I had been looking for the perfect bushcraft backpack for some time. In recent years I have used Karrimor, Fajlraven and Ray Mears’ very own leaf cutter pack. All of these packs have some great features and are very good in their own right, but they never quite suited my needs. I wanted a pack that was large enough to take away on a week-long trip yet not so cumbersome that I couldn't use it every day when I'm working in the woods. I wanted it to be useful in all situations, have side and front pouches and be handmade from natural materials.
In my search for such a pack I stumbled on a social media post from Journeyman Handcraft, announcing that a suitable pack was on the drawing board. I contacted the man himself and having chatted through options, promptly ordered one.
The pack arrived 4 weeks later and I was very impressed. The waxed, light weight canvas the pack is made from was of very good quality, all of the stitching was very neat and the leather work was solid with brass rivets which added to its look. I ordered my pack with the modern-day belt buckles on the hip belt and sternum strap, though there is an option for brass buckles. Brass buckles look great but are not the most practical on longer trips in the woods and I really wanted this pack to be hassle free.
The side pouches hold two 1 ltd water bottles in each and the front pouch is large enough to take a Ray Mears belt pouch full of first aid kit. Under the lid there is a very useful note book pouch and a key safe clip on the inside of the main body of the bag.
I was impressed so far so good. The only thing left to do was to get out in the woods to use it. Well, it did not disappoint, it held all my personal kit, pot, sleeping bag, tarp, tools and repair pouch, cord etc with lots more space to add food or spare clothing.
Behind each side pouch there is a slip pocket which is great for my knife and folding saw so I can access them easily when needed. What is more the pack is easy and comfy to carry, fully loaded or half packed, even on the 10 -15 mile hikes I have used it for. The waxed canvas repels water and keeps the contents nice and dry, I am sure it will need a re-wax at some point but as of yet that’s not an issue.
This pack has been covered in blood, mud splatters and something else (I am not quite sure what it was!) but it keeps coming back for more!
The pack deserves to be cared for so much more than I do, it truly is a work horse, it gets chucked in the back of the truck, thrown on the forest floor, hung up in trees in the pouring rain and it has yet to let me down, and to be honest it looks better with age.
The thing I love most about the pack is it’s a joy to use, the touch, smell and feel of it just screams quality and it’s gr
he only one! But hey, you can’t keep something like this a secret for long so if you’re in need of a new pack and want something that little bit extra then get one of these, I promise you, you won’t regret it!