Old Codgers and Old Bergans...

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Miyagi

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 6, 2008
2,298
4
South Queensferry
I love old framed bergans but as I near 50 I have to admit - they're heavy, too heavy, even when empty.

As a 9 stone 18 year old, two weeks wages was a small price to pay back in the 80's for a Cyclops Vulcan. The ability to carry a house on your back as you cut about on exercise was a huge improvement on the issued 58 large pack. And I was fit enough to cope.

After a tangle with Lymes a few years back, which has left me needing a walking stick, I started cutting back on what I took with me. The problem with large 120 litre packs like the Vulcan and PLCE is you tend to fill them with stuff you might need but never really use.

I've got my basic kit down to a T, and really, really cut back on what I take. I used to take so much kit that women's handbags used to genuflect in awe as I passed them.

I solved the bouncing bomb effect of a sleeping bag by using it to line my bergan - saving loads of space. No more bopping the back of your legs or head. Sometimes I take a wool blanket, "coating" the inside of the bergan with it, basically creating a tube that can be filled up.

I sold on my LK70, I liked it but the pockets were too narrow for me and the top of the frame snagged every branch at shoulder height. At least it didn't have mesh side pockets - handy but designed to snag brambles etc. I think it might be time to sell on my PLCE and Vulcan... :(

I must admit i was eyeing up a golf trolley in the charity shop the other day. I mentioned this to my daughter and she said it's only a step away from getting a tartan shopper trolley. With that in mind, sometime this week I'll send No.1 son up the loft to dig out the NI pack, Highlander 44 and my old comfy (though framed) telemark bag and I'll compare them all for content/capacity, weight and comfyness.

I love a day or two's bimble in the woods but it's time to admit I'm no sherpa. :D


Liam
 
Jul 30, 2012
3,571
224
westmidlands
Thanks for an informativerr post. The trick of packing your sleeping bag a-la shock absorber is an interesting one, ive never heard of that before, do you (or anyone else) have any other packing tips?
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,483
14
Europe
Ah, but you have the ultimate in lightweight backpacks. The one No1 son is carrying... With a big 120L pack like the PLCE or the Vulcan, you can load it up with all your gear, all your son's gear, some beer to bribe him with, and maybe even the odd luxury. Then you get him to carry it. Total weight you need to carry: the stick to provide encouragement with... The ultimate in lightweight hiking...

J
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
14
Scotland
Great post Liam, good info and funny too. I have an image of you trundling through the woods with a tartan shopping trolley now. :D

My big exped sack is up in the loft these days after my tangle with lymes too. Big 120 l T.N.F Rogue. Best pack I ever owned. Hip belt was so good you could totaly undo the shoulder straps and it'd stay put.
Liked as much of my gear to do more than one job as that way they were worth their weight. Used a similar trick to you with the sleeping bag. Packing a sack right to get it ballanced makes a huge difference. That and not filling it with too much pap, "Just in case".


Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,867
1,082
65
Florida
Forget the trolley. Keep it in the spirit of bushcrafting and get a pack animal. Or as Quixoticgeek said, bearers. LOL
 

bobskie

Member
Nov 2, 2015
23
0
Scotland
I like the old bergans too someone I know just got one from a charity shop, bright orange and looks nice and retro! Probably not the best for blending into the woodland though! I'm keeping an eye out for one myself for when I'm camping and only need to walk short distances. I like the idea of putting things inside your sleeping bag too I may try it with my Czech army bed roll because it takes up a lot of space in its folded pack.
 

bobskie

Member
Nov 2, 2015
23
0
Scotland
I actually know someone else who uses a wheeled suitcase for their gear but they replaced the standard wheels with wheels from a victa lawnmower, goes over most terrains with ease and a fairly practical solution for them!
 

MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,659
155
Northumberland
I try to carry light kit But and old Frame Bergan just because they are bomb proof - currently using my Alice Pack (large)
 

Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
I try to carry light kit But and old Frame Bergan just because they are bomb proof - currently using my Alice Pack (large)

I've not had a chance to use mine yet, & I've been looking at this thread & I am now thinking that I am ill equipped with this medium Alice Pack for the amount of kit I have or would like to carry so now trying to slim down my kit to fit my wee pack... seems I still have a lot of thinking to do...

US Woodland Camouflage A.L.I.C.E. Packhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/53502716@N06/
 

Miyagi

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 6, 2008
2,298
4
South Queensferry
Ah, but you have the ultimate in lightweight backpacks. The one No1 son is carrying... With a big 120L pack like the PLCE or the Vulcan, you can load it up with all your gear, all your son's gear, some beer to bribe him with, and maybe even the odd luxury. Then you get him to carry it. Total weight you need to carry: the stick to provide encouragement with... The ultimate in lightweight hiking...

J

I'm afraid he's wised up to that one these days :-D

Great post Liam, good info and funny too. I have an image of you trundling through the woods with a tartan shopping trolley now. :D

My big exped sack is up in the loft these days after my tangle with lymes too. Big 120 l T.N.F Rogue. Best pack I ever owned. Hip belt was so good you could totaly undo the shoulder straps and it'd stay put.
Liked as much of my gear to do more than one job as that way they were worth their weight. Used a similar trick to you with the sleeping bag. Packing a sack right to get it ballanced makes a huge difference. That and not filling it with too much pap, "Just in case".


Sent via smoke-signal from a woodland in Scotland.

Yep, that's the prob with big bergans, you tend to take too much just because you have the room, must be disciplined.


Liam when you mentioned being 18 in the 80's i assume you mean the 1880's?
Great to see your still getting out though.

Shhhh... I have a portrait painting in the loft buddy...

I like the old bergans too someone I know just got one from a charity shop, bright orange and looks nice and retro! Probably not the best for blending into the woodland though! I'm keeping an eye out for one myself for when I'm camping and only need to walk short distances. I like the idea of putting things inside your sleeping bag too I may try it with my Czech army bed roll because it takes up a lot of space in its folded pack.

That reminds me; I have a yellow and an orange Cobmaster up in the loft - love the retro look but the compartments are a bit small. Interestingly, if I wore khaki/dull coloured clothes I looked like I was stealth camping/sneaking about etc and attracted unwanted curiosity. if I go for a bimble in hi viz red or orange I look like a hiker GOING somewhere, en route to but not looking to bivvy up for the night, I got less hassle. Hide in plain sight etc I suppose.

I'd even considered doing what my Japanese friends do; getting a frame and adding a plastic box to it instead of a material bergan, but suspect that would make it heavier. On the plus side, here in the UK we don't need to add bells to our belt/bergan to pre warn bears that we are on the way.

When I realised I was falling apart I seriously considered something like this

http://monowalker.com/shop/index.php/en/

or a Hipster personal trailer or such but then it occurred I have 3 sons who already treat me like I'm on my last legs so I can ham it up and get them to carry the silly stuff.

ATB

Tom


Tom, dy'know that actually looks tempting :-D


I try to carry light kit But and old Frame Bergan just because they are bomb proof - currently using my Alice Pack (large)

I got my hands on a large framed alice pack (with the rare shelf) in olive drab but found it balanced oddly. I sold it to a pal who'd been after one for about 20 odd years.


Thanks for all the replies.
 

MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,659
155
Northumberland
I've not had a chance to use mine yet, & I've been looking at this thread & I am now thinking that I am ill equipped with this medium Alice Pack for the amount of kit I have or would like to carry so now trying to slim down my kit to fit my wee pack... seems I still have a lot of thinking to do...

US Woodland Camouflage A.L.I.C.E. Pack


Not at all this is a good start, as good a start as any as well. Its a good day weekend bergan and more importantly it will Teach you to carry only what you need and not be tempted to fill it with needless kit that you think you will need but wont use.

Thats the trick to packing do you really need it and can something else you carry not do it instead. Think items of muti use.
 

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