My knapsack started life many years ago as a heavy canvas haversack that my good wife made for me. She also added a personal touch by adding an embroidered flower decoration & my initials to the bag flap. I used this haversack along with a bedroll carried with a tumpline until the day the bedroll got caught on some scrubby plant growing out of a cliff face on a goat track. The bedroll swung round moving my point of ballance & I fell. Fortunately I was a little nimbler in those days & as I felt myself going, & with nothing to grasp at, I litterally ran down the goat track as I fell. The track was steep, & I gained a good distance before having to jump. Being fortunate again I landed in soft river sand feet first, but it was a wake up call.
When I got back home I cut the haversack carry strap in half & added some leather straps to make them longer. I then fitted two buckles to the bottom of the bag to secure these two shoulder straps. I wore it this way for a while until I realised that I needed a chest strap or tie to hold the pack firm & to stop it moving off my shoulders. I used a leather tie until I did some research to make sure a strap was authentic to the period.
This being done & finding it was okay to use a chest strap I then used some strapping from an old horse bridle I had, stitching the leather straps to the canvas shoulder straps. This is the knapsack I still have & use, & I don't think I would find anything that works better for me.
It is not a large pack, and it has no side gussets. It is dwarfed by the blanket roll that I simply tie to the shoulder straps. My oil cloth I secure under the button down bag flap.
Above you can see the leather carry strap I stitched to the cut canvas carry strap. You can also see one half of the chest strap attached to the canvas strap.
Here you can see that I added leather strapping to the bag body along with the brass buckles to stop the buckles from tearing out of the bag.
Here is seen the chest strap & the two leather carry straps.
This shows the method I use to attach the blanket roll to the knapsack straps. At this time as you can see I had the oil cloth tied to the blanket roll.
Again the oil cloth tied to the blanket roll in stead of being secured under the bag flap. Both methods work fine, but I think the pack is better ballanced with the oil cloth under the bag flap.
Here you can see the other side of the knapsack with the embroidery on the flap. Note that I stitched the leather reinforcing straps right round & up high on the bag.
Here you can see better the period embroidery. This was no mean feat through such thick canvas. The inside of this bag is also lined with linen cloth.
Here you can see that I have the oil cloth secured under the bag flap closure. Two pewter buttons secure the flap. This was taken during winter. The sun made the day too warm to wear my wool half-blanket, but the nights had been well below freezing, so I simply passed the half-blanket over my head & dropped it between my back and the blanket roll. It rides well there & does not get in the way.