SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"
SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"

Over the last 4 years, KommandoStore has grown to become the preeminent US importer of South African pattern 83 equipment. Thanks to excellent on-the-ground connections and several long standing business relationships, we have consistently pulled off the impossible---importing large quantities of rare and desirable Pattern 83 equipment.


All of that said, the one thing we did not expect was the Pattern 83 Field Pack. In all of our poking around the nooks and crannies of South Africa, we have never found the largest part of the Pattern 83 system in any significant quantity. Over the last several years, we have even gone as far as contacting original manufacturers of the Grootsak and begging for reproductions...

So it is with great pleasure that I introduce our inaugural shipment of the Pattern 83 Field Packs. The only ones of their kind in the US, rescued from a dusty shipping container, long forgotten by the SADF... 

The P83 Rucksack, colloquially known as the grootsak (“big bag” in Afrikaans), certainly lives up to its name. It is technically a Bergen Rucksack, an alpine-style bag popularized by the British SAS. If a mountain bag seems far from home in desert warfare, well you'd be right. During the Border Wars the SADF had a habit of judging equipment by usefulness. Not by how pretty it looked, not where it came from, or who used it. If it was effective the SADF would take it---from Chicom rigs, which inspired the whole P83 system to all kinds of Mad Max style technicals and mine resistant vehicles.

The
Grootsak fits neatly into this practical mindset, a large comfortable bag suitable for long range patrols---but equally fast into action. Notably, it is the first bag of it's kind designed specifically to be worn with a chest rig. 

While the Pattern 83 Battlejacket was intended for those brief, high-speed, hide and seek operations, the Pattern 83 Rucksack/Chest Rig combo specializes in long-term patrols, sometimes lasting multiple weeks. The spacious bag allows the soldier to carry 8 Liters of water along with a full complement of food, ammunition and equipment. In practical use, the SADF often hiked in their own mortars... 

Despite it's large size the Grootsak was highly innovative. Equally at home with foot soldiers and motorized troops, the bag features a unique quick detach buckle far ahead of it's time. In the close contact, ambush warfare so characteristic of the Border War---this allowed the SADF soldier to transition from ruck march to firefight far faster than a similarly equipped opponent. This was the genius of the Pattern 83 Field Pack/Chest Rig system. Every soldier was always ready for rapid movement and counterattack.

An emphasis on storage and durability makes the P83 rucksack a strong contender for long outdoor hikes, rough-and-tumble camping trips, and even just daily use as a high-quality travel bag.
Its 77-liter capacity allowed SADF forces to deploy with authority---literally carrying everything into battle. 

While all grootsaks were originally issued with a metal frame designed to aid paratroopers, many soldiers removed it to lighten the pack and improve comfort. This field modification became so popular that most packs were stripped in the field, and eventually bags were issued without the frame to all but airborne soldiers.

 

Specs

  • Durable Nutria Brown Cordura nylon
  • Top compartment, bottom compartment, and four side compartments 
  • 70L main compartment, 77-liter overall capacity
  • 3.14lb unloaded with a maximum recommended weight of 77 pounds (Note that this is for your comfort, the bag can take quite a bit more in a pinch.)
  • Top compartment for lightweight items such as extra clothing, wet weather gear, etc.
  • Bottom compartment for heavy weight items such as rations, ammo, boots, etc.
  • 4 side compartments designed for SADF 2 litre canteens but can be used for other items
  • Rain flap with document pouch
  • “Caterpillar type” padded back designed to conform to your body and provide even airflow across the entire back.
  • Adjustable quick-release waist buckle and chest strap
  • Designed for simultaneous wear with the P83 Chest Rig and (occasionally) P83 Battle Jacket 

     

    Condition Guide

    Like-New

    • The item has been used, but remains in like-new condition. Suitable for discerning collectors and for use as a high quality master reference.

    Excellent 

    • Some small decernable signs of being used that would rule out "like new" condition. Otherwise perfect functional and aesthetic condition.
    • Signs of use may include subtle internal/external markings, such as rank, unit, or soldier serial number.

    Great

    • Perfect functional condition with only minor cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use---lightly used and well cared for.
    • The item may show more noticeable internal/external writing, such as rank, serial numbers, etc.

    Good

    • Clear cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use that have not compromised functionality. Essentially, normal equipment used within normal parameters.
    • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.

    Serviceable 

    • More significant cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use that have not compromised functionality. Serviceable items have a rougher aesthetic condition but are unequivocally field-ready.
    • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.

