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Thread: why canvas rucksacks

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    Guide Taliesin's Avatar
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    I own no canvas packs. My pack experience is with the ALICE and various modern hikers and daypacks (in nylon and cordora) and the Swiss Mountain ruck sack which is rubber. Of all those, I think the ALICE with a frame, has really been my favorite. Something tells me that I should try a canvas pack, but $250 is a might expensive for a single earner family of five, man, such as myself. I wish there were some cheaper alternatives out there. I've toyed with the idea of going with a surplus pack, like the Czech or Italian Military packs sold at places like Swisslink.com. I think the Czech would be ok for a weekend. The Italian pack seems more like a nice little daypack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodsrunner View Post
    awsome pack croatoan! as you probably know i have the original bushcraft made by fr for nwwoodsman. anywho it doesn't have the grab handle, so i was wondrin if they get much on thier mods. been readin some of yer stories and rants on yer site, loved the canoe story, sounds like it was quite the adventure. yup, thats some pack! take er easy...:woods
    Hey woods, I've got the FR Woodsman with small basket. Sent it back for grab handle, lash points on top, and extend top flap to better cover basket. They charged 46.95 including return shipping. I had them add the sturnum strap when they built the bag, and on the 2 summits we have, I believe they were 20.00 each. The bag basket combo is great, it's a smaller rig than Croatans, but then so am I lol. Hope this helps.....Uncas

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    depending on your loadout, the czech might be a bit small for a weekend.
    you can put quite a bit into it but when filled to capacity it doesn't carry very well.
    sort of like overloading the medium alice without a frame...still a good pack though...woods

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    thanks Uncas!...i traded that pack to howie and i think he just traded it to someone else.
    thanks for the info though amigo!!!...woods

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    Quote Originally Posted by taterhayes View Post
    Well, Ive heard of Duluth packs lasting well over half a century, try that with a modern plastic pack. I plan on handing down my Frost river to my son when he comes of age, and hopefully he can hand it down to his son as well.
    I can guarantee you a 'modern plastic pack' will last nearly forever.

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    Kenneth the ghost Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edvvard View Post
    I can guarantee you a 'modern plastic pack' will last nearly forever.
    What lead you to that guarantee?
    recent convert actual user fighter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suspectdevice View Post
    What lead you to that guarantee?
    Heh, don't mean to talk out of my rear, I just don't think people need to discredit something modern because they think traditional is the only way to go.

    It depends on the quality of what you buy from the get go, not the material. A McHale, Kifaru, or MR pack won't disappoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edvvard View Post
    Heh, don't mean to talk out of my rear, I just don't think people need to discredit something modern because they think traditional is the only way to go.

    It depends on the quality of what you buy from the get go, not the material. A McHale, Kifaru, or MR pack won't disappoint.
    I get you. I have a mountainsmith that has my full confidence. If one were to compare durability between waxed canvas and lightweight nylon, the outcome would be obvious, but durability isn't the only aspect. I know that I wouldn't refuse a frost river or a mystery ranch, both modern and traditional packs are appealing to me.
    recent convert actual user fighter

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    Funny this topic would come up.

    Yesterday, I started on a gear dump/clean out, and started going through some of my old packs, stuff sacks, tarps, etc...gear that I bought in the late 1970's and 80's that is now 25-35+ years old. These have never been stored in a hot attic or out in the cold of winter: always in climate-controlled, dry circumstances except when out on trips.

    I was surprised by the stiffness of the nylon material; in some cases it was sort of brittle. The nylon smelled badly and often the urethane was peeling. Not in all cases, but in many. It made me realize that even with modern materials, as it ages, gear breaks down. I doubted i would be able to pass any of this down to my son in any sort of condition that he would desire.

    On the other hand, I have a canvas US gas mask bag that was my grandfather's from 1918 that is still in superb shape...and in fact has a great feel to it. I use it as a shoulder bag on short trips. I will be proud to pass this down, and expect that it might last another 100 years!

    I also have a canvas Boy Scout haversack from the 1960's that also will be worthy of passing down. Even though canvas will wear with age and need repair and patching, it does seem to develop a natural warmth and character that plastic fibers simply cannot match.

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    "compare durability between waxed canvas and lightweight nylon"

    A better comparison would be cotton muslin to lightweight nylon or 12 oz. waxed canvas to 1000 denier Cordura nylon.

    I like cotton, wool, leather and linen and have packs made of these natural materials but the packs I make for myself are of 500-1000d Cordura with nylon webbing.

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