This post is looking at two different load-bearing setups I’ve experimented with over the course of a year, using the same kit in two very different applications.
At the core of this is the war-belt, also known as a battle-belt. This padded belt traditionally integrated into a soldier’s load bearing system. It carries rifle magazines, first aid kits, and all manner of necessary equipment when on patrol overseas or in any number of dangerous environments. However, the war-belt has found a life independent from the drop-loads, chest-rigs, plate-carriers, and assault-packs involved in a complete system.
Tatonka’s Lastenkraxe is one of the most robust and well built frame packs currently on the market. I’ve taken my Lastenkraxe pack on several trips, both for short hikes and multi-day trips. This is the video review I put together on my last trip out:
The Lastenkraxe is substantially more robust than some of the other frame packs I’ve handled, using a fixed step at the base of the pack. There are many mounting points to attach either the Tatonka pack, or any oddly shaped or oversized gear that necessitates the frame system.
I found the carry system to be really solid on this pack. As a lightly built person I will always choose a more adjustable pack over one that “fits most.” Tatonka uses the V2 system, which fits similarly to an eberlestock, but without the weight those packs are notorious for.
One of the major advantages of the Lastenkraxe that I go through in the video is the ability to stand the pack upright on its frame. Unlike many packs that lie flat or slump, the Lastenkraxe can be firmly planted and won’t topple over. I find this especially useful in the camp when I am often looking for something like a bin I can take things in and out of. I like to keep a tidy site, and gear spread all over is gear that could easily get left behind, so the lastenkraxe offers an almost laundry bin like ability to keep things easily organized.
Rather than having to unzip and delve into pockets, the Lastenkraxe has a simple fold down top that covers the pack, but keeps it easy to get into and out.
If there is a short-coming of this pack, its that same lack of organizational pockets. There is one large bucket, and then three midsized flaps on the outside of the pack. But those exterior pockets don’t fasten shut, and there’s very little organization for smaller things.
Personally I use those external pockets to carry long items like axes or tripods that are good to have accessible and would be awkward to store inside, but I can see why some people might want more options when it comes to small compartments.
The Lastenkraxe will definitely stay on as my go-to heavy pack for years to come.
My lovely girlfriend Jessica is not an outdoorsy person. But she is interested, willing to learn, and has already proven herself as a capable shot with my handguns and rifles.
I on the other-hand consider myself a dedicated outdoors person. Its not uncommon for me to camp alone, earlier and later in the season than most people, and with only the necessities of equipment.
At the end of August we went into the badlands of Drumheller to hike and spend the night. I thought I’d ease her into the experience by staying in a structured camp-ground where we could park the car and would have a fire pit. I have to confess that I have always considered this sort of camping cheating: where 90% of your home comforts come with you and there’s a convenience store 20 minutes down the road to cover that last 10%.