M1944 Rucksack, derived from the M1931 used by mountain troops
In 1940, Motorola (then the Galvin Manufacturing Company) received a contract from the War Department to develop a portable, battery powered voice radio receiver/transmitter for field use by infantry units. The project engineering team consisted of Daniel E. Noble, who conceived of the design using frequency modulation, Henryk Magnuski who was the principal RF engineer, Marion Bond, Lloyd Morris, and Bill Vogel. The SCR-300 operated in the 40.0 to 48.0 MHz frequency range, and was channelized. Along with other mobile FM tank and artillery radios such as the SCR-508 (20.0 to 27.9 MHz) and the SCR-608 (27.0 to 38.9 MHz), the SCR-300 marked the beginning of the transition of combat-net radio from low-HF AM/CW to low-VHF FM. 
Although a relatively large backpack-carried radio rather than a handheld model, the SCR-300 was described in War Department Technical Manual TM-11-242 as "primarily intended as a walkie-talkie for foot combat troops", and so the term "walkie-talkie" first came into use. 
The final acceptance tests took place at Fort Knox, Kentucky in Spring 1942. The performance of the SCR-300 during those tests demonstrated its capacity to communicate through interference and the rugged quality of the design. Motorola was to produce nearly 50,000 of the SCR-300 units during the course of World War II.  
The SCR-300 saw action in the Pacific Theater, beginning in New Georgia in August 1943. Colonel Ankenbrandt informed General Meade that "they are exactly what is needed for front line communications in this theater". In his point of view, the main difficulty was keeping them supplied with fresh batteries. 
The SCR-300 saw heavy use in the Normandy invasion and the Italian campaign. It also became "key equipment" that helped deter confusion in the Battle of the Bulge. 
The British adopted the design of the SCR-300 for their own use from 1947 as the "Wireless Set No. 31".  
The SCR-300 was an 18-tube battery operated radio transceiver. It used an FM transmitter section and a double superheterodyne receiver. It incorporated a squelch circuit, an automatic frequency control circuit, and a crystal controlled calibration circuit.  
USMC M-1941 Haversack and Knapsack
Marines on Iwo Jima, side view of M-1941 Haversack, February 1945.
The USMC M-1941 Haversack (upper bag) and Knapsack (lower bag) were a two-piece pack system issued to Marines in World War II. The Haversack had two straps to hold down the main flap, and separate blanket roll straps were used for a horseshoe rollup around the pack. A flap with eyelets was provided on the top center for an Intrenching Tool and a hold-down strap on the pack front held the handle of the tool. The pack suspenders (Suspenders, Web Belt M-1941) had two straps that crossed over in back, but were not connected. They used snap hooks to attach to the belt. Shoulder straps could be used instead of the suspenders. A second eyelet flap on the right side was intended for a bayonet or any equipment with the M-1910 hooks.
The knapsack had two straps to close its main flap and side straps to hold the lower arms of the horseshoe blanket roll (if rolled the long way). Short straps on the bottom of the Haversack attached the knapsack, when it was used.
Marines on the beach, wearing M-1941 haversack with camouflage blanket roll, Guam, 1945.
All components of the M-1941 pack system were in USMC pre-war "mustard tan" or khaki for World War II, although OD #7 was used later and even nylon versions in early Vietnam. Typical markings included "USMC" inside the flap along with manufacturer "BOYT" and date indications, such as ൴".
This pack was difficult to adjust to in actual use and was not popular with the Marines who had to carry it.
A Brief History of the Modern Backpack
The history of the modern backpack is a difficult subject to tackle. The reasons for that are that development has not been linear, having many of the same features popping up in different places at different times, and because defining what constitutes a modern backpack is a tricky thing.
As Nena Kelty stated, “Man has been carrying stuff on his back forever. A backpack is nothing new.”
Looking back in history, people have indeed always carried stuff on their back. One of the ways that has been done, which relates to our discussion of modern backpacks, is to use a bag with attached shoulder straps, i.e. a rucksack. This is the type of pack we see used by people like Nessmuk and Kephart. Another way stuff can, and has historically been carried on the back is with the use of a frame with attached shoulder straps. To the frame people have then tied gear, barrels, boxes, etc. The Alaskan pack frame is a good example, and was inspired by earlier Native American frame design.
