What are the best Classic style Rucksacks?

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by DaStoner47, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. DaStoner47

    DaStoner47 Tracker

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    I want a classic looking rucksack in the 35-45 liter range. Style is like the Karrimor Sabre 35 and the Snugpak Sleeka 35, or even the classic Medium Alice. Let me know what your favorite older rucks are!
     
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  2. freebirdfb

    freebirdfb Guide

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    I favor the med ALICE. I was in the Marines when they switched from alice to molle. Had such an experience with molle that I wont give the upgrades a chance.
     
  3. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Canvas Bergans Telemark is hard to beat... weighs a ton (ok, 6lbs actually), but is beautiful and fits me well. Also like the German Bundeswehr canvas ruck from the 60s/70s, before they went Fastex/nylon.
     
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  4. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Any of Frost Rivers packs, I've had several and still own one, I prefer the box style over their round styled packs like the Summit series, I don't like Military surplus packs as they tend to be too heavy and less comfortable to carry unless you do some heavy modifications to the suspension systems, but they are still heavy.
    My absolute favorite traditional pack is my waxed cotton LL Bean Continental Ruck, it works well for overnighter and up to several days, but is compact enough to use as a day bag, It has allot of features commonly found in more expensive packs for allot less coin, it's in the mid weight range, but it's extremely comfortable to carry.
    Pluses are free shipping from LL Bean, and a lifetime no questions asked guarantee and return policy, you just can't go wrong with this pack.
    Another that's gaining in popularity is their Kettelist Ruck at about $70.00 dollars.
     
  5. Charlie Lima

    Charlie Lima Tracker

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  6. Keithturkjr

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    In the realm of classic rucksacks there are many suitable choices to be had.
    A lot of people like:
    - the bergen style European packs
    -LL bean continental rucksack
    - scandinavian style packs like the LK35, and telemark packs
    -German army alpine rucksack
    - Frost river packs
    -ALICE packs

    I personally have most of my experience with the ALICE packs and some limited experience with other packs.
    Here's my opinion for whatever its worth:
    Classic style rucksack can be beautiful and take nice pictures and can ocassionally be a very durable pack, but they also lack some modern comfort features. So to be the most satisfied with a classic style pack it should probably be kept in a daypack sort of role.
    If you were to carry a simple book bag with no good frame and hip belt with 5-10 lbs in it for 10 miles you could probably have a nice comfortable hike and enjoy the experience. I've done it and it was fun. But if you load a similar pack with 40 lbs of gear that experience is going to be tough.

    There are some exceptions of classic packs that were designed to carry heavier loads better. Others may be comfortable too, feel free to chime in with exp.
    -The Bergen packs carry a load pretty well, although they can get hot if they don't have an air mesh back panel
    -The swedish LK35 with ALICE shoulder straps and kidney belt modification has been regarded as quite comfortable
    -ALICE packs can be quite comfortable if they fit you and the load isn't too heavy.

    As far as the ALICE packs specifically (I own this):
    The most comfortable thing I've ever carried with alice is about 7 lbs of day hiking stuff for a total load of like 14-16 lbs, its very easy and comfortable, anything more starts to feel like work lol (maybe that's OK, but it is true).
    - Anything over 35 lbs makes the foam compresses excessively and the frame with start to dig into you which can be quite uncomfortable.
    -This pack has extraordinary durability and can uncomfortably carry loads much heavier than you can carry without breaking.
    -Its a bit heavy for the 20-35 lb loads that comfortably carry in it. Medium alice is 3.1 lbs, frame with straps is 3.2 lb, large alice is 3.5 lbs these weights are within 4 ounces of accurate. The weight fraction of the total load this pack constitutes is why I upgraded to a more modern civilian pack. 7 lbs of backpack in a 40 lb load was just too much weight. I've trimmed my stuff to between 17-24 lbs doing things like this.
    -But when loaded within its comfortable weight range its very comfortable, well organized, very compressible loading, and is very well ventilated in the heat.

