Wanted, a civ bergen as good as or better than the issue one

Mr Happy


A decent Civ bergen about the same size and capability (e.g. with rocket pouches/go-bag) as the issue one. My Requirements:

Large, suitable for majority of kit for extended ops in the hills of SE Asia
Waterproof, though I suspect I'll be using the seal bags from sailing shop as liners
Strong & Hard wearing, because I only want to buy one ever
Pockets, where useful, not too many that'll will catch and end up being left undone...
Metal frame, inside like issue, not outside like Yanks.
Straps, for external kit
Colour, Civvie colours ideally, don't want to excite the natives

Whenever I see civ makes they seem to be from weak material, max 70-80 litres, no side pouches and covered in netting and tiny pockets useful for a couple of mars bars and that is it…

Can you recommend?
Your requirement for side pouches limits your choice a bit, but if you're okay with OG why not buy a Berghaus Vulcan.


You can get something similar in design (probably not as good quality-wise) for about 70-80 GBP

Try here:


Alternatively try the kit review section of this site, (there's loads of links to shops too)


Hope this helps.
If your so taken on the PLCE bergan then maybe one in black is the one for you, try contacting CQC http://www.cqc.co.uk/r90p2.htm

You may pay through your arrse but it will last and spare buckles/fastex available through the system....

I have seen a surplus shop somewhere selling them in black and olive drab, but cant think where.
I wouldn't go for the Vulcan anymore. Back in the day its reputation was awesome but the Berghaus build isn't what it used to be. Had numerous complaints about it when working in outdoor retail.

Look at this pack Arc' Teryx build is pretty much second to none nowadays. No it doesn't have side pouches but the lid makes up for it. A small day pack will fit under the lid no worries.

Use nylon drybags too, less liable to cracking due to exposure and lighter weight.

Hope that helps

Mr Happy

thanks for those two replies...

1. How large is the large/small bergen, My estimate is about 90litres with the 2xside pouches taking it to 120litres? Or it might be 100+40

Do we know if the vulcan from Berghaus and/or the black version from army-surplus.co.uk are 100l including the side pouches?

the third link from tarten terrier to outdoor magic doesn't work

Thanks to all for so far...
Sorry that was a typo


I'm pretty sure that they're 80 ltr in the main compartment and 2x 10 ltr for the side pouches.
Be careful if you purchase a civvie version of the PLCE in black, as some tend to be made by Webtex! If you know any police Firearm Officers they get the Black PLCE issued.

Why not go for a civvie Bergan and get the PLCE zips added yourself, then get some PLCE size side pockets made in a civvie colour?

Mr Happy

I reckon you right at 80+(2x10).

FYI: I'm keen on the side pouches because I found them a perfect size for putting a change of clothes & waterproofs in one and food, cooking, poncho etc in the other. I am sure if my admin skills are up to speed still (2 civ dev now) I can cope without side pouches.

Current front runners are mil issue and the Tryx Bora 92

Mil (pro)
Familiar with it
Side Pouches
at about 140litres seems the largest on the market

Mil (neg)
Mil pattern
Seems expensive compared to the Vulcan

Bora (pro)
Looks great
Bags of features like compression straps and padding

Bora (neg)
Only 92litres
Have a look at the Vango Planet Trekker A3 75+20


I know it's not too big, but it's not expensive and in my experience Vango products are usually reasonably sturdy and well made.
Try that one Yes the freme are on the out side yes it is pricey as hell but it vil last forever.

Look for recon pack

PS they have a varanty that is verry good. :D
I have the Snugpak bergan in black. It is basically a copy of the PLCE bergan, but slightly lighter. No worries about its robustness, however, mine has survived the movers as well as Op Telic. If you have difficulty finding one, ring the factory - I did, and they made mine in 2 days and couriered it to me at no extra charge.
get all the plce stuff and dye it with a permanent dye. simple!
I got a Red/Black 90Litre Pack from Lowe alpine - they have a factory outlet in Castleford. It's the dogs nadgers, the top flap can be released so you can stuff things under it (waterproofs, flask etc) The best thing is that it only cost £60 instead of £100+. They also do olive drab stuff which seems nice..

Mr Happy

illbeamonkeysoon said:
He's going into the hills of SE Asia, it will need to be incredibly robust!
Cheers Monkey boy, last thing I need is the arrse falling out of a bergen halfway between Nowhere and Someplace..
Have you checked out www.smamit.co.il

They're an Israeli outfit who make custom packs. The owner, Adam Stevens, is an Arrser and ex Israeli Para. I'm sure he could knock up anything you fancy.

Mr Happy

Soldier_5 said:
get all the plce stuff and dye it with a permanent dye. simple!
Like that purple stuff Bos politzei do their tigerstripe (or is it urban camo) with... hmmmm.

Its looking very much, despite the excellent recommendations that the 55 quid ex-issue olive drab bergen will my baby. The Arc' Teryx Bora 95 sure is sexy but until I can get hands on it I will remain unconvinced, the website has a outlet near me in Zurich (we don't do wars but we practice hard!) so I'll get hands on tomorrow if it is stocked and report back.

And thanks for helping out with everything guys, this forum really should have a FAQ section to preserve in perpituity. And a spell checker...

In the meantime, other opinions all good.

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