While both of the above approaches are related to the modern backpack, and successfully allow for the carrying of equipment, I would not call either of them a modern backpack. Keeping that in mind, in this post I will look at historical occurrences of convergence between these two features. By that I mean, I will be looking at the emergence of a bag with a weight bearing and weight transferring frame, either internal or external. Also, please keep in mind that this is just a few notes I have gathered together because I was curious. This should not be looked at as in any way being a comprehensive work on the subject.
Knowing the inventiveness of man, a backpack which meets the above criteria has probably occurred in history numerous times at different places around the world. In this post I will try to look at more widely spread use of such designs, which have had a more direct influence on the packs we see today. One of the earliest documented instances of a somewhat modern pack design however, dates as far back as 3300BC. It is the pack of Otzi, whose body was found frozen in the Alps. We can not say with certainty exactly what the pack looked like, but one potential reconstruction looks something like this:
If Otzi’s backpack in fact looked similar to the above reconstruction, it would have been a relatively modern design. It features an external frame with cross pieces and a bag attached to it. There is no hip belt, so weight transfer would be minimal. Of course, this is just a guess. For all we know the pieces discovered might have been parts of a snow shoe. It is also not clear if this was the invention of a creative individual, or if it was a common and widely used design at the time. If it was the later, for some reason the use of the design is not readily seen in the millennia to follow.
The first clear, widespread and well preserved occurrences of a framed backpack occur in Norway in the late 1800s. The pack you see below is referred to as sekk med meis, literally meaning “bag with a frame”, and dates to 1880.
Again, it features a frame to which a bag is attached. The bag itself is typical of the frameless rucksacks used at the time. There may be a strap that wraps around the waist, but doesn’t seem to have any load bearing function.
Probably the first patented framed backpack design was that of Colonel Merriam in 1886. It was a modification to the typical military knapsacks carried at the time.
While the frame looks cumbersome, and never saw widespread use, it is the first clear occurrence of an attempt to transfer the weight of the pack off the shoulders and onto the hips. While it does not feature a full hip belt, the design allows for significant weight transfer to the hips, allowing for the carrying of heavier loads.
The next patented backpack design was that by the Norwegian Ole F. Bergans in 1909.
The similarity to the earlier 19th century Norwegian framed backpacks is clear. It utilizes the same rucksack design that was used by people like Nessmuk and Kephart, and adds a metal frame instead of the wooden one we saw in the 1880 sekk med meis. The metal frame was shaped to the body, and while there was no hip belt, the curved shape of the waist piece would allow for at least some weight transfer to the hips.
In 1922, Lloyd F. Nelson patented the Trapper Nelson backpack. It was based on earlier Native American pack frame designs, and clearly evolved separately from the Norwegian pack designs. It much more closely resembles the possible reconstruction of Otzi’s pack.
The pack features a full frame with an attached bag, which could be removed. The curved waist piece that we see on the Bergans design is not present here, nor is any other device which would serve to transfer weight onto the hips. While the frame provides considerable rigidity, the weight of the pack is largely supported on the shoulders. Even though it is a later design, the Trapper Nelson pack seems further removed from the modern backpack than the earlier Bergans design. Even so, it was relatively successful commercially.
The next step in development of the modern backpack occurred in 1952 when Asher “Dick” Kelty and Nena Kelty started to manufacture packs in their garage. Their packs featured an external aluminum frame which ran the whole length of the pack and had a hip belt which allowed for some weight transfer to the hips.
Even though Kelty did not pattern their design, they are widely acknowledged as the ones to first introduce this pack design on the market. While the pack would be recognizable to any modern backpacker as a classical external frame pack, it still lacked a full padded hip belt. On a modern pack, the hip belt design can allow for over 60% of the weigh, and as much as 90% of the weight to be transferred onto the hips. This was still not possible with the thin belt design of the early Kelty packs. The Kelty packs carried by Jim Whittaker and his team on Everest in 1963, still did not have a full wrap around padded hip belt.
Sometime in the late 1960s Kelty started to offer a padded wrap around belt as an option on their packs. I have not been able to find the exact date, or to determine if the belt design originated with any of its competitors.
In 1970 Kelty introduced the quick release hip belt buckle, and by 1972, when the Kelty Tioga was introduced, the familiar external frame backpack had come into being, complete with a bag, a full frame, and a full padded hip belt capable of transferring significant weight to the hips.
The above picture shows a modern Kelty Tioga backpack. It has all of the features of what I would consider a modern backpack.
