A few weeks ago I had the unfortunate displeasure of having my car broken into. The thief stole a couple of knives, a fire kit, and my Helikon Tex Bushcraft Satchel... just before my recent trip to Alberta Canada to visit Banff National Park.
Dan Edwards from Raging River Trading was kind enough to send me one of his Bushcraft Haversack to use on my trip and to evaluate and review for the community if I wanted to. I'm not being paid to review this, nor were there any conditions or requirements. Dan just wanted my honest opinion and critique to see if there were any areas to improve on his design.
A lot of companies say their products are "military grade", I've never been in the military so I can't verify whether this haversack truly is "military grade" but I do know it's built with 1000D nylon Cordura, heavy duty components, made in America, made by Dan Edwards who served in the US Coast Guard where he made his own gear for himself and his squad to use. In my assessment, it's as tough and as durable as anything from Maxpedition, Vanquest, 5.11, etc...
Some people really love haversacks and some don't care for them. I personally love haversacks. When you need quick access to your gear, haversacks are hard to beat. I usually toss in camera equipment and will pull it out as needed. This haversack has molle webbing all over- the front, sides, bottom and even on the shoulder strap- ideal for a cellphone holster or GPS.
The Raging River Bushcraft Haversack was probably inspired by old military shoulder bags like this Polish military "bread bag" or some other similar type bag.
photo credit- http://oblio13.blogspot.com/2012/12/gear-that-works-military-bread-bags.html
-Dimensions: 12" x 12" x 3"
-Materials: The RR haversack is made out of heavy duty 1000d nylon Cordura- water resistant, rot proof, and extremely durable.
-Hatchet Loop: The RR haversack's hatchet loop is in the front, which I prefer over having it in the back and against my hip. I had no problems inserting my Eastwing No. 1 Hatchet, Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel, and CRKT Chogan... but my Fiskar's hatchet didn't fit, due to it's over exaggerated swell at the bottom of the handle. I believe most wood handled hatchets will work fine.
-Molle Webbing: The RR haversack has 2 panels of webbing in the front both 3 rows and 3 columns. The sides both have 4 rows and 2 columns. It also has webbing on the bottom to accommodate bedroll straps and even webbing on the shoulder strap for your smart phone or GPS.
-Side Sleeves: I really like the side sleeves on the RR haversack. Perfect for a folding saw and a Mora.
-Shoulder Strap: The shoulder straps are 2" wide, adjustable, and has a detachable buckle to help you take it off after a long hike. There's an included thick shoulder pad. There's a velcro keeper to bundle up extra shoulder strap length, to keep things nice and neat.
-Pockets: The RR haversack has 2 internal zippered pockets, one 12" x 12" and the other 12" x 10". I would put maps, paperwork, and valuables in them.
-Extra Pouches: The RR haversack comes with two included pouches at no extra charge- a 5" x 7" mesh pouch and a tinder pouch.
-Craftsmanship: Excellent stitching. I have a little pet peeve when it comes to stitching. I like it straight without loose ends and Raging River does an excellent job. I'm the guy who pulls out the lighter and burns up all the loose threads. Do you do that too or is it just me?
I would recommend this haversack if you're looking for something bombproof and something really versatile, due to all the molle webbing. It has added extras like the shoulder pad, extra pouches, and lifetime warranty. I also like that fact that the 1000d nylon cordura is stiff and doesn't wrinkle, it'll stand where you place it. Raging River will do custom colorways and options. There's a model with a water bottle holder.
Critiques: I would like a drag handle on the bag so it'll be easier to grab and go, to and from the car. I'd like to see the hatchet loop enlarged enough accommodate the Fiskars x7 hatchet, since it's very common. I personally like the heavy duty fabric, but some might think it's extra weight. I like Raging Rivers Patch, but would also like to see a vecro patch for additional patches.