“35 L, K”-model Swedish army rucksack (and a little bonus)

In my last post, I showed a few pictures of a pack I picked up before our recent move from Helsinki.

It’s a “35 L, K”-model Swedish army rucksack, and I got it for about 25 Euros at a discount tool/home store.

A few specs (courtesy of Webbingbabel):

  • Pack material: polyamide
  • Pack capacity: 35 liters (40.5 liters with the top flap at its uppermost position)
  • Frame material: steel tube
  • Weight: 2.3 kg/5 lbs (according to my bathroom scale)

Anyone who’s familiar with the M39 Swedish army rucksack (and who isn’t, really?) will notice right away that the “35 L, K” is a more modern pack, both in materials and design. It’s more comfortable (thanks to two webbing straps which keep the frame off your back, padded shoulder straps etc.), more versatile in use (thanks to the external frame design and attachment straps) and just all around better. You can really see the amount of progress that occurred in pack design between these two packs. Incidentally, there is also a 70-liter version of this pack, called the “70 L, K”, amazingly enough. 😉 It uses the same frame and shoulder straps, but a larger-volume pack is attached to it.

Using the pack a few times has confirmed its superiority over the M39, at least in my mind. It’s much more comfortable, can hold much more gear (plenty of attachment straps all the way around) and is more water-repellent. Although there is a clever and convenient way to attach one’s axe to this pack (one of the horizontal straps can be seen on the lower part of the pack), my 3/4 axe is a bit too long to make use of this, so I just slip it into one of the loops at the top of the pack and it stays put just fine. Another nice feature is the ability to adjust the top attachment point of the shoulder straps to make them closer together or further apart to fit your body better. The shoulder straps themselves are also very easy to adjust thanks to clever tabs on the straps. One of my favorite things about this pack is that I can cinch down the attachment and closure straps if the pack load is small and use it as a day pack, or loosen the straps, fill the pack to the brim, attach my sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent to the outside and have a fully capable pack for multi-day trips without stretching the limits of what the pack can and should do.

When I bought mine, there was a bunch of surface rust on some parts of the frame, so I sanded it off and will repaint those spots sometime soon. This kind of thing comes with the territory of military surplus gear. Other than the rust, the pack is in great shape and seems rugged enough to stand up to quite a bit of hard use. To make it even more comfortable to wear, I added a waist belt scavenged from another rucksack. This really helps take some of the load off the shoulders (I’ll probably add some padding to this belt later on).

I will continue to try out this pack for day trips and overnighters over the coming weeks and months to really put it through it’s paces, but I think it’s a winner!

And now for something completely different: a few shots of the Woodsbabe’s grandparents’ farm from last weekend. What a difference two weeks make, eh? Not only has spring sprung, but we’ve almost hit full-on summer! Hope the weather has been this nice where you are, too. 🙂

Sauna, gazebo and stream:

And finally, no trip to the farm is complete without a tractor ride for the Woodsboy. 🙂


24 comments on ““35 L, K”-model Swedish army rucksack (and a little bonus)

  1. wgiles says:

    The LK-35 pack looks like it could benefit from some load lifters. The load lifters allow you to adjust the load between the hip belt and the shoulder straps. The US MOLLE main frame has load lifters on the shoulder straps. I don’t know what is available over there, but a number of us here in the states have modified the ALICE pack frames to take MOLLE straps. I went as far as welding two ALICE frames together to get a longer frame. I suspect that MOLLE shoulder straps would work with the LK-35 pack frame, but I don’t know whether the results would be worth the effort. If I had an LK-35, I do believe that I would give it a try. The LK-35 frame and hardware looks to be a bit less cumbersome than the MOLLE hardware, but the MOLLE straps have thick padding.

    • Yeah, it’s not a perfect pack, just much better than the M39. 🙂 I’m sure it could benefit from some changes. If it turns out that load lifters would be a big improvement, I’ll explore the options. There is at least one place here that sells ALICE packs.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • wgiles says:

        The pack frame and pack look serviceable. I’d like to have one to compare to an ALICE frame. The frame looks to be pretty much all welded, which would make it pretty durable and useful for hunting and packing out game.