Once all of the features of a modern backpack came together, soon after, the internal frame backpack was released. There is some debate as to who made the first prototype, but it is generally accepted that in 1973 Kelty released the first commercially available model, the Kelty Tour.
The Kelty Tour you see in the above picture is the first of a line of packs that has come to dominate backpacking, and for most people will constitute the image of the modern backpack. It is based on a large compartment bag, with an internally contained full length frame, which transfers the pack weight to the hips using a full padded hip belt.
There is however another more recent development in evolution of the modern backpack, that is sometimes ignored because of the relatively small market it reaches. It began in 1997 when Patrick Smith founded Kifaru. Kifaru, along with several other companies have pioneered a form of an external frame pack, which would hardly be recognized by most people as such. Similar designs are offered by Stone Glacier, Mystery Ranch, Kuiu, and Paradox Packs.
The above picture shows a Stone Glacier pack, utilizing their Krux frame system. The packs are mostly used by hunters, which require the ability to carry very heavy loads. Whether this type of pack spreads to a wider audience is still to be seen. What is clear is that it is not your regular external frame backpack.
All of the above is just my brief overview of the history and development of the modern backpack. Of course, all along, different designs have co-existed. Frameless packs have remained in existence and are prevalent in ultralight backpacking circles external frame packs like the Kelty Tioga are still in production and can be seen on the trail, and in some areas, even older methods such as pack boards remain in use.
Some of the above pictures contain hyperlinks to site where I have either gotten the image or contains information on the subject. Make sure to check them out.
I played fast and lose with the Mother Earth News design, but I did use the pack sack pattern. Since I had little faith in my sewing abilities, I tackled it first so I could reverse engineer the correct dimensions for my pack board.
The most important note is that the sewing pattern needs to have another 0.5" added for seam allowance for when you hem it. Once I had the final dimensions I laid it out on the canvas using a chalk marker and cut out the parts. As best I could, I double stitched everything on the pack for strength.
The step that isn't obvious from the magazine instructions is that there's an additional seam roughly two inches from the edge of the assembled bag where the grommets will go. You might be able to skip this step, but I imagine it relieves stress on the body of the bag.
To install the grommets, I used the same grommet setter that Dave used in his videos. I'm not sure there's a rule for how many eye screws to use, but I would hesitate to use fewer than four.
With the pack sewn, I compared the bag dimensions to the magazine dimensions and cut my pack board pieces. I added a third cross bar so bulky loads wouldn't poke through and hit my back while hiking.
I certainly could have sped the process along with a band saw, but the design was simple enough I tried to do it with a Japanese pull saw and chisels. Let's leave it at I learned several lessons on blowing out unsupported edges and proper application of wood filler.
I assembled the frame with brass screws since I was going for a vintage look. Steel screws would certainly work but I like the look of brass fasteners. When sanding I paid particular attention to rounding the interior edges that would possibly come in contact with my back.
To finish it I applied several layers of boiled linseed oil. It takes days to dry between coats, but the natural oak color is very attractive.
After the pack frame was built I could measure out and sew the back corset (as I call it). Like the pack, I added a half inch seam allowance and double stitched the edges. The straps need to come through it, so I cut a hole near the top.
With so much scrap leather on hand I decided to reinforce the edges with riveted leather trim, Double stitching the edge or sewing a second layer of canvas would have worked as well. Since there is lateral stress I'd be hesitant to leave it unfinished.
For the lacing I settled on gray 550 cord. The originals and Dave Canterbury's use a cotton rope, but the paracord is more versatile and less prone to rotting.
With the soft materials complete I moved on to waterproofing. For reference, I found a great article on the Art of Manliness about the history and process of waterproofing with wax. Generally speaking you rub wax (a mix of beeswax and paraffin) on the soft goods and melt it into the fiber using a heat gun or hair dryer.
I found it easiest to put a wooden board in the pack, turn on Netflix and rub a layer on a surface. Between Supernatural episodes I would melt it into the canvas using a heat gun. There does not seem to be a trick to it, only elbow grease.
Surprisingly, the wax does not affect the color or look of the canvas. Only spots of with heavy speckles of wax look like light weathering.
To attach the pack, I ran two lines of paracord through the eye screws and anchored to the bottom eye screw with a bowline knot. These can double as draw strings for the top of the pack and, again, are more versatile than wire rods.