    Battle-Damaged 

    • Significant cosmetic blemishes, abrasion, or other signs of use that have compromised functionality in some way. We have higher standards here---most battle-damaged items can be easily repaired with a new buckle, minor sewing, etc.
    • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.


    Note: A “+” following any of these conditions indicates the product has also been freshly laundered.

    Instructions

    Featured here we have the original SADF field manual containing adjustment, handling and maintenance information on all P83 equipment. This can be viewed here. Field Pack usage information can be found on pages A5, A18-A22, and A47-A52.

    SADF Pattern 83 Field Pack, "Grootsak"

    Rated 4.8 out of 5
    5 Reviews
    Regular price
    $194.99
    Sale price
    $194.99

    Over the last 4 years, KommandoStore has grown to become the preeminent US importer of South African pattern 83 equipment. Thanks to excellent on-the-ground connections and several long standing business relationships, we have consistently pulled off the impossible---importing large quantities of rare and desirable Pattern 83 equipment.


    All of that said, the one thing we did not expect was the Pattern 83 Field Pack. In all of our poking around the nooks and crannies of South Africa, we have never found the largest part of the Pattern 83 system in any significant quantity. Over the last several years, we have even gone as far as contacting original manufacturers of the Grootsak and begging for reproductions...

    So it is with great pleasure that I introduce our inaugural shipment of the Pattern 83 Field Packs. The only ones of their kind in the US, rescued from a dusty shipping container, long forgotten by the SADF... 

    The P83 Rucksack, colloquially known as the grootsak (“big bag” in Afrikaans), certainly lives up to its name. It is technically a Bergen Rucksack, an alpine-style bag popularized by the British SAS. If a mountain bag seems far from home in desert warfare, well you'd be right. During the Border Wars the SADF had a habit of judging equipment by usefulness. Not by how pretty it looked, not where it came from, or who used it. If it was effective the SADF would take it---from Chicom rigs, which inspired the whole P83 system to all kinds of Mad Max style technicals and mine resistant vehicles.

    The
    Grootsak fits neatly into this practical mindset, a large comfortable bag suitable for long range patrols---but equally fast into action. Notably, it is the first bag of it's kind designed specifically to be worn with a chest rig. 

    While the Pattern 83 Battlejacket was intended for those brief, high-speed, hide and seek operations, the Pattern 83 Rucksack/Chest Rig combo specializes in long-term patrols, sometimes lasting multiple weeks. The spacious bag allows the soldier to carry 8 Liters of water along with a full complement of food, ammunition and equipment. In practical use, the SADF often hiked in their own mortars... 

    Despite it's large size the Grootsak was highly innovative. Equally at home with foot soldiers and motorized troops, the bag features a unique quick detach buckle far ahead of it's time. In the close contact, ambush warfare so characteristic of the Border War---this allowed the SADF soldier to transition from ruck march to firefight far faster than a similarly equipped opponent. This was the genius of the Pattern 83 Field Pack/Chest Rig system. Every soldier was always ready for rapid movement and counterattack.

    An emphasis on storage and durability makes the P83 rucksack a strong contender for long outdoor hikes, rough-and-tumble camping trips, and even just daily use as a high-quality travel bag.
    Its 77-liter capacity allowed SADF forces to deploy with authority---literally carrying everything into battle. 

    While all grootsaks were originally issued with a metal frame designed to aid paratroopers, many soldiers removed it to lighten the pack and improve comfort. This field modification became so popular that most packs were stripped in the field, and eventually bags were issued without the frame to all but airborne soldiers.

     

    Specs

    • Durable Nutria Brown Cordura nylon
    • Top compartment, bottom compartment, and four side compartments 
    • 70L main compartment, 77-liter overall capacity
    • 3.14lb unloaded with a maximum recommended weight of 77 pounds (Note that this is for your comfort, the bag can take quite a bit more in a pinch.)
    • Top compartment for lightweight items such as extra clothing, wet weather gear, etc.
    • Bottom compartment for heavy weight items such as rations, ammo, boots, etc.
    • 4 side compartments designed for SADF 2 litre canteens but can be used for other items
    • Rain flap with document pouch
    • “Caterpillar type” padded back designed to conform to your body and provide even airflow across the entire back.
    • Adjustable quick-release waist buckle and chest strap
    • Designed for simultaneous wear with the P83 Chest Rig and (occasionally) P83 Battle Jacket 

       

      Condition Guide

      Like-New

      • The item has been used, but remains in like-new condition. Suitable for discerning collectors and for use as a high quality master reference.

