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Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
For all those out there with canvas packs I have a query on waxing a canvas rucksack. I came across a secondhand Reefknot Bushcrafter pack for a good price so indulged. I love the aesthetics of a natural fibre pack but couldn’t get totally comfortable with my last foray with a Swiss army pack.

This has seen some use, not a lot but at some stage it will need waxing. My concerns are the back of the pack that will rest against my back to some extent or the other. Is it inevitable that I will get wax transfer onto my clothing from the pack when carrying it?


White bear (Admin)
Apr 16, 2003
Yeah, that's a good point, might be better doing the back with a synthetic waterproofer and the rest waxed, although I suspect there's a way of getting the wax on and impregnated into the fibres so it don't come off as readily ..
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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
In my experience it's the best to decide which stile you want to choose and to stick with it for the complete equipment.

Old school or plastic fibres?
That is the question!

You can get a very nice old school equipment, all leather, fur, linen, cotton, wool, wood, antler, metal, fat, grease, wax, cotton tent impregnation, and it will last you a lifetime if treated well.

Or you choose a polyamide/ nylon based modern outdoor sport or military equipment, that surely will last you a lifetime as well.

But if you mix the stuff together and maintain it correctly you always will get the fat and wax as ugly spots onto your plastic equipment and especially the Cordura Nylon fabrics will rub through your natural fibre equipment pretty soon, approximately like a rasp goes through wood, and even the coating of a lightweight rain jacket will destroy your woolen jumper within a few hours of use.

There are some ways to avoid this or that but in the end it doesn't convince at all.

You can let your horses pull your Landrover Defender, but it surely will be less convincing than a fuel driven car or a properly used horse - drawn carriage.

And with outdoor / military equipment it's the same.

First I used exclusively old school equipment for many years, later I got a modern equipment, because I was afraid that my museum stuff could get stolen at camping grounds or in youth hostels on longer journeys if I let it alone, and both served me very well.

But when I tried to mix such stuff, to get the best of both worlds, I discovered pretty soon that the well working options are very limited. One also can say that it simply doesn't work.

If you just do a few steps with the dog around the house you don't realise it. But already after 100 or 300 kilometers of use you see, that it doesn't work at all.

Fortunately I tried that with stuff from the thrift shop and not with my WW2 equipment. Would I have mixed my museum stuff and my current NATO stuff together, I surely would have lost most of my historic equipment within a couple of weeks.
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Apr 19, 2018
I waxed a couple of bags with beeswax (and a bit of paraffin wax) recently. the beeswax doesn't come off easily .. but smells a little of honey. Actually, paraffin wax doesn't come off that easily either, in any case. Its not the same as Barbour dressing. Drier. (More dry?)


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
Can anyone explain me why the rucksack should be waxed?

As far as I am informed no army waxed the rucksacks, isn't it?
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