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THE AUSTPACK: Vintage Australian Army Canvas Pack + other army surplus

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A look at some Australian Army surplus equipment from the 1970s and 80s and how I use it in my bushcraft camp outs. A focus on the canvas pack known as the Austpack, which was in service from 1968 to 1988. Also covered is the Hoochie tarp with it's mosquito net, the army sleeping bag and the canteen cup and stove. For more info on equipment from this era see Rifleman Moore's videos: Australian Modified M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment - 1960s to 1980s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNa3MYijURQ Australian Modified M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment - 1960s to 1980s Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnDUpjJ4byI
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Text Comments (20)
Ozdave McGee (4 months ago)
Memories backaches lol. This is the older style. There were a few more upgrades. The last 2 were basically the same, khaki, 2nd Auscam in time for Iraq round 1. Unconfortable? Yes. But they were a bit bigger and had plastic clip buckles. Many years later I have a Karrimore 45 enough for a 2 to 3 day hike. The one advantage I do find with the old issue is as uncomfortable as it was, it has pretty good back ventilation in hotter climates. Hard to find now, but I think the old Swedish LK 35 makes better sense in Australia. Or any framed pack. Hiking in summer its a lot cooler
Mallee Fowler (6 months ago)
Woah my back is cramping up in memory of those damn packs! An important thing to remember is that this pack was part of an integrated system including webbing and bumpack. There was no room for a sleeping mat: we slept on the dirt. We had a sleeping bag for cold weather but it wasn't great and took up list of the pack. Even when these first came out we'd modify them by taping underlay onto the shoulders traps. I think you're mad taking one of those out into the scrub when there are cheap Chinese packs that are much better than that.
Paul M (7 months ago)
Nice pack, but what jacket you have on
Tassie Bushcraft (1 month ago)
US Army M65 Parka - Extreme Cold Weather (Not to be confused with the M65 Field Jacket). I intend to do a video on it and other surplus jackets in my collection. Here's more info on the parka: https://olive-drab.com/od_soldiers_clothing_m65_parka.php
oldigger (8 months ago)
These packs were introduced after my time (66-67).  We had to make do with the old "37" pattern rucksacks.  You are quite correct in saying that the Austpack  was a pack designed for warmer weather (think Vietnam).  However, the sleeping gear would have been the "tropical sleeping bag" consisting of a nylon outer (called a "silk") and a very thin wool blanket (called a "horse blanket" which was rarely carried in the field).  There would have been no room for that big sleeping bag, as infantry on operations often carried 3 or 4 24 hour ration packs and mess tins for the occasional hot meal sent out with food or ammo resupplies (plus extra water bottles and ammo, Claymore mines, smoke grenades etc.).  Of course, we also carried belt kit, including the 56 pattern "bum bag."  It's making my back ache to recall those days!
Weird Science (4 months ago)
Thanks. I often wonder how they carried all that weaponry, yet also had room for food, shelter and other personal items! I worked with an Australian guy who did 3 tours in Nam. He had some intriguing stories. He told me once the clay-more mines were there most formidable weapon when used in ambush- good buy Charlie. The war didn't kill him, however. The b1tch he married and divorced did, using the family courts. He hung himself in 94'. God bless J.L.
john melb (9 months ago)
Those packs were normally covered with extra water bottles and basic pouches to carry extra gear, not the best pack but bloody near indestructible, still got mine somewhere.
Loaded dog (1 year ago)
Interesting stuff mate.... like the fly set up.... our state is a ripper eh ....have a good one 😎👍🇦🇺
Tassie Bushcraft (11 months ago)
Cheers. Yep Tassie is the place to be :-)
Artwork Ferguson (1 year ago)
Where did you purchase the pack from mate? I cant find them anywhere.
oldigger (3 months ago)
They can be found in some Australian disposal stores.
Tassie Bushcraft (11 months ago)
I got mine about 20 years ago in an op shop. I do see them on ebay quite often, but rarely under the name Austpack. Just search for "army pack" with it set to Australia only and hopefully a few will come up. Just had a look, there is this one going on auction today: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Army-Pack-and-Sundry-Webbing-/192331781726?hash=item2cc7de165e:g:2GEAAOSw9zhZ3xQV
My Day (1 year ago)
Bugger carrying that pack as is. Must be very uncomfortable under the arms. You're missing the vital bit of equipment the pack attaches to. Webbing. The pack is meant to attach to the webbing. It's the webbing that holds the canteen pouches and bum pack for your food. ( and ammo pouches)
My Day (4 months ago)
There's metal buckle on each shoulder strap of the webbing. The quick release tabs of the pack feed into the buckles on the webbing and the pack rides on the shoulder straps of the webbing rather than on your shoulders. That's called being attached to the webbing. When the shit hits the fan you pull the tabs and the pack drops off. I know the gear mate. I carried in service for years.
Howling Dingo (1 year ago)
Good vid bro..
Tassie Bushcraft (1 year ago)
I'm aware of the full webbing set up posses a set. This demonstration is simply to show the pack on its own for bushcraft use. The small amount of food and water carried on the day I shot this video was simply not enough to justify the addition of the webbing set. The pack does not attach to the webbing so much as sit over it, with a full bum pack somewhat lifting the pack off the shoulders. There are far more modern and comfortable ways of carrying a load for non military use, and so I only use this pack for short light loads, as it was it was quite comfortable on the approx 5km round trip. I first used these packs in the early 90s when I was in cadets. Generally I use the pack only for day trips these days and use more comfortable packs for overnight trips, however there seems to be no other videos on this pack being used out there so I thought I'd just demonstrate how much gear you can fit in it and the attachment options, without using full webbing etc. Plus as I was walking through some residential areas I didn't want to draw unwanted attention to my self by walking round with full military webbing on :-)
its a cool pack mate. Thanks for showing us. Keep the vids coming.
Weird Science (4 months ago)
Tassie Bushcraft: Your pack is fantastic, and in great condition. Thank you for sharing it with us and for taking the effort to show us your interesting minimalist selection of gear and shelter set up system. Cheers, W.S.
Tassie Bushcraft (11 months ago)
Awesome! They sure are classic packs, don't think I'll ever part with mine. They're perfect for going light :-)
Hey mate. I got one of those pack the other day. I love it. Its a real classic

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