Last Updated on 27/08/2023
In this guide to the best bushcraft haversacks, we share 8 of the most useful shoulder bags for bushcraft. Haversacks are perfect for small tools, valuables, or foraged items. We compared the different designs, durability, features, and hardware to find only 8 that would be good for bushcraft.
So what exactly is a haversack? Historically it is a strongly made shoulder bag, usually made from canvas and is water-resistant, with a single shoulder strap that has a wide variety of uses. A haversack is more accessible compared to a more modern backpack and can be accessed without having to take it off.
The military in the past used them for carrying ammunition and today still use them for medical treatment bags and first aid kits. Woodsmen or people who live in a forest or on a farm will carry a haversack to carry their basic belongings as they are a heavy-duty style of bag that will keep them dry and secure.
Haversacks, bushcraft satchels, or bushcraft messenger bags as they are alternatively known come in a range of sizes, with different types of straps, buttons, and buckles to suit the user and their requirements out in the field or on the street. They are all made from heavy-duty material and water-resistant to keep your belongings dry and last for years.
The 8 Best Bushcraft Haversacks
Campcraft Outdoors XL Haversack
- WEIGHT: 0.85 lb / 0.39 kg
- MATERIAL: Water-resistant wax canvas
The Campcraft Outdoors XL Haversack is a waxed canvas bag with an extra-large square single pouch that provides maximum flexibility whether you are carrying equipment or foraging in the forest. These haversacks are hand-made in Kentucky with an eye on quality and durability and are aimed at a wide market, from using them downtown to hold your laptop and a jacket to collecting wild mushrooms and berries.
This all-around bushcraft satchel has an adjustable length 1.5-inch wide shoulder strap that will distribute some of the weight across your shoulder and won’t cut in while wearing it. There is an additional strap on the bag that allows you to hand the bag easily or even mount it on a frame if needed. The main flap has no button or buckle to secure it down but rather just hangs over the top of the pouch opening.
Heavy-duty stitching all around the edges adds to the durability, and each bag is hand waxed to ensure it remains waterproof.
VERDICT: The Camp craft Outdoors XL Haversack is a well-made and durable piece of kit that will last you for years. With no ability to secure the flap, it may not be great for carrying expensive items like camera equipment, but this does allow super easy access for taking items out or putting them in at any time.
Overall this is a great bag for carrying almost anything anywhere you want to keep dry and safe but also use quickly when needed as it’s simple, large, and well made.
FJÄLLRÄVEN Greenland Shoulder Bag
- WEIGHT: 0.66 lb / 0.29 kg
- MATERIAL: G-1000 HeavvyDuty Eco S
When you need a bushcraft haversack style bag but like to have some internal organization as well, the Fjallraven Greenland Shoulder Bag is ideal. While a tad smaller than the XL Camprcraft Outdoors, the Greenland Shoulder bag is aimed at both the urban and forest dweller. It has a larger internal carrying area but with organizing sub pockets inside for things like a multitool, flint steel, and ammo.
The Greenland Shoulder Bag comes with a padded compartment that helps to protect things you have foraged or to secure any gadgets. Smaller zippered pockets and pouches are ideal for holding important items like a first aid kit, wallet, or car keys. Everything feels very secure and safe. Even when you’re crawling through dense brush or up a steep climb, you never feel like you’re going to lose anything.
The Fjallraven haversack uses a fabric called G-1000, which is a poly-cotton waterproof and wind-resistant fabric that’s more lightweight than canvas. You can use Greenland Wax on it to increase its waterproofing. Just be sure to make sure you really work it in, so it doesn’t rub off on your jacket. You can adjust the shoulder strap to keep it closer to your back or let it hang loosely by your side.
VERDICT: This smaller haversack is made with a bushcrafter in mind but still looks great if you wear it on your commute. This is a great bushcraft bag to hold your most important hand tools and a waterproof jacket, along with some snacks and anything else you can fit in.
The Hidden Woodsmen Haversack
- WEIGHT: 1.05 lb / 0.47 kg
- MATERIAL: 1000D Polyester
When you like the idea of an old-school style haversack but want a more modern version, then look no further than the Hidden Woodsmen Haversack. This is a stylish digitally camouflaged 100D polyester carry bag with a nice wide opening and a large interior for carrying your equipment or for filling up wild edibles when out foraging.
