The haversack is a shoulder bag that used by workers to carry their bread (as lunch) at the factories. It has also been used by the Military to carry rations and spare ammunitions (French Army bread bags e.g.). The military haversacks usually measure 12’’x12’’. A haversack has been made from leather, skin or canvas or oilcloth. These types of bags were used by trappers, hunters, traders; ’Nessmuk’ used to carry one (called it DITTY bag) as well as military personnel (US Army used haversacks until the end of Second World War). Nowadays is used by reenactors and may people that enjoy the outdoors and practicing bushcraft skills.
Today you can find companies that make traditional looking haversacks but you can also find shoulder bags/pouches that were used from the military to carry gas mask and filters at surplus stores that can be used as haversacks. These bags are smaller than the traditional haversacks but are quite inexpensive, if you are on budget, and easy to repair if need it, plus they make a great bag for someone that starting to involve with the great outdoors.
The specifications of my haversack
My haversack is in reality a gas mask pouch that I found at a surplus store and I’m using it as haversack. The bag is made from 700d cordura and is double stitched to withstand heavy use. It is measure 8’’Wx10’’H, smaller than a traditional haversack but it has enough room to carry the items I need for an overnighter or a scouting walk.
At the back side of the haversack there is a strap with Velcro that is used to secure the haversack on a duty belt (don’t forget that my haversack is a gas mask pouch. There, also, are two leg straps that I had removed. At the two d-rings you can see at the picture I had tie two loops to add more length to the shoulder strap.
Introducing and explanation of the kit items
As I said before the haversack has enough space to carry all the items I need for a short hike or even an overnighter at the woods. These items are my personal choices and preferences. Someone else can choose whatever he wishes and likes.
Now let’s see what I am carrying with me. First of all I am carrying a 27oz stainless steel water bottle, a 450ml titanium mug and a kupilka cup with a small spoon. These are my utensils; I carry water in the bottle and I can boiled water too, since the stainless construction allows me to place the bottle on fire. The titanium mug is my cooking ‘pot’; mainly use it to boil water for meals or hot drinks. The kupilka is what I am using for drinking purposes.
For shelter I use a heavy duty space blanket, three tent stakes, an emergency space blanket and #36 bank line. I also have a small amount of duct tape for quick repairs and other crafts. I am thinking to replace the green heavy duty space blanket with a military poncho I found; it’s bigger than blanket’s 5’’x7’’ and I can wear it if I am walking and rain starts to fall…Some thought to consider about…
I also carry an old survival kit; I had added some items and took some of this kit to put them in another. The kit has a small fishing kit, a wire saw, a sewing kit, a snare wire, few safety pins, a tea candle, a safety whistle, a button compass and a magnesium bar with striker. Also including small paper notes with survival and first aid instructions. These are original items that came with this kit. I had added couple water purification tablets and some duct tape. All these fit in a very nice and well made metal tin.
I also carry a first aid kit which is an already made kit but can treat most injuries while being outdoors. I also have with me a bandana and a small cloth bag, which is great for collecting wild edibles or tinder.
These are the items that I had chosen to carry when I am getting out for a short hike or even an overnighter. I had to explain at this point that I didn’t mention my fire kit and my belt knife because these two items are always on my belt. Also I carry a compass in one of my shirt pocket always; the button compass is a good backup for general direction. Since this article is about my haversack kit I didn’t mentioned any other item that I carry on me. Maybe I will in another article!
I hope that you have find these article interesting and had got an idea how easily you can have a haversack from a simple gas mask pouch. I think that with a kit like this you can have a nice compact kit for short walks in the woods but with some additions can also have a nice emergency kit at your car or home.