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Thread: Help with choosing a pack?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Tiffin, Ohio
    Posts
    77

    Default Help with choosing a pack?

    Good evening all,
    There are so many different styles of pack out there, I am curious as to which would be most appropriate for the events revolving around 1862, and 1863.
    This of course would be Federal, particularly Ohio Volunteer Infantry's, that faught in the West and East.
    I figured I could not go wrong with a quality 1853 doublebag knapsack.
    I also noticed that N Sekela offers an early war model? Not sure if this was common in the first few years of the war.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Ryan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill, FL
    Posts
    3,852

    Default

    The 1853/55 double bag knapsack was the most commonly issued pack of the war on the Federal side and is usually considered the "best" one to use in a generic impression. That being said, there were several variations of that pack, including hardware, buckles, material, and construction techniques. Most of those variations aren't noticable by the average reenactor, but it is good to know which variants were available at any given time to avoid using a late war bag in an early war event. You'll have little trouble utilizing an "early war" bag in a later event, however. NJ Sekela's early bag has details noted to come from an earlier variant and includes a slightly different shape, hardware, and construction techniques, and you will have no problem being accepted at most any event as a Federal with it. For the record, the variations between packs throughout the war include, but are not limited to, leather covered studs on the straps; linen, cotton drill, cotton duck, and even mattress ticking used as material; white leather or cotton ties on the flap bag; contractor stamped brass hardware; machine sewing versus handsewing;, etc. Now, though the 1853/55 is the most common, we can't ignore there were other styles available and used during the period. I know of at least one Ohio regiment, the 75th OVI, was issued militia hardpacks initially (based on accounts), but how long those lasted until replaced can only be speculated upon. The advice I give folks is start out with the doublebag knapsack as a good generic piece of equipment, and continue to research the availablity and usage of other knapsacks if you get the urge
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Tiffin, Ohio
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Ross,
    That was some great information!
    Something I have found trying is trying to figure out what style of pack a soldier is wearing when im looking at original images.
    I just have a really hard time when all I can see is a front view of the soldier, I cant tell from just the straps.
    Unless of course I see double cross straps with J hooks, I have no clue what it could be.
    Here is a link to a good example of two soldiers from the 49th OVI.
    http://www.15thohio.4t.com/custom3_4.html

    Ryan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill, FL
    Posts
    3,852

    Default

    Those have all the earmarks of a militia-style hardpack, being that they buckle across the chest (the 1821 "Mexican War" softpack also buckles, but they slide up the strap instead of fastened with a brass stud). As a side note, the "j" hooks on the 1853/55 double bag were originally designed to be used on the rifleman's waist belt, which had rounded brass keeps like on a sword/saber belt for the cross strap. Since those belts received little issue, particularly during the Civil War, you'll find images of them across the chest like other traditional martial packs with chest straps, but I've found that if you pull them down and attach the hooks under the waist belt, the belt helps support the weight of the pack and keep it higher on your back for a more comfortable carry.
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    51

    Default See "Packrat"

    I refer you to my good friend and comrade Paul Lopes, known on this board as "Packrat." He makes numerous styles of packs and his website acwknapsacks.com has lots of photos of his wares and information about each type. I have carried one of his packs for a few years now and couldn't be happier.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    335

    Default

    I too can heartily recommend Paul Lopes! He made an incredible Berdan Sharpshooter pack for me and the quality was magnificent. I'm sure his other packs are also things of beauty.
    Scott Washburn
    Mifflin Guard
    www.paperterrain.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Monessen PA
    Posts
    138

    Default

    Jumping on the train of recommending Paul Lopes/American Civil War Knapsacks. I have their Berdan's and it's an incredible piece of work. (Ditto for their Berdan's gaiters!) Plus Paul is absolutely wonderful to work with.

    Calum
    Calum Munro

    5th Virginia Infantry, Co H
    http://5thvacompanyh.webs.com

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