    I've used medium ALICE with and without a frame and the large with frame. I prefer the large with a frame, its just the best of them. There is very little weight difference between the medium and large rucksack when they both have the frame on. The frame is what makes the pack good on a hot day. The Large pack accepts a ton of gear with its awesome capacity, but at the same time the compression straps are so effective that is can be made into a day pack load out without much problem.
    Medium ALICE packs theoretically can be used without the frame and it works, but if the pack isn't completely full it wants to wad up into a ball in the middle of your back. the lateral compression straps exasperate this problem, so I only used either one with the frame. The reason I like the large ALICE the most is that the main compartment is absolutely huge. I can fit half of Texas in that backpack, but if I'm only carrying some little light stuff the lid and compression straps can crush the load very tight against the frame making it a very small unobtrusive load that is easy to carry off trail in the heat. The medium carries about the same way and weights almost the exact same thing with the frame, but it just doesn't have all that awesome capacity when you do want it. I spent years trying to cram a load into a medium ALICE that wasn't quite big enough and just got sick of it.

    If I was going to buy a smaller classic pack (I'm not) 35-45 liters, and didn't want a larger pack, and didn't own any of this stuff. I would get a Swedish LK35 and a set of LC-2 ALICE pack shoulder straps and LC-2 ALICE kidney pad.
    The LK35 has a more comfortable frame than the ALICE pack but it's standard straps suck compared to ALICE, mixing the two makes a reasonable weighted pack that can carry a 10-45 lb load well that isn't too big.
    If I was unsure of how large of a pack I needed and wanted one of the ones listed, and definitely did not want ALICE, the Karrimore SF sabre 45 pack is a good choice because of the optional PCLE pouches that can convert it into a 65 liter pack and the way the sides zip together to make it a daypack.
     
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  7. Amator

    Amator Scout

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    I really wish I could find a backpack for 3-5 trips that looked like a Frost River/Duluth Pack rucksack but had the suspension and features of a Gregory/Osprey 50L pack. It doesn't have to actually be waxed canvas and leather, I just want a modern pack with the colors and styling cues of the traditional packs. My olive Tom Bihn Synapse 25 is my current compromise for day hiking.
     
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  8. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Scout

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    The LL Bean continental rucksack is just under your specs at 33 liters, but it has straps on top and bottom for larger gear to strap on. The bottom straps are easily extended with a $6 set of extensions from Amazon. I carry this pack daily with gear and food that I need for work. It has old styling, but has great back padding and padded straps. Mine is very comfortable for my size, 6'3" and 250 lbs.

    LL Bean takes their warranty very serious which is another plus.

    I have used it for two woods trips so far and it was perfect for what I needed. I love the pass throughs on the pockets for carrying an axe. The outside is canvas, but the inside is lined with a slick material so it's easy to get gear out when fully packed. I love my Alice pack and will use it for longer trips/hunts, enjoy my camelbak mule for day trips, but I use the LL Bean every day and couldn't be happier with it. Have fun with whatever you pick!
     
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  9. HP500

    HP500 Scout

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    I really like the German Alpine rucksack from Keepshooting.com. I ended up buying another one for a spare.
     
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  10. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Scout

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    My father has a pack, which is 40 years old, that resembles many of these classic styles. I would bet many of these modern packs are trying to resemble his old pack. I ought to find pictures of it, see if I can ID the manufacture of it. It has been bombproof for over 40 years!
     
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  11. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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  12. Haggis

    Haggis Supporter Supporter

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    I've several old Duluth Packs I bought new, a quarter century ago, and several Frost River packs, but my replacement packs won't be canvas. Granite Gear is another Northern Minnesota pack company, and they make great packs at a much lower cost; more bells and whistles too. At least one BWCA outfitter in Ely I know has been using Granite Gear packs a long time, and they seem pleased with the durability.

    http://www.granitegear.com
     
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  13. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Not old and not cheap, but... Red Oxx C-ruck

    @Amator a Synapse isn't such a bad compromise. Maybe not traditional but they are great packs.
     