  2. Ron says:

    Now that I see the larger pictures I remember having held one of those a while back at a thriftshop. I passed up on the opportunity, since i didn’t like the feel of the pack. Felt a bit weird and uncomfortable on my back.
    It sure does look like a usefull pack and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    And kids and farms… Well, that’s a combination you just can not break up. Every kid should have the opportunity to live at least one summer on a farm.

    • Ron, did you know that the back straps are adjustable? You can move them up or down as you like so that they feel good on your back. I find it to be very useful and have been enjoying carrying it!

  3. […] periods of time. Having recently been impressed by the build quality and overall design of the Swedish LK-35 army rucksack, I decided to purchase its big brother, the LK-70, from Finland’s best-known military surplus […]

  4. Mark says:

    I bought one a while ago and I was so pleased with it I went back and bought 2 more so I’m set for life!. IMO compared to Alice era US & UK mil surplus the Swedish gear is superior in every way; better built, designed and more robust. It is fantastic value; this ruck is better even than 99% of the overcooked civilian/commercial kit available too with their useless extra pockets and adjustable back systems crap (and lets not forget that most hi-cost brand name packs are all made in China or Taiwan these days). Thanks for the detailed info; I have wondered what the exact specs of this ruck was!

    • Wow, you really do like that pack, too! 🙂 I don’t have too much experience with US or UK packs, but I do like Swedish stuff, for sure. I generally like mil-surp better than sweat shop-made new stuff as well.

      Happy to provide the info, Mark!

  5. Hello ! Thanks for read my Post on LK-35 army rucksack on Webbingbabel Blog please contact me for suggestions or any kind of info if you need in future
    Thank you Mike

  6. Erwin says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been looking for one of these in the states. any ideas or suggestions?

  7. Ville V says:

    I stumbled on a LK-35 SJ last week, it uses the same frame but comes with wider and shorter bag to allow space for medical gear. It also comes with the LK-70 waist strap, as the bag sits rather high and without it the loaded bag would be rather lively experience to carry around. The extra space under the bag allows me to fit foam sleeping mat and my tent very easily, all I need is a pair of straps to hitch them tightly against the frame. Since there’s plenty of space on top for the sleeping bag, I can use the whole bag and the overpacking capacity to store cooking gear, food and clothes. I can’t haul this much stuff with my BW comfortably, ever. Best 15 euros I’ve spent on used gear, ever. Even the canvas still looks brand new, guess they just don’t need that many medics at the sweden. Notice the bag is not even nearly fully loaded: http://37.media.tumblr.com/b4091f745e3c4bd25aed763f53f1bf0b/tumblr_n7s1ba8bDr1tqg3kdo3_1280.jpg

    • Nice! I like that version a lot because I like to put as many things as possible on the outside of my packs and have just a few things inside. Thanks for sharing!

      • ville v says:

        I got it from the Savenmaa, they only show the casual LK35 on their site for the 14,90 so you pretty much need to go pick the SJ off the shelf yourself. I prefer carrying the big and bulky stuff outside the bag too, so when I saw the open frame model I knew instantly I’d buy it and drive my bike back home with it. The most tedious 40 kilometers of my life, I tell you. Shouldn’t go shopping while doing kilometer centuries, but I just couldn’t resist 🙂

  8. Mats says:

    Excellent review and pack. But the offical name of the pack is “Ryggsäck 35L, K”. The “K” stands for “complete” (“komplett” in Swedish). Same with the 70 L model – “Ryggsäck 70 L, K”.

  9. HenLan says:

    Great review. I used an LK35 in the military. It was a long time ago but as I recall it the sack was not very comfortable. But your review gets me thinking that maybe I should try to find me one now and use it on the familys wood outings. It will not be so heavily loaded as I had it in the army and maybe it then will be a very good rucksack.

    • Yep, weight can make a huge difference in pack comfort. Giving the shoulder straps extra padding and a waist belt can also make a big difference. For daytrips with the family, it would probably serve you well! Just leave the mortars and heavy radio equipment at home. 😉

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