Rucksack (Backpack) Construction

The materials for constructing a rucksack or pack are almost limitless. You can use wood, bamboo, rope, plant fiber, clothing, plastic bags, tarps, animal skins, canvas, and many other materials to make a pack.

There are several construction techniques for rucksacks. Many are very elaborate, but those that are simple and easy are often the most readily made in a survival situation.

Horseshoe Pack

This pack is simple to make and use and relatively comfortable to carry over one shoulder. Horseshoe Pack in the wild

  1. Lay available square-shaped material, such as poncho, blanket, or canvas, flat on the ground.
  2. Lay items on one edge of the material positioning the items so they will be easy to roll up into the material. Pad the hard items.
  3. Roll the material (with the items tucked inside) toward the opposite edge. 
  4. Once it is rolled up, tie both ends securely. Add extra ties along the length of the bundle to keep it from unrolling.
  5. Tie a connecting rope from end to end.  make the rope long enough so you can drape it over your shoulder.  You can drape the pack over one shoulder with a line connecting the two ends.

Square Pack

This pack is easy to construct if rope or cordage is available. Otherwise, you must first make cordage which might not be worth the effort. To make this pack, construct a square frame from bamboo, limbs, or sticks. Size will vary for each person and the amount of equipment carried.

  1. Construct a square frame tying corners with lashing.
  2. Attach vertical lines from the top horizontal pole to the bottom horizontal pole.
  3. Attach horizontal lines that alternate and interweave between the vertical lines.
  4. Lift top frame to uncollapse and expand the pack.

Making a Square Pack in the wild