snapsack or knapsack
What are your opinions on using a snapsack vs knapsack? I want to portray a farmer/militia man living in the 96 district of the South Carolina back country during the French and Indian war/Cherokee war. From what I have read, militia men provided all of their own equipment so I don't want anything that would look like accoutrements issued by the king. I want a home spun look. What do you think John Q. Farmer would have made for himself to use?
Posts: 552 | Location: SC | Registered: 03 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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John Q Farmer would Have probably used a snapsack because it was readily available but easy to produce.

That being said, the next step up would probably have been the two strap snap sack. It was basically a snap sack with two shoulder straps. Steve Davis has a video on youtube e showing g his and why it's a good idea. It was probably a forerunner to the civilian knapsack.

I made my own canvas cloth knapsack out of 1 square yard of material and this include the straps as well. Tea stained it and added wooden buttons. Total cost was about $12 and perhaps two hours of labor.
Posts: 12 | Location: Delphi, Indiana | Registered: 17 October 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well the snapsack was very very well known to all of the folks in Europe and Britain, so you can't go wrong with one. You can also roll your blanket (or match coat) around the sack, and carry that snapsack fashion OR tumpline style.

The problem with them is they are single strap packs, which throws the weight onto only one shoulder, when not carrying the items tumpline fashion.

Some folks are calling these days a two strap snap sack what is a German Rucksack (and very similar to some rucksacks used today) which is also documented as a French Havresack. Scroll down to the illustrations and it's marked B. Now the Germans tend to use a square bottom, cloth sack, and attach the lower parts of the straps with buttons, but in both the top is cinched closed with a leather tie that also holds the tops of the straps. These work quite well, and you can roll up your blanket or match coat and fasten it to the strap buttons too.

There is a very good blog, A Woodsrunner's Diary that does a good job at providing solid documentation for 18th century material culture and skills. Here is an article on

Dutch Pack in 17th century. Here is one on Snapsack making. Here's information on Civilian Knapsacks.


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Posts: 3843 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Going with a knapsack design in heavy linen. Should have it finished soon.
Posts: 552 | Location: SC | Registered: 03 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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