Dutch army daypack

The Dutch army daypack aka KL daypack or KLu daypack is a small backpack but equipped with foam-padded shoulder straps like it is a full size backpack. The bag has a main compartment with an internal divider and two side pockets. The weigh is about 1,35 kg and measurements are 45 x 28 x 18cm for the main compartment and 7 x 15 x 25 cm for each of the side pockets. This gives the backpack a total volume of 28 liters. However, on online army shops and second hand trading websites the volume is very often stated as 35 liters. The outside contains two attaching belts for extra equipment like a water bottle or first aid pouch. These items can be attached with alice-clips, but also the old Dutch/British webbing system hooks.  This backpack was made during the 90’s in 3 colours; Woodland (Dutch DPM), Desert (Dutch CDU) and olive green. The olive green one was only issued to the Dutch Airforce (KLu) and therefore harder to find nowadays. Big advantage of this last one is that the camouflage pattern will not fade out after years of usage. Also the color is more neutral and suitable for urban traveling. An even rarer version is the black one issued to members of the Dutch military police (Marechaussee). This one was however made of a much softer normal fabric.

3 x Dutch army backpack
The 3 different camouflage versions of the Dutch army daypack

Mike from TA Outdoors shows this backpack in a video about different daypacks suitable for bush craft. At 6 min,54 sec. the olive green Dutch Airforce daypack is reviewed.

The NSN Number of this backpack is 8465-17-106-3928 for the woodland version. 8465-17-106-4439 for the olive green version, 8465-17-106-3929 for the dessert version.  The fast majority of this backpacks have a production year / year of granting the contract of 1993. In rare cases you see one with a different year like 1995. The bags were made by a variety of companies in The Netherlands and other European countries. Among them Parat-Werk, Kloot Meijburg, H Fine & Son Ltd., the Dutch company K.M.A. BV the Belgian company Syntex and Wittock Industry, also from Belgium

For the olive green Airforce edition there are two variants: One made by Parat-Werk and  one made by Wittock Industry. The bags from Wittock Industry have a black rubber coating inside the bag and olive green elastic bands under the cover lid. The bags made by Parat-Werk have a transparent rubber coating inside the bag and black elastic bands under the cover lid.

The main compartment is divided into 3 different sections. This keeps your stuff organized but on the other hand makes it impossible to carry lager items in the bag. The widest pocket is large enough to store a laptop.

Dutch army daypack 01 (www.global.rakuten.com)
Top view with the 3 internal pockets opened. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The bag is designed to be worn quite high on your back. This because soldiers usually carry a belt with equipment on their waist. Especially when fully loaded it might feel a little strange to wear a bag so high above your hips.

Dutch Airforce daypack (Global Rakruten)
The high wearing position of the Dutch army daypack. Source: www.global.rakuten.com

The backside is reinforced with a foam pad in the back. Besides keeping the bag in its intended shape it also prevents stuff from poking into your back. The rubber foam pad can be removed so you can sit warm and dry when using this pad as a seat. Another ”hidden” feature is a small pocket under the cover lid that closes with Velcro. This pocket can be used to store a phone, keys or other small item. The Velcro closes very strong. So you don’t have to worry about losing stuff through unintended opening of the pocket.

The backpack is absolutely made of long lasting heavy duty materials. When you find them, the only signs of wear and tear is a faded camo pattern. The plastic buckles are still intact and usable as on the first day. The metal buttons for closing the side pockets still do their job and you wont find a hole in the corners of the bag. The bag comes from a time era where the Dutch army sticked to high quality (European manufactured) products only. Nowadays the army tends to go for the cheapest of the cheapest Chinese made stuff.

A nice item to attach to this bag is the small square shaped pouch for a weapon cleaning kit NSN number 8465-17-106-3932. They are also perfect for carrying a Esbit emergency burner. These were build by the same companies in the same years as the backpacks. They are available in desert camouflage and Dutch DPM woodland camouflage.

