Carrysack from Martebo

We all have things to carry with us when we travel. How they did it back in 14:th century is not always easy to know though. A chest is great for packing stuff in, but somewhat unwieldy to lug around. Some sort of backpack would be handy in those cases, but how did they look back in 14th century?


On Martebo church, on the island of Gotland in Sweden, a lady is depicted in a line of travellers. Over her shoulder she has slung a sort of double sack. This sack is perhaps later known as a ‘fässing’ traditionally in some parts of Sweden. Although it might be have just intended for carrying on foot, it is almost perfect for use on horses to. The picture above is from the first part of 14th century. The sack is very versatile and easy to make. The double compartments make it easier to carry and things will not fall out if it is placed on the ground. There are some different interpretations about where the opening is situated, on one side or centred. I have chosen to have it centred on mine since it is easier to pack and unpack. Especially when used on horseback.

The sack



If it is loaded heavily it will become a bit straining on an untrained shoulder. Changing shoulders will be needed from time to time. Care should be taken to load each side basically equal in weight. When used on a horse, it might be a good thing to have the opening downwards (that is; facing the horse, not the sky). If you have things you want easy access to though, the opposite will be true. As long as it is not raining it will not matter.


The making of the sack

The sack is incredible easy to make. I’ll throw in an instruction just in case someone did not deduct it from the pictures.



This article, written by Johan Käll, was peviously posted on our old webpage.