The digital style camouflage may mean you will lose your bag easily if you place it down, but don’t fear, as the inside is a very bright orange that is very easy to spot. The inside of the bag can be used for signaling if you are in an emergency. However, I believe it is intended for hunting purposes, hence the camouflage.
It comes with a fully adjustable and padded shoulder strap and, importantly – two clip fasteners to secure the flap of your bag and stop anything inside from falling out. There are some additional side straps for hanging the haversack or attaching more to it, increasing the flexibility of the bag.
VERDICT: This is similar to the Campcraft Outdoors Haversack. However, this is a more modern version made with lighter water-resistant polyester instead of waxed canvas and has two fasteners that enable you to secure your bag. This is one of the best bushcraft haversacks for hunter-gatherers and is ideal for heading out on excursions away from camp.
Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Haversack Bag
- WEIGHT: 1.1 lb /0.5 kg
- MATERIAL: Nylon
While some haversacks aim to be a simple large space that hangs off your shoulder for carrying general things, others aim to provide far more, like the Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Haversack Bag. This medium-sized haversack has been designed for people who like to keep everything very well organized and accessible. It’s a very adaptable design that clearly was intended for many different uses and will fit small hatchets or even trekking poles.
There is a larger open compartment for carrying larger items, along with smaller zippered sleeve pockets for keeping your headtorch or toiletries. There is a second front pocket space with added compartments to hold smaller items securely too. There are additional straps on either end of the bag that allow you to attach or secure items, like a machete, a hatchet, or a camera tripod. The main flap folds over and is secured by a British-style fastening system.
VERDICT: The Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Haversack Bag is one of the most highly organized bags to take out into the woods. It has the most external attachment points for tools which are perfect for hatchets and knives so that you have them to hand when you need them. Its durable fabric makes it hard to wear out, and the color is perfectly suited to blend into the landscape.
Rothco Canvas Map Case Crossbody Shoulder Bag
- WEIGHT: 1 lb / 0.45 kg
- MATERIAL: Cotton Canvas
The Rothco Canvas Map Case Crossbody Shoulder bag is a military haversack made with modern cotton canvas. This is a simply designed bushcraft bag aimed at surviving the roughest environments possible. It can be waxed to improve water resistance and can hold a massive amount of weight.
Made from cotton canvas, this bushcraft satchel is comprised of one large pocket space common on all haversacks and is complemented with a smaller pocket under the front flap with a pen, pencil, flashlight, or pocketknife holder too. It comes in four colors (olive, light and dark brown, and navy blue) and has snap button fasteners on the front flap. The main selling point here is it’s made with high-quality and durable materials and stitching.
VERDICT: There is no doubt the people at Rothco have produced a very durable haversack for use in any condition, from the thick Panamanian jungle to the NYC subway, that will last you for many years. It’s a great day pack for equipment, clothes, or survival gear and really is designed for people who like to hit life fast and hard and need a bag that can keep up with them.
Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Line Bushcraft Satchel
- WEIGHT: 1.06 lb / 0.5 kg
- MATERIAL: Cordura 500D
The Helikon-Tex Bushcraft Line Bushcraft Satchel has taken the classic haversack design and flipped it on its head. This model, the larger Bushcraft Sachet, is designed for rugged outdoor use as a day bag that will keep everything you may need in its place by use of multiple pockets, sheaths, and compartments.
The Bushcraft Satchel by Helikon-Tex has a large main pocket, as all the best bushcraft haversacks do, but it does away with the standard flap and uses a large heavy-duty zipper instead. This has been extended up the shoulder straps to provide a very wide and accessible pocket. Inside are more compartments to hold water bottles or camera equipment in place as you move.
There are additional sheaths and attachments on the outside for knives, hatchets, or tripods, along with a heavy-duty shoulder strap with quick-release buckles.
VERDICT: One look at this satchel, and it is clear this is one of the best bushcraft haversacks for being out in the field on the market. If you hunt, hike, fish, or just ramble about the woods – then this is the haversack designed for you. It will last a long time, has the flexible ability to carry more equipment if needed, and simply won’t let you down when you are far from home.