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  14. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    This:
    Pack 001_800x597.jpg Pack 002_800x597.jpg

    I made this N.O.S. Scout pack FIT me comfortably. Leather straps. I don't need padding (the pads on the fronts of the straps are just shields to keep the D rings from pinching me... I'm redesigning this arrangement). It stays off my back, so it isn't H O T like frameless packs are that lay against you. I am in the final stages of designing my "Ultimate Rucksack", using this as a base, enlarging the pockets, etc, and putting it on a G.I. mountain rucksack frame.


    I have a new "Continental rucksack" and it's a really nice pack (though rather smaller), but it is SO HOT on my back. Instant sweat city. I've thought about getting one of those plastic mesh car seat things and cutting it to fit between my back and the pack, but it's not high on my list of priorities. The huge pockets are great, but I do wish the main pouch were a bit bigger.... and hung on an "A" frame... :D

    I also have a 1940's vintage Bergans pack that I want to reproduce and put on a Swedish 39 frame.

    Bergans 002_800x597.jpg Bergans 005_800x597.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  15. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    Are you going to trail hike? Go bushwhacking over broken terrain? Carry books on campus? Climb or even do technical climbing? Hit the club scene?

    The intended use will or should drive what bag you pick.
     
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  16. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    By the way, Ebay is chock full of nice old backpacks. A LOT of classic "hiking" packs with the rectangular aluminum "ladder" frames and the pack portion way high at the top (to strap your sleeping bag and stuff at the bottom). You can generally find pretty good prices on them too... just have to wade through all the irritating listings for all the cheapo "vintage" Chinese rucksacks (some of them actually look pretty neat, though...). I keep being tempted to get one and give it a shot... like I need another backpack. I have never tried one of this type of frame pack before.
     
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  17. MountainMan706

    MountainMan706 BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    I paid a - FORTUNE - for a custom Duluth Pack --- like $700.

    It was not worth it.


    Do yourself a favor and get a modern pack with modern ergonomic straps and support. Going "old school" is cool - but - well, modern packs are so much more comfortable.



    EDIT: Waxed canvas is - not - sufficient for a heavy rain and it take the pack a long time to dry.

    EDIT: If you want something on the affordable end of the scale get a good used military surplus ruck sack. It's not as good as a premium pack but for a combination of function to dollar it is your best bet. If however you want to pay over $200, get a modern pack.


    I'm saving my money for a Hill People pack. They look pretty good but before I spend a lot 0f $$$ again I want to do more research.
     
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  18. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Tracker

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    Wow this looks like an alternative to frost river's 300 dollar price tags. That north woods pack looks sweet.
     
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  19. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Tracker

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    Yeah the water issue is one of the things that I really like about the ALICE pack. Its not PU coated nylon, but when it does get wet it breathes and drys out in the sun fairly quick. My newer pack is coated and has a really good DWR and isnt prone to getting wet, but if water ever does get in it,....its gonna stay that way.
     
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  20. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    This is why I don't waterproof my boots anymore (except maybe for winter). Oil, yes, but not waterproofing. Once they're wet inside, they won't want to ever dry if they're waterproofed. I'd rather have them get wet for a while, and dry right out. Also why I have been intrigued, but leery of waxing or waterproofing any of my canvas packs.
     
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  21. DaStoner47

    DaStoner47 Tracker

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    Looking for more of a overnight-2/3 day pack. Thinking I'm going to go with the ALICE Pack since I have on, just need a frame and new straps and kidney belt.
     
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  22. DKR

    DKR Scout

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    http://www.downeastinc.com/Products.php/?Link=1606AC
    [​IMG]

    allows use of the ALICE with MOLLE webbing.