I certainly thought the final pack would be heavy yet rugged. Surprisingly, it only weighs 6.72 pounds. For comparison, my aluminum framed ALICE pack is 6.00 pounds and my REI Mars pack weights 6.03 pounds. Wearing it the stretched canvas is comfortable, but I have yet to load it with significant weight and hike around. There is a trip to the Appalachian Trail coming up in May, so we will see.
The Light Assault Pack
Let me be clear up front on this one: I’m not talking about your standard three-day assault pack. I’m not even talking about the relatively rare medium ALICE pack.
No, I’m talking even smaller.
Full-size rucks like ALICE, or really anything with a capacity in the 45+ liter range, are for existence loads. If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s ok. I mentioned it briefly while discussing load bearing concepts. In short, the existence load, sometimes called the sustainment load, is for surviving in the field for long periods of time. The intent is to road march to a position, drop the ruck for a few days, and live out of it in the field.
A small assault pack paired with load bearing gear
The assault pack is much smaller. Think about a 24-hour operation or so. It carries other items that weren’t directly supporting “making holes and plugging holes” but are still important for whatever reason.
Common items you might load in the assault pack for our “Scenario X” include:
- Extra ammunition
- Communication gear
- Emergency shelter (poncho, cordage, etc)
- Extra water
- Cleaning kit & lube
- Storage bags
- Calorie-dense food
- “Boo-Boo kit” for small first aid supplies
- Extra clothing, particularly socks
- Toilet paper, because hygiene
If you haven’t read them yet, I covered thoughts on other main load carriage methods in separate articles, linked below.
The intent here is that you get to keep some extra items to make your life easier, but don’t want so much that it becomes a hindrance to mobility. You do not want to drop this pack at the first sign of conflict and have to come back and find it. Instead, consider an integral portion of your gear.
This isn’t really new information. There’s a been a rather distinct trend towards small-ish lightweight assault packs lately.
A Brief History
This jaunt down gear history won’t take very long. Carrying supplemental equipment in a small pack was very common throughout history.
I’ll start in WWI with the M1910 Pack and Haversack. This system used clips to hook into the cartridge belt at the rear and in the front. It was unpopular with the troops because it was awkward and complicated to pack. Despite that, it carried on into WWII as a slightly modified version known as the M1928.
The contents of this kit wasn’t too far off from what I listed above. Basic rations, entrenching tool, shelter kit, cordage, and toiletries were all part of the gear.
- WWI soldier with the M1910 Pack
- The M1936 Musette Bag in pack mode
The M1928 was still around for the start of WWII, but troops had taken to using the M1936 Musette bag as a backpack instead. That is if they could get a hold of one, of course.
The M1944 and M1945 replaced the musette bag near the end of the war and continued to serve up through the Korean Conflict. The picture below shows an M1945 kit along with the cargo pack that rode below the field pack.
This gear worked up until 1956, with the introduction of the M1956 Load Carrying Equipment I detailed in the LBE article. The smaller field pack migrated down to the belt line where you see the cargo back in the above photo. If needed, troops carried a larger rucksack in addition to the belt gear.
Modern Era Assault Packs
That style of carrying lived on from M1956 through the 1990s. As we hit the late 90s and early 2000s, we saw the rise of MOLLE rucks and smaller 3-day “assault” packs like the London Bridge Trading (LBT) 1476 or the USMC FILBE Assault Pack.
The thing is, though, these packs were smaller only in relation to the large sustainment packs. Think 30L versus 65L+ in capacity. This roughly reflected the relationship between the old medium-sized ALICE (34L) and large ALICE (40L). In both circumstances, you dropped the pack before a fight and retrieved it after.
At some point towards the later part of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, troops scaled down the pack even further, returning to the old roots of M1936 and M1944. Special Operations Forces began using small day packs attached to the back of their plate carriers. These carried essential gear without being too bulky or heavy.
Adding weight to the back also counterbalanced heavy gear chest rigs. Even though the total load might be higher, it was more comfortable on the back and core musc les.
For these models, you kept the pack with you at all times. It was small and light enough to not slow you down in a fight and kept you better supplied for short duration missions.
The company was started by Asher "Dick" Kelty (September 13, 1919 - January 12, 2004) in 1952, who was one of the first gear designers to produce and market an external-frame backpack designed specifically for civilian use.  He is considered to be the inventor of the aluminum-framed backpack.  Kelty was also the provider of gear in the 70s cult classic TV show The Land Of The Lost.
