Question: Yes, here’s another one of my beginner questions. I’d like to thank all of you for your patience. You’ve given me a lot to think about with the help you’ve given to me previously, so I appreciate it.
This question has to do with pack baskets. I am at somewhat of a loss as to what people do with them and why they’re even necessary, with pack frames and backpacks being what they are. What exactly are pack baskets and why do people who enjoy bushcraft use them? Don’t they seem a little old-school to be out in the woods with? Aren’t there better options for gear storage? I think I might be suffering from my modern day era way of thinking, so that’s why I’m having difficulties wrapping my head around these products and ideas, so any help would be welcome. Thank you in advance. Again.
Answer: I know it seems strange to carry a basket on your back for those who haven’t ever done something like that, but I can tell you that pack baskets are worth their weight in gold. They also have a very long history, being dated back to nearly 900 B.C. I’ll give you some background and usage below.
Pack baskets have been and still are helpful to those who need to carry hunting and fishing supplies to the areas where they hunt and fish. It’s a great place to consolidate everything as opposed to having it hang out everywhere, possible losing pieces along the way. Baskets are also helpful for carrying back the game the hunter has killed as well as the fish the fisherman has caught. That’s not something they’d want to carry by hand.
Pack baskets can work by themselves, being attached to some rope and then hung over the shoulders or they can work in conjunction with a pack frame. Some outdoorsmen even place a basket inside of their rucksack in help it keep its shape. I was just watching a video last night where a hobbyist did just that. I’ll post the video below. In the video, the man said that his rucksack, although very high quality, oftentimes lost its rigidity and became annoying and cumbersome at the most inopportune of times. He was given a pack basket which held the bag open and he was able to fill that basket with all his gear. It fit perfectly and he was quite pleased with his setup.
Really, pack baskets are meant to protect a person from all of their pointy and sometimes sharp gear. Since they need this gear (traps, tools, axes, etc…) out in the field, the basket is used as somewhat of a bag or a container, yet has firm sides and a strong and durable exterior. They’re lightweight, so that’s not an issue and they also form right to the shape of a person’s back when filled to capacity. They’re also roomy, so I don’t see anyone using one and then not using one after the fact. They’re simply too convenient.
I’m not sure how much you’ve looking into this piece of equipment, but I can tell you that these things have traditionally been crafted from black ash or willow splints. In more modern times, they’re making them out of reed. These more rustic baskets are definitely geared towards the more “natural” outdoorsman who enjoys the “wooden” look. I like to go with ultra-modern myself and I like my gear made from strong nylon and fabrics like that. Even plastics are good with me. I’ve never been one to think the ash, willow or reed appearance was appealing. I hope this helps. Take a look at the video I referred to above.