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As college freshman Joel Sheetz stood in line at the university book store, he realized it was time to retire the old backpack that had served him well in high school. For one thing, he was going to have to carry a lot more books, plus his laptop, not to mention some extra clothes and of course some snacks and energy drinks. But looking around at the crowd of preppies, hipsters and hippies, he realized he was going to have find a bag that you couldn't find at Target. Something that said, "Joel Sheetz...rugged individualist...ready for adventure...ready to tackle the world." He shared his dilemma with fellow student and good friend, Riley who was standing in line behind him.

"Dude, go to the Lemming." Riley said.

"What? The Lemming?"

"Yeah dude, you need to checkout LeapingLemming.com. They've got some sweet vintage military bags, jackets and stuff." Riley responded as he slurped the last of the foam from his mocha latté.

Joel thumbed in the url on his I-phone and within minutes, he found just what he needed--a former Czechoslovakian Army rucksack that screamed, "JOEL SHEETZ". He finished placing his order with the Lemming just as he stepped up to the register to pay for his books.

Joel turned back to Riley, "Dude, you were right, I guess I'm a lemming now."

"Joel, we're all lemmings in this college bookstore line, you're a Leaping Lemming...that's something different altogether." The oft philosophical Riley responded.


Well even though Joel scored one, the Lemming still has a one of these super cool ex-Czech army rucksack ready for repurpose as civilian backpack or book bag. This used pack is probably from the '60s or '70s and has been perfectly broken in and then been in storage for a few years. It is made of heavy-duty olive drab cotton canvas that is nicely faded. The pack is 18" (46cm) X 18" (46cm), expanding to over 5" (13cm) with two large 7" (18cm) X 7" (18cm) outside pockets. Inside the pack you'll find a divider creating two sections of cavernous space to store your laptop, books, clothes, etc. The bag closes with a drawstring while the top flap and two exterior pockets are secured by cinch straps. There are also lots of D rings and loops to latch on extra stuff. The shoulder straps feature a heavy-duty leather handle and the adjustable straps can be configured to attach to the back in many optional positions.

As mentioned this rucksack has some distress to it but is in sturdy shape ready to serve you. There is a dark stain (2" X 1.5") on the lower back side of the pack (see photo). We also found some surface rust on some of the metal hardware and some light rust stains on the fabric. The two straps that hold the two D rings that the top shoulder straps attached to have been replaced and repaired by the Czech military. We found no holes or other major issues.

Vintage Army Surplus Backpack - Rucksack - Canvas and Leather - Nicely Distressed


  • Vintage item from the 1950s
  • Materials: cotton canvas, leather
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 1045 reviews
  • Favorited by: 104 people