When you think of soldiers it is automatic to think of cameo uniforms, guns, weaponry, and other badass James Bond like gadgets. You probably don’t think about their lunch sacks, though, or even the fact that yes, soldiers have to eat too.
During World War II, rations, or nutritional supplies, were in the form of bread, dried meats, and cheese. Bread being the cheapest of the three was the most common and filling for a long day of walking, hence the naming of the bags. Unlike today’s compact MRE’s that come in nice plastic pouches, a soldier’s meal was put into this “bread bag” to store for later. Some would sling them over their shoulder and others would attach them at the hip by belt or buckle. (My favorite use is attached to the handlebars of a bike!)
Which ever country you may have been fighting for it was common place to see these bread bags. However, each country had their own unique styles. These are some of the coolest:
THE POLISH BREAD BAG
This bag is square with a long shoulder strap. The canvas material is thick and durable with an extra material re-enforcing the outside seams. The inside has several compartments which are then protected by the covering flap. This flap folds over the front of the bag and secures with buckles and canvas straps near the bottom. The Polish made this ration bag simple and sturdy.
THE BROTBEUTEL (GERMAN BREAD BAG)
Like everything the Germans design, this bag was made for efficiency. It’s in the shape of a horse shoe because obviously bread was not made perfectly square back then. Like the Polish bag the Germans made theirs out of thick durable canvas with a fold flap. It could be easily packed away when not needed. They however, did not stop there. They paid close attention to detail with additional straps which could be used to attach the bag to a belt, bike, or whatever else was convenient. All the extra little hooks, straps, and pockets made this brotbeutel a helpful addition to a soldier’s uniform and battle life.
SWISS ARMY BREAD BAG
I think this is one of the coolest designs and adds a little extra flare to the regular old canvas bags. Unlike Germany’s and Poland’s designs this bag has two very distinct sides. it combines a rounded vinyl rain flap with a square canvas pouch. The pouch fits neatly inside the heavy waterproof vinyl which protects its contents. Leather straps also make this bag extra durable and slightly more fashionable. The bag is also multi-functional like the German bag with a long adjustable shoulder strap and smaller mounting straps. To top it off all of these Swiss bags were stamped by the “sattler” (leather craftsman) who made them and the date. The look, the functionality, and the durability give this simple bread bag a nod about the rest.
BREAD BAGS TODAY
Now a days bags like these are unnecessary for military use. Soldiers no longer carry whole loafs of bread or have need for an extra canvas bag. Let’s be serious, you don’t need to carry a bread bag when you have the seat next to you in a Humvee or tank open. Since bread bags have faded in use, most have landed in military surplus stores. They are a great find for travelers because unlike other war time artifacts these bags can still serve a use, and most were actually used at some point by soldiers! Since they were made to withstand the time and punishment of war, many bags survived in great shape. Still as durable as ever, people seeking for a unique look or style can use these great historical products as every day travel or work bags that vary drastically from today’s status quo bags. They hold up, they are stylish in their own way, and they are great conversation starters.
BREAD BAG GIVEAWAY CONTEST
We are giving away a Bread Bag on Facebook! The game is simple. Collect the most points to win.
What’s included: authentic bread bag, a wicked space pen (as wrote about in James Bond Travel Accessories), a notebook and a few guidebooks/ travel resource
How to win this awesome gift bag:
- Become a free or silver member (1pt)
- Become a gold member (5pts)
- Like/Share posts on Facebook (1pt for each)
- Become an affiliate (5 pts) and refer friends ( 1 pt for free or silver referral; 5 pts for gold referral) Did we mention that new referrals get a $5.00 sign up bonus and earn commission on every referral!? Crazy, we know.
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