Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘Rucksacks’

Archival Update: Canvas Duck Rucksacks

February 16th, 2012

We’re releasing our Canvas Duck Rucksack in new colors including black, navy and olive.

Archival family of bags




While we do love our waxed cotton twill, we introduced an unwaxed version of our Archival Rucksack as a more affordable alternative. These rucksacks are made of a sturdy #8 cotton duck (18 ounce). Aside from the change in fabric, these are identical to our classic Waxed Twill Rucksacks made in our Springfield, Oregon workshop.

Shopping from 1939: Abercrombie and Fitch

November 10th, 2011

Here are excerpts from my favorite vintage Abercrombie and Fitch catalog from 1939. During this era, Abercromie & Fitch field jackets and outdoor clothing showed a tailored, British influence. Many of the garments came in dress fabrics like high count cotton poplin or wool gabardine. The catalog contains sections for both men and women. While identified as a high end outdoor clothier, A & F offered practical, stylish clothing that could be worn at camp or for home chores. Many of the garments, especially the denim outfits, could easily be adapted for modern wear.

Should you wish to make a purchase, I’ve reprinted the original order form which should be mailed to the Madison Avenue address post dated 1939.

Shopping from the past: Kletterwerks

July 6th, 2011

I’ve been a rabid Dana Designs fan since I started climbing in the early 1990s. I have a late 1980s Bomb Pack for which I traded a beloved Lowe Contour Mtn. 40 (another all-time favorite pack), and I also have a Hoodoo Spire which has seen serious use as a day hiker.

I was lucky enough to pick up a nearly mint condition Kletterwerks pack at a recent estate sale. It’s the clear precursor to my Dana Bomb pack – a tall and narrow toploader, with a trim profile and excellent load cinching abilities.

Also, it was designed by the same person – Dana Gleason founded Kletterwerks in 1975, Dana Designs in 1985, and is now at the helm of Mystery Ranch.

I’m excited to use the Kletterwerks pack. It’s super lightweight, being completely frameless in the vein of a Jensen/Rivendell. I’ll be sliding a piece of closed-cell foam in the back panel pocket and hitting the trail this weekend. Since you might not be able to come along, here are a few more Kletterwerks packs I’ve skimmed off of the internet.

Shopping from the Past: Poirier Pack Sacks

March 31st, 2011

The auction for an original Poirier pack sack from 1882 continues on ebay. The buy it now price has been reduced from six figures to a reasonable $44,000. If that price seems steep, consider ordering a 1918 edition of the same basic bag directly from the Poirier Tent & Awning Co. “For motor or hike, it’s equally serviceable, commodious and dependable.” If you send away for Pack Sack literature, inquire about the fur-lined sleeping bags. I would love to see photographs and reprint a reader’s field review.

Archival Update: Black Rucksacks in Stock

October 6th, 2010

Terry, our local sewer, just delivered a stunning, ebony batch of Archival Clothing rucksacks. For this round of waxed twill bags, we sourced elegant, black Horween aniline chromexcel leather for a modern, monochrome look.* We also modified the strap adjustment system to accommodate a wider size range of users. Since Tom is now operating out of Brooklyn, Sara has taken over the work of stamping each individual rucksack strap keeper. Look for her handiwork as well on our future production run of field bags.

Rucksacks in ranger tan, olive and gray can be purchased from our web shop or via our retailers.

Send email inquiries about our product offerings to

*Our signature red bar tacking remains.

Archival Update: A.C. Ruckack in Olive Twill

September 11th, 2010
Archival Clothing Rucksack in 22 oz waxed olive twill

We now offer our Archival Clothing Rucksack in a nice, deep shade of olive. The waxed filter twill fabric used for all of our rucksacks is woven, dyed and finished by Fairfield Textiles in Bridgeton, New Jersey. In case you missed the original product announcement, here is a summary of the rucksack’s features. Gray, tan and olive rucksacks are now in stock. Black rucksacks will be available at the end of September.

Archival Clothing Rucksack in 22 oz waxed olive twill

If you wish to inspect our rucksacks in person, visit one of the following stockists:

Winn Perry (Portland, Oregon)

Best Made Company (New York)

Benson Outiftters (U.K.)

On Y Va (Switzerland)

Social Outcast (Japan)

You may also order directly from the Archival Clothing web shop.

Archival Update

July 3rd, 2010
Archival Rucksack in gray waxed twill

Driveway delivery

Archival Clothing has been busy with projects this summer. Here are a few updates.

On Saturday, we picked up our second production run of rucksacks from our terrific sewing contractor, Terry Shuck. While neighbors were setting off daylight fireworks, we were indoors packing bags and filling out customs forms for our many international orders.

Tom prepping bags for wrapping and boxing

Hall o’ rucksacks

In addition to rucksacks, we will have a new shipment of flap musettes in our standard colors–plus black and gray–available in two weeks. We will also be bringing out an all black version of our tote bag.

We have a new Archival bag style–an updated field bag–in the works. Terry is currently prototyping Tom’s design and we should have our first production run available sometime in August. More on this project in a future post.

While not preparing for his move to New York, Tom has been working out of the Archival bonus room. He’s managing our expanding supply line of waxed cotton fabric, leather, webbing, thread and hardware. We’ve reordered new hides from Horween, and have started the process of having cotton webbing custom woven for us at a Pennsylvania narrow fabrics mill. In addition to designing our bags, Tom is contributing many of the finishing details on our bags–hand cutting all of the leather straps for the rucksacks and individually numbering the leather strap retainers (rucksacks) and leather tabs (flap musettes).

