A guide to Dutch army Backpacks (Bergans)

The first modern backpack that the Dutch army was using was the Berghaus Vulcan backpack. This backpack has well padded shoulder straps and a well padded hip belt. main characteristic property of this backpack is that the hight of the shoulder straps, and therefore the distance between the hip belt and shoulder straps, is static. Most modern backpacks have a attaching system for the shoulder straps that can be adjusted according to the users body length. This to ensure that the hip-belt rests on the users hips and that the shoulder straps are at the same hight as the users shoulders. To ensure that the length between the hip-belt and shoulder straps attaching point would match with the length of the users back the Berghaus Vulcan was made in 4 different sizes; size 1, 2, 3 and 4. The higher the size the longer the distance between the hip belt and the shoulder straps. As a logical consequence the total volume of the backpack also increases with the size.

Dutch Army Berghaus Cyclops II Vulcan
Dutch army Berghaus Vulcan Cyclops II. Source: www.cgbackpacks.com

After years of using the Berghaus Vulcan backpack the the Dutch army switched to several models and sizes of Lowe Alpine backpacks. The sizes are 40 liter, 55 liter and 130 liter. They all come with 10 liter side pouches. These pouches (aka rocket pouches) can be zipped together into a improvised small backpack. The 40 liter backpack has a minimalistic hip belt and static shoulder straps. The bigger models have a padded hip-belt and shoulder straps that can be adjusted according to the user length.

Initially they were made by renowned backpack manufacturer Lowe Alpine. Later the Dutch army ordered copies of these backpacks at the Belgian company ARWY. Also the Army ordered copies of the backpacks without a brand in countries like Vietnam. A real Lowe Alpine version of these backpacks can be recognized through the label under the cover lid and the Lowe Alpine logo on the metal button clasps that keep the aluminum frame inside its sleeves.

The fast majority of the produced backpacks has Dutch DPM camouflage. Smaller quantities are made in US Woodland camouflage for the Marine Corps and in black for the Military Police. Lowe Alpine itself produced the backpacks also in Olive Green for the civilian market.

40 Liter Strike (aka Grab-bag) NSN 8465-17-114-4596 
This is the smallest backpack in this series. It is a one compartment top loading backpack. It comes with a rubber plate for back support but not with an internal frame.

Grabbag 40L model-52-big

Lowe Alpine Strike 40 01
Original Lowe Alpine olive green version of the Strike aka Grab-bag (NSN 8465-17-114-4596)
Forest_camouflage_backpack Militairia4you
Strike 40 grabbag in US woodland camouflage (NSN 8465-17-117-2481). Source: www.militaria4you.com

55 Liter Sting NSN 8465-17-115-5334
The Lowe Alpine Sting consists of just one main compartment. Additionally there is a pouch hanging inside the bag for the installation of a water bladder.

Lowe Alpine Sting 01
Lowe Alpine Sting in Dutch DPM woodland camouflage. Source: www.campveltoutdoorshop.nl

55 Liter Sting Ray NSN : 8465-17-115-9550
The Lowe Alpine Sting Ray consists of a lower and an upper compartment which are separated by a diaphragm system with a pull cord. To reach the lower compartment easily there is a extra zipper on the lower end of the backpack.

The Low Alpine Sting Ray (or ARWY copy) in Dutch DPM camouflage. Source: www.preppers.nl
Sting Ray Black 03
Black version of the Sting Ray. Source: www.campveltoutdoorshop.nl

130 Liter Saracen NSN 8465-17-113-6904
The Saracen is a really big backpack. Therefore it is most suitable for tall people. Due to it’s length the backpack might be top heavy for small persons and the user may tumble over. The Lowe Alpine Saracen consists of a lower and an upper compartment which are separated by a diaphragm system with a pull cord. The hood of the Lowe Apline Saracen has two compartments with zip access, on the side of the outside and on the inside.

Lowe Alpine Saracen 02
Lowe Alpine Saracen in Dutch DPM woodland camouflage. Source: www.campveltoutdoorshop.nl
Lowe Alpine Saracen Woodland camo 01
Lowe Alpine Saracen in woodland camouflage. Source:  www.forum.guns.ru
Lowe Alpine Saracen Olive Green 00
Olive green version of the Lowe Alpine Saracen.

