Discussion in 'Packs, Bags & Pouches' started by gdpolk, Jan 18, 2018.
I love the LL Bean Continental rucksack, it blends old and new.
I don't believe any of of us are convinced that one style of pack will serve all applications
A daypack for around town willnot serve a trip to Everest base camp
A framed pack is not ideal for portages on a canoe trip
People speak of canvas packs being heavier than canvas, but most nylon three day packs have heavy harness multiple pockets, zippers and adjustment straps all which add ounces which add up to pounds.
If on a multi week expedition the weight is justified in supporting a 50-75pound weight
.For a day trip, a harness system is not required. For one day a 35-40 pound pack distracts from enjoyment of the day and 10-15 pounds is the ideal.I have carried a light day pack through some of the remotest parts of British Columbiawhich I believed would sustain me if I was stucck out over night. I carried shelter first a nylon poncho and later a sinylon tarp, a pot to cook in a down sleeping bag and some food a light HBC pattern axe weighing 2 1/2 pounds to build a shelter frame and collect firewood, because when the sun goes down it gets frosty in mid to late September when m
bull Moose are on the prowl
In my pockets I had a way to start fire,
I guess I'm not crazy about canvas packs. I can kind of understand the retro appeal but if I'm gonna hump it around all day I want a modern suspension. Why must canvas packs all be old-school? It seems like there'd be a market for a handsome canvas pack with an effective suspension system.
Definitely agree with this. Having used my FR Isle Royale SR for world travel, "long distance" hiking, and canoe trips I have concluded that it is now my canoe pack only and it shines as a canoe pack. My FR Geologist Pack is still my EDC and does me well on anything up to and including non-intensive overnights. I don't carry enough for the traditional style to be uncomfortable (yet, maybe that will change as I age). On the other hand, any sort of travel or hiking will certainly have me grabbing a modern pack.
Most of my hikes are day hikes, few hrs in, camp, few hrs out. If I was doing a LOT of 8-hr, multi-day hikes in a row, I'd get a framed pack, maybe. For what I do in the woods right now, getting a pack that costs more than 100 bucks would be the height of folly, and anger my wife in a way that I don't want to experience. I'm a budget conscious bushcrafter, so the last pack I bought, that just came yesterday was a 30 dollar German Mil-Sup canvas pack https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/bw-mountain-troops-rucksack-surplus/1014, and before that a 30 dollar pawn-shop "modern" pack made by ATI (ATI Rukx pack) https://www.amazon.com/Rukx-Tac-Day-Backpack-Tan/dp/B013VXDZPE/ref=sr_1_1?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1516886888&sr=1-1&keywords=rukx+1+day+tan was what I used. You just have to tailor what you have to what you need. It's a task that escapes me, considering its hard for me to justify the 5 hatchets and half a dozen axe heads I have, but I digress.
Ill take the canvas pack for now, I can mod it and add pockets, straps, buckles, leather, molle webbing, etc.... as I need. I enjoy the look and feel and the "chore" of modification to suit me and all under the cost of a nice ti framed modern pack.
I like them when I canoe, because the large main compartment is easy to line with a dry bag, and it the exterior gets completely soaked drying it is not a big deal. The amount of time a canoe pack is on my back is pretty limited too. For any significant hiking I’m much more happy with modern packs and their lumbar pads, load lifters, padded straps etc. Even my old external framed $30.00 surplus ALICE pack is more comfortable than my $300.00 Duluth pack.
I have to agree that the modern packs are more comfortable, but I have a pile of them with blown out zippers that will never be used again. My old German army ruck has no zippers and will last forever. I had to put some decent straps on it (Mountainsmith) and am currently experimenting with waist belts. But I love that old ruck and will probably have them throw it in the hole with me when they bury me.
To be honest I keep looking at more modern packs but seem to always stick with either my LLBean canvas ruck or my Duluth deluxe scout I bought a couple of years ago.
There's definitely a romance to canvas gear. I'll admit I love the look of oilskin tarps, pretty much anything Frost River makes, and military surplus before they switched to nylon. That being said, I don't have any. I have one modern nylon backpack for longer treks and medium ALICE pack for pretty much everything else.
Canvas is awesome for beating up. I have a german mountaineer pack that organizes all of my tools for projects and jobs. Looks badass too. I havnt waterproofed it so I can wash it when dirty, plus the lid and bottom are pvc impregnated. otherwise it will never leave on a trip.
I dont get why people spend so much on canvas bags, it is the easiest material to sew and repair, why not make your own and learn your pack intimately because it will require rewaxing. If someone made a framed bag then I'd understand, kinda.
Hiddenwoodsmen is essentially the same as duluth and fr in design, except he uses 1400d total which adds passive pack slump prevention, along with foam back.
