Friday, September 2, 2016

Swedish military backpacks - Ryggsäck ST and LK35 - pt.1

Enough with the homestead, everyday life posts. Time for a good old fashioned gear-post again!! Starring some of my alltime favorites; military surplus framed backpacks!! Yes, sir!

Through my job I came into contact with a pair (well, actually 2x5) of rucksacks I hadn't seen before; the socalled ruyggsäck St and ST lätt. Thanks to the immeasurable wisdom of the www I learned that the ST, standing for större, meaning larger, and ST lätt, meaning a lighter version of that. Now if my information is correct the ST is the follow up of the (in)famous M/39 and the predecessor of the equally (in)famous LK70. The ST lätt would be the equivalent of the LK35.
Why they would call the ST lätt that way is a mystery to me, since it does in no way resemble the original ST. I also found info suggesting this pack was intended for the flygvapnet or airforce.
The third one actually is a LK35, recently purchased by me as part of a package deal.
I'll do a multi-part review/presentation of the packs, starting with the original ST, then the ST lätt and finally the LK35. Too bad I do not have a LK70 to complete the list.....

ST, ST lätt and LK35

The ST
Technical data:
height: 50cm
width: 43cm
depth: 30cm
weight: 2,9 kgs
material:Canvas pack. All leather straps and belts. Leather top. Rubber(ised) inner top and bottom. Tubular steel frame.

According to the information I found, the ST is actually quite large, up to 70liters. To me that amount is enough to use it on a multiday trip or hike. 
The pack I am looking at is made of canvas and has all leather straps. It is marked with the 3 crowns and the year 1965. On the leather belt "Haglöfs Torsångs" is embossed, meaning it was made by that company, when it was still nearby, some 25km away.

The backpack itself is made up of 1 large compartment, 2 smaller side compartments on the outside and a small compartment in the covering flap's inside. It has a tubular steel frame, similar to the M/39. On top of the closing flap you'll find 2 detachable straps, where one could fasten a sleeping mat, bedroll or similar shaped items. The flap is large enough to cover the entire pack, but only the middle section has a waterproof lining on the inside. In this lining a separate compartment is located, closeable with a metal zipper. In the field, based on my own experience with similar zippers, I suspect that this zipper might become stuck, either by sand or by ice. Not the smartest choice I think.
The inside actually is one large compartment with a extra, closeable flap around the topside to keep out dirt and debris. Now this flap is closeable by tying a string around the cloth, like a potatosack or something. Thinking -20C and you might see the issue here. The string with the metal ty-off is much handier. And faster. Why not opt for 2 of those?? Wouödn't make much difference to the weight.

As said all straps are leather; thick, sturdy yet supple leather, dyed green and riveted into place. The various straps are adjustable, but none are detachable, except for the 2 on top. A nice extra are the 2 moveable, broader shoulder pieces, which reduce strain on the axles. But no wastebelt!! 

The frame has 2 small knobs. Maybe for attaching a waist strap??
Pros: Large, roomy pack. Sturdy build, sturdy materials. Built to last. Large closing flap covering the entire upper pack. Waterproof liner in the flap keeps the pack underneath dry. Waterproof outer around the bottom for the same purpose. Easily adjustable shoulder pieces.
Cons: Weight. Metal zipper prone to get stuck. Only partial waterproof material in the top. Frame is very wide around the waste. And no waist belt.

1 comment:

  1. yikes. too technical for me! If I ever want to know about rucksacks now I know where to go!