Just mulling over some ideas..Bergens

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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
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@Van-Wild I've seen some of the long back Bergens for somewhere around £30, but then I am tempted by the smaller Dutch pack, seen one for £60. I need a few other bits so I'd rather keep lower prices lower where I can.
The Dutch army Lowe Alpine Sting is an awesome pack. Just checked the bay and there's quite a few on there for about 60 quid. The back support system is waaaay better than the PLCE bergan.

As others have said, take a look at the Berghaus Cyclops Roc. Similar to the PLCE but comes with different size frames to suit your height. If youre in the market for mammoth sized rucksack and you like the idea of an external frame, id really recommend the US Army Alice Pack. Those things really are bullet proof and have been in use since the 70s. The external frame may initially feel a little cumbersome, but its all about getting it to sit right on your back. Biggest plus with the external frame is the air gap, so no sweaty shirt soaked and stuck to your back.......


Or....... if you like the look of the Berghaus Cyclops Roc or the Vulcan, take a look at the German army mountain rucksack (the modern type, not the old canvas version!). These are almost identical in look and build quality to a Berghuas Vulcan but slightly smaller.




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Scottieoutdoors

Tenderfoot
Oct 22, 2020
78
34
Devon
@Van-Wild

I noticed you've said "low alpine sting", I will my research more, but is there much of a difference between the Saracen and the stingray? (I'm assuming that's what sting meant).
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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The "German Army" rucksack above is no issued Bundeswehr item.

In the link stands it would be made out of nylon, but somewhere else they write polyester, what isn't NATO standard.

The German Army used after the cotton rucksacks only a green 34 litres mountain troop rucksack, currently made in Germany by Heim, the Flecktarn 65 litres version, both without real hip belt meant for lighter loads, a very rare very large Flecktarn KSK rucksack, the Berghaus Munro and the Berghaus Atlas.

The above mentioned Rucksack is obviously a cheaper copy of an older Berghaus model.
I don't own it, but everything else I got from this maker was factory new rubbish or on a cheaper usual civil level.

The stuff usualy looks good, gives a good first impression and breaks pretty soon.

Different to that you see here the following original German Army (Cordura Nylon) rucksacks:

This is the 34 litres HEIM mountain troop rucksack, made in Germany, here brand new out of current production, 1000 den Cordura nylon:


This is the 65 litres Flecktarn rucksack, used, made in Germany by several makers:


This rucksack existed in a relatively rare plain olive green version too, it had a bit different strap attachments. The last I have seen had been sticky inside.


All three should be used with the (pretty thin) original German army folding insulation mat as back pillow, available only used:


Berghaus Atlas and Munro, made in China, you can look up yourself, for example on this page.

It exists in English and French too but it knows, that I am German and doesn't allow me to enter the other versions.

You surely can find it yourself. It is a pretty good source for informations about German but also a lot of other stuff. But attention, they sell a lot of rubbish too and don't offer the lowest prices on the German market.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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The Dutch stuff as well as others you can find here, Räer in Hildesheim, an old trusty German surplus shop. Established 1920. (!)
But they sell that low quality MFH, Miltec, Brandit and similar cheap stuff too.

Here is an original French in between and Scandinavian rucksacks too, a Berghaus Crusader etc. All used.

A means new, often rubbish
A/B like new originals
B used originals

(B/C and C is in too bad conditions to be recommended.)

 
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Fallschirmwomble

Tenderfoot
May 11, 2009
56
8
Tennis Town
Just my penny'worth, I hope I'm not too late...

The KEY things here, I think, are your height and that you are starting out and so trialling a suitable backpack.

As a disclaimer, I'll say that I'm not very knowledgeable of civvie and foreign military rucksacks although I collect Bergans rucksacks and use a Lowe Alpine "Liberty APS 70+20" rucksack for hiking. It has an adjustable back system so that's perhaps something to look into. I'd never use it for bushcraft, though.

I'd recommend a PLCE rucksack infantry (LONG back only) for 3 reasons:
  1. They are relatively inexpensive,;
  2. They're tough and reliable;
  3. If you get one used, it'll hold it's price. So, if you don't like it, it should be easy enough to resell on eBay/Gumtree and get your outlay back. The original green ones perhaps look less "army" (and intimidating, to some people) than the later DPM and MTP ones.
Beware of some of the DPM ones: sometimes, the padding in them become quite hard. I think that happens with some of the ones made after ~2003 if they're stored in a place like a shed or garage. (A theory, I don't know for sure.)

I use one for shopping (I cycle) and have had it since 1990. No issues at all. For me, I often need greater capacity than its 100 litres - but I'm unusual in that way! I usually have the compression straps on the sides compressed to keep the load flatter against the back, higher, more comfortable and less tiring. You can use the compression straps for strapping down items like jackets, camera tripods, some kipmats, etc.

I never use the side pouches with it though I might use them separately (in daysack mode). If I had kids out with me, I'd give them the side pouches to carry. If they tire, I could always attach the side pouches to my backpack.

