Thursday, March 3, 2011

Svenska Armén Kavalleriet Ryggsäck, Swedish Army Cavalry Backpack & Harness


I picked up a vintage Swedish Army backpack a couple of days ago to use with my vintage bicycles, specifically the Bundesgrenzschutz bicycle.  The bag was sold with the attached Y-strap harness and I was told that it was a WW2 vintage Swedish Cavalry pack.  So far I have not found any information about Swedish Cavalry equipment from that era, or any photos either.  There are no markings or dates on the bag, but it definitely looks Swedish.  So for now, we will just call it a "Vintage Military Bicycle Backpack".



When I received the pack, the leather was in DIRE need of oiling.  Several coats of oil later, and the leather has taken on that great vintage oiled leather patina and is starting to soften up nicely.  It took me awhile to figure out how to rig up the Y-straps.  There were two leather straps on each side of the pack that were buckled into loops and the ends of the shoulder straps were buckled through these loops, but that was obviously not going to work and was definitely not correct.  I ended up removing the side loop straps and installing a couple of leather studded tabs that came off of an old Swiss bread bag that had rotted out.  I used a couple of brass rings as the connectors between the Swiss tabs and the shoulder strap ends.  It worked perfectly and looks like it was meant to be set up that way.




One odd thing about this bag is the leather mystery mounts on the bottom of the bag.  It holds a length of 7/8 inch broom stick perfectly.  It has a closing strap that seals off one end.  At first I thought it was possibly for holding a bayonet, but it is definitely not going to work for that........  For now, I've just installed a piece of broom stick until I can figure out what to store there.  If anyone knows what this holder is for, please leave me a comment or drop me an email!  




The outer flap has a very cool closure system with brass u-studs that push through a slot and then are held closed with a length of leather thong that passes through all three.  I've seen this style of closure system on the later models of Swedish canvas bags, so this also fits with this being a Swedish bag.




This is a great looking bag and it will fit in nicely with my vintage military bike gear......... I may never know exactly what it's history is, but I'm glad to have it in the collection.


Here are a few "parting shots" of some of the little bag details, like the rear straps and internal top flap.....



10 comments:

DW said...

How about a 7/8" bike tire pump into that bottom holder ?

DW said...

Or maybe for extra tent poles.

R-Tactical said...

excellent blog.... subscribed.

You mentioned treating the dry leather, what do you use to treat it ? Neatsfoot oil ? How about cleaning the canvas, do you have a tips ?

thank you in advance.

Sharky said...

Here's how I clean and treat canvas and leather military gear. First off, I evaluate the canvas..... if it is pretty clean, I leave it alone. If not, I oil the leather with as much oil as it will take, then wash the bag by hand, in warm water and a mild, unscented laundry detergent. Don't be too rough. I generally don't use a brush, just my hands. Rinse well in warm clear water and immediately towel dry. When the canvas is dry, then re-oil all of the leather with as much oil as it will take. The detergent tends to wash out the oils from the leather, so a double treatment, before and after washing is needed. My favorite leather oil is "Huberd's Shoe Oil", but any good leather oil will do. The Huberd's treats, softens and waterproofs the leather and will even bring back dried out and hard leather. It's the oil of choice out here in the Pacific Northwest for logging boots, etc. GREAT STUFF! The oil is pretty thick, like syrup, and if you warm it, it soaks in a bit quicker, just be patient and re-apply.

steven said...

I just picked one of these up at an antique store the guy ordered a bunch of them, he said they were belgian. Have you been able to find any info on these thins?

Sharky said...

I picked mine up from The Sportsman's Guide and they sold it as "Swedish Cavalry" and dated it circa WW2. They were also selling a bunch of other Swedish WW2 vintage cavalry items that definitely were Swedish. The "Guide" often gets descriptions a bit off, but they are usually pretty good about identifying the country. It seems that Sweden has decided to basically disbanded 90% of it's military, so it would make sense that there are batches of old stuff that have been stored in warehouses that are starting to hit the market now. I have not been able to find any photos of these packs in use, but due to the fact that it is low-slung, it fits for a horse mounted or bicycle mounted soldier. IK have also found a number of photos of Swedish mounted cavalry from the 1940's through the 1960's, and they have similar styled, low slung gear in the photos......The construction and color or the canvas fits for Swedish as well. The Belgian military pretty much used British web gear or near exact knock-offs of it, and this is definitely not British in style, construction or weight of the canvas. I would date my pack somewhere from WW2 through the 1950's, based on construction, rivets, etc., but no way to tell for sure without dates or markings. I have also noticed that the Swedes only occasionally marked items through the years. For example, out of about six Swedish camo tents (zeltbahns) that I have (used from late 40's through the 60's), only one has the three crown stamp and none have dates or maker's marks.

Thanks for the tip on it being possibly Belgian. I'll start researching into that. Please let me know if you are able to find anything more out about the pack as well.

Christian Rasmussen said...

This is Swedish, no question about that. There is no doubt in my mind that this was issued as a part of the m/39 kit first issued in 1939. It's the same colors, it's the same leather, it's the same buckles and copper.

Unknown said...

For treating leather I tend to use Obenauf's heavy duty LP. It doesn't contain harmful petroleum's which make leather limp and stretchy from continuous applications.

Inupiat1 said...

On eBay, there is a Polish vendor selling a Swedish bike pump that may fit in there.

Sharky said...

Thanks for the tip about the Polish eBay seller with a Swedish Bike Pump for sale. I'll compare the measurements and see if that may be what this was for........ stay tuned!