Always love finding these bags and wanted to post a couple of examples. Most common colors are brown and duck (tan), but I’ve also seen blue in later models. The heart-shaped handles are unmistakable and a hallmark of LL Bean bags. They’re used on the all-leather tote, wood carriers and even certain canvas (boat and tote) models. Contrary to popular belief, or despite what listings say, the bottom is not leather. Instead, at least in the versions I’ve found, synthetic like vinyl. I am not saying there aren’t leather bottom versions out there, but at least in the case of these ( and the one is a rather old, script logo label), they are synthetic bottoms.
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.
This bag is constructed of heavy duty green and white military canvas with leather and metal fittings. Thick leather straps are adjustable by buckle at the bottom for length; and at the top for slack from back plate. Both straps are anchored at the top by a large D ring. The left strap is hinged by a metal pin half way down, while the right is breakable by way of a hook and ring. Not sure what this was for, possibly ease of exit from a loaded pack, or to allow for strap accessories.
Two rods running the length of the back panel give the bag rigidness. An inch wide metal bow at the bottom of the bag is spanned by a cotton strap to offer padding and breathability at the waist. Top closure is completed by a cotton draw string through aluminum grommets and a canvas flap secured by leather straps. There is also an internal gator with cotton tie cord to further secure contents from the elements. One external pocket on the front of the pack is also secured by leather straps and metal buckles.
This pack is sold with two original lashing straps to secure goods to the top flap via metal loops.
Soldiers returning from WWII who took up mountaineering as a hobby and sport used packs just like this early on. These designs were later taken and adapted by outdoor companies for use specifically as outdoor products. The designs of many early packs from companies like Gerry, Class 5, The North Face and Kelty can be seen in this pack. It is a great piece of military history and outdoor history.