The PLCE Rucksack Infantry is based on the smaller Berghaus Crusader/Roc/Vulcan rucksacks. These are definitely more comfortable - but make sure you get the correct size. At 6'6", you'll need a size 4 which is sized for a user's back of 48-54cm. I think some of the more modern ones take PLCE compatible side pouches. This one MIGHT be a size 4:


(I think actual Falklands War era ones are canvas, not nylon, but I can be 100% certain.)

The medium ALICE pack is a very decent backpack but WITH a frame, they're expensive and possibly over cumbersome. Without a frame, it'll likely kill your back because the base of it will be at the centre of your back. I'm 5'9" and I used to get backache from it. It has no hip belt (and on most people, a hip belt probably wouldn't reach the hips!) I can't speak of the frame from experience because I've never used one but they are well padded and often have a waist/hip belt.


The above ALICE pack looks like a genuine USGI one. They're much copied and the copies are of various qualities - some better avoided. What I like about them are the three external large pouches and the ability to fit axes and the British Golok (a type of machete), as well as attach ALICE pouches, British '44 hanger items and even PALS compatible pouches like Osprey and MOLLE.

The other ALICE pack size is large and this is a very decent size - but it WILL need to be carried on a frame. They're not cheap when they appear.


There are three narrow pouches at the top of the front - ideal for cans of beer! Or white phosphorous or smoke grenades, if you prefer to carry those... ;)

Failing all that, you could experiment with a "Hudson Bay Pack"... ;)

(I STILL haven't gotten around with tinkering with one of those...)
 

lostplanet

Full Member
Aug 18, 2005
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Did you buy something? i started with a shortback bergan, have and had, vulcan II, LA sting, Predator 80-130, Sabre 30, Sabre 45, a Jaguar 65, 2 long back PLCE, MTP long back, lowe Alpine 45L dpm pack of some description, genuine big Alice with frame, binned a couple of highlander bags, DPM NI gen baby bergan.

My go to currently is DPM Long back PLCE.
 
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Scottieoutdoors

Tenderfoot
Oct 22, 2020
78
34
Devon
Thanks for the info guys! I've not bought anything yet, the whole lockdown MK2 thing has kept me somewhat busy so, I'm taking my time... Plus I'm about as decisive as a pheasant crossing the road...

I've currently hooked on the Dutch alpine stingray given it works with the PLCE system, adjustable back doofers and it's not quite as big a tank.

I did get a new sleeping bag though...it's back in the box ready to send back as I couldn't fit in it ..
 

lostplanet

Full Member
Aug 18, 2005
1,857
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when you are ready, Dodge the sting and try a Bergan, you will get your money back if you don't like it, offer him £40 and you may need a pair of these https://www.trekkinn.com/outdoor-mo...bRSW2X1vGw9uWNrV15xoC1tQQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds because it looks like its got horrible quick drop buckles on it (you might like them) but it hasnt been squaddiefied, looks pretty standard and decent nick. pouches look grade 1.

One of many mind, theres sooo much MOD kit out at the minute..........

Oh and no connection to seller, was a quick search and that came up. might buy it myself cause im a pervert.
 
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Philster

Settler
Jun 8, 2014
675
38
Poole, Dorset
I do like the Stingray but you will find it's capacity slightly lacking after a PLCE pack - yes it's more comfortable but once your sleeping bag goes in you aren't left with a lot of space, at least that's what I found. And all the surplus ones are getting on in years with fading camo and delaminating linings. I think they are a bit overpriced, especially when £35-40 gets you a nice condition long back PLCE back.
One of the things I've learned over the years is this - if you have a lot of stuff to carry you need to be fit enough to carry it. Lots of folks think a clever backpack is the way - sometimes you just have to put some time in exercising :) DAMHIKT!!
 

lostplanet

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Aug 18, 2005
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I do like the Stingray but you will find it's capacity slightly lacking after a PLCE pack - yes it's more comfortable but once your sleeping bag goes in you aren't left with a lot of space, at least that's what I found. And all the surplus ones are getting on in years with fading camo and delaminating linings. I think they are a bit overpriced, especially when £35-40 gets you a nice condition long back PLCE back.
One of the things I've learned over the years is this - if you have a lot of stuff to carry you need to be fit enough to carry it. Lots of folks think a clever backpack is the way - sometimes you just have to put some time in exercising :) DAMHIKT!!
Cant agree more with being fit enough to carry the load. doesn't take much and makes the journey a pleasure more than a sore chore.
 

lostplanet

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Although im going more and more away from relying on weight on my hips, Something I will be getting, just to test more than anything really, is this hip pad. A couple of mods I tried didnt work and ended up with rash burn around my waist. However this does look good and reasonably priced.

 

Scottieoutdoors

Tenderfoot
Oct 22, 2020
78
34
Devon
Hmm I'll have to try and find some pictures of one with a relatively small load.

Most of the pictures I've seen of someone wearing one, it makes them look like a blooming camel!

But then maybe they're little.

