The haversack is a very traditional bag that has been used in the military for hundreds of years, the word ‘haver’ coming from the old Norse word for oats “hafre” – a haversack was used to carry the soldiers food, a supply of oats (which of course recognised now as great high quality food source), which would be made into oatcakes or “havercakes” over the fire:
Oats – a food reserved for horses in England, but which in Scotland supports the people.
– Samuel Johnson (an Englishman).
To which Johnson’s biographer, James Boswell, a Scot retorted wryly:
Aye, which is why in England you’ll raise fine horses, while in Scotland we’ll raise fine men.
This is a great vintage example of the classic haversack: it’s originally Yugoslavian National Army issue with tough metal fittings and very configurable attachments which is rare. It has an internal pocket which folds out and hangs outside the main bag, which is great for gathering berries, pinecones, birchbark etc. out in the field or a water bottle or flask (see photos below). There’s also a front pocket with metal press-studs separate from the main compartment. The back is well padded which adds comfort against the body no matter what you are carrying in the haversack.
But perhaps the main reason we chose to recondition these haversacks for our ‘Recon’ range is the webbing loops underneath the haversack which are used for carrying extra gear rolled up, perfect for waterproofs for example, or for a lightweight tarp or poncho. Shown in these photos carrying an Austrian army goretex mountain jacket.
So the all round functionality of this classic haversack means we couldn’t look past it: what a great bag for use out in the field.
The supply of these available now 30 years on, includes many very heavily-used bags that have seen significant action during the post-1992 Balkan wars: many are well beyond repair and in tatters not surprisingly perhaps. However we have gone to great lengths to source the best available bags and then we treat the canvas with our own all-natural wax in a four-step process – and we are absolutely delighted with the end results. They still retain the patina of age and a military past but look revitalised and ready to live again, full of oats or not.
10cms depth, depending how packed etc.