Sometime during my stint in Jr. High, I received a backpack from a relative. Because these were obviously the more fashion conscious and overly awkward years of my life, I took the “dated un-cool” backpack and tossed it to the back of my closet. There it sat for 10 years. It miraculously survived countless closet re-organizations, clean sweeps, and dumpster days where anything in plain sight was scooped up and either trashed or sent off with the Purple Heart. But, this bag never made the cut. Its rough textured green canvas shell and thick leather straps were held firm by heavy steel rings that never slipped free from me. Looking back, I think I always loved and admired the bag, but my own teenage ideas on what was “fashionable” wouldn’t allow me to justify bringing it into the public’s eyes.
However, I do recall always being impressed by its utilitarian look and industrial stitching, binding the cold steel buckles and straps to the bag. And so, when it was time for me to bounce around from college to random town . . . the bag always came along with me. Never to see the light of day, always comfortably tucked into the closet of whatever residence I was in at the time. Until a few years back when a few things happened and the bag became part of my everyday. Moving to a town where walking from shop to store was 90% of my commute and a newborn appreciation for the bag’s aesthetics, have made it a necessity in my everyday life.
The history of the bag was always a little vague to me. I can’t fully recall if the bag was passed down to me from an elderly family friend, or his son-in-law. The former having growing up in Germany solidified some thoughts I had about this being a German war issue bag, but with some digging I’ve zero’d in on some of the bags history.
The back patch reads.
W. Schenk was who the bag was issued to. Sattler was a small bag manufacturer, started in 1937 and began making rugged Swiss Army issued bags in the 40’s and 50’s. Detligen would be the town in Austria where it was manufactured and 56, that was the year.
So that’s all it is, a 1956 Swiss Military Rucksack. Timeless both in design and durability, I proudly wear it back for everything from a commuter bike ride, to a on flight carry on. I love it for its purpose, but I also love it for its ability to hold the past and the present with reinforced leather security.