I love canvas, but I'd never buy a pack from a company unless for $30 or less.
So canvas like in Filson bags. Nope, don't like it.
Cool picture, 7 miles and 2000 ft up, then back down the next day. My shoulders killed me all the following week. I couldn't lift my arms above my shoulders for two days. Immediately ditched this pack and went back to modern gear.
There's no question, in the matter of carrying gear, new is better.
Doesn't much matter to me how a bag hangs on my back....
Ruck sacks are like mid evil toucher devices that I will not subject my body to.
I have several packs all of them modern from a 16 litter day pack to a 80 litter monster. There all very comfortable I go to the woods to enjoy myself.
I like them - Same as what a few others have noted. Yes I pay a weight penalty (FR canoe pack) but I am making the choice to do so, plus I like the sound (or lack of) - to me they don't sound crinkly or crunchy like some synthetics can similar to rain on canvas tarp vs cuben fibre tarp in my mind. Now I like my Kelty and North Face stuff too, but depending on the mood of the trip / outing sometimes a canvas pack just 'feels' right - like what Bill Mason said about wood / canvas canoes on wilderness trips in one of his movies ( I think Waterwalker) - most of his friends think he's nuts to portage one instead of a more modern lighter material, but to him it just fits or feels right (or something similar.)
I'm just weird like that... but then again , my kids make fun of me and my Luddite tendencies while I watch outdoors-y videos on youtube or type on the iPad with the axe-murderer folks I met on the internet....
Really useful discussion for me. I just picked up a frost river. Hmmm.
with light loads and shorter distance excursions- I think most any of the canvas offerings would be fine; where they start becoming problematic in my experience is when the loads increase and the time on your back increase
I’ve used them (FR Summit, others) on 10+ mile hikes and it was OK, but had lots better options for comfort and load bearing efficiency
@Cro has a pretty awesome thread on here where he has his FR Isle Royale Jr on an Alice frame.
I love mine!
ps I seldomly cary camera or smartphone while hiking etc
I completely agree. I love the way they look and feel but, for the same money, I can get a much more functional modern pack.
I think they look neat but just arent for me.. I'll take modern packs and bags any day. Just because it's more traditional and is what the old ones used really doesnt mean anything to me...in my opinion if Nessmuk and Kephart were around today, they'd be using titanium cookware,silnylon tarps and bic lighters... it wasnt about the gear to them..it was being out there and enjoying the fruits of the tools
As kids and later in life, we humped Duluth Packs loaded heavy in fishing & hunting excursions in some pretty rough terrain and never had a problem - a tumpline is a must (at least for me) for fairly heavy loads for “comfort”. Of course, we aren’t humping 20 miles a day for a week - are you?
Seems most outdoor gear today is lighter and sometimes stronger than the “best” available gear 50 years ago. Canoes, tents, etc. - it’s all good and I’m thankful for my 10 man tent that I can stand up in and walk around and just “pops” open and sets up in under 10 minutes with rain fly on and staked down - plus the bushman repellent, thermacells, merino wool, baby wipes, propane everything - yup, our forefather’s dreams have come true and we are living in time of plenty relative to enjoying the outdoors.
I like them a lot. However I will not use a canvas bag of any make. There way too heavy. There are much better options available.
Canvas packs check all boxes for me when taking photos, sewing on patches, confidence in toughness, traditional spirit, leather with brass/copper fittings, old-school romance of adventure. But that's about it. Owned few FR packs in the past and tried to love them but can't. Especially uncomfortable in the warmer months, summer would be the ultimate discomfort with soaked back and all. Weight would definitely be a negative if one is looking for a pack to carry daily and long/far enough. I do appreciate canvas but other than a haversack I doubt I could go back to it after cordura or nylon packs that are available these days.
The LL Bean Continental Ruck in waxed canvas might be a game changer for you. The back panel gives structure and is as breathable as their polyester version.
I like it better than DP and FR packs in that size.
You might be able to find one without the shearling straps (they made them a few years back) on eBay if that is an issue.
If you carry less weight, under 20# then canvas without a frame might work. But if you are going to carry weight over 20 lbs all day then you might want to get a frame. A 5 lbs canvas bag is 25% of a 20lbs loading. So this makes no sense to me when modern materials offer more volume less weight. I love the traditional look but whenever I do the math I never can pull the trigger. I spend enough time with a pack on my back that I know what I can and can’t do. So I have my preferences.
I prefer to use a dry bag. Many in this size come with straps and tie down harnesses for portages and such. I use a 60L sea to summit for cAnoeing on a multi day trip or a small cableas dry bag for day trips.