Kelty products are widely sold by large outdoor outfitters such as Eastern Mountain Sports and REI, Kelty is one of a few companies that still specializes in external-frame backpacks for outdoors use.
Kelty products are widely sold by large outdoor outfitters such as Eastern Mountain Sports and REI, Kelty is one of a few companies that still specializes in external-frame backpacks for outdoors use. Kelty released approximately 170 products / 253 models. Tent is one of core products of Kelty. Kelty tent made by high-quality materials. The tent fabric is made of Polyester which is more long-lasting than Nylon and the poles are made of DAC aluminum.
Dick Kelty's son, Richard Kelty, became one of the founders of Sierra West, a competing company. 
Pack, Field, Combat, M-1944 and Pack, Field, Cargo, M-1944
The M1944 pack design was based on the M-1941 USMC system. The intention was for the M-1944 combat field pack (upper unit) to carry lighter necessities like underwear, mess kit, and toilet articles with a poncho or bed roll strapped on. It could be joined to the M-1944 cargo pack (lower unit) to carry extra clothing, more rations or other items.
Tabs with eyelets were on the pack to hold an M-1943 intrenching tool (plus a strap to hold down the shovel handle), or other tools or bayonet. The separate Cargo Pack, with a web carrying handle, had many uses including as furlough bag . The Suspenders, Pack, Field, Cargo-and-Combat, M-1944 could be used for carrying pack, or used alone to help with the weight of a pistol or cartridge belt.
At the beginning of World War I, none of the combatants were issued with any form of protection for the head other than cloth and leather caps, designed at most to protect against saber cuts. When trench warfare began, the number of casualties on all sides suffering from severe head wounds (more often caused by shrapnel bullets or shell fragments than by gunfire) increased dramatically, since the head was typically the most exposed part of the body when in a trench. The French were the first to see a need for more protection—in late 1915 they began to issue Adrian helmets to their troops.   The British and Commonwealth troops followed with the Brodie helmet (a development of which was also later worn by US forces) and the Germans with the Stahlhelm.
As the German army behaved hesitantly in the development of an effective head protection, some units developed provisional helmets in 1915. Stationed in the rocky area of the Vosges the Army Detachment "Gaede" recorded significantly more head injuries caused by stone and shell splinters than did troops in other sectors of the front. The artillery workshop of the Army Detachment developed a helmet that consisted of a leather cap with a steel plate (6 mm thickness). The plate protected not only the forehead but also the eyes and nose.  
The helmet was quite deep relative to the thickness of the steel one American company that tried to press similar thickness steel into the shape of the much shallower Brodie helmet was unable to do so.  The helmet had bullet resistant ability when pistol rounds like the 9mm Luger and 45 ACP could only dent the surface of it.
The design of the Stahlhelm was carried out by Dr. Friedrich Schwerd of the Technical Institute of Hanover. In early 1915, Schwerd had carried out a study of head wounds suffered during trench warfare and submitted a recommendation for steel helmets, shortly after which he was ordered to Berlin. Schwerd then undertook the task of designing and producing a suitable helmet,  broadly based on the 15th-century sallet, which provided good protection for the head and neck. 
After lengthy development work, which included testing a selection of German and Allied headgear, the first stahlhelm were tested in November 1915 at the Kummersdorf Proving Ground and then field tested by the 1st Assault Battalion. Thirty thousand examples were ordered, but it was not approved for general issue until New Year of 1916, hence it is most usually referred to as the "Model 1916". In February 1916 it was distributed to troops at Verdun, following which the incidence of serious head injuries fell dramatically. The first German troops to use this helmet were the stormtroopers of the Sturm-Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr), which was commanded by captain Willy Rohr.
In contrast to the Hadfield steel used in the British Brodie helmet, the Germans used a harder martensitic silicon/nickel steel. As a result, and also due to the helmet's form, the Stahlhelm had to be formed in heated dies at a greater unit cost than the British helmet, which could be formed in one piece. 
Like the British and French, German troops identified highly with their helmets, as it became a popular symbol of paramilitary groups after the First World War. Such was the attachment of the World War One generation to the design that it was reportedly the reason that Hitler rejected a modernised, sloping helmet design to replace it. 