    Mystery Ranch (http://www.mysteryranch.com/mountain-ruck-pack) isn't cheap, but if you are serious about living in and out of your ruck, these guys are sa bomb......

    Best of luck, my days of humping ruck have come and (thank God) gone.
     
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  23. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You can, with enough money you can get just about anything you want, but for not too much more than an average Frost River or Duluth you can design your own pack and have it custom made for you, Alder Stream in Maine does a great job, Hidden Woodsman does custom work as well, both do Traditional Packs.
     
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  24. Keithturkjr

    Keithturkjr Tracker

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    DKR mentioned the downeast inc. I looked into their mountaineering frame and it is really nice. Its quite similar to the USMC's FILBE backpacks suspension. The mountaineering frame and harness is about 140 bucks vs. the standard ALICE frame straps and kidney pad that will cost about 40 bucks.

    The standard frame and kidney pad are OK under 35 lbs and greatly improves the carrying comfort within that weight range. It is also the cheaper option which is a plus. I own the standard because the downeast frame wasn't available back when I got my ALICE. The way the frame digs into a persons back when its overloaded isn't to be underestimated though.
    The advantage to the downeast frame is in the comfort under heavier loads. Its got even better ventilation than the old ALICE frame that already had great ventilation. But the big thing is that no matter how much weight you put onto the downeast frame the frame sheet wont dig into your back.
    If I was going to make my ALICE pack my primary backpack again I would definitely buy one of these.
     
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  25. Zipweber

    Zipweber Tinder Gatherer

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    I just received my Allagash Pack from Alder Stream Canvas but haven't had a chance to put a single piece of gear in it yet. I went with the Deluxe version, added on the ax sleeve, front pocket, and inside zippered pocket.....$295.
     
  26. Luafcm

    Luafcm Scout

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    I like the bergen style rucks with zip off side pouches. If I don't need the extra storage I like to take the pouches off and attach my shelter gear in compression sacks. (hammock, tent, bedding, or whatever)
    2016_0222_11301200_zpsfnynltej.jpg
     
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  27. Timex

    Timex Scout

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    Scottish Mountain Gear Ray Mears Bushcraft. A bit less than $200.00 to my door. I like the Bergen style packs and started with a Snugpak. The SMG is made of 1st rate materiels. I have been enjoying it so far. Not an alpine climbing pack nor is it an expedition load hauler. Fortunately, I have the sort of average torso to make it work for me. Of course, after I purchased this, I ran across some very well made Medium ALICE type packs with an improved Yoke/belt. IMG_0479.JPG IMG_0480.JPG
     
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  28. DaStoner47

    DaStoner47 Tracker

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    Where can I find that Ray Mears one?
     
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  29. throwback

    throwback Tracker

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    This may not be exactly what you're looking for, but It's going to be my next daypack. The Rambler, from Duluth Pack. It comes in a myriad of colors, has a cinch type closure under the top flap and plenty of easy access outside pockets. They're a little pricey, but in my experience Duluth packs are worth every penny.

    olive-drab_3_5.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  30. Eric Westbrook

    Eric Westbrook Supporter Supporter

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    @throwback that is the wanderer pack, the rambler (a little bigger w/smaller side pockets) is on sale right now for a pretty good price.
    https://www.duluthpack.com/backpacks/outdoor/rambler.html

    If you dress them up to equal a Frost river there isn't much difference....

    good example...


    And they're still not waxed canvas, which of course, cost more....

    It doesn't cost a lot to sew up a canvas bag, its the slip pockets, pouches, zippers, straps & hardware and little details that add up the extra time and cost.
     
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  31. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    I have Duluth, FR and Bean classic packs/bags.

    For that size pack, I would prefer an LL Bean Continental Ruck in waxed canvas (I have an older one in all-leather). The leather and buckles that Duluth uses is better, but the back panel of the Bean pack more than makes up for that. The padded air mesh makes it nicer to carry, breathes better and gives the pack structure. The pack also has a lot of other nice features.