We’re committed to sourcing as many of our material supplies–and third party products–from US manufacturers. There are a few challenges to this approach. Many vendors have very high minimums, difficult for small manufacturers who aren’t making 10,000 bags at a time. Other vendors list products for sale when they’re in fact back ordered through the winter.

Of course, our own bags are made here in Springfield, Oregon. It’s terrific to be able to talk with Terry whenever there’s a question about production. If we were making our bags overseas, we’re sure that we’d have 100 bags with a tragic, unsaleable flaw.

New Horween samples

A few other projects are in the works. We’ll be placing our order for Archival Clothing shawl collared cardigans from Centralia Knitting Mills – expect to see them for sale in October. We’re also making progress on our bandanna project, though finding appropriate fabric that’s made in the USA is proving to be a challenge. Our friends at Lumina Clothing are giving us a hand, and we hope to make some leaps on the project this month. We’ve gotten some press recently, as well, from Selectism to, believe it or not, Lucky Magazine! We were also delighted to see Archival buddy Peter Buchanan-Smith’s profile in the Times (and thankful that he mentioned us).

Finally, our web shop, at long last, will open for business this week. We’ll be carrying our own bags, of course, as well as some of our favorite items from other producers, such as Saint James tops and scarves, Chester Wallace bags, and cuffs from BillyKirk.

Saint James cotton scarf

Archival Update: Rucksacks Available

May 24th, 2010

We’re happy to present our latest bag model: the Rucksack. Made in Springfield, Oregon, USA, from 22-ounce Waxwear waxed cotton twill, brass hardware, military-spec cotton webbing, and Horween Chromexcel leather. Practical and free of complications, we’re confident that our Rucksack will equal or exceed any other rucksack available in function, durability, comfort, and long-term value.

1 – Lightly padded back panel provides overall structure and protection from awkward cargo. Pack rides closely and load does not sag.
2 – Shoulder straps attach into side seam, curving straps around body for comfort.
3 – Twin outer bellows pockets are easy to access and are nicely sized for smaller personal items.
4 – Single Horween Chromexcel leather strap is light, durable, and convenient.
5 – Dimension is taller and narrower. Loads carry best in this configuration.
6 – Drawstring around top opening keeps load secure and further prevents bag flopping.
7 – Two inch wide webbing shoulder straps are perfectly comfortable for loads up to 25 or 30 pounds.
8 – Convenient locker loop.
9 – Double-layered bottom ensures a long life.
10 – Fully finished inside and out. Seams fully bound in our own waxed canvas bias tape. Stress points are bar-tacked or riveted. Snaps and rivets are reinforced with leather washers.

A limited number of our Rucksacks, in Ranger Tan or Black, are available immediately. The cost is $240 + $16 shipping (in the lower 48). Act quickly, as there are few bags remaining. Please email to reserve your bag, or to inquire about international shipping.

Rucksack Round-up

May 19th, 2010

Early next week, we’ll announce the release of our very own Archival Clothing Rucksack. Let’s take this opportunity to round up two historical examples to compare and contrast with our own. We designed our Rucksack as a synthesis of a classic canoe pack (in the Poirier/Duluth style) and the box-style Yucca pack used by the Boy Scouts. The general design and materials of these packs are wonderful, but there were a few key issues that we were eager to address in our version.

That’s me, with my Frost River Woodsman pack – a classic Duluth-style pack. Some problems are immediately apparent:
1 – Un-reinforced back panel – just a single layer of canvas. Bag lacks structure and flops when loaded. Cannot stand up on its own. Rigid items in pack dig into wearer’s back.
2 – Shoulder straps attach to back panel. Straps can’t bend around body, so dig into wearer’s back.
3 – Tump line buckles – unnecessary for daily use, dig into back.
4 – No hang loop – hard to carry pack with one hand or hang on a hook.
5 – Lack of useful and accessible pockets.
6 – Two roller buckles mean two actions every time user wants to open pack.
7 – Inside, the bag is unfinished – seams are left raw, so fabric edges unravel with time. Finish quality is functional, but crude.

Duluth packs were designed to be packed with a folded blanket to act as a padded back panel, and to spend most of their life in the bow of a canoe, not on a back. They’re wonderful for those purposes, but are challenging to use in a day-to-day setting.

That’s Lesli with her Filson Rucksack. It’s a beautiful object, but again, there are some limitations.
1 – Overall short and squat shape is awkward to load and is ungainly. Does not ride closely to back.
2 – Narrow shoulder straps dig into shoulders with even moderately heavy loads. Metal hardware on shoulder yoke digs into back. Unnecessary and abrasive.
3 – Redundant closure – a flap, two buckles, and a zipper – make for a lot of work to get in and out. Bag does not stay open for loading.
4 – Bellows pockets are useful, but not covered by the main flap. Even when snapped shut, rain can get in. Main straps interfere with loading smaller pockets.
5 – Unpadded back panel means many of the same problems listed above, though mitigated by use of heavy twill.
6 – Abundant use of heavy twill, bridle leather and brass mean that the bag is very heavy and bulky, even when unpacked.

Don’t get us wrong – the Filson rucksack is gorgeous, like most of their luggage (Passage Line not included). It’s just so overbuilt that we wondered if we could get the same level of durability while reducing bulk and weight and improving the fit.

At the end of the day, we had the goal of producing a pack that, during real-time use, would retain the gloriously boxy profile of the magazine shot.

Our results to be announced soon…