The Haversack is one of the most versitle pieces of gear a woodsman can carry.
The Haversack, a utility item, is worn over your shoulder via its strap and is a large single compartment bag which was used by the longerhunters and mountain men of the past and still being used by woodsmen today. I began using a haversack very early in my journey into bushcraft and survival. If anyone follows me on youtube (@ coalcracker bushcraft) or instagram (@ coalcrackerbushcraft) you probably know that if I am in the woods so is my knife and haversack. So why a haversack and not a backpack? Honestly, I can say I'm a huge fan of using a traditional backpack, I have been carrying backpacks around since I'm a little kid. I actually carried my backpack so much I can remember my grandmother telling my parents "he is going to blow his back out with that thing". Despite not blowing my back out, the backpack, in my mind, is for longer trips and for items that aren't needed immediately and often. The haversack, on the other hand is my utility pouch and I honestly don't head into the woods without it. I have a few haversacks, some leather, some buckskin, but my favorite is my oilskin haversack. Being a simple one compartment design that hangs directly at waist level it allows quick and easy access to items that I may need quickly or often. I personally carry, a small tinder bag which contains a ferrocerium rod, fat wood, and sewing kit, at the bottom of my haversack. I also always keep some type of cordage in there along with a smaller water bottle. These items are staples in my haversack, rarely leave it, and they are the items I find myself grabbing for the most. Along with that load I have plenty of room to store food, extra knives, or even a tarp. But besides just carrying the customary equipment a haversack can do much more for the woodsman. It can act as a carrying option for dried materials or tinder and kindling for fire making. During wet conditions the haversack can be laid down as a mat to kneel on or to process materials, such as fatwood shavings. For hunting it works great as a shot bag for all your blackpowder accoutrements or hang small game from the strap by use of cordage made into game holders. Most importantly though, is the ease of use. The haversack can be put over bulky clothing with ease unlike the struggle to get into backpack straps. It also is sized perfectly. Its small and light enough that it doesn't get in the way and doesn't let you overpack for a simple day scout, yet as mentioned above, it has enough compartment size to fit everything you need.