New: Wynnchester Patrol Pack

We are very pleased to have recently launched our new canvas and leather rucksack, the Wynnchester Patrol Pack. The design is based on the very rare vintage military classic the Norwegian Army Patrol Pack.

After many years of restoring and repairing these amazing old packs in our workshops, it was a natural choice to begin our long-planned line of new-made canvas and leather packs. Through this initiative, we are aiming to bring back to life in updated forms the very best and rarest vintage military backpacks, many of which are now next to impossible to source.

The knowledge and experience of handling and repairing these packs over the years enabled us to recreate a new-made canvas rucksack which whilst updated for modern use remains true to the original classic in functionality, design, and materials.

A perfect daypack size, whether out in nature or in the urban environment, the new pack features military-grade waterproof canvas, folding 3-panel back system, side attachment straps, leather base, brass buckles and rivets, and thick full-grain leather.

The project has taken over a year to get to this stage but we are extremely pleased with the end result – we feel it really does justice to the original classic and after the first packs have gone out to advance order customers we’ve already had some great feedback:

“This is an absolutely great little pack. I love it . Thanks again.

“The colours of the pack are straight from the woods. I’m really liking it so far.

“I am really impressed! You’ve made a great job of reproducing the pack and I love the attention to detail and craftsmanship. I spent many years in the Royal Marines and the Norge pack was used by so many people. After 30 years, I finally have the day sack I wanted.”

“This is the mother of all daypacks”

Some photos below, and full details and more reviews available on wynnchester.com.

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Swiss Army vintage flask & cup set

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Vintage Swiss Army oval canteen set with cork stopper

Vintage SIGG Swiss Army oval canteen 

Some photos of our new design for the leather skeleton harness for this set (available here) which is based on an original Swiss Army classic oval canteen set made by SIGG from 1890 onwards (photo above). The cast aluminium flask became the basis of SIGG’s successful water bottle ranges that are still popular today.

This compact oval design was later replicated for the one hundred year anniversary with a modern cup set in the 1990’s  as the “SIGG Classic” (shown below), but not many were made and it is now impossible to find, we’ve been lucky enough to have had a few through over the years which have been passed on to our customers.

Modern replica by SIGG for the 100 year anniversary

We were determined to make this superb form available again, and after trying a lot of different options and being forced to look right across the globe for suitable components we finally landed on this brand new oval flask from legendary Swedish quality brand Primus, paired with a newly made aluminium oval cup, and our specially designed leather harness. Our latest version is made of saddle-tan Spanish equestrian leather which is very close in colour to the Swiss Army leatherwork of the period, with brass rivets, it fits the cup’s butterfly handles better, adds a retaining loop and clip for the flask lid when unscrewed, and a solid brass stud for easier removal from the harness. In response to feedback it’s also designed to be easier to attach side-on to a belt or pack than our previous design. The set is available here.

New Vintage Swiss Patrol Pack Photos

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Some new photos of our Vintage Swiss Army Patrol Pack with new hand made leather shoulder straps made in our workshop. These amazing Swiss Army rucksacks all have the name place and date of manufacture, this one shows made in 1954 by Ernst M’anzi in St. Peterzell, Switzerland.

The original maker’s leather stamp showing this one was made in 1954 by Ernst M’anzi in Wald St. Peterzell, Switzerland.

Huus Gstaad Hotel Outfitting

Our Swiss Army blankets and Vintage Swiss Army Rucksacks were supplied as authentic alpine room decor at the recently-opened Huus Gstaad design hotel. The landmark hotel sits at 1050 metres elevation (3,445 Feet) in Switzerland’s most prestigious ski resort town of Gstaad, in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.

The old hotel has been completely re-designed by Norwegian Architect Erik Nissen Johansen of Swedish design company Stylt Trampoli and the rebuild of the 300-room hotel, spa and conference centre was recently completed with the design based on a classic ‘Alpine Adventure’ theme with luxurious rooms, restaurants and bars and resident guides offering rafting, skiing, mountain biking and other alpine activities, all under the gaze of the stunning Western Alps. We worked closely with Stylt Trampoli to provide authentic props to complete the stunning redesign, ready for the press launch and the photography for the Huus Hotel website.

