The earliest hunters used their prey as the source for their primitive hunting bags, which were rough and ready affairs made out of hides and comprising one simple pouch. These sacks would be big enough for the hunters to carry all their equipment around with them on a hunting excursion.
Of course, these items have evolved considerably since then, after being spurred on by the popularity of shooting matches from the 1800s onwards, when it became important to have a matching horn and bag along with one’s hunting rifle.
It is still possible to find vintage bags on eBay. The great advantage of modern hunting bags is that they mean the hunter can still use their hands, since these are left free. And present-day bags are still designed for carrying quite heavy loads comfortably.
Hunters often need to carry a lot of things with them, including ammunition, weapons and scopes. Modern hunting bags are designed for access to all this equipment when it is needed in a hurry, with various sections and attachments so that everything is easily available in case a shot needs to be taken at a few seconds’ notice.
With some hunting bags, it’s possible to attach prey to them, so that it’s easier to carry around.
Hunters have very specific needs in terms of the items they need to carry around with them, and that’s why an ordinary hiking backpack simply won’t be up to the job.
To make kit even easier to access, some packs and bags are designed to be moved all the way round from back to front.
Although this guide focuses on canvas bags actually used for hunting, their design has also been copied in fashion and is often used as a style for regular handbags.
Benefits of Canvas Hunting Bags
- Canvas is a plain weave textile, traditionally made with hemp or linen. In modern times, cotton is also often used, which is why canvas has also been known as cotton duck. Its benefits include:
- Canvas is a particularly hard wearing fabric, able to withstand pressure that would damage other textiles and it lasts much longer than the majority of comparable textiles.
It is also a very flexible material and provides cushioning and padding for your expensive equipment so that it is kept safe no matter what the hunt throws at it. That could include scratching by branches and bushes, and potentially many different types of extreme weather, including extended periods of sunshine. A wet bag is a cumbersome bag, and of course water can damage equipment, so its water resistance is important. Canvas has many basic qualities of water resistance, and it’s also possible to buy spray-on products to make a bag fully waterproof.
- While appearances may not be a priority on a hunt, canvas looks smart and never goes out of fashion
- Canvas is more affordable than leather, and, unlike nylon, no noise is made if twigs or branches brush over its surface
It’s also possible to buy a canvas hunting bag that can be taken off and put back on again quietly, as required. Some have a fleece covering to reduce noise, but this can pick up twigs and burrs.
Considerations When Choosing a Canvas Hunting Bag
The first consideration should be to find a canvas hunting bag that’s suitable for the kind of hunting undertaken, whether that’s afternoon outings, all-day trips or disappearing into the wilderness for a week (or longer) at a time.
Equally, bird hunters do not have the same needs as those who are on the trail of large animals.
You may be hunting with a bow, in which case a choice needs to be made accordingly, or it may be preferable to choose a bag which allows a bow and rifle to be carried at the same time. Often, these weapons can be attached to the bag and easily released.
There are a few other things that the eBay buyer will need to consider before purchasing a canvas hunting bag:
Hunting bags need to be big enough to pack everything that’s needed for a trip, comfortably so that the pack isn’t overstuffed, and efficiently so that space isn’t wasted.
One tip is to have a list clearly in mind, and preferably written down, of everything that will need to fit in the hunting bag.
For those who are not using the bags for long periods in between hunts, a folding or collapsible design could make storage of the pack easier.
Some bags are given additional structure and shape with frames on the outside or inside. These, of course, make a pack heavier, even though they make it possible to carry a heavier load inside, and a frame inside may aid weight distribution. It comes down to individual choice.
It can be all too easy to forget that a hunting bag needs to be a perfect fit for your body, or the result will be unnecessary tiredness and a lack of comfort, which could have a real impact in particular on longer hunting trips, when hunters need to carry their loads for extended periods.
The best hunting bags have plenty of scope for adjustment, with chest and shoulder straps that fit tightly to your body without restricting circulation or feeling too tight.
If the straps have additional padding, that will also make for a more comfortable bag, as will foam in back of the pack to lessen compression on the body’s key pressure points.
When loading the bag, it’s important to organise things so that the bag is held firmly on the hunter’s back, with most of the weight inside being carried on the hips.
As eBay has plenty of choices when looking for canvas hunting bags, it’s possible to find a bag that has plenty of specialist compartments, for spotting scopes, tripods, GPS and other items of kit, inside and out, which fasten safely or have loops for tying.
Another feature some may want to consider is an integral hydration system or specialist holder for a water bottle.
It’s these features that make a hunting bag what it is, so that it’s not just another backpack.
Hunters should think about how many pockets and compartments they will need, and make their decision accordingly. Bear in mind that having too many pockets can cause as many difficulties as having too few.
These are not, as is sometimes wrongly believed, a minor detail on a hunting bag. If a zip fails to work, it can have a negative impact on the whole trip, so it’s important choose a bag with quality ones.
Understandably, most hunters also like zips which don’t make a lot of sound as they are pulled back or closed. Some zips have ends made of rubber to reduce noise.
Some hunters may prefer toggles, buttons or elastic pulls as quieter options. Zips, though, should be quieter than Velcro fastenings, and often last longer.
Many hunters prefer a camouflage design so they can easily blend into their environment. Bear in mind that a colour that would work in dense forest could make a hunter stand out too much in open countryside. Solid colours will always make the wearer more highly visible, even shades which can be found in nature.
Some colours may be too bright for the bag to be used as anything other than a fashion accessory.
Buying Canvas Hunting Bags on eBay
And thanks to eBay buyer protection, you can shop with complete security and peace of mind.
It’s also extremely easy to track down the items you want. Rapidly narrow down any search thanks to keywords. Just input the words related to your particular item in the search box and find the listings matching your requirements. For more tips on shopping using keywords, go to eBay’s Search tips page. If you cannot find precisely what you are after, consider shopping at eBay Stores.
Some sellers offer free shipping (if not make sure you add shipping fees so you have an idea of the total cost of your hunting bag) or good returns or money back policies. You can read seller reviews and learn what others have to say about their services and products. Look at photos carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask vendors any and as many questions as you like. There’s even a special Ask a Question link. As when buying anything else, it’s important to research bags and packs, and have a clear idea in mind of what you need, before you commit.
For any hunter, being able to carry all the kit they need around in maximum comfort while making minimal noise and keeping their hands free is vital, and many who have used regular bags and backpacks have been disappointed and left feeling uncomfortable or frustrated.
It’s important to find the canvas hunting bag that’s right for your needs and the sort of hunting you do, and which suits the sort of equipment you take with you on trips.