Stahlhelm use in other countries Edit
Germany exported versions of the M1935 helmet to various countries. Versions of the M1935 Stahlhelm were sent to Republic of China from 1935 to 1936 and M1935 helmet was the main helmet of the Chinese Nationalist Army during World War II. Spain also received shipments of the helmet. During the inter-war years several military missions were sent to South America under the command of Hans Kundt, after Chaco War the Bolivian army used to wear the helmet up until recently. The exported M1935 helmets were similar to the German issue, except for a different liner.
Some countries manufactured their own helmets using the M1935 design, and this basic design was in use in various nations as late as the 1970s.
The Germans allowed and assisted the Hungarians in copying their design of the M1935 steel helmet. Therefore, the WWII-produced M38 Hungarian steel helmet is nearly identical to the German M1935. Both have almost the same shape, riveted ventilation holes, and the classic rolled edge. Differences include somewhat rougher Hungarian finishing, a different liner and different rivets position - the split pins are situated behind the ventilation holes. A square metal bracket is riveted on the rear, above the back brim used to secure the helmet to the knapsack while marching. It was typically painted in Hungarian brown-green, albeit blue-grey versions existed. It is sometimes called the "Finnish M35" due to their extensive use by the Finnish Army during the Continuation War 1941-44.
After the end of World War I Poland seized large quantities of M1918 helmets. Most of those were later sold to various countries, including Spain. However, at the end of the 1930s it was discovered that the standard Polish wz. 31 helmet was unsuitable for tank troops and motorized units while offering decent protection, it was too large and heavy. As a stop-gap measure before a new helmet was developed, the General Staff decided to issue M1918 helmets to the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade, which used them during the Polish Defensive War.
During the time of the Warsaw Uprising the helmet was also worn by the members of the Polish Home Army and it was during this time that the helmet became the symbol of the resistance, as every Stahlhelm worn by a soldier of the underground army signified a dead German occupier it was taken from.
In November 1926, the Irish Defence Forces decided upon adopting the German Stahlhelm. However when the Irish government contacted German Foreign Office with a request for a sample they were informed that Germany was barred from exporting steel helmets by the Treaty of Versailles. The Irish then turned to London based Vickers, ordering 5,000 copies of a model closely resembling the M1918 helmet. The helmet remained in use until it was replaced by the British Mark II model in 1940. Following the outbreak of World War II, the helmets became the subject of anti-Irish propaganda originating in Britain. A large number of the withdrawn helmets were reissued to various emergency services after being painted white. 
Switzerland used a helmet, designated the M1918, that was roughly similar to the M1916, but had a shallower, wider and more rounded crown and skirt. This was to protect against the harsh winter winds of the alpine regions.
The Chilean Army was a prolific user of the Vulkanfiber models, bought before the Second World War, along with a few M1935 and Czechoslovak M32 helmets.  After the war, local production of lightweight fiber and plastic models started, which are still in ceremonial & garrison use today.   Small runs of steel helmets were made by FAMAE in the 80's, but ultimately were not adopted due to the ascendance of kevlar and synthetic ballistic fiber helmets by that time.  A Stahlhelm with crossed bayonets and the corresponding number is the standard insignia of infantry regiments.
The Argentine Army adopted a similar model, made of pressed fiber, during World War II, reflecting the traditional sympathy towards Germany found in many of the officers. For combat and provincial police use, imported Swiss M1918 Helmets were still in service as late as 1976.
In the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, due to large quantities captured by World War II Partisans, the Stahlhelm was used in Yugoslav People's Army up to 1959, when it was phased out and replaced by the M59/85 steel helmet.
After World War II, West Germany's Bundesgrenzschutz border guards and some West German police units kept the Stahlhelm in their inventories (police units can be seen wearing them during footage of the Black September hostage crisis in 1972), and the Fallschirmjäger variant was used for some time by the GSG 9. With the re-armament of West Germany the Bundeswehr introduced the United States Army M1 Helmet which was replaced by a Kevlar helmet (Gefechtshelm), similar to the modern US helmets, in the 1990s. German firefighter units today still use Stahlhelm-shaped helmets in a fluorescent color.
East Germany's National People's Army M-56 helmet was modelled on an unused 1942 German design with a more conical shape.  The Chilean Army still uses the Stahlhelm design for ceremonial purposes, as well as the Bolivian Army. There are also some Japanese bicycle helmets (with accompanying goggles) that resemble the Stahlhelm. Many schools and universities in Mexico such as the Autonomous University of Baja California have military bands that use or resemble the M35 Stahlhelm. 