Design changes by the Dutch ministry of Defense
The original designs from Lowe Alpine were changed on request of the Dutch army. First difference everyone can notice is the Dutch DPM camouflage that was added. Also the military 25 mm Molle webbing was added to the front and sides. The original design had webbing that was suitable for Alice clips. Another well thought feature is the large solid grip handle on the upper part of the front combined with a strong rigid loop at the upper part of the back. This was designed for hoisting the bag and easy pickup when not carried on the users back.

Design changes from Lowe Alpine to ARWY
The original designs from Lowe Alpine was modified over the years. At first the ARWY models were exact copies of the original Lowe Alpine version. Later on the backpacks were improved slightly. The fast release buckle that was used by Lowe Alpine to secure the waist belt was changed for a more sophisticated so called Berghaus buckle. The zippers that are attaching the side pouches to the main compartment on the Lowe Alpine backpack are opening from top to bottom. Theoretically the zippers could open spontaneously by gratify when walking around with the pack. The zippers of side pouches on the later ARWY models are opening the other way around; from bottom to top. All side pouches and backpack models are interchangeable. However some combinations may result in the upside down attaching of the side pouches to the backpack.

More info:

Available at:
Berhaus Vulcan
www.militaria4you.com (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
Sting Ray
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)

Nog toevoegen:

5) Alluminium strippen verwijderen en wassen.

1 inch ACW buckles.

internal wand pockets

Austrian army backpack system

During the 80’s the Austrian army had a load carrying system that consisted of a large backpack that looked like a US army Alice Pack and a smaller bag that could be carried as a front pack or as a butt pack. Alternately the small bag could also be worn as a shoulder bag or a small backpack on it’s own. The bags are made from Nylon (Polyamide) and usually carried in combination with a pistol belt.

The idea from a front pack was copied in later years by the Dutch army. They had a small duffel generally known as the Rotota bag or soldiers handbag. This was also attached to the shoulder straps of a backpack. However the Dutch used plastic fast release buckles while the Austrian pack system uses metal hooks. Another difference is that the Dutch front-pack is carried on the chest while the Austrian front-pack is carried a little lower, on your belly. Perhaps this was done so the soldier has more space to handle a rifle.

The Austrian backpack and front-pack. Source: www.swisslink.com

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Quechua Arpenaz backpack series

Travel equipment doesn’t have to be expensive and complex. Quechua, the home brand of Decathlon sports and outdoor shop, makes very simple and therefore lightweight and cheap backpacks. The Arpenaz backpacks don’t have side pockets. They consist of just one large main compartment with a additional 2nd compartment. The bags are padded with a small layer of foam on the back and made out of water repelling fabrics. On top is a small loop for hanging your bag on a hook in a public toilet or so. Unfortunately there is no large grip handle on top to pick up your bag easily. The Arpenaz backpack series has a 10, 20, 30 and 40 liter variants and is available in all kind of colors.

Arpenaz series

For the 10 and 20 liter the 2nd compartment is a front pocket. For the 30 and 40 liter variants the 2nd compartment is located in the cover lid. Al the variants except the 10 liter have mesh pockets on both sides. All backpacks except the 10 liter variant have a minimalistic hip belt. Since the volume of all these backpacks are not that big and there is no option for adjusting the shoulder straps at a different hight you might not using it at all.

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(Army) bags for sale

The following bags are for sale. If you have any questions please contact us through  Facebook Messenger or fill in the contact form at the end of this page.

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Dutch Army daypack Olive green

Dutch Army backpack used by the Dutch Airforce. Waterproof coating inside the bag. Attaching clips on the shoulder straps for a Rotota bag to be worn in front of you. Backpack shoulder straps are adjustable and filled with soft foam. Bag is made from strong sturdy material. Very hard to find version of the Dutch army daypack.










Dutch Army daypack dessert camoflage

Very hard to find version of the Dutch Army daypack. One of the inside seperation walls is removed so that the bag has one big storage compartment and one laptop / document compartment. Backpack shoulder straps are adjustable and filled with soft foam. The bag has some minor dirt marks on top. Luckily this blends in with the camouflage pattern.







