The Infantry Pack
By Vincent Petty and Peter Geiger
Reprinted from Chapter 5, The Infantry Soldier’s Handbook, By William H. Waldron
297. The American soldier’s pack is the result of an exhaustive study of the subject made by a board of officers of the Army. It was adopted by the Government in 1910. It is essentially an American institution, original in design and construction. It is based upon American Ideas of how the American Indian squaw carries her papoose and how the American woodsman carries his load.
It is the lightest as well as the most scientifically constructed Infantry pack in the world.
280. Desirable Features.
1. The center of gravity of the load you carry is brought as closely as possible to the vertical through your own center of gravity.
2. The load is hung upon the framework (skeleton), so as to economize muscular effort to hold it in place or maintain equilibrium.
3. A reduction to a minimum of pressure upon or constriction of any of the soft body parts, large blood vessels or nerves.
4. It eliminates all obstacles to the full expansion of your chest, thus giving free play to your lungs and heart.
5. The load is arranged so that there will be no interference with the free use of your arms and legs.
281. The degree of comfort with which you will carry the pack depends entirely upon the manner in which you prepare it and adjust it to your body. There is a right way and a wrong way. Get your’s right. It will pay large dividends in comfort and efficiency.
282. There are two methods of preparing the roll. (a) when rations are NOT carried the “long roll” is made up; (b) when rations are carried the “short roll” is made up. The length of the folded blanket is the determining factor in the length of the roll. It is rolled the long way for the long roll and the short way for the short roll.
283. Contents of roll when the long roll is made up.
One shelter tent half; one shelter tent pole (when provided); five shelter tent pins; one shelter tent guy rope; one poncho; one blanket; one condiment can; one bacon can; one pair drawers; one undershirt; two pairs of socks; one towel; one cake of soap (in soap box); one comb and one toothbrush.
284. When rations are carried and the short roll is made up the following articles are carried in the haversack instead of the roll itself: one condiment can, containing coffee, sugar salt and pepper; the bacon can containing the meat rations; the underwear, the socks and the toilet articles.
How to make up the Pack
285. 1. Spread the shelter tent half on the ground. Fold in the triangular end forming an approximate square.
2. Fold the poncho once along its long dimension then twice along its long dimension and lay it on top of the shelter half about 8 inches below the upper (button) edge.
3. Fold the blanket the same way as the poncho and lay it on top of the poncho.
4. Arrange the remaining items of the contents along the edge of the blanket, having the condiment can inside the bacon can and placed at one end to form a solid foundation against which to tighten up the bottom strap of the carrier.
Now, rolling the pack is a two-man job. Get your bunkie to help you and you can help him. You will find the task much easier if the two of you work together.
7. As you near the far end of the roll, open up the fold and roll the pack into it thus forming an envelope. This prevents the pack from slipping.
8. To make the short roll for the Pack when rations are carried, the process is the same except that the roll is rolled the short way of the blanket
To put the Pack in the Carrier
287. 1. Spread the carrier with the haversack attached on the ground and the pack on same. Top of the pack even with the top of the haversack flaps.
2. Fold over the straps and tighten them. Great care should be taken to get the lowest strap pulled up tight. If this strap should come loose you may as well unpack.
A Marching Song to the Tune of Tipperrary
288. It’s the long roll that’s scientific,
It’s the long roll that fits,
Up and down your spinal column,
From your shoulders to your hips
Thirty-nine pounds Stewart tells us,
And you’ve missed some darn good fun,
If you’ve never hiked along the highway,
With this scientific Ton.