I don’t know about you but I’ve often been disappointed with the quality of rucksacks made for the consumer market and particularly for fishing. Additionally, they never seem to take exactly what I want to carry.
Whilst in France last year I finally found what seemed to be perfect at a boot fair. It turned out to be an ex-French Army F2 rucksack. In fact, I’ve found it so good that I’ve subsequently bought a second one online! Do be careful though, the similar F1 model is smaller but not as versatile.
The F2 is exceptionally sturdy and well made plus it has a multitude of pockets of practical size. As a bonus it’s got a rubberised waterproof coating, although you may be unlucky and get a rather worn example.
Inside the large main compartment there’s a smaller one at the back that’s big enough for an A4 folder measuring 12 1/2 x 9ins (32 x 23cms) that holds my swim maps etc.
There are full height pockets on either side that are each big enough for 2 half litre flasks (2 smaller flasks mean that you’ve still got a hot drink when the first one is empty). These pockets are secured by two buckles rather than the normal one. As a guide these flasks are approx 9 1/2ins (24.5cms) high by 2 3/4ins (7cms) diameter and go in with room to spare.
In the other side pocket I have a small box containing a first aid kit, a bottle of alcohol gel, my polarised sunglasses in their case plus a pair of 8×42 binoculars, also in their case.
In the front compartment I keep a pocket bird guide on top of which goes a large sandwich box.
The main flap is extra long so that you can also get gear underneath it and so increase the capacity, with straps to secure this gear if needed. Internal rubberised flaps then protect the main compartment from the weather. The top flap also has 2 D rings to which you can add clips to attach more items. There are also more straps underneath to attach yet more gear – a roll up unhooking mat perhaps.
Although on the heavy side due to the very robust materials used, thick wide straps means it’s nice and comfortable to carry – unlike many fishing rucksacks! There’s a narrow outer pocket with a velcroed flap on the back (see the third picture) in which I’ve put a folded up plastic sheet that makes it even more comfortable, plus the sheet is useful to sit on if the ground is wet.
Last but not least there’s a strong webbing loop on the back to pick the rucksack up, plus a large D ring.
Obviously we’ll all be looking for something different in a rucksack, but for me and I suspect many of you this one will be perfect. I expect mine to much outlast poorer quality fishing rucksacks.
What’s more, they’re ridiculously good value at just £15 to £20 on eBay or in military surplus stores. However there’s a limited supply of them, which is why I bought a second one – for the wife you understand!