from the back of the pouchs. Ive removed the spanish buckles from the three pouches and put 25mm fastex buckles on each and a wee snow neck collar on each pouch. Ive done this on a light industrial sewing machine. I had to unpick the base of the bergen on three sides. I have seen another mod which was to put mesh up both sides of the bergen, underneath where the side pouches attach. It was done in a way that the side compression straps were still accessable and the side pouches could be attached.
The pouches allow you to carry a bivi bag/sheltersheet pegs, water btl, stove, brew kit ect on the outside of your pack without having to enter the main body.
The MOD issues a bergen for special forces which has two rows of external wbtl pouches and a zip on the main lid to attach a third side pouch. This bergen is often referred to as an "Airmesh" and often appears on Ebay.
I am sure that a local seamstress/cobbler/saddle maker would be able to do these mods. There is a FB page where like minded "Stitchers" discuss matters.
 

cipherdias

Full Member
Jan 1, 2014
317
129
Wales
I think Ive mentioned this previously. If you have the shortback PLCE it is wider than the long back. This allows you to remove the external zipped pouch and remount it horizontal futher up the body. Ive then mounted three surplus PLCE waterbtl or utility pouches along the bottom edge, remove all the straps and fastenings from the back of the pouchs. Ive removed the spanish buckles from the three pouches and put 25mm fastex buckles on each and a wee snow neck collar on each pouch. Ive done this on a light industrial sewing machine. I had to unpick the base of the bergen on three sides. I have seen another mod which was to put mesh up both sides of the bergen, underneath where the side pouches attach. It was done in a way that the side compression straps were still accessable and the side pouches could be attached.
The pouches allow you to carry a bivi bag/sheltersheet pegs, water btl, stove, brew kit ect on the outside of your pack without having to enter the main body.
The MOD issues a bergen for special forces which has two rows of external wbtl pouches and a zip on the main lid to attach a third side pouch. This bergen is often referred to as an "Airmesh" and often appears on Ebay.
I am sure that a local seamstress/cobbler/saddle maker would be able to do these mods. There is a FB page where like minded "Stitchers" discuss matters.
Is removal of the lower fitted pouch and relocation of it possible with the long back also?


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Mulloch

Member
Mar 24, 2019
42
7
52
UK
Is removal of the lower fitted pouch and relocation of it possible with the long back also?


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I am not sure of the width on the long back, but you could extend it onto the vertical thin cover pieces that protects the sidepouch zips. With the shortback, the relocated pouch is on the main panel and does not extend onto the cover piece. You could fit just two wtbl/util pouches along the bottom and make the relocated pouch a wee bit shorter if its going to extend too much. You can use chalk to mark guide lines prior to sewing.

Ive now looked at the youtube film Neil1 has done. The netting he has used for the side stash pockets is the MOD mesh that is on the approved repair list for MOD PLCE kit used on the yoke, med pouch drawstring bags, Sleeping bag pockets etc. (There is nothing to stop you doing the stash net full length, it is still easily accessed) There is an Exeter based army surplus store that sells the mesh. They also have their own kit repair section so they might be approachable to do the sewing mods if you are located near there. I did not go to the extent of deconstructing the whole bergen as Neil1 has done. I just opened up the base. There is a lot of hand sewing if you open up the whole thing. Neil1's finished product looks very profesionaly sewn up. Maybe he can tell us who did it for him?