Austrian army small pack

Small backpack from the Austrian army. Can be worn as a backpack and also as a butt-pack when attached with Allice clips to a belt. If you are handy you can also attach a shoulder strap to the sides of the bag to use it as a messenger / shoulder bag. Measurements: 33 x 25 x 11 cm












Austrian army main pack

Austrian army “Alice Pack” with original harness. Rucksack itself is brand new / unissued. Straps of the harness are used. Made from nylon. One internal pocket in the main compartment, 3 outer pouches.












German Mountain troops backpack

Classic vintage backpack from the (West) German mountain troops aka Gebirgsjäger. Backpack is made of canvas material and aluminum buckles. On top is webbing that can be seen as an early Molle development. 2 side pockets and one front pocket. Under the cover lid and inside the bag are also pockets. Measurements main compartment: 20 x 33 x 38 cm











Quechua Arpenaz 40

Quechua Arpenaz 40 backpack. Lightweight and simple design. Shoulder straps and back are padded. Internal “frame” from flexible material to maintain the shape. Minimalist hip belt that does the job. Backpack is used but in fully functional condition. For some reason the Arpenaz 30 is sold at much more places then the Arpenaz 40. So here is your opportunity to buy the 40. Size: 55 x 28 x 20 cm








ARWY Sting backpack

ARWY Sting backpack used by the Dutch army. Robust backpack with lots of possibilities to attach other gear. Solid grip handle in front of the backpack and solid hoisting loop on the backside. Side pouches can be removed from the main pack and zippered into a small day pack. Shoulder straps can be ajusted in hight for comfortable wearing. Main pack is 50 to 55 liter, side pouches are 10 liter each.






German army backpack (Mountain troops)

Sold out everywhere but we managed to find a few of these original backpacks. Not a replica but a original high quality German backpack worn by the mountain troops aka Gebirgsjäger. Top lid and lids of the side pockets are waterproofed with a thick rubber coating. Bottom is also waterproofed / made more resistant against abrasion with a thick rubber coating. The inner pocket in the main compartment is designed to hold a so called German foldable sleeping mat. Measurements: 45 x 30 x 21 cm




Shipping costs
Shipping within the European Union will cost 11,- Euro for a 0-2 Kg parcel and 19,- Euro for a 0-5 Kg parcel. Since we are based inside the European Union shipping outside the EU is more expensive. For countries like USA and Thailand it is 25,- Euro for a 0-2 Kg parcel and 33,- Euro for a 0-5 Kg parcel. Shipping costs for the European Union can be purchased below. For shipping outside the EU please contact us through the questions form or by Facebook messenger.





0-2 Kg parcel inside the EU

If you are not sure which shipping option to choose, pleas don’t hesitate to contact us.






Shipping inside the EU 2 -5 Kg

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0 – 2 Kg parcel to the USA

Shipping to the USA and many other countries is possible. Please feel free to contact us.






0 – 2 Kg Parcel to Canada

Please note that due to customs regulations the arrival of your product may take a while. Through the website of DHL you can follow your shipment.


If you have any questions please fill in the form below.





US Army style duffel bag for traveling

Soldiers in the army have usually something like a kit-bag, see sack, weekend bag or duffel bag. This not to use in the combat field but to take all their clothing and gear from army base to army base or from their barracks to home during weekends. These bags are usually very simple. In case of a duffel bag it is usually a one compartment bag with rings and a clip to close it instead of zippers. Most duffel bags have just one strap to throw over your shoulders. The US army duffel bag however is one of the few designs with two straps so that it can be worn as a (improvised) backpack. To improve the possibility of carrying the duffel bag as a backpack the bag has a rectangular shape instead of a cylindrical shape. A round shape will flip sidewards all the time when you have it on your back. A flat shape will be much more stable.

US army (style) duffle

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The floating raft resorts of Kanchanaburi

Staying in a hotel that floats on the water can be done at several places in Thailand. The two most popular places to go are Khao Sok National Park and Kanchanaburi Province. Kanchanaburi province is only a few hours from Bangkok and therefore very popular. The floating hotels at the banks of the river Kwai are very well known among tourists. Most likely due to the 1957’s classic war movie ”Bridge over the river Kwai”. In Bangkok you can find many companies offering short trips to Kanchanaburi that include one ore more nights at a floating hotel. Far lesser known is the Srinakarin Lake. This lake was formed after the building Thailands third largest dam;  the Srinagarind Dam (also known as the Srinakarin Dam) on the Kwai Yai River. The dam was built in order to avoid floods and to ensure water and electricity supply to the area’s residents. On this lake you”ll also find a lot of floating hotels. These are mostly visited by Thai people. Some even have only a name in Thai alphabet. Probably due to the larger distance to Bangkok and usually the need of private transport this lake is often overlooked by foreign tourists.

