Cambridge District Scout Archive

The date and history of most of these rucksacks is known.  The merit is not that each was top of the range in its era but that they were typical of what most people were able to afford.  The exception is the advanced Osprey light weight rucksack which was heavily used to within a point of some chronic failure.

1940’s          1950’s          1960’s            1970’s         1980’s   2010’s 

1927 No example remains but the local Scout Shop (a District enterprise) was selling kit bags for 3/- each. Rucsacs were advertised at 5/9 and 8/0 each.

1940’s Duffle bag, a single tube with a small internal top flap and a drawstring. It has a military ID number partly stenciled on base

Early 1950’s    Frameless, canvas, leather buckles, unpadded canvas shoulder straps, three external pockets, small top flap, no internal divisions.  Used to hike through Europe

1950’s/early 60’s A trio of good quality canvas rucksacks large, medium and small with small and intermediate size top flaps. All metal framed, the small one inside a cover. Sound waist bands and wide shoulder straps with many adjustable points. The largest is pear shaped, the central has more even dimensions top and bottom.

 Late 1960’s   Shaped steel frame, canvas with leather trim and leather straps.  Extra external straps for tent or bedding roll, two side pockets, unpadded leather shoulder straps, no central divisions.  No belt.  Robust, heavy, basically square internal space. Large top opening and flap.

Early 1970’s    Karrimor/ Blacks of Greenock  Fixed L shaped aluminium frame, manmade fibre, padded shoulder straps, fixed on bar, unpadded belt, ice axe fixing, internally divided with bottom portion zipped (sleeping bag size), two side pockets, adjustable back support            Basically equally dimensions top and bottom, taller than previous

Undated – probably later than previous aluminium framed example above.  Folding lower rest for storage, fixed padded straps, padded belt, adjustable back support

     Late 1970’s, early 1980’s          Man made ‘canvas’, two side pockets, pocket on top flap with additional laces, ice axe point, internal frame, padded back, interior sleeve pocket, padded shoulder straps, padded waist strap.  Significantly wider at the top as evidenced by the large lid.  Exceptionally robust, still in use weekly to carry heavy loads.  Karrimor Jaguar VI

Early 2010’s                Lightweight Osprey, internal frame, very heavily used, free floating lid, many pockets in several styles allowing ready access and specialist storage for phones, water reservoirs etc, bottom opening zip, padded shoulder and waist straps, moulded internal frame, adjustable strap height

Early 2010’s                Gelert 55 +10, moulded frame, adjustable strap height, top pocket, additional straps to limit size, floating lid, little used

Late 2010’s          Frameless, stiffened back, padded shoulder straps, several pockets – sports holdall with rucksack style carrying

The Ideal: Probably 1930’s 12th Cambridge
The reality: 1920/30’s 23rd Cambridge Sacks and bundles.
Suitcases 5th Cambridge 1920s – 1930s

The 7th were using rucksacks at this time, the older Scouts in particular engaging in serious hikes and expeditions. The photograph below demonstrates that static camps did not require this investment.

Cambridgeshire Collection 7th Cambridge 1938

JWR Archivist April 2020