As for fitness, I'm doing what I can to improve that generally, I try to go for a jog a few times a week mixed in with doggo walking anyway, so I'm hoping lugging a bag around isn't too much of an issue... Most of my size issues don't tend to stem from a waistline, I'm just not particularly "travel size" that's all...tbh, I've no idea how I couldn't fit in a sleeping bag!!! Must have been designed for Warwick Davis or something!
 

cipherdias

Full Member
Jan 1, 2014
460
196
Wales
After much deliberation when needing a larger backpack I went the route of a long back MTP PLCE Bergen and also bought the rocket pouches with yoke so have the ability to leave the bergen in my shelter and have a very handy 50 litre daysack for going on day hikes.

Tough as old boots (will probably outlast me!), comfortable to carry even when fully loaded and did not cost a fortune (less than £80 for everything)
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,643
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Do the long back PLCE Bergen have parts of fabric that delaminate if they are old?

The 34 litres German army Cordura rucksacks made by HEIM do not delaminate until now, and a lot of them are 35 or 40 years old, they are 100% Cordura Nylon.

But the younger Flecktarn 65 litres german army rucksacks have snow skirts and an inner compartement devider made of a thinner coated nylon an these parts start to delaminate.

Are the British army Bergens made of 100% Cordura (1000 den) and have no delaminating parts, or is that a problem here too?

Do they become sticky inside?
The first German green 65 litres Cordura rucksacks became sticky sometimes.
 
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cipherdias

Full Member
Jan 1, 2014
460
196
Wales
Do the long back PLCE Bergen have parts of fabric that delaminate if they are old?

The 34 litres German army Cordura rucksacks made by HEIM do not delaminate until now, and a lot of them are 35 or 40 years old, they are 100% Cordura Nylon.

But the younger Flecktarn 65 litres german army rucksacks have snow skirts and an inner compartement devider made of a thinner coated nylon an these parts start to delaminate.

Are the British army Bergens made of 100% Cordura (1000 den) and have no delaminating parts, or is that a problem here too?

Do they become sticky inside?
The first German green 65 litres Cordura rucksacks became sticky sometimes.

I really couldn’t say too be honest with you as this was bought in super grade condition/unissued but time will tell.


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lostplanet

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Aug 18, 2005
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I wont go into too much about fitness and how to improve it. I had a period of inactivity for a couple of years and it was actually a mate that got me back out. Dog walking initially which lead onto carrying varying loads.
I dont profess to be a physical training instructor, actually far from it, but I have got myself in pretty good shape for carrying loads equvalent to a winter wild camp comfortably.

The key thing I have found is choosing an exercise that you enjoy doing. you can put too much pressure on yourself with programs and targets and it can be a drag. I found doing what I fancy doing, when I fancy doing it has lead to slowly improving fitness level and maintaining it in strength and cardio fitness.

To boil it down, what has worked for me (disclaimer: but may not work for you) is getting a rough idea of the weight you intend to carry or your basic neccessary kit (usuallly winter as it will be heavier than summer). Start small and build up slowly. I try to have at least 24 hours rest in between exercise and go 3 or more times a week. even if its just a wander up the road and a brew with nothing much.

Cardio options are jogging with interval speed increases keeps me topped up(im not built for speed as i weigh 108KG) although I do try running at 6 miles an hour when i feel like it. For building load carrying muscle, I use Long and light and heavy and short. in ths case my routes are normally 4 miles with 15Kg and up to 20KG, but this increases and 5-8 miles 10 kg depending how I feel. I mix it up as well and also add steep hills on the routes. Where I exercise is pretty flat but there is no substitute for "walking up hill fitness" than walking up hills.

Im 50 years old now so have to watch my heartrate (although dont monitor it) as I take medication for blood prerssure control, its simply listening to your body and reduce the activity when needed but try to keep moving. I also do some weight training which i enjoy and punch bag cardio mainly for warming up.

Ive rolled an ankle through making a bad decision which has put a halt on my usual enjoyment but slowly getting back to it. Regular Steady Consistency should get you where you want to be. I have found keeping a record of activity on a calendar that i can see helps with motivation on those off days. Half the battle is getting your gear on and getting out the door. but do that a few times and youll find yourself not really thinking about it and leading to not going.

Safe routes, Strong back, strong legs, find comfortable options ie: footwear, rucksack, clothing, for building stamina. Take your time, Eat well, Hydrate and most of all enjoy.
 
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Scottieoutdoors

Tenderfoot
Oct 22, 2020
78
34
Devon
Thanks for the info @lostplanet, during lockdown MK1 I actually went up to 108kg, from a usual 102kg ish. Bit off topic I guess, but I decided to start jogging more - I actually began "couch to 5k" once I found I had a general level of fitness back, I eased off the app. I was aiming to take up rugby again - I've been out for quite a few years and I suppose as the games goes, even in my early 30's I'm enterting the twilight years (kind of...) but seems the covid debacle has scuppered that.

I actually run (hah! Run!) jog, with a rucksack, containing a couple bottles of water for me, wife, dog, jumper each, nothing heavy, but any little helps I guess. I think whenever I do go out with a pack (when I bite the bullet and commit!) it will probably still be a relative shock to the system, or the next day probably will (based on previous experiences!)
 

DocG

Full Member
Dec 20, 2013
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+1 for Berghaus Alp. Had mine since 80s and it's still ok - some repairs and changes over the decades but used it to shepherd DofE group c6 weeks ago with no problems.
 

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