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German Army Mountain Pack.

I’ve been on the lookout for a smallish pack that I could use as a day sack or even on an overnight bivi. I’ve looked at a few modern plastic packs but they just didn’t do it for me. Nothing wrong with them I suppose but they didn’t seem to have any soul, mojo, you know the kind of thing.

I looked at some of the American canvas packs but they seem very expensive for what they are so I was very interested to find this German Army Mountain Pack and I thought I would order one to try it out.

First impressions; It’s well made from a heavy duty cotton canvas, it has no internal frame which means you have to think a little about how you are going to pack it. The main lid and the pocket lids are lined with something that looks like heavy PVC and the same material is used on the bottom as a weatherproof base.

A nice little detail which I hadn’t noticed from the pictures is there is an open sleeve between the pockets and the pack that means something like an axe could be slipped between them for carrying.

german Army Mountain Pack
German army Mountain Pack

The shoulder straps were well padded, comfortable and easy to adjust, the web site mentioned a “Facility for a 25mm Waist Strap” but I couldn’t see any practical way of achieving that. No great problem, I don’t like waist straps on small packs anyway.

The four main closure buckles are sturdy but of a weird design. They work well but are a bit of a pain to adjust. Maybe I’m missing something but that could have been better thought out. There are 4 strong looking nylon D rings on the lid for tying stuff onto and six places under the cotton webbing that could be used too.

Time to see what it will hold.

The outer pockets are a tiny bit short for a “Sigg” type one litre bottle but take the “Naglene” type perfectly. I can fit a light weight poncho in the other one and that is my immediate access gear sorted.

Inside the pack there is a pocket covering the back area with a couple of tabs to hold things in. It’s just the right size for my 3m square tarp folded up and that provides padding and some shape to the back of the pack.

A four season down bag in the bottom of the pack in it’s own dry bag and a “Thermarest” type mat rolled up on top, leaves just enough room for my hobo stove, a bit of grub and a sit mat.  Sorted.

Fully loaded without the food it weighs in at just under 8kg.  No bother.

In use the pack rides most comfortably quite low on the back, which is not normally where I would expect it to sit.

Having said that it felt well balanced and secure.

Mountain Pack-Tarp, sleeping bag, Air mat, pegs and guys, water bottle, sit mat, poncho, hobo stove and dried rations.
Mountain Pack- loaded up.

Loaded as you see it here, I took it onto my local fell for a couple of hours walking with Skadi, our dog, and before long it was quite easy to forget about the pack altogether. I’m quite impressed so far.

It also handles my hammock and under-blanket set up with just as little fuss and a bit more spare room so that gives me another option as well.

I’m not sure how it would handle with a more dense cargo, that low position would not suit a really heavy load, but that is not the sort of thing I intend to use this pack for.

I can still sling my camera bag underneath for a landscape trip so that is OK, the only thing missing would be somewhere to attach a tripod. Not a great problem as I often carry my tripod in my hand anyway.

Overall, I think this might do the job quite nicely for me.

I’ve discovered that the pocket inside the pack seems to be designed for the German folding kip mat, which makes good sense, I will look into getting one to replace the air mat, which I never fully trust anyway.

I may add a couple of modifications here and there but that is part of the fun when you like tinkering with your kit. In fact it was so inexpensive that I ordered a second one just for spare parts and materials.

Mountain Pack Buckle ModificationMountain Pack Buckle ModificationMountain Pack Buckle ModificationMountain Pack Buckle Modification

I am very grateful to Hoodoo for this little tip to improve the performance of the buckles.

Unthread the webbing and turn the buckle over. Bring the webbing loose up the back, over the teeth and then through the first slot. Now bring the webbing up through the next slot and out between the two bottom bars.

This still grips well in use but allows the straps to be tightened when in place.

To loosen, turn the buckle so the prongs point downwards when unconnected or pull outwards on the bottom of the buckle when attached.    Much better.

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