    With the 4th of July sales coming, you might be able to get it at about half the price of the Duluth. Also, there's free shipping and a life time guarantee.
     
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  32. Timex

    Timex Scout

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    I purchased mine through the Ray Mears Woodlore site.
     
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  33. throwback

    throwback Tracker

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    Haha! You're right, It's the Wanderer. I don't know where my head was when I typed that, thank you.

    I've used Duluth packs for so long that I forget that there are other options out there in canvas packs. After many years of use, I finally had to retire my original medium sized pack this past summer and thought I'd replace it with the smaller Wanderer, to use as a daypack, for hunting and side trips from camp.

    I didn't realise that the Rambler was on sale. I like the Wanderer a little better, but I'll take another look. I'll also check out the Frost River packs. Thanks again Eric!:dblthumb:
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  34. throwback

    throwback Tracker

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    Thanks Harper, I'll take a look at them too. :dblthumb:
     
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  35. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Scout

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    Still looking for classic styling but something in 1000D Cordura for my Dad. Finding one that is just right is kinda tough!
     
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  36. Eric Westbrook

    Eric Westbrook Supporter Supporter

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    @throwback keep an eye on Duluth's website, they have been clearing out a lot of the green canvas stuff pretty cheap, might run a sale around the 4th of July and you might get a score.
     
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  37. throwback

    throwback Tracker

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    Thanks brother!
     
  38. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Old German army rucksack, with new Mountainsmith shoulder straps. No zippers to blow out, Nalgene bottles fit side pockets perfectly. Rubberized botton and top flap. I bought several for $8 apiece some years ago, but you can still find them for about $35. Indestructible, so far. The original shoulder straps are pretty wretched, tho.

    http://www.militaryclothing.com/Ger...lid=CPOUhODlxdQCFQ94fgod9oECiA&ad=77706536309

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    They even make good goat packs...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  39. Dusty Tom

    Dusty Tom Tracker

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    Cool goat! How difficult was the sewing on your strap replacements? What sort of needle and thread would you recommend?
     
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  40. gila_dog

    gila_dog BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    It wasn't hard to sew on the new straps, once I figured out where to put them. I used a "speedy stitcher" sewing awl. This is a very handy tool for all kinds of heavy fabric, nylon strap, and leather work.
    http://www.speedystitcher.com/
     
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  41. Dusty Tom

    Dusty Tom Tracker

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    Great thank you :) It turns out my wife bought a nock off speedystitcher at Harborfreight tools so I guess I'm all set for pack repair.
     
  42. Florida Bullfrog

    Florida Bullfrog Tracker

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    I like the ALICE w/ Frame and Molle strap upgrade if I'm going with a "classic" pack. I do recommend the medium over the large for most purposes. My large is floppy unless its fully packed. Its too much bag for day trips or as a hunting bag. The large does excel as a meat bag for hunting long distances, where you would clean your game in the field and pack the meat out with you. The large gives plenty of room for meat and gear.

    I had to duct-tape the frame as the Molle strap attachment points creak on the bare metal of the frame when under a load. The duct-tape got rid of the noise.
     
  43. geebob

    geebob Tracker

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    I have Karrimor SF Sabre 35 and SF Sabre 45 (with two 12.5l side pockets), out of those two I find that SF 45 is much more comfortable.

    The SF 35 waist belt position rest just a bit too high above my hip bone. While the SF 45, the waist belt rest comfortably on my hip bone. Maybe it's because the SF 45 is longer than the SF 35. I'm not a big guy, I'm 176 cm tall and my torso length is about 52 cm.

    Anyway, for a day hike and using the SF 35 as a daypack when I don't carry a lot of things, the SF 35 is fine, but for a 2 or 3 days backpacking trip I will pick the SF45 over the SF35.
     

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