Saiyokview resort 04
One of the floating hotels (Saiyok View Resort) at the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi. Source: Facebook

The following list contains only the hotels, guesthouses and resorts that have a website, Facebook page or other online presence. Many resorts are 100% floating accommodations and hotel facilities. Others have both floating raft houses and bungalows on the river banks. The websites, YouTube movies and Facebook pages behind the links in this article are very often in Thai language only.

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Electrical plugs and sockets in Thailand.

What kind of electricity sockets do they use in Thailand ? Answer: A hybrid system of European standard and American standard. That means that a plug from continental Europe (2 pins without grounding) and a standard American plug (2 pins without grounding) will work fine.


Due to the combination of the American standard and the European standard the holes have one flat side and one round side. This makes both types of plugs fit in the socket. This same system is used in other Asian countries like Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Both European standard plugs (left) and American standard plugs (right) will work fine in Thailand and many other countries in South East Asia.

In most western countries sockets with a ground connection are required by law for safety reasons. In Thailand however the ideas about safety are different. Also for electronic installations. Therefore it is completely normal to have ungrounded sockets (2 holes only). Sometimes you’ll find grounded sockets (3 holes) and ungrounded (2 holes) in one hotel room. Since chargers for mobile phones, tablets and photo cameras usually don’t use grounding (2 pins) it will always fit in Thai sockets.

As seen in the previous pictures; European plugs with a ground connection will fit in a Thai socket. However there is no way that the ground pin is connected. Your electronic devices will work fine but off course it is less safe.

Stealing from your luggage and what you can do about it.

Theft from your luggage is unfortunately a thing that can happen. Just like in daily life there are criminals that want to steal what belongs to you. This can surely happen by fellow travelers but also by people who work as luggage handlers in airports, buses or ferry boats. Thailand has seen both arrests of foreign travelers being caught for stealing as well as local employees who work as a luggage handler.

Coconuts Bangkok writes often about this problem. Its like fighting rats; no matter how much you catch of them they will come back.
Phuket airport employee caught stealing Adidas shoes from luggage.
Busted! Baggage handlers at Suvarnabhumi Airport caught stealing from passengers.
Phuket airport staff arrested for stealing from passengers’ luggage.


How people steal from your luggage and how to ovoid theft.

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Dutch army daypack

The Dutch army daypack aka KL daypack or KLU daypack is a small backpack but equipped with foam-padded shoulder straps like it is a full size backpack. The bag has a main compartment with an internal divider and two side pockets. The weigh is about 1,35 kg and measurements are 45 x 28 x 18cm for the main compartment and 7 x 15 x 25 cm for each of the side pockets. This gives the backpack a total volume of 28 liters. However, on online army shops and second hand trading websites the volume is very often stated as 35 liters. 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 (KLU) 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 color is more neutral and suitable for urban traveling.

3 x Dutch army backpack
The 3 different camouflage versions of the Dutch army daypack

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List with floating raft house resorts in Khao Sok National Park (Cheow Lan Lake).

There are 15 or 16 different floating house parks on the Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park. They function as remote islands on the fresh waters between the lime stone cliffs. Electricity is usually generated by diesel engines and solar panels. Supplies need to be transported by boat. Wi-Fi and mobile phone network are often not available. Many resorts offer their guests only a mattress on the floor instead of a real bed. So don’t expect too much luxury and relative high prices here. But its all worth it.

Phutawan Raft House 2(www.tripadvisor.com)
Capsule shaped floating houses at Phutawan Rafthouse resort. Source: www.tripadvisor.com

The list with floating bungalows aka raft houses are clockwise from the Ratchaprapa dam. Here is a parking area, a souvenir shop, tourist information point and a pier from where most resorts pick up their guests by long tail boat.

Map with the different area’s and all the floating raft house resorts from the Cheow Lan Lake in the Khao Sok National Park. Source: www.khaosoklake.com

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