Tuesday, 5 Feb 2008

British DPM Camp Rucksack
Rating 3 of 5 stars
Design internal frame rucksack
Size medium
Number of Pockets 0
Max. Load Carried untested
Price Paid $18
Pack Weight 3.5 lbs
Total size 2240 cu inches

This little sucker was purchased ‘for the fun of it’ online at SportsmansGuide.com for $18 including shipping. I was searching for a good BOB pack at that time, and this seemed like it would fit the bill. Indeed, it could. Cheap, no nonsense construction, perfect to throw in your trunk or closet for an emergency. This pack is said to be made of waterproof nylon. Looks like the fabric is vulcanized on the inside. It is well worn, and some of the pattern is faded away.

I have never used this pack, and having it on my back for a few minutes is not a good field test. The straps are 2.5″ wide, and padded with about 1/2″ of foam. They may have been a little thicker at one point, but after heavy use they are not as thick. They are attached to the back of the backpack, and also via adjustable straps to the top. This allows for a few inches of up and down play to accommodate different body lengths and/or position on your back. Each shoulder strap is reinforced with a webbing strap on the outside, and that’s sewn in on the bottom, near the hip belt. The hip belt is padded on the sides, where it would actually ride on your hips. There is a 1.5″ wide ‘belt’ all the way around, and it buckles in the front. All of the stitching is top notch, and this very used pack has held up great. There are several soldier’s names written all over, so I assume it has been passed down more than once. One interesting feature is the rain flap. It is attached to the top of the pack, in the back. When not in use, it is rolled up to expose the shoulder straps and hip belt. When it is down, there is Velcro all the way around the edge, to cover and protect the suspension and back panel. For a pack this old, it features an ingenious internal mainstay suspension system. There are two aluminum bars inside thin pockets designed to hold them in place. This is inside the main compartment, against the back panel. On the very top, there is a horizontal bar to keep the mainstays spread apart. Originally this was held together with pop rivets, but one of them came apart, and I replaced both with a short bolt, locking washer and a nut. It is all hidden by a small flap, attached with Velcro. For military rucksack of this age, this system is way better than the US ALICE Pack design. Check out the pictures to see what I mean.

There is only one compartment, with a map pouch on the inside. This compartment measures 20″ x 14″ x 8″. On each side there are zippers to attach additional pouches. I believe this system is very similar to Snugpak Rocket Pack design. On top of the main compartment there are two thin cinch straps that could accommodate a wide bedroll, sleeping pad, tent or whatever. There are numerous ‘male ends’ of small buckles to attach other pouches on top, sides and bottom. I am not familiar with the British packs, so there is nothing to be said for these pouches. The dual zippers go about 1/2 way around the main compartment. My zipper has seen better days, and one of the zippers actually broke off during testing. If I ever use this pack, the main zipper will have to be replaced with something newer and heavier duty. There is a dual flap to keep rain from leaking through the zipper. There are also two nice wide carrying handles on the back and on the front of this pack. I think if there is a very heavy load, two men can carry it side by side.

7 Responses to “British DPM Camp Rucksack”

  1. John Richardson Says:

    I bought one of these, too. Doing some research on it, I found out that it is also referred to as an Engineer’s Bergen. It is meant to be used by British soldiers in non-infantry units. I did a Google search on the name on my pack and it was issued to a soldier in an electronics repair unit.

    If you can find them, there are zip-on pouches that will fit on either side and give you about 10-15 liters more of space. Those pouches can also be zipped together and used with British PLCE web gear to make a day pack.

  2. Mike Warren Says:

    This is one of my favorite travel packs. I can cover up the straps with the pack’s velcro cover and toss it in the truck or car without the pack getting snagged on something. While the shoulder straps and waist belt are good for short distances, I would not recommend the pack for hiking long distances.

  3. Andy Jerdan Says:

    John’s right that is the “All arms / other arms Bergen” i.e. it is issued to non-infantry units. If I remember correctly it’s about 50 litters without the side pockets. The back flap is designed to cover the waist belt and shoulder straps when you’re travelling by air and the Bergen is in the hold. I used the bergen as an extended patrol pack, the issue infantry Bergen tends to sit on your belt pouches and ride a bit high for my liking.

  4. Steve Says:

    Its also referred to as a “Tradesmans Bergen”… it is a great pack and tough. I use mine quite a bit. Its holds all I need for about 3 days.

  5. Stephen Says:

    Over here in the UK, we also refer to this as the “Combat Handbag” 😉

  6. D3adkl0wn Says:

    i have one of these, I bought it last year, and honestly, i’ve regretted buying it since i did.. no external pockets (unless you count the attachable ones) and when you put on the attachable pockets the pack is just cumbersome..

    perhaps one day i may take the time to have some MOLLE attachment points to it and add some compression straps to the sides… till then, it’ll sit in my closet

  7. Andy the ex-squaddie Says:

    This bergen, although unpopular with inf types is actually one of the most comfortable backpacks I own. It will take two PLCE side pouches normally found on the PLCE inf bergen. It was designed for motorised troops primarily debussing from Warrior CVRT, truck or other armoured vehicles. It short squat design was to make it easier to stow in equipment bins, under seats or in any suitable nook and cranny in a vehicle. The ‘rain cover’ is actually a strap cover, which should be deployed to prvent straps getting caught, tangled or broken.

    In practice, it was found to be too small for most soldiers kit requirements, and eventually it was replaced by the inf bergen across all arms. Many were gifted to the Army Cadet force, and for cadet use it is ideal, as any cadet carrying more than he can get in this bergan is carrying too much and showing off.

    Nicknames: ‘Engineers bergan’ , ‘Combat handbag’ or ‘Herfy Handbag’ (because it could accommodate a slab of 24 cans of Herforder Pils with ease and would often be employed solely for that use by Toms in camp.)

    They are available new in black and olive green and make an excellent air travel bag and most airlines will let you hand carry it too and stow in an overhead locker if its not too heavy.

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