      Excellent 

      • Some small decernable signs of being used that would rule out "like new" condition. Otherwise perfect functional and aesthetic condition.
      • Signs of use may include subtle internal/external markings, such as rank, unit, or soldier serial number.

      Great

      • Perfect functional condition with only minor cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use---lightly used and well cared for.
      • The item may show more noticeable internal/external writing, such as rank, serial numbers, etc.

      Good

      • Clear cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use that have not compromised functionality. Essentially, normal equipment used within normal parameters.
      • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.

      Serviceable 

      • More significant cosmetic blemishes, abrasions, or other signs of use that have not compromised functionality. Serviceable items have a rougher aesthetic condition but are unequivocally field-ready.
      • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.

      Battle-Damaged 

      • Significant cosmetic blemishes, abrasion, or other signs of use that have compromised functionality in some way. We have higher standards here---most battle-damaged items can be easily repaired with a new buckle, minor sewing, etc.
      • The item may exhibit clear internal/external writing. This may include rank, serial numbers, etc.


      Note: A “+” following any of these conditions indicates the product has also been freshly laundered.

      Instructions

      Featured here we have the original SADF field manual containing adjustment, handling and maintenance information on all P83 equipment. This can be viewed here. Field Pack usage information can be found on pages A5, A18-A22, and A47-A52.

      average rating 4.8 out of 5
      Based on 5 reviews
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      100% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
      Utility
      Rated 5 out of 5
      Performance
      Rated 4 out of 5
      Ergonomics
      Rated 4 out of 5
      5 Reviews
      Rated 5 out of 5
      Review posted

      I don't usually jump at expensive things on KS...

      ...But this is a proverbial unicorn, and I missed three chances for such a thing, and this one I was not gonna miss.

      As one user said, the zippers are fragile, I had one broken-off zipper handle, nothing some super glue and hobby epoxy can't fix.

      As for the size, it's huge. it's like wearing two rucksacks on your back at the same time. Oddly though, it actually wasn't bigger than my french rubberized dry bag, but it's close enough, it weighs lighter, and anything in a similar style would be significantly more expensive than this.

      I regret nothing.

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      Rated 5 out of 5
      Review posted

      POMB

      Simple design, easy to pack, sadf gear is the best

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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 5 out of 5
      Review posted

      Swell piece of kit

      The compartments are all quite spacious, including the one in the flap designed to hold maps, which could actually fit a MRE or two inside of it. The material is coarser and burlier than I was expecting, which is a good thing for a rough and tumble camping ruck, and the side pockets can easily fit several water bottles each. The straps sit comfortably on the shoulders when loaded up, and the caterpillar backing is firm but doesn't dig into your back. Only complaints I have is that if you're not using the sleeping-bag fastener straps, they tend to dangle and flail around, same goes for the generous length of the main back straps when you tighten them up, but this is basically a non-issue. The only lasting worry I have are the zippers, which feel a bit stiff and liable to go off-track. I was in the market for a 60L+ bag, and this fits the bill perfectly, as well as being a rare piece of kommando memorabilia for big LARP points.

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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 4 out of 5
      Review posted

      Good Bag

      The nylon fabric seems pretty tough, however, the zippers are old and brittle. I won't be surprised if they fail sooner rather than later. It is a good thing none of the zippers are in places where they will be put under stress. The plastic clips on the belts and the back aren't of the highest quality, but they will work.

      The hip belt quick release system is very interesting and, due to its lack of flexing parts, I think will suffer little wear with use. On top of the pack is a small pouch for a map and a much larger one running down the length of the entire flap. Plenty of space to store things like compasses and rain gear.

      Overall, an interesting collector's item. Is it the most effective rucking pack for the money? Probably not. Does it look cool? Definitely. I intend to use it for it for trekking and will post another review post-trip.

      P.S. What are the two loose straps on the top for? I thought from the product photos they would be handles for picking up the bag, but they aren't attached to anything????

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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 3 out of 5
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      Rated 4 out of 5
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      KommandoStore

      The Loose straps on top can be made into a carry handle, check out Page A52 in the P83 Service Manual (https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2602/7094/files/Pattern_83_Soldier_Manual.pdf?2903).

      Rated 5 out of 5
      Review posted

      Muy Bien

      I live in SA so I already have tons of these bags but just wanted to leave a review saying thanks for the manual, literally no one locally was willing to share a PDF of it, so thank you very much

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      Rated 5 out of 5
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      Rated 5 out of 5
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