Huus Gstaad Swiss Hotel rucksack blanket rolls

Swiss Army mountain troops from the 1880's showing the classic Swiss Army blanket rolls

 

Vintage Safari Luggage Set

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Just finishing a nice Vintage Safari Luggage Set for a customer. We don’t get to do these very often as they are acquired and made to order only as they are very hard to find but they are such beautiful bags. Made of an unusual ribbed green canvas and very thick leather the set is made from a Swiss Army mountain rescue equipment bag, the Stgw 57* battle rifle ammunition case and the combat engineer’ small-tools bag, it makes a very special set all together. Here’s some photos of today’s finished article:

Ben Fogle – New Lives, Vintage Gear

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Ben in Morocco at the start of his trip with the modified M39 rucksack.

Our reconditioned Vintage Swedish Army M39 rucksack along with other gear was shown in use by Ben Fogle during much of his fascinating and highly recommended “New Lives in the Wild” TV series, including in Morocco and the Appalachian Mountains among other places, where he travels to meet and live with people who have left modern life and started simpler sustainable lives in remote wilderness locations.

We specially modified the vintage M39 pack for Ben, removing the external metal frame to make it more compact for Ben’s global travel requirements (which avoids the frame catching on things during transportation especially) and indeed Ben’s was seen slung in the back of a trailer alongside him as he is pulled along by a donkey in Morocco for example. For the short flight to Ibiza just off the Spanish coast and in to the islands back-country we spotted Ben using our vintage waxed canvas duffle bag, visiting an off-grid sustainable community in the hills. And the M39 Swedish Army pack was back in use in the snow of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State where Ben stays with British-born Lynx Vilden who has spent more than half her life living, hunting, eating and sleeping in the wilderness.  Ben was also using some of our gear during the stunning documentary The Great African Migrations including a vintage Swiss Army wool pullover which kept the cold out in the early morning whilst ballooning over the Serengeti. Some images from the various shows below, all of which are highly recommended viewing.

Travelling by donkey in Morocco

Ben Fogle in the Appalachian Mountains

Ben Fogle in the Appalachian Mountains

Having arrived on foot with his M39 vintage rucksack Ben investigates his accommodation in the Appalachian Mountains.

ben fogle new lives - duffle bag

Ben exiting the airport with our vintage military waxed-canvas duffle bag, ideal as simple carry-on baggage.

Stepping out into the back country of Ibiza

And arriving to begin the episode, at a sustainable living experiment off-grid in the hills of Ibiza.

 

Ben with his Wynnchester M39 Swedish Army vintage rucksack in the North Cascade mountains, Washington State

Ben meets up with Lynx Vilden to join her living and surviving off the land in the Cascade Mountains

Ben Fogle Serengeti

Ben Fogle in the Serengeti wearing a Wynnchester Vintage Swiss Army Pullover filming The Great African Migration.

Canoe + Bedroll Camp

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June on the river for a mid-summer canoe UK trip using our Adventurer Canvas Bedrolls – fantastic long days on the river in bright sunshine of a UK heatwave, after stopping in a spot where we have special permission to camp right on the river and enjoying the long midsummer evening light we slept out next to the fire under the stars, with the canvas bedroll ‘roof’ open, but warm, protected and comfortable using a standard roll mat on the ground – and listening all night to big Atlantic salmon just yards away leaping up the river in the summer salmon run back to their spawning grounds farther up stream.

We woke to swirling mist shrouding the water surface, pulled along down stream by the current, and the majestic dawn chorus from the woodland birds all around, and later the awesome sight and sound of nesting Peregrine falcons swooping and diving overhead. Other gear in use was our reconditioned 1960’s canvas and leather Swedish Army framed rucksack, a Norwegian Army canvas Telemark pack, the superb compact Swiss Army hand saw, and our canteen cup set in waxed cotton cover where the stainless steel crusader mug was used to make nettle tea (see below).

 

 

Canvas Tarp-as-Hammock

Some images of our made-to-order XL canvas tarp in use in the woods, using it in a hammock set-up. Because it’s made of tough canvas, and multiple boxed-stitched reinforced webbing loops our extra large tarp can function as both hammock and cover in one as in these photos below, by taking the tarp up and over a ridgeline and out in front propped by a stick. It can be use around the fire, and provides great protection from the elements, wind and rain. The front flap is pitched up or down depending on the weather.

It’s a very comfortable hammock, it doesn’t stretch, and you don’t slide around in it and that natural canvas really feels at one with nature: a great way to camp out in the woods in four seasons, with a fire on the open side it’s incredibly warm in the hammock – and when you’re not sleeping and it makes a pretty nice ‘forest sofa’ to relax in when the rain is coming down during the day.

These larger tarps are made to order only, please enquire at Wynnchester.com/products/tarp for availability and further details.

