View Full Version : The look of poke bags

Charles Kaiser
07-12-2010, 10:11 AM
Hallo Kameraden,
the pattern of poke bags I know, is with a cord to pull for closure. But you never can pull to zero, so through that small hole smaller Items like Salt, Sugar, or Flour will start an exepedition through my Haversack. It is easyer to make bags similar but smaller than the Flour Bags, which where tied with a cord or something you have by hand, or a small webbing band, maybe 3/8 Inch, which where sewn to the bag are a no go, or periodical? In EOG are only seen with a cord to pull.

07-12-2010, 11:02 AM
Make the sack the deep enough and fill them to point you have some extra space at the top between the "top" of the drygoods and the drawstring closure (sort of a "neck"). Make sure you leave your drawstrings long enough that once drawn you can wrap / lash the ends back several times around the "neck" of the bag thus sealing it.


CJ Rideout
Tampa, Florida

07-12-2010, 11:24 AM
There's a thread on here somewhere that includes Sanitary Commission patterns. In that thread is a pattern for a different type ration bag that could be tied off. I use them all the time and they are simple to make. If I run across the thread I will post the link.

J. Donaldson
07-12-2010, 11:42 AM
The pattern (http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14934&highlight=painted+cloth+sack) for the USSC poke bag is in post #4. It goes together easily, and mine have held up very well to this point. I did not make mine out of painted cloth due to lack of resources, but when made out of duck or good heavy cloth, they still hold up well.

07-12-2010, 12:27 PM
Since I made a couple bags yesterday, this thread caught my eye. Here's a link to the fourth post in that great sanitary commission thread : http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?14934-USSC-Patterns&p=87859#post87859 I own two of the painted bags that Troy created for Piney Woods. They are great for carrying greasy items in the haversack. The pattern creates a rectangular bag, but it does not address the reason this thread was created. There is a simple tie at the top which is not the same as the double loop method.

There is no right way to seal bags. Most of the bags I make lack any form of tie. I twist the tops and shove them into the haversack. They're fine for most things. I will be making a double loop bag for my coffee. I don't use salt because there's plenty of flavoring in bacon grease. I do intend to carry some pepper corns at my next event. I'm thinking that a tightened, single looped bag which I roll and then wrap the extra string around the rolled bag ought to be sufficient to hold the corns.

Hank Trent
07-12-2010, 01:05 PM
a friend of mine told me, that only poke bags with a cord to pull are used at that time.

What did he or she base that statement on?

Hank Trent

Charles Kaiser
07-12-2010, 02:08 PM
What did he or she base that statement on?

Hank Trent

A missunderstanding beetween him and me, please forgot this sentence, I have it corrected in the first thread, after my friend shows the missunderstanding to me.

By the wayhelpfull answers for me !!!!!!!!

07-12-2010, 02:40 PM

Below you will find a detail from an original enameled "poke sack" that was featured in the John Henry Kurtz collection auction. It was sold with a container of Essence of Coffee (with both English and German instructions!), "substitute" for coffee, and Dr. Weaver's Worm Tea.

The bag is enameled on the outside and closed with a strip of leather. if you look carefully, you'll see the side seam is actually on the outside of the bag and left raw, making the inside of the bag "smooth." Unfortunately I don't know the exact dimensions of the bag but compared to the worm tea container next to it (which I've cropped out), it's probably 4" tall by 3" wide. According to the auction catalog the bag is still filled with salt!

07-14-2010, 12:50 AM
Here's a link to the Poke Sackology 101 article : http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?id=69542;article=14328 Pokes are simple once you've made a few, but they can be intimidating to those who are new to pushing thread through the eyes of needles.

The original article with pictures has vanished from the web, but the text remains. This is the same article which had been a research article linked from the A/C. I am not posting the full text here because it's a how-to article plus an ad for the person who makes them. The idea is that if you cannot make your own - or don't have time - contact him. Just have to settle for the link. My thanks to Rick Fallaw of the GVB who had a copy of the article and to Andrew Jerram who wrote the original article many years ago.

07-14-2010, 06:51 PM
Haven't been on in a while....wow, things have changed!

I've attached the modified article in adobe acrobat version. I used to make these in college to fund my addiction...I mean hobby. I don't make them any more though, so don't even bother asking!