The U.S. Army's 1980s and 1990s era Kevlar Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops Helmet was sometimes called the "Fritz helmet" for its resemblance to the Stahlhelm. The U.S. Army and Marines have continued to use a design akin to the PASGT helmet with the MICH TC-2000 Combat Helmet and Lightweight Helmet, respectively.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers still used M1935 helmets which were captured from the Chinese Nationalist Army during the Chinese Civil War until the 1970s.
Since 2012, El Salvador's Policia Nacional Civil use a navy/indigo blue-coloured helmet that strongly resembles the Stahlhelm this helmet is used by some members of the riot-control unit and rarely used by the Police's assault teams.
A Brief History of the Modern Backpack
B ackpacks are a staple for many types of people: working professionals, travelers, hikers and, most of all, students. While the idea of strapping your gear to your back is older than we can say, the modern student backpack is quite young&mdashonly about 44 years old&mdashand has seen many new fads and changes in a short amount of time. From leather straps to JanSport packs, here&rsquos a look at how students have carried their books through the years:
The first vessels for students&rsquo books weren&rsquot pack-like at all, but rather a strap of leather or cloth (basically a belt) that was fastened around a stack of books to make them easier to carry. Straps remained in use for many decades (viewers of Netflix&rsquos The Get Down, which is set in the 1970s, may have noticed that Ezekiel carries his books to school with a book-strap), but they eventually went out of fashion.
In 1938, when Gerry Outdoors invented the first backpack with a zipper, backpacks were still primarily in use for hiking, camping and alpine recreation. Between the 1930s and &lsquo60s, some kids also made use of canvas or leather bags with a single strap, miniature briefcases that were usually called satchels, for trips to and from school. Some students could also be seen carrying their academic luggage on their backs in squared leather bags, fastened shut with buckles.
But by and large students were stuck toting their supplies by strap or by hand. In the book The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder and Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes It Happen, the original JanSport salesman Skip Yowell wrote that in 1972, &ldquostudents had no choice but to tote their textbooks and notebooks around campus with their hands. Some tied a belt around them or clutched them to their chests as they walked.&rdquo
Everything changed when the first lightweight nylon daypack was invented, blowing the door wide open for backpack redesign. Gerry Outdoors claims to have created the very first &ldquomodern nylon backpack in existence&rdquo in 1967 (the same year JanSport opened up shop). The smaller and lighter backpack caught on among other gear brands, and became immensely popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
JanSport, the world&rsquos largest backpack maker, created their own lightweight nylon daypacks around this same time, designs that eventually evolved into the student backpacks we know today.
Yowell writes in his book that college students at the University of Washington began to use JanSport daypacks (smaller, lighter versions of heavy-duty backpacking packs) to lug their school-stuff around campus. The campus sporting goods store had been selling the packs with student hikers in mind, but students co-opted them for school luggage as well. Noting the trend, the school&rsquos sports-shop manager made recommendations that prompted the company to create packs tailored to the needs of students. The trend stuck and spread far and wide, sparking a nationwide movement towards backpacks designed for students and their many supplies. By the 1980s, student backpacks were fully integrated into the checklist of necessary school supplies.
While the original student backpack came about organically in response to practical student needs, novelty backpacks that are made mostly with aesthetics in mind have become popular in more recent decades. Backpacks that feature shiny images of favorite children&rsquos TV and movie characters demonstrate the ways in which back-to-school has been commercialized, and is marketed as a fun, sometimes whimsical time for young people. Backpacks aren&rsquot just about the business of carrying things to school anymore. They&rsquore a part of a student&rsquos identity.
But things may be changing once again.
Now, in an age where schools are relying more and more on digital tools, designers are rethinking backpacks, creating smaller, sleeker bags with compartments for laptops and smartphones built in. Backpack companies are also beginning to sell accessories that supplant backpacks for students of the digital age, such as JanSport&rsquos &ldquoDigital Burrito&rdquo designed for students who just aren&rsquot carrying many books but need mobile storage for their devices.
The evolution of backpacks from a simple strap to back-to-school basic&mdashand, possibly, to obsolete remnant of the pre-digital age&mdashreveals that backpacks can carry a lot more than books: they&rsquore also a symbol of changing expectations for students and for the education system as a whole.