The development of military backpacks throughout the WW1 and WW2

military backpacks

From its beginnings, a man was looking for a way to carry his gear and supplies with him. That lead to the invention of a backpack, which found its purpose throughout the history. The most notable usage of backpacks is in war times, where soldiers would carry their weapon, ammo and essential supplies of food and water.military backpacks

Military Backpacks, however, have somewhat a different story. Although they were made out of everyday bags and sacks used in travelings, military backpacks were more functional than the ordinary ones. In this article read about a short history of military backpacks throughout the WW1 and WW2. 

WW1 Backpacks

Around 1910, backpacks used for soldiers and troops on the field were facing some major changes, which will define the looks of a modern military backpack till our days. The developers of military gear in the US were concerned to improve the current model (Soldier’s Trunk). Their efforts lead to the invention of a new model, M1910. The main feature of this backpack was his weight capacity because developers found that no soldier shouldn’t carry the weight that exceeds the two-thirds of his own body weight.

However, the new and improved M1910 had one significant flow, too. It entailed only one compartment which wasn’t an enclosed space. The developers used a rectangular canvas which needed to be folded and unfolded every time a soldier wanted to take something out of the backpack. The complexity of the design was such that they invented four-page instructions manual to go with it!

The result? A backpack with no practical purpose and low-efficiency rate. Foot soldiers usually went on long distance marches (sometimes 25 miles in one take), and carrying equipment in such a backpack meant struggling along the way.

WW2 Backpacks

At the beginning of the WW2, the standard military backpack was M-1928. The disadvantage of this military gear was the poor weight distribution. Each time a soldier would climb on the hill or go through the snow, a weight would shift sides. That would throw the soldier off the balance, making his moving difficult.

Military developers came to an idea to make a wired frame which should support the canvas of a backpack. The frame played a supporting role, helping the soldier to keep the weight stable during the march.

During WW2, military backpacks were frequently modified and improved. This period saw the rise of many military gear manufacturing companies. The models distributed were similar in design: the main feature of WW2 military backpacks was side pockets. With the enclosed compartments and side pockets, military backpacks become the soldier’s best friend. The capacity of carrying military gear, first aid kits, and food and water supplies were greater than in previous models.

Military backpacks today

Modern military backpacks have a lot in common with WW2 backpacks, especially in regards to design. Although the materials changed, the idea of having a reliable carrying sack remained the basis of modern backpacks, too.