Dutch army daypack

The Dutch army daypack aka KL daypack is a small backpack but equipped with foam-padded shoulder straps like it is a full size backpack. The back has a main compartment with an internal divider and two side pockets. The weigh is about 1,15 kg and measurements are 45 x 30 x 18cm. The outside contains two attaching belts for extra equipment like a water bottle or first aid pouch. These items can be attached with alice-clips, but also the old Dutch/British webbing system hooks.  This backpack was made during the 90’s in 3 colours; Woodland (Dutch DPM), Dessert (Dutch CDU) and olive green. The olive green one was only issued to the Dutch Airforce and therefore harder to find nowadays. Big advantage of this last one is that the camouflage pattern will not fade out after years of usage. Also the colour is more neutral and suitable for urban travelling.

Rugzak KL 35L (www.armyworld.pl)
Olive green edition (Dutch Airforce) of the Dutch army daypack. Source: www.armyworld.pl

Mike from TA Outdoors shows this backpack in a video about different daypacks suitable for bush craft. At 6 min,54 sec. the olive green Dutch Airforce daypack is reviewed.

The main compartment is divided into 3 different sections. This keeps your stuff organized but on the other hand makes it impossible to carry lager items in the bag. The widest pocket is large enough to store a laptop.

Dutch army daypack 01 (www.global.rakuten.com)
Top view with the 3 internal pockets opened. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The bag is designed to be worn quite high on your back. This because soldiers usually carry a belt with equipment on their waist. Especially when fully loaded it might feel a little strange to wear a bag so high above your hips.

Dutch Airforce daypack (Global Rakruten)
The high wearing position of the Dutch army daypack. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The backside is reinforced with a foam pad in the back. Besides keeping the bag in its intended shape it also prevents stuff from poking into your back. The rubber foam pad can be removed so you can sit warm and dry when using this pad as a seat. Another ”hidden” feature is a small pocket under the cover lid that closes with velcro. This pocket can be used to store a phone, keys or other small item. The velcro closes very strong. So you don’t have to worry about losing stuff through unintended opening of the pocket.

The backpack is absolutely made of long lasting heavy duty materials. When you find them, the only signs of wear and tear is a faded camo pattern. The plastic buckles are still intact and usable as on the first day. The metal buttons for closing the side pockets still do their job and you wont find a hole in the corners of the bag. The bag comes from a time era where the Dutch army sticked to high quality (European manufactured) products only. Nowadays the army tends to go for the cheapest of the cheapest Chinese made stuff.

Rotota bag
Nice extra from this backpack is that you can attach an extra bag to the front. In this way you can carry a lot more stuff with you and the load is much better divided. Also it will draw the backpack closer towards your back. This will also result in more carrying comfort. The original purpose of this bag was to carry additional clothing like a spare pair of boots and uniform. When engaged in a firefight this bag could easily be ditched so the soldier was more mobile. The Rotota bag has a cylindrical shape and is coated with a water proof coating from the inside. The bag has the same nameplate pouch as the backpack. These bags are available in woodland camouflage (Dutch DPM) and dessert (Dutch CDU) camouflage.

ex-defensie-klu-kl-rugzak 4

Rotota compilatie (www.armyworld.pl)
The Rotota bag that can be clipped to the shoulder straps at your chest. Source: www.armyworld.pl

Available at:
www.militaria4you.com (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
www.douwesdump.nl (Dutch website)
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
www.armeeverkauf.de (German website)

The following movie from Baltic Bushcraft explains the Dutch army backpack and the usage of the Rotota bag very carefully.

Available at
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
www.dumpcompany.com (Dutch website)
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
Olive green (Airforce):
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
www.en.mmoc.rs (Serbian website)


The (British army) Rucksack Other Arms vs The Osprey Porter

The Rucksack Other Arms from the British army and the Osprey Porter are both “single” compartment backpacks where you can hide the shoulder straps. This allows you to use it as a hand carrying bag. Both the backpacks are not very high compared to their width.