Overall my feeling is that cotton kills and canvas is a form of cotton - even if it is not clothing. I would opt for synthetic materials cordura, Robex, Cuban fiber, or NYCO if you must
No mention of the Rivendell pack works Jensen Packs?? Its got an unique design and seems to be pretty comfortable from what I could see online... frameless, but has a different construction system. Looks fairly decent for its size. They did mention ya gotta pack it a certain way to take advantage of how its put together...
You want torture? M1928 Haversack only really can pack it a few ways and none are as comfy as a packboard, framed pack, or modern pack.
Speaking of packboards... I have seen only once in a surplus shop, a kludged combination of ww2 pack board canvas panel lashed to a MOLLE II frame, with ALICE shoulder straps. Got me thinking. It could make things far more comfortable if using a Yucca/Green Bill pack attached to a packboard made of relatively light materials, with 4.5oz cotton sheeting for main body and 10oz duck for reinforcement points...
THANK YOU for pointing this out!
God, I can't stand the look and design of most modern UL gear. I appreciate the comfort and low weight as much as anyone, of course! But please, please, make some decent looking gear that make me feel at one with nature -- not an out of place neon-colored clown.
I can't stand brightly colored gear. I'm not worried about getting lost (*a bright orange emergency blanket can go in your pocket and double as a signaling device), or losing stuff. I want to lose myself in nature! When my gear is all artificial as can be, it just detracts from the experience somehow.
Anyway, anyone have experience with using external frames and canvas packs? Seems like that would solve the vast majority of the issues people are mentioning here.
I bring a home made canvas haversack with me everywhere, and it works perfectly well. Maybe I'll try my hand at making a comfortable frame and pack! Or maybe I'll just wrap my gear up in a wool blanket and sling that over my shoulder.
Agreed, I find Canvas packs too heavy and antiquated.
However, I despise internal frame packs. I only use internal framed packs when I need a light duty ultralight pack that will not be loaded over then 25lbs. I use only for thru-hikes. NOTHING else. If I need to haul more weight I carry my MODERN external frame pack.
My favorite Ultralight pack is by far those made by Hyperlite. I've thru-hiked the whole 800 mile AZ Trail, lived out of my bag for two years, hiked the Thunderbird Falls Trail (AK), Portage Pass Trail (AK), and the Byron Glacier Trail (AK).
I also use there tents and tarps.
Lastly, I don't care about being camouflaged, or tacticool, or looking like I'm still living in the 1800s. I like modern, high-tech, state of the art gear.
Because modern packs have modern suspension systems, I'll stick with modern packs. For me, the suspension system is a top evaluation criterion when selecting a pack. Remember, we do this stuff for recreation not misery.
Military equipment design and/or function is the last test I'll use for recreational equipment. I've found very little translates well from military use to recreational use.
I have various surplus canvas shoulder satchels that I like very much for hunting and fishing. They're small and light (and cheap) and I don't care if I trash them with blood or fish slime. Backpacks are an entirely different matter due to weight and suspension systems. I'll take modern backpacks every time.
The offerings from Frost River, Duluth, Alder Stream, LL Bean etc., are all modern packs. They are made with much heavier canvas than most of the old original packs were and they are generally constructed in a more heavy duty manner than originals. They are vintage styled but most are not designs from original packs with the exception of the canoe/envelope style portage packs that haven’t changed much from their original form. Because of the heavier canvas and the wax and the hardware and the construction, they are, as expected, heavier than most all the packs I have examined from the first half of the twentieth century. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a noticeable difference.
This is the same thing that happened with tents. People see the heavy duty canvas tents that are made today and think they were always that way. Understandably, this often pushes folks into more modern/lightweight options. However, it is a mistake to assume that what few options we have in the canvas/vintage style equipment category are representative of what used to be available and used. They aren’t.
Check out the waxed canvas HPG Tarahumara packs that 5Col sells - they are very nice! I have asked them about doing an order for a larger HPG pack in waxed canvas but they don't think "the number work." Bug them about it! If enough people ask for it, maybe it will work! I would like a Umlindi in Tex-wax field tan!
I have a Love/Hate relationship with the FR Isle Royale Jr. but a Love/Love relationship with this little Rothco canvas daypack. It has a Mora-esque quality: an inexpensive and unassuming bit of kit where everything comes together just so. My favorite tote.
If it's riding on my back, I prefer a modern pack. If not, I like canvas. You would have to pry my Frost River Explorer Duffel from my cold dead hands. Love it!
I sure do love the looks and durability of them. I’ve never had one so I can’t comment on their comfort carrying them
It's hard to argue that it's about nostalgia and going traditional for some.
I see nothing wrong with them, but they are sort of purpose made.
Traditionally people have always gone with the best new technology.
I'm not too conserned with a little extra weight which is why I'm trying out the Sabra and Särmä stuff as something that might give you the best of both worlds. You just have to find the right pack(s) for you and your needs.
One can always hope!