FJÄLLRÄVEN Greenland Pocket
- WEIGHT: 0.37 lb / 0.17 kg
- MATERIAL: G-1000 HeavvyDuty Eco S
Another entry from Fjallraven, the Greenland Pocket is much smaller and a little more stylish than the larger Greenland Shoulder bag listed above. In fact, these two haversacks are quite far from each other in design, with the Greenland Pocket bag clearly designed to be a small carry bag that holds only the essentials.
It is good for keeping your pockets empty by storing your phone, knife, wallet, keys, bottle of water, and any other valuable items. I personally find a little too much like a handbag, but in Europe, I think it’s ok. Still, the quality is up there with the best of the best bushcraft haversacks.
The Fjallraven Greenland Pocket comes in a range of colors to choose from and is a simple and small single-pocket haversack with a single snap button on the flap for security. The main pocket has a zipper to ensure nothing comes out and some internal flap pockets to keep things a little organized.
VERDICT: This is aimed at being a more sturdy and durable handbag or general-use bag replacement. It’s not really a bag you would head out into the thick forest with and expect to carry or hold much – but more of a well-made day bag for holding makeup, glasses, and a book. The stylish colors and double layer of security with the zip and button make this a great urban accessory bag.
Komal’s Passion Leather 11-Inch Sturdy Leather Satchel
- WEIGHT: 1.9 lb / 0.75 kg
- MATERIAL: Full-grain leather, canvas
Taking a more old-school approach, the Komal’s Passion Leather 11-Inch Sturdy Leather Satchel is a classic design that harks back to yesteryear. This messenger satchel is very elegant and classy and has been designed this way to be more for urban use than for use in a deep forest far away. The thick leather provides plenty of durability and only looks better the more it is used, according to Komals.
It’s made from full-grained leather, almost fully with straps for securing and the shoulder strap, along with the main bag being leather. It has one large pocket compartment that is lined with canvas for even more durability, with dividers inside and another smaller pocket on the front. The straps are all secured with metal buckles, and a zipper secures a third pocket on the backside of the bag.
VERDICT: This haversack is designed with a classic bushcraft style and is ideal for taking camping or on a day hike. The leather is thick and durable, like that on your hiking boots, and perfect for keeping your bushcraft tools and anything else in. If you work in the city for five days a week and just head out to the woods on weekends, this is a haversack you can use for both.
Guide to Bushcraft Haversacks
It’s always important to arm yourself with the best knowledge about a product before heading out to buy one. Here are some of the different things to look for in a bushcraft haversack:
A classic haversack was originally made with a heavy-duty canvas that was treated with wax to increase its water resistance. Leather was also used, but generally for the messenger bag style, which protects documents. Today, both nylon and polyester are also used as they are lighter and cheaper than canvas, but tend to hold up the same over time and use. Any of these materials are suitable for a haversack, but the heavier duty they are, the longer they will last.
Haversacks are designed for day use and are almost always sized within reason. A bigger one can hold more equipment or foraged food, while smaller ones are more suitable for a short hike or the urban environment. The size of the haversack really will depend on what you intend to primarily use it for, but in general, it is not designed for big and heavy items. Expect to get around 10 – 20 liters of internal space.
A classic design has one large pocket compartment with a flap. Sturdy and flexible for sure, but sometimes hard to find things if you carry a lot. More modern designs have compartments within the main pocket, side or front pockets, or even internal pockets. This style allows you to keep everything more organized while being quickly accessible.
Haversack bags have a single shoulder strap, most are adjustable with a buckle, and some have additional padding for extra heavy loads. It’s important to make sure if you intend on carrying heavier items that, you have a wider padded strap. You can wear the strap across your chest for security or over one shoulder if you’re just along a trail.
Not all the bags have the ability to be secured shut. Some just have flaps that cover that single main pocket and are more sued for foraging or carrying equipment. Others have a single or double button that will simply keep the flap down and are useful when carrying more expensive equipment like a camera. Some have both buttons and a zip and as well as smaller secure pockets inside for valuables.
As a haversack traditionally was used outdoors regardless of the weather, they are almost all water-resistant. Some are resistant to rain, while others will keep your things dry in a thunderstorm. Wax on canvas or treated polyester are the most common forms of waterproofing, and the level required depends on how much you intend to be hanging out in bad weather.
What Is a Haversack?