If you spend most of your time carrying your luggage at your back when hiking or going to the woods and mountains, then a real backpack is most suitable. If your backpack spends most of its time in a luggage compartment of a bus, train, air-plane, mini van, taxi etc. then a single compartment bag with no extra straps or side pockets is more suitable. This setup comes close to a suitcase that you carry on your back.

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Polish army backpack

The Polish WZ89 army backpack (aka Frog or Puma camouflage) is a cheap and simple backpack. Just a big sack with two straps on it. It was in use in the Polish army from 1989 and until 1993. The typical camouflage pattern is called the Zába Pattern, which in polish for Frog. On military surplus store websites it is also called the Polish Puma camouflage pattern. In Germany this camouflage pattern is often referred as Pumatarn.

The bottom is protected with a rubber (PVC) coating. So when you place your bag in a small puddle of water or in some wet grass not all your stuff is totally soaked. For a better protection it is wise to use a big plastic bag inside the backpack itself since the fabric is very thin and not very water resistant. In military surplus stores you can also buy special water resistant laundry bags.

The top side of the pack has two drawstrings, one on the very top and one a bit lower down the body. The lower drawstring allows for loading to regular capacity, similar to a normal rucksack. The top drawstring allows you to expand (overload) the pack to the size of a big backpack. Keep in mind that there is no padding on the shoulder straps. So if you you load up on weight it’s going to cut into your shoulders and may hurt. The big top flap can be closed in two different heights; two triglides on the bottom or two triglides half way the pack.

Source: www.varusteleka.com

The rucksack is constructed of very flexible material and doesn’t have a rigid frame. This simple construction gives very little wearing comfort. However this also makes it ideal for packing and compressing your luggage down to a small package and in the same time it also allows you to expand the bag to carry a much larger load. It is also possible to fold the bag down and take it with you as an extra bag in your main luggage. Since the weight of the pack is only 0,75 Kg it is not that much extra.

Other comparable designs.
There is also an improved version of this backpack with a different camouflage pattern (WZ93 Pantera) and stronger materials. The M93 Pantera camouflage backpack. The fabric of the M93 backpack is waterproof and the name tag is stronger and equipped with a better plastic window.

The much bigger and heavier French F1 65 liter military backpack might have been the inspiration for this design. That bag is also more like a duffel bag, comes also with a rubberised bottom, and is also closable at two different heights. But that bag is made of much heavier canvas and the rubber is thicker and comes higher from the ground. This makes the weight of this pack going up to 2,15 Kg. The backside of the pack has a padded back support in a triangle form, the shoulder straps are padded and the pack has a simple belt to let the weight rest at your hips. These features makes this backpack / duffel bag quite comfortable to wear. More info in this special blog about the French army F1 backpack.

Many people regard a soft backpack without any back support or padded shoulder straps as a ridiculous idea and the worst design ever. However the famous (military) backpack company Berghaus made a similar backpack The Berghaus MMPS Grab Bag. This bag has also one main compartment without side pouches. Only the cover lid is a little more sophisticated with a pouch behind a zipper and some webbing for attaching extra gear. This bag is also meant as an extra light weight bag that you can take with you in your main luggage.


Background information:
www.tacticalgunreview.com: 3 Surplus European Backpacks You’ve Probably Never Used – But Should

WZ89 Polish army backpack frog (Puma) camouflage in military surplus store:
www.raeer.com German army shop
www.anchorsupplies.com British army surplus shop
www.armyworld.pl Polish military shop

M93 woodland camo in military surplus store:
www.militaria4you.com (Dutch genuine army shop)
www.sportsmansguide.com American outdoor shop
www.armyworld.pl Polish military shop

Tortuga Backpacks

Tortuga Backpacks are designed by two travel veterans. After a backpack journey they noticed that all backpacks and other bags and suitcases have their own advantages and their own disadvantages. They decided to develop their own backpack. Main feature is that you can open the backpack in the same way as a suitcase. This makes the backpack more suitable for travelling. Most backpacks are designed more for hiking than for travelling and open therefore from the top.

They don’t sell their products in physical shops but on-line only.


After a little research it turned out that Osprey also has a backpack what can be opened from the front instead of the top. Their backpack is called the Osprey Porter 46. The following youtube movie compares these two.