One of the more rare packs I’ve found hailing from just up the road, Fort Collins, Co. This early 90s DeFrance pack is technical for its time, but based on sound pack design. The plastic wing hip flairs remind me of an early Gerry model with a removable rigid foil (I think there’s a post buried somewhere in the archive).
Great use of vibrant colors indicative of the early 1990s. Yellow compression straps almost encompass the main body
for a secure gear fit. I can imagine the popularity with those looking for lightweight loads and secure, fast paced travel up trails and extreme terrains, perhaps even climbing or skiing. The top becomes a waist pack for satellite journeys. The top detaches to become its own oversized waist pack. I’m unsure if this pack may have had a removable rigid spine, as found there was none.
Second to last pic is from the April 91 Backpacker Buyer’s Guide issue detailing DeFrance offerings. I believe this is the Trixter model.
The last pic is from a waist pack I found of the same name, but hailing from Sedona, Az. The Sedona examples I’ve come across utilize more muted fabric colors and appear to be overall less technical. Not sure the relationship, but I believe it to be a pre or prior iteration by the same maker.
You are looking at a nice Alpenlite internal frame pack. Alpinlite, I believe originated in Claremont, California and plenty examples of earlier goods can be found bearing that city name under their mountainous logo. Based on this design and the city of Ventura, I would guess it’s a later label circa late 70s or 80s. Similar to some JanSport packs this Alpenlite maintains a day pack type look and feel, in a larger reinforced package.
This pack has an interesting ‘X’ braced frame structure and suspended strap rigging. Pack construction consists of one large main compartment, two side canister type pockets, one front pocket on the flap of the main compartment, and a small top pocket above the shoulder straps. I added the red lashings I had lying around and they will come with it. My guess is the original would have been yellow like that of the loop. It’s a little hard to tell in the photos but the bottom is khaki, loop is yellow which make for a nice color combo. Leather lashings top and bottom with the metal D rings on the front. padded waist strap as well.
Neat little late 70s early 80s Gerry day pack. Single main top zip compartment with leather pull-stays. Front zip bellowed compartment. Single contrasting blue seat belt webbing shoulder strap with gold nylon lower strap. Perfect for packing in your overnight bag for a day trip.
11″ wide at bottom
7.5″ wide at top
Early to mid 70s Gerry leather bottom backpack. Two compartments, stacked in the so-called “tear drop” fashion. Sturdy strap construction with thick padded shoulder straps and large D ring /leather top attachment. This model could be considered transitional from the earlier era of felt padded and leather straps. Front lashing with original nylon strap for holding poles or axes. Waist strap features the innovative Gerry two-pronged buckle.
I will preface by saying this pack contains no makers markings, tags or labels. It is believed to be from early outdoor gear manufacturer Gerry based on certain characteristics.
It wasn’t until the end of the second World War, when GIs returning from the European campaign settled rejoined the fabric of american life that outdoor exploration as a true hobby and leisure exercise really begin to gain a foothold in the United States. campaigns in the Alps and Pyrenees along with exposure to cultures that had survived and thrived in these areas provided some soldiers with a taste for the alpine life when their tour was over. Purpose built military gear provided the basis for these new adventure’s kit. Modifications for civilian use at some point became drastic enough that an entirely new piece of equipment was created and their creators found business in doing so.
In this pack you can see the lineage of its predecessors. Even with in this blog you can find examples of Swiss and other military packs of which this bag shares many characteristics. Heavy canvas has been replaced by lighter nylon blended material and excess hardware associated with military use has been eliminated. The items that work remain; leather shoulder straps affixed with nuts and screws, main compartment with external pockets for stowing items that need be readily available. And OD Green, hey, it works and why would anyone want to stray from earth tones any way?
This pack’s tear drop shape, side compartments and top flap are consistent with another pack designed by the Gerry company in the early 60s featured on this blog here. In particular the way the top flap is secured by cords through nylon lashings and knotted. Gerry’s Gerry Cunningham was one of the earliest designer and manufacturer of commercial mountaineering and outdoor goods starting the company in 1946 after leaving the military. Since that time the company has gone through many changes and owners. Its most current incarnation can be seen at www.gerryoutdoors.com.
