Italian Surplus packs

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Italian Surplus packs

Postby YoungBlacksmith » Thu May 24, 2018 9:37 am

Here's a quick review of two Italian military surplus backpacks I picked up last month.

Italian Alpine or Italian Tactical:

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About 1300 cu in or 22L. Great pack straps, very comfortable. Made from heavy canvas with a waterproof coating on the inside. Heavy, rugged, ready to go! One large middle area with drawstring top and flap closure, two tall skinny lace up pockets on the sides with velcro closing tops. I can fit just about everything inside I want for a summer overnight trip, and if you add a molle pouch to the web on the back, a little more than I need. When combined with a separate canteen (I use a one gallon blanket canteen in the summer) you can go for a few days no problem. Roll a wool blanket and tarp under the pack, slip a tool behind the web/pouch, and the inside is mostly open for food and clothes. Available on swisslink occasionally, but super expensive shipping! The one I got is brand new, if it was taken out once I'd be surprised. Highly recommended for a ready to use backpack.

Italian blanket/picnic/large kit bag:

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About 1000 cu in or 17L. Durable linen/hemp material, softer and more flexible than canvas, and possibly longer wearing. No waterproofing. Pack straps suck, and you can see they're really wide No rigidity which means it just hangs there and flops around a bit. That being said, it's usually about $15, and a perfect platform for a little strap modification or replacement. One large internal with two smaller areas on the sides. What really makes this stand out to me is the blanket roll area under the pack and light weight. It's ready made for a summer trip, just roll a blanket and poncho or tarp down there, throw a few things in the main pack, and you're ready. I was able to get all my usual stuff in there with a bit of bulge, and if I pared it down to the minimum or added a belt pouch or haversack I could do 2-3 days easily. Purchased from Swisslink, but they're on SportsmansGuide right now. Basically new again, not sure how the SG ones are. I'll be replacing the straps with a Y shaped harness/suspenders or leather, as soon as I make up my mind as to which direction. Recommended if you want something cheap and fun to work with.
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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby YoungBlacksmith » Thu May 24, 2018 1:39 pm

I messed with the second pack this morning to see what I could come up with to change the pack straps. Nothing seemed to work well. It's too short really. By the time you get the upper part over your shoulders, the attachments at the bottom are about 4" below your armpits, not far enough down for anything worthwhile. The straps just spread on top because the length is so short. I'll still use it and see what I come up with as I get more familiar with it. It may be the best candidate for a roycroft pack frame style modification.
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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby BigJesse » Thu May 24, 2018 9:50 pm

I love all of the older Italian packs. So simple and rugged. Was it hard to find the Alpine? I knew one other fella that bought one, it was fairly expensive and difficult to find.

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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby YoungBlacksmith » Fri May 25, 2018 5:41 am

I think I looked for about three days before I found it. Not hard, just a right time, right place kind of thing. I saw one on BCUSA, which sparked my interest, and I started looking around at all the new to me on-line military surplus sites.

https://swisslink.com/italian-tactical- ... -used.html

In stock as of now, but shipping is the real killer. Almost as much as the pack itself. Which is why I got the second pack, a wool blanket, and a trangia type burner. Bumped me up to free shipping..... ;)
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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby DBX » Mon May 28, 2018 10:52 am

BigJesse wrote:I love all of the older Italian packs. So simple and rugged. Was it hard to find the Alpine? I knew one other fella that bought one, it was fairly expensive and difficult to find.
Looking to try one out, Jesse?
I have one I'm not using, at the moment.
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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby BigJesse » Mon May 28, 2018 1:57 pm

DBX wrote:I have one I'm not using, at the moment.


Yeah man, for sure. Try before you buy. I LIKE IT.

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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby YoungBlacksmith » Tue May 29, 2018 6:03 am

Most reviews say how small the shoulder straps go, but they fit me just fine with a bit of room to spare.
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Re: Italian Surplus packs

Postby BigJesse » Tue May 29, 2018 4:24 pm

YoungBlacksmith wrote:Most reviews say how small the shoulder straps go, but they fit me just fine with a bit of room to spare.
That's an easy fix luckily.

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