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January 13, 2005


Todd Abraham

I have a TRAPPER NELSON'S Indian Pack Boards. Trager MFG. Co. Seattle 1, Washington.

Was wondering how old this could be. It is not the same dsign as shown here, but similar.


Jonathan and Todd. I have a "collection" of sorts, including one made by Jones Tent and Awning, Vancouver, BC. Another company, Edward Lipsett and Co, also of BC, made one. They are all identical in design to the Tragers. The Tragers can be dated and evaluated by the patent number and the design of the label. The best source of information for me has been eBay where they come up for auction from time-to time. I bought mine on eBay for $24 but they have gone for as much as $60. If I am correct, mine is a later model with the Patent #1505.661. The label depicts an Indian wearing a back pack. The bottom end of the shoulder straps are attached to a metal ring. One earlier ones, the label depicted a laughing Indian, a different patent number (I think) and the bottom of the shoulder straps were attached to the very bottom of the wooden frame. When set down, I think the bottom of the straps wore out from abrasion and that's why the switch to attaching the ends to a metal ring on the later model.


FWIW, there is a Trapper Nelson Indian Pack Board by Trager of Seattle now up for auction on eBay (December 10-16). This one has a red canvas bag which I had never seen until two of them were also on eBay about a month ago. The most notable feature I think is that it has a label I haven't seen before. Previous ones have been of an Indian wearing a pack board and walking left; and of a laughing Indian, head only. This one is face-on of an Indian wearing a feathered headdress. The seller thinks it's from the 1950s. There is no patent number.

Harry Leidy

I am interested in Trapper Nelson packs, can anyone tell me how many sizes and give the dimensions of the various models of these pack/boards that there are?

I am looking for one which would be large enough for a 2 to 3 day trip into the hills. Not sure what size it would be, a no.2, no3 or what.

If anyone has a larger one, would you care to part with it??


A #3 is what you would be looking for. The one I have in my collection was made for the Canadian military. Sorry, but you can't buy them any more (I got mine at Gorilla Surplus in Vancouver, BC) so mine's not for sale.

Rick Trager

Hi all, it's Rick trager again... if you need help id-ing your Trager-made TNIP's, email me some photos of the labels and the overall packs at [email protected] I can't help you with The Jones and Lipsett Canadian packs tho. They had separate patent arragements with Llyod Nelson for the canadian rights.


I have a complete Trapper Nelson # 2 by Jones that I am interested in selling.The frame is in good shape and the canvas is good except for 1 hole near the bottom of the bag.The hole is maybe 2" wide.1 leather strap is broken on the top flap.Open to offers.Located near Calgary.Can send pics if interested.
email [email protected]

Dick Farrow

Interesting reading regarding the Trapper Nelson's.
In a surplus lot I purchased a couple of months ago I acquired about 15 complete packs. The tag says "Pioneer Brand Trapper Nelson Indian Pack Board No.2 Patent No. 244902 Sole Manufacturers Jones Tent & Awning Ltd. Vancouver B.C." In the lot I also got approximately 10 extra bags only.
Any idea when these would have been manufactured? Is the only market e-bay?
Thanks folks.
Dick Farrow

John O'Leary

I have a Trapper Nelson wooden frame backpack that I have owned here in NZ for over 45 years and it was 2nd hand when I bought it.

Have had to replace the canvas back support recently as it had holes worn in it.

Am now trying to locate a new top (bent)wooden stringer to replace a broken one.

Are they available or will I need to get one laminated or made up from a strip of aluminium?

David Richardson

For those wanting to construct a Trapper Nelson packboard try the following: "Mother Earth News" website, they have a DIY article by Russ Mohney - "Alaskan packboard and all purpose packsack". He also wrote a book "Make it and take it" (pub. 1971 by Pacfific Search Press). I have a 2nd printing (1978) with plans for both the board and bag - p.48-51. Bradford Angier's "Home in your pack" (1963, Stackpole Books), my copy is a 1971 3rd printing. p.36-42. The Boy Scouts of America Handbook also had drawings for a packboard. The Australian Army built a hybrid packboard using features from the Trapper Nelson and the US M1943 pressed plywood packboard. This was superceded by the Carrier Manpack GS (Aust) in mid-1945. It is a steel tubed packframe (weight around 4.62 lbs/2.1 kg). The carrier disappeared from the Australian army inventory in the 1980s. The British constructed an all aluminium packfarme (Carrier manpack GS) in 1944. Generally packframes/packboards are more versatile than a rucksack. I once lugged a Harley-Davidson 10/12 SV 74 cu. in. engine using one of these packframes (Australian army) to an engine reconditioners in the early 1970s. Try that with a MacPac or a Berghaus. I've made up several different size bags and the frame is used on a regular basis for shopping, travelling, wood collecting. For collectors I have a small number of these packframes for sale with research notes, if anyone is interested please contact me at [email protected]
regards to all. Excellent site.

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