A haversack is a type of single-strap bag used to carry personal items when outdoors and serves a number of purposes. They will protect what’s inside and often have some organizational pockets to keep your most valuable tools separated and accessible. They are ideal when you need constant access as you don’t have to take them off to use them, unlike a backpack for bushccraft. They are sturdy, durable, water-resistant, and flexible.
What Is a Haversack Used for (what Do You Carry in A Haversack?)
Haversacks have been around for a long time and are used for a variety of things. Traditionally the military used them for ammunition carriage and for medics and their first aid kits, which can be used while still being worn. Postmen also used a variation for carrying mail across the country along with explorers, hunters, and foragers.
Today, they can be used to carry equipment for living in the wilderness, foraging foods from the forest, and carrying medical or camping equipment. Here is a list of the essential items I carry in my haversack:
- Water bottle
- Water Filter
- Power bank and charging cables
- Basic first aid kit: bandage, band-aids, blister patch, steri-strips, and anti-bac wipes
I then add in a few extra items depending on the situation. For example, I may take a hatchet or folding saw if I was out to collect firewood, a bushcraft pot for boiling water and cooking, or some rope if I was on steep terrain. I normally just hang my jacket over the strap if I’m not wearing it (instead of packing it inside the haversack).
Benefits of Using a Haversack for Bushcraft?
A haversack is absolutely perfect for bushcraft, and here are the reasons why:
You can pack a haversack inside a larger backpack very easily when tracking with all your gear. But once you have made a camp, you don’t really want to carry a big backpack everywhere on little excursions away from camp. A haversack is ideal for short trips like you would make down to a water source to check on animal traps or climb to a vantage point and get the lay of the land.
Unlike a backpack, which you have to take off if you want to get inside, a haversack can be accessed without having to remove it. You simply slide it around to your side, and you have all of your most important tools at arm’s reach. This is useful if you need fast access as well as if you need constant access.
Two times this can be useful for bushcrafters is if you are foraging and need to constantly feed things into your bag like foraging, or if you happen upon an opportunity that requires a fast response, like hunting.
Haversacks are made from durable materials so that if you throw them on the floor a thousand times, it isn’t going to be unusable. while backpacks are pretty discreet and out of the way, haversacks have a tendency to sit to the side a little, which does expose them to more abrasions and rubbing against rocks, etc. Also, having a bunch of sharp tools inside a bag can lead to punctures and tears, but haversacks tend to hold up very well.
Above all else, haversacks are just incredibly useful to have with you when you’re out in the woods. You can protect things in them, carry all your essentials without having bulging pockets or a heavy waistbelt, store things, organize things, and so much more.
The large flap and pocket opening allow for easily placing items into and taking them out of the bag while still protecting the inside from the rain. They are a great personal bag that will protect your belongings and essentials almost anywhere.
What Is the Difference Between a Backpack and A Haversack?
The difference between and backpack and a haversack is that a backpack has two straps and I designed to be fully worn on your back, while a haversack has a single strap and can be worn front, back, or on the side. A backpack has to be taken off to access what’s inside, whereas a haversack does not, making it quicker to access.
Backpacks are designed for healing all your gear while haversacks or for lightweight day trips and short excursions.
What Is the Difference Between a Satchel and A Haversack?
A satchel and a haversack are the same things, but a satchel is a specific design that is squarer and often a bit larger. Satchels have been designed more to carry books, vinyl records, or laptops rather than for living out in the forest. A satchel is a style of the haversack.
What Is the Difference Between a Messenger Bag and A Haversack?
The difference between them is similar to the satchel. A messenger bag is a haversack, but one of a different design. Messenger bags are thinner and are designed for documents or even artwork to be carried instead of books like the satchel or general equipment like a larger canvas bag. Messenger bags are often used by postmen and women to deliver mail on foot.
How Do You Wear a Haversack?
Haversacks are designed to be worn over a single shoulder and can be kept at the back, side, or front, depending on what’s more comfortable or if you need to access what’s inside. They can also be worn across the chest so that it sits on the opposite shoulder to the side it is sitting on. You may find that different situations call for the bag to be worn in different ways, so try them all and see what works best for you.
We hope this guide to the best bushcraft haversacks has been useful and we have covered all the questions you may have had. Feel free to leave your comments below or send us a message directly.