Friday, September 2, 2016

Swedish military backpacks - Ryggsäck ST and LK35 - pt.2

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 lätt
Technical data:
Height: 55cm
Width: 42cm
Depth: 25cm
Weight: 2,75 kgs
Material: Canvas with webbing straps and belts. Leather top. Thin, wirelike steel frame.

As I mentioned in part 1 I have no idea why they (assumably) called this one the ST lätt, since it in no way resembles the ST. This is a completely different pack, both in size and design!
First of all it is a lot smaller, secondly it has no external pockets, thirdly it has a completely different frame.... well, you get the picture.
As said the size is the first thing that is different. A lot smaller than the ST and is said to hold 35 liters. This would make it more of a daypack instead of a multiday pack. The pack itself is made out of canvas and all the belts and straps are made out of webbing; coarsely woven cotton, like the ww2 British material, also used a lot after that era. Right up into the late 80's in the Dutch army actually. Absolute bombproof, but maybe not the smartest choice in a cold climate. If it gets wet and then cold it handles as plywood. Not something you'd want, when out in the field. Fumbling around with the metal fittings under cold conditions is no fun either, be that with clumsy gloves or bare fingers.


The pack: 1 main compartment with a smaller one on the inside on the back. And extra compartment with zipper under the topflap and a small compartment with zipper on the inside on the back.
here too there is an extra closeable flap on the inside, which needs to draw tight and secured with a knot. Same goes for the outer edge. Not handy with wet or cold fingers, but not as clumsy as the inner edge of the ST. The ST lätt does have a nifty hook and eye-system, which makes the tying a bit easier, but when loaded with anything the second eye never reaches the hook.


Now, the outside. First there's this... frame. A strange, flimsy looking contraption, looking like it is made out of steel wire. Which it actually is, but a very sturdy wire. Remarkable stiff for such a thin frame.


All of the straps are easily adjusted, when needed and most are detachable. What I found peculiar are the bright metal caps and buckles! Quite conspicuous in the Swedish countryside, I think. Not really tactical. And this backpack comes with a waist strap.... sort of. It actually is a narrow webbing belt, fastened with the same sort of buckle as the rest. No quick release, that is. It keeps the pack from wobbling about, but that's about it.

pros: Sturdy materials and bombproof. Multiple compartments to keep your small stuff sorted. Additional straps at the bottom for holding something like a poncho, coat or shelter part. Easily adjustable belts and straps.
Cons: Highly visible metal caps and buckles. No rain/waterproof materials on top nor bottom. Metal zippers.

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