Unique small rucksack by Truckin’ Rucksack Co of Seattle Washington USA. Wish I had more details on the company and the origin of this bag, but I don’t and have not found anything out there. I’ve seen similar packs from unknown companies made in Japan but they always seem to be of a little inferior quality to this bag. This ruck sack is very small, almost child size, but such as the label depiction suggests, my guess is that it’s just intended to be used as a small day pack on backpacking trips.
The nylon bag is coated on the inside with a poly urethane or similar rubberized substance for waterproofing. The main compartment of the bag is made from a single piece of material with two wedges inserted on the side. One decent sized zip closed canister pocket lives on the outside. Top draw string and flap closure. 7/8 inch wide nylon straps are gusseted with a piece of brown vinyl.
The label is screened on a cotton blend patch. This one bears the previous owners info.
Original Kelty Soft Pack day pack in rust orange. This top-loading pack features one main compartment closeable via a nylon cord through metal grommets with a large Progresco cord lock. The top flap features a second, rather large rectangular compartment that zips half the way around using C&C zippers. Top flap secures to the main compartment via two 1″ plastic clips. 6 leather lashing squares down the front and larger lashing panels per side add character and functionality.
Back panel measures:
10″ across at bottom
9″ across at top
Early external frame pack boards were made from wood or solid metal, then came the aluminum. The innovators at Alpine Designs saw a new progression in this pack made of a PVC plastic frame. It’s definitely one of the most unique external frame packs I’ve encountered, and probably for good reason. The use of plastics instead of aluminum seems to save no weight at all (if not adding some). It’s also hard to imagine this plastic could withstand the stresses, shock and temperatures of an aluminum frame. Still this pack has survived rather well with no cracks and all plastic hardware intact.
Regardless of materials, this pack is very well constructed with plenty of details that make it Alpine Designs. Leather zip assist tabs, integrated pack handle on the frame, and innovative lace loops to secure the top hatch to name a few. This pack also features very thinly padded shoulder and waist straps. It has no lashing squares but does have two pair of D rings on the underside.
Pack make-up includes:
1 top entry main compartment
1 front entry second main compartment
2 top entry side canister pockets
2 front entry secondary side canister pockets
1 small front entry compartment on the outside of the secondary main compartment.
Peak 1 was Coleman’s foray into the light-weight backpacking world and though Peak 1 may never have got the respect in this area as some of the other smaller brands of the era they still made goods with the quality Coleman was founded on. This day pack is an excellent example in my opinion. It is small, simple and unique.
The pack is very small at only 13.5 inches tall and 12 inches wide at the bottom, but it has plenty of strap to fit over the shoulders of the most grown man. It’s a great size for putting in your over night pack for day trips on a multi-day trip. Wider at the top than it is at the bottom but it’s evened out when the front pocket is stuffed.
The padded straps might be the only unnecessary bulk, but they’d make for a comfortable hike. Slightly A frame in structure but not as much as other packs. The zippered top opening gives you the access of a ruck sack with a clean, secure closure. The zipper extends as far as it possibly can opening the top up like a tin can.
The pack is in good condition. There are no holes or major stains. The inside is clean and the protective coating is not deteriorating. The Label has been scribed with the owner’s last name as well as the inside of the top flap
This pack is currently available, contact for details
Not quite sure about the origins of this pack, the colors would suggest to me German military, but the only distinguishable marking printed on the inside of the top flap reads “Decize” which is a town in France. The pack is made of heavy-weight Grey canvas with black leather trimmings and fittings.
The pack itself is very wide at 19 inches across the back, expandable by a few more inches via lace up expansions on the back sides. Two large cargo pockets on the sides and one front pocket all close via leather buckles. A draw string closes the top underneath a double buckle top flap. Finally another long leather belt runs from the top and buckles to the solid leather bottom.
Shoulder straps secure a metal external frame. The straps are adjustable by multiple buckles which create tension on a lower cross strap at the hips which keeps the frame from resting directly on the back. About a half inch of felted wool makes up the shoulder strap padding. One of the straps is breakable, a technique common to military packs allowing troops to slip out of them while in the prone position.