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Packbaskets: classy way to haul anything

January 22, 2006

Packbaskets are hand-made. But the boutique makers to upper-crust folks charge a good $100-200 for a packbasket. Trapper supplies have always offered them at plain prices to the plainfolk who hit the traplines and need baskets. It's a different demographic---and pricepoint. About $50 for the thrifty models.

The artisan baskets are of course supersweet. They often use hand-split Black Ash and often work in the indian style. It gives a gorgeous and very, very long-lasting product.

The utility grade baskets are just that: like an orchard bushel basket with back-straps. Nothing fancy, really. They're made of commercial rough-split utility grade hardwood and are flat-woven. They tend to last a couple years of hard use, not a couple decades.

Still, it's good to know both styles. I like em both, for sure.

Canoeists also use them a lot, but the items you see sold in those venues tend to go with the pricey, artisan models.

Now, there's always room for a 5-gallon plastic bucket in your trunk, but for both hauling and PROTECTING items you really can't beat a hardwood packbasket.

Packbaskets are ideal for transporting oddly shaped stuff, or fragile or pokey stuff, metal things with sharp corners.

If you're the kind of person who appreciates wool, canvas and leather, ya gotta be adding a packbasket to your cargo mix.

Size matters. I find as a six-footer that 20" is about right. 18" would be more compact. 24" is as deep as a clothes hamper. Some outfits also make wider versions. It all depends. They all tend to feel pretty good on your back after they break in a bit.

Here are a few more links, showing other options and diversity, including the artisan models. They're all nice in their own way and worth the price, high or low. (I also noticed quite a few links to basket-making classes.)

20" utility pack, $47 = www.kishelscents.com

20" pack, artisan grade, $100 = www.adirondackpackbaskets.com/

20" pack, $75 = www.thebasketman.com/baskets.htm?pack18.htm

22" pack, $135 = www.adirondackcraft.com/XPH/tbl103bas/ProductInfo.htm


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