Wynnchester XL canvas tarp rigged as a covered hammock

From The Workshop

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From our village location in Somerset, England, images of a typical day in the Wynnchester workshops where our “Recon” range of reconditioned rucksacks, bags and other hand-made gear is produced before being sent off to customers in the U.K. and around the globe.

The sun comes up, a new day starts in the Wynnchester workshop.

Sunlight falling on some vintage gear waiting for reconditioning.

The Sewing Workshop

Vintage Italian military canvas rucksack ready for finishing.

Removing mildew and dirt from the surface of some 1950’s leather rucksack straps prior to oiling and waxing.

Hand-finishing the waxed-cotton treatment on our classic vintage military haversack.

Oiling vintage leather straps.

Neatsfoot oil and cold-pressed flaxseed oil, two essential compounds in the workshop, along with local Somerset  bees wax and other plant oils.

Traditional solid copper rivets are hand set using a ball-pein hammer on a 3 inch marble block.

Beautiful leather on these vintage Swiss Army bags.

Vintage leather rucksack straps

Our hand made leather straps finished and being fitted to a vintage Swiss Army rucksack.

Making our leather blanket roll straps – original vintage Swiss Army hardware combined with new veg-tanned saddle leather.

The date stamp on a Swiss Army canvas tool bag shows it was originally made in 1945.

Waxed cotton raincape and vintage army rucksacks – finished and ready to despatch.

Reconditioned Vintage Swiss Army Mountain Packs and waxed cotton Haversacks ready for shipping.

A finished vintage canvas Shelter-Half Tent ready to be packed and shipped.

The daily visit of the UPS truck to collect whatever’s ready and packed with export documentation & shipping labels.

After another busy day the workshop is quiet again and ready to be closed up for the night.

Caledonian Forest Camp

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A trip out in the forest among fantastic tall Caledonian Pines showing some of our new Recon products in use, including a vintage military single pole tent and a simply outstanding vintage Swiss Army hand saw.

Early morning mist encroaching our camp among the pines, on the valley side:

But it soon clears and the rich colours of the spring forest come out

This is our new up-cycled vintage military ‘shelter-half tent’ with canvas awning – based on the bushcraft classic ‘Polish Army Lavvu’ – after a lot of testing we have designed some key adaptations to expand on the basic features of this single-pole vintage tent  (full details here):

Vintage French Army desert bivvy bag – outer canvas bivvy bag with internal natural cotton capok sleeping bag (details coming soon)

The bivvy bag fits nicely inside the tent, keeps out drafts and retains body heat:

Our classic British Army vintage paraffin lamp (available here):

A new Swiss Army 12″ hand saw with waxed-canvas & leather cover.  An incredible piece of gear, detachable blades, 2-way handle, made in the world’s best quality Swiss stainless steel – absolutely outstanding compact Swiss engineering and design which cuts effortlessly and precisely: (full details here):

Our specially designed waxed-canvas & leather case hand made in our workshop:

 

 

Spending time observing the nature all around… Deer passing through eating the bright green Spring foliage, and birds in the trees:


Other gear: designed to compliment the saw case our new hand-made waxed canvas 16-18″ axe cover with leather retaining strap & belt loop (available soon):

The case has a solid brass roller-buckle and hand-set brass rivets with full grain natural veg-tanned leather strap, with a belt loop on the rear fitting up to 2″ inch belts:

Waxed-canvas storage pouches for storing food or tinder materials (full details here):

A new stainless steel Fire Box with hand made canvas cover & log carrier.  A robust but lightweight stainless steel main box with stand and lid – cook in the main box or use the fire for warmth, cooled ashes can be carried in the box with the lid on to dispose of carefully, whilst the stand keeps the box off the ground avoiding fire-scars . our hand made canvas & leather case double as a log carrier once you’ve set the firebox down, and protects the rest of your gear from the ash and char when transporting the firebox (full details here):

A fantastic new bag in our Recon Bush Pack range is this Vintage Swiss Army 1940’s small-tools bag in a beautiful green ribbed pattern canvas, suitable for a wide range of uses (full details here):

Also used to hold reels and fly box for fishing a nearby upland pool, successfully this time… landing a beautiful and good-sized rainbow trout:

And back to camp among the Caledonian Pines, what a great location…

Bushcraft Camp in the Caledonian Forest

Night falls in the forest after a great day out in the woods, immersed in nature…

The tent provides shelter from a cold breeze, while allowing the heat from the fire to reflect around the inside:

single pole tent campfire

 

And the full moon rises through the trees, to end a superb day in the Caledonian ForestFull details of all the gear on the relevant product pages or please contact us for any further information.