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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(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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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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Great travel item: US army patients effects bag

Some military surplus items are perfect for travellers; light weight, not to expensive, still available from unused stock and many different ways to use them. The US army patients effects bag is such an item.

When wounded soldiers were taken to a (field) hospital, staff placed an injured soldier’s personal belongings such as wedding rings, watches, glasses or letters in these bags. Each bag has two drawstrings on top and a gusseted bottom to stand upright when full. Inside the bag is a rubberised pocket to separate items. On the outside of the US GI personal effects bags is a small white square where the soldier’s name would be written. Another version which is not so common is meant for dead soldiers and has a label which much more details to be filled in. Among the details; Killed in action. Measuring 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide, these cloth bags make perfect toiletry bags, laundry bags, or other small item bags for campers, Scouts or travellers.


Available at:
www.sportsmansguide.com This is the not so often seen bag for deceased military personal instead of the wounded one.

French army F1 backpack

The French army F1 backpack was in use till the mid 90s. Nowadays you can still find them in many (online) army surplus shops. Main reason for that is because they are extremely durable and made out of tough heavy duty materials. This backpack is super strong and won’t disappoint you.

The French Army F1 backpack can be extended with a chimney. That’s why the closing straps are extra long. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The French army F1 backpack is compared to a modern lightweight backpack a bit heavy (2,2 Kg) and a bit uncomfortable. Actually it is more a very luxury duffel bag. For example; it doesn’t have side pockets and it has grip handles on both sides. Besides that you can also wear it on your back.

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The (British army) Rucksack Other Arms vs The Osprey Porter

The Rucksack Other Arms from the British army and the Osprey Porter are both “single” compartment backpacks where you can hide the shoulder straps. This allows you to use it as a hand carrying bag. Both the backpacks are not very high compared to their width.

If you spend most of your time carrying your luggage at your back when hiking or going to the woods and mountains, then a real backpack is most suitable. If your backpack spends most of its time in a luggage compartment of a bus, train, air-plane, mini van, taxi etc. then a single compartment bag with no extra straps or side pockets is more suitable. This setup comes close to a suitcase that you carry on your back.

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(Dutch) foldable wash bucket

When you are traveling you need to wash your clothes sooner or later. Luckily you can find many laundry services in Thailand. They will wash and dry your dirty clothes for 40 to 200 Thai Bath. But sometimes you just want to wash one or two items or you just stay one night in a place. Then it is an option to do a quick hand wash in a bucket or in the bathroom sink. For these situations it is super handy to have your own small rubber bucket with you. It is light and it doesn’t take much space in your suitcase or backpack. In case you don’t have soap with you you can always buy some in a small package at the 7-Eleven. Or you can off course use some shampoo or shower gel.


The Dutch / Belgian military rubber bowl will stand right up by the pressure of the water what is inside. The bowl isn’t that big (approx 4 litre) but it is large enough for a T-shirt, a pair of socks, some underwear and a short. Just let your laundry soak in the water with soap for a few hours and then wash the soap out of the laundry under running water from the tap.

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Polish army backpack

The Polish WZ89 army backpack (aka Frog or Puma camouflage) is a cheap and simple backpack. Just a big sack with two straps on it. It was in use in the Polish army from 1989 and until 1993. The typical camouflage pattern is called the Zába Pattern, which in polish for Frog. On military surplus store websites it is also called the Polish Puma camouflage pattern. In Germany this camouflage pattern is often referred as Pumatarn.

The bottom is protected with a rubber (PVC) coating. So when you place your bag in a small puddle of water or in some wet grass not all your stuff is totally soaked. For a better protection it is wise to use a big plastic bag inside the backpack itself since the fabric is very thin and not very water resistant. In military surplus stores you can also buy special water resistant laundry bags.

The top side of the pack has two drawstrings, one on the very top and one a bit lower down the body. The lower drawstring allows for loading to regular capacity, similar to a normal rucksack. The top drawstring allows you to expand (overload) the pack to the size of a big backpack. Keep in mind that there is no padding on the shoulder straps. So if you you load up on weight it’s going to cut into your shoulders and may hurt. The big top flap can be closed in two different heights; two triglides on the bottom or two triglides half way the pack.

Source: www.varusteleka.com

The rucksack is constructed of very flexible material and doesn’t have a rigid frame. This simple construction gives very little wearing comfort. However this also makes it ideal for packing and compressing your luggage down to a small package and in the same time it also allows you to expand the bag to carry a much larger load. It is also possible to fold the bag down and take it with you as an extra bag in your main luggage. Since the weight of the pack is only 0,75 Kg it is not that much extra.

Other comparable designs.
There is also an improved version of this backpack with a different camouflage pattern (WZ93 Pantera) and stronger materials. The M93 Pantera camouflage backpack. The fabric of the M93 backpack is waterproof and the name tag is stronger and equipped with a better plastic window.

The much bigger and heavier French F1 65 liter military backpack might have been the inspiration for this design. That bag is also more like a duffel bag, comes also with a rubberized bottom, and is also closable at two different heights. But that bag is made of much heavier canvas and the rubber is thicker and comes higher from the ground. This makes the weight of this pack going up to 2,15 Kg. The backside of the pack has a padded back support in a triangle form, the shoulder straps are padded and the pack has a simple belt to let the weight rest at your hips. These features makes this backpack / duffel bag quite comfortable to wear. More info in this special blog about the French army F1 backpack.

Many people regard a soft backpack without any back support or padded shoulder straps as a ridiculous idea and the worst design ever. However the famous (military) backpack company Berghaus made a similar backpack The Berghaus MMPS Grab Bag. This bag has also one main compartment without side pouches. Only the cover lid is a little more sophisticated with a pouch behind a zipper and some webbing for attaching extra gear. This bag is also meant as an extra light weight bag that you can take with you in your main luggage.


Background information:
www.tacticalgunreview.com: 3 Surplus European Backpacks You’ve Probably Never Used – But Should

WZ89 Polish army backpack frog (Puma) camouflage in military surplus store:
www.raeer.com German army shop
www.anchorsupplies.com British army surplus shop
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch genuine army shop)
www.armyworld.pl Polish military shop

M93 woodland camo in military surplus store:
www.militaria4you.com (Dutch genuine army shop)
www.sportsmansguide.com (American outdoor shop)
www.armyworld.pl (Polish military shop)
www.army-surplus.cz (Czech military shop)