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Retrofit Harness for Field Packs

Photo of the retrofit harness for field packs.The harness (NSN: 8465–01–194–7019, NFES 1557) for the yellow field pack (NSN: 8465–01–168–3996, NFES 1372) can now be replaced with a modern, comfortable system designed to support the lower lumbar region of the back. The new harness was developed by the What On Earth Wildland Gear Co. of Edmonton, AB, Canada. No modifications to the packs are required. The replacement can be accomplished in 3 minutes.

This new harness was the result of a collaborative effort by Ron Friedrich and Jim Nielson. Their company has designed web gear and harnesses for industry, firefighting, and general recreation for over 10 years. Their interest in improving the field pack developed after listening to feedback from Saskatchewan and Alberta firefighters.

The retrofit harness incorporates a linked two-piece system. The first component is a waist belt that acts as a back support while shifting the pack’s load on the hips, reducing fatigue. The second component is a yoke assembly that is curved to fit the upper torso. Bands that adjust to accommodate different torso lengths and body shapes link the two parts. The system is lightweight, rugged, and comfortable for freedom of movement while hiking or working. Because the system does not tangle or twist, it is easier to put on and remove. Lash points allow the user to customize the system and add other load-carrying options.

The Forest Service maintains a large inventory of field packs. The new retrofit harness is an economical way to convert old packs to a modern load-carrying system that extends the useful life of the field packs and provides firefighters with an improved piece of equipment. The retrofit harness will soon be available through the General Services Administration.

For more information, contact George Jackson, project leader (phone: 406–329–3967; fax: 406–329–3719; e-mail:

An electronic version of the upcoming Tech Tip Retrofit Harness for the Firefighter’s Yellow Field Pack (0351–2324–MTDC) can be found at:

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