When I say my hobby changed with a poke sack, it literally did. A poke sack of tobacco from Greg Pace (traded at Outpost 1) set me on my path out of mainstream-land. I still have that poke sack.

Anyway, I imagine that there were a lot of soldiers who went no further then taking a square of material, placing the materials to be stored inside, then gathering the material and tying it tightly. I believe however that some would have taken the time to actually make a "poke sack" for certain items. It is definitely easier to retrieve items from one, especially if it is something fine like sugar, salt, flour, etc. As mentioned earlier in this thread, I have found that for super fine materials, (e.g., flour) that it is better to make a poke sack twice as long, give the excess "neck" a twist or two, then double over the ties and tie around the neck tightly.

The "article" below isn't much. It was more so folks in my mainstream battalion would hopefully take baby steps. Hopefully it will be some use to someone. Also, anyone who wants to host it, copy it, sell it for crack, have at it! :)

Kindest Regards,
Andrew Jerram

Becky Morgan
07-14-2010, 11:38 PM
While this doubtless applies more to civilian use, military men would also have been familiar with wrapping items in paper. As recently as the 1960s, small stores in our area still wrapped ordinary purchases in brown paper and tied them with thin parcel twine. There were several ways to package items, depending on what they were--"drugstore wrap", the simpler fold-roll-and-tie for meat, etc. I find I can wrap items (the way a 98-year-old storekeeper showed me back in the 1960s) almost as fast as I can do a more typical 2010 slop-around-in-a-bunch.

One small item from my childhood, handed down from two-greats grandfather who grew up in the 1860s, was the miller's knot used to close a grain bag. It's been many years since I saw anyone actually use it. I doubt anyone would have bothered to tie a small poke sack that way, but feed bags might be another matter and certainly would be for someone who had been a miller in civilian life.

07-15-2010, 12:54 AM
Some extra paper can be your friend on those multi-day events.

07-15-2010, 12:35 PM
Here are some illistrations of what I understand you are asking about.

This is a USSC Ration bag with just the strings tightened. As you observed it can still spill its contents, especially fine items like sugar, ground coffee, or flour.


What I find works the best is to pull the draw strings tight then wrap them and tie them around the top of the bag like in the following photos.




They say a picture is worth a thousand words, probably more when translating between languages. I hope this helps some.

BTW Brian, Thanks for sharing the photo of the original painted cloth ration bag. I haven't seen it before.

07-15-2010, 03:07 PM
Ms. Morgan,

I was going to add the miller's (also called the bag or sack) knot to this thread, but I wasn't aware of how far usage goes back. Thanks for the info.


Becky Morgan
07-15-2010, 08:48 PM
Ashley Book of Knots #388, 389 and 390 are the bag, sack and miller's knots, all similar. Yours is the actual miller's knot. I thought ABOK, first ed. 1944, might have some dates on them, but no dice; this, too, appears to be one of those "but everybody's always done it that way" problems.

02-21-2015, 05:01 AM
I know this is an old post, but do you make those ration bags and if so, do you sell them?


02-21-2015, 07:06 PM
Authorized vendor, Mike Brase of M.B. Young and Co., sells them.

02-22-2015, 10:58 AM
^^^^^^^ Silas, I am reminded this morning about the real utility of Forums over Facebook.

You Can Find Stuff When You Need To, and Fairly Quickly.

And I Need To Steal That Signature Line. :wink_smil Maybe I should put it in a profile picture.....

02-22-2015, 02:01 PM
That signature line has a link buried within the text. Here it is : http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/showthread.php?31249-In-camp-gun-rack&p=227274#post227274 Those are your parting words before closing a thread on Szabo-land.

02-22-2015, 02:49 PM
Something that I don't see very often, not that I go looking into peoples haversacks, is the cloth wrapped with string or twine instead of a sewn sac. A small huck towel can easily do double-duty and hold your coffee beans.

I always loved "Y'all go out and play in the sunshine. ......it's good for you."


Maybe she'll publish a book someday. :p

04-20-2016, 10:37 AM
Does anyone know where to get the USSC enameled poke sack?

Yellowhammer Rebel
04-20-2016, 10:51 AM
Michael Decker makes and sells them. He can be found on Facebook

Jeremy Bevard
04-20-2016, 06:11 PM
South Union Mills sells them as well. Saw some on his site recently.