Rotota bag (Small stuff-sack)
Nice extra from this backpack is that you can attach an extra bag to the front. Therefore the rucksack has two female fast release buckle parts mounted on the shoulder straps.  In this way you can carry a lot more stuff with you and the load is much better divided. Also it will draw the backpack closer towards your back. This will also result in more carrying comfort. The original purpose of this bag was to carry additional clothing like a spare pair of boots and uniform. When engaged in a firefight this bag could easily be ditched so the soldier was more mobile. Therefore this bag was also nicknamed the Panic Bag. The Rotota bag has a cylindrical shape and is coated with a water proof coating from the inside. The dimensions of the bag are 39 cm length and a diameter of 27,5 cm. This gives a storage volume of 23 liters. The bag has the same nameplate pouch as the backpack. On the bottom and alongside the zipper are simple carry handles. These bags are available in woodland camouflage (Dutch DPM) and desert (Dutch CDU) camouflage. The NSN number for the woodland version is 8465-17-106-4023. Rotota stands for Ronnie Tober Tas (Ronnie Tober Bag) a Dutch singer who was popular in the gay scene during the 90’s. After-all the bag looks like a woman’s handbag. The official name is Tas, Goederen, Klein (Bag, Items, Small)

ex-defensie-klu-kl-rugzak 4

Rotota compilatie (www.armyworld.pl)
The Rotota bag that can be clipped with fast release buckles to the shoulder straps at your chest. Source: www.armyworld.pl
Rotota 2013
Official name and NSN number of the so called ”Rotota” bag. Source: www.militarycollectibles4u.nl

It is an option to attach other bags than the Rotota bag to the backpack or to attach the Rotota bag to another backpack in the same manner with the fast release buckles. The fast release buckles that are used on the bag are all from the type: BSRA-1A ACW. This type is used on several other modern backpacks from the Dutch army. If you have a broken buckle it might be difficult to find a replacement. More info can be found on www.strapstogo.com

KL daypack buckle 01
BSRA-1A ACW buckles used on many Dutch army backpacks.

Available at:

www.militaria4you.com (Dutch website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)
www.douwesdump.nl (Dutch website)
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
www.armeeverkauf.de (German website)
www.armeeverkauf.de (German website)

The following movie from Baltic Bushcraft explains the Dutch army backpack and the usage of the Rotota bag very detailed. At 10 min 14 sec it is shown that the small stuff sack is easily un-clipped from the bag. Also it is possible to un-clip just one fast release buckle so that the cylindrical stuff sack rolls away sidewards. This allows you to open the zipper on the bag and it will also unblock your view towards your feet.

Comparable designs
There are two army backpacks that clearly have features that are used on this backpack as well. First of all the Alice Pack. This US Army backpack that found his origin in the Vietnam war has the very same unusual hidden pocket in the cover lid. Closed with Velcro and with two small pieces of webbing for opening. Also the webbing belts for attaching other gear is in the same style. Both suitable for items with Alice-clips and classic metal hooks.

alice pack 02
The ”hidden” pocket in the cover lid of the Alice Pack (Medium)

Another army back that has much similarities is the UK Patrol backpack. A backpack with two large side pockets and a cover lid that closes with two fast release buckles.

uk army patrol pack
Patrol Pack of the UK army. Source: www.britishmilitarysurplus.co.uk

More info:

Available at
www.armyworld.pl (Polish website)
www.raeer.com (German website)
www.armeeverkauf.de (German website)
www.army-surplus.cz (Czech website)
www.dumpcompany.com (Dutch website)
www.dumpcompany.com (Dutch website)
www.army-surplus.cz (Czech website)
Olive green (Airforce):
The olive green version from the Dutch Airforce is extremely hard to find. Most of the online army surplus stores are sold out on this item.
www.en.mmoc.rs (Serbian website)
www.militarycollectibles4u.nl (Dutch website)

Last but not least: Our very own website

Published by dreweszuur


3 thoughts on “Dutch army daypack

  1. Nice, do you know what the Dutch soldiers packed in the backpack? The pockets seems to be very purposefully designed.

    1. The Dutch army version of the British P37 small pack that was used before the introduction of modern rucksacks also had a divider in it. Very often you’ll find that one with some items carefully packed in it in second hand shops and on markets. Typically woolen socks, mess tins, utensils, a rain poncho, a towel, toiletry items etc. I assume that these day packs were designed to carry the same items.

Leave a Reply