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Supposedly, Legionaries carried about 70 lbs of gear on their backs. I'm sure there must be dozens of pictures but I am wondering how were these backpacks to carry all this constructed? Has anyone worked out how they could load so much on and keep it stowed? Are there any actual surviving examples from the time? Has anyone actually tried to use one to carry what a standard legionary would have carried every day?
You misunderstood Draconis, Roman legionaries carried about 70+lbs of equipment on them. This includes armor, helmet, clothing, weapons, shield, entrenching tools, personal items such as cooking pans, wax tablets, canteens, toilet paper (sponge on a stick, 3 days worth of rations...

Watch this clip from approximately 0:26-1:06, this is what the 70lbs+ of gear looked like, carried in a net bag hanging from a pole, there were not actual backpacks like you are thinking of
That was pretty interesting, nicely made too. So what about tents? I read they carried them along as well.
I would suggest the tentleather is on the mules back (or on a cart).
Like what Jurjen said, I believe every 8 men (contubernium) were allotted a mule. Don't forget the the Legions had siege equipment and a baggage train. Their reputation for being a very mobile and fast paced army likely was in reference to how fast just infantry could move about without a baggage train and siege weapons.

This link does another excellent job of what a marching legionary would have to wear and carry:
Good 'kitting up' video. Thanks for finding that. The only quibbles I would have with it are that the belt should have been put on first, before the sword and that the shield should have been carried on some sort of harness for marching.

Josephus lists a number of items which were carried by soldiers, including a spade, pick-axe, turf cutter, mattock, saw and grid-iron. This seems like far too much for one man to carry and would also lead to a lot of doubling up of tools, quite apart from the fact that these tools, combined with the soldier's other kit, would end up weighing well in excess of 70lb. It is probable, therefore, that these items were the property of the contubernium and were distributed amongst the men rather than carried by each man. In all probability the tent and the quern stone, both of which would be impractical for a man to carry, would have been carried by the mule.

Errrr and the Pugio?

Should have been level with the frogs.

Also distribution of neccesary kit as Crispus said ....everyone should have had an item that when put together made enough kit to work with as a group.
Notice Legio II AVG interpretation of the pole not 2 forming a "T".
I have tried this kit out and i can assure you all it doesn't slip and is very stable having one point of gravity and not both ends of the cross pole
Nice videos. THAT is the kin dof thing that will grow this hobby. I also liked his dagger... wish someone made a decent (affordable) copy of the Leeuwen dagger or something else. Sad when the dagger costs MORE than most of the rest of one's kit. :roll:
Thanks for pointing out the pugio Steve. You are absolutely right. My internet connection runs very slowly and sometimes internet videos stall and then skip forwards a bit. This is probably why I did not notice the incorrect pugio suspension. :oops:


I read Tim's article on the furca a couple of years ago and have been intending to try out the single pole for a while. I haven't had cause to carry my impedimenta in about two years but next time I do I will try removing the cross bar and re-rigging it as per Tim's suggestions to see ow it goes.


The Leeuwen sheath is actually one of the few a keen amateur could do, as it has none of the inlay work which decorates most sheaths and it is made of brass, which is easily shaped. The decoration is also soldered on, so as long as you can do basic soldering it should be well within most people's skill levels. I use a torch for most of my soldering but how you do it is up to you.

First of all you would need to make a pair of wooden formers (actually these could be the wooden 'lining' of the sheath), one slightly smaller than the other and then take two pieces of thin brass plate, cut to shape and annealed, and force these down over the formers. The rear plate should fit reasonably tightly within the front plate. Front and back are then joined using the pins which attach the suspension loops (don't forget to insert the suspension rings before you attach the loops), which can be clenched at the back. A large headed rivet should pass through the terminal expansion to join the two halves together at the bottom. The decoration was made from cast pearled strips but you can do a reasonable job of this by flattening one side of a piece of narrow brass rod and then filing the other side into ridges with narrow furrows between them. Once this has been done clip the rod to the required lengths and solder them onto the front plate in the same pattern as seen on the Leeuwen sheath.

For the dagger handle, the grip plates, as always, should be iron, but in this case the iron can be covered with brass foil, like the original. The outline of the guard can then be followed with further pieces of the pearled strip soldered to the front so as to copy the original, which matched the decoration on the sheath.

I think that would be something you could do yourself if you were happy to spend a few hours on the project.

Sorry for the OT post everyone else.

Quote:I read Tim's article on the furca a couple of years ago and have been intending to try out the single pole for a while. I haven't had cause to carry my impedimenta in about two years but next time I do I will try removing the cross bar and re-rigging it as per Tim's suggestions to see ow it goes.
Can you provide me with a link to this article or a reference to it before I comment?
Try this link
Hope that helps
The few times i carried a furca it wa with the scutum. By laying the furca on top of the scutum made it much easier to carry. So try to get your scutum as high up as possible, it wil take of a lot of weight of the shoulder. with segmentata it is easyer as with hamata because the furca will have more strain to one spot.
I agree. I generally carry mine over the same shoulder as my shield and rest it on the top of the shield. Raising the shield high on the march also helps save bruising to the legs, as I found when we marched Hadrian's Wall a few years ago. Initially the bottom edge of my scutum was about level with my knees but I quickly found that the frequent contact between it and my left calf resulted in painful bruising. Shortening my harness by a couple of notches raised the scutum higher, to a much more comfortable carrying position which also provided a handy rest for my impedimenta.

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