I ended up getting one of the French Air Force Tap canvas packs from Sportsmans Guide. When I got it there were about 4 extra lbs of steel, webbing, a horrible strap system, and general fat that needed trimming. The 3 lbs referenced by Sportsmans Guide description must reference only the amount of crap you have to chop off this thing. The scale at home said that it was almost 10 lbs when I took it out of the packaging.
This is the picture of what they say it is supposed to look like.
Here is what it really looked like:
As you can see there are some really odd things strapped on and sewn on this pack. Here is a look at the outside/back.
I immediately cut off the extra straps and unnecessary hardware to drop the weight by (no joke) almost 4 lbs. It’s new, slimmer figure weighs in about 5 lbs with the couple of rings, axe carrier, and leather reinforcements.
I then went to town with building a frame.
After all was said and done, I used some 550 cord and strapped it to the frame. I might revisit this later, but so far it works really well.
Here it is all loaded up with the BigDaddyHoss saw strapped onto the bottom.
Here it is on an outing. The canvas keeps the water out very well and it rides quite nicely on trips. I do have to add some all thread or something to the back side of the frame. The 550 cord laces are torquing the frame and I don’t want my tabs on the frame cross pieces to break. Here it is with an M39 pack for comparison. Overall, this thing is pretty big.
In conclusion, I spent about $36 for the pack and another $15 in materials to put it all together. I did recycle the original shoulder straps to make a harness for a quiver. It works quite well and is amazingly comfortable with several adjustments that I kept from the original straps. I will eventually post some pictures of that as well.
Thank you for looking!