Leather Possibles Bag with Essentials

Possibles Bag: The Most Simplistic Way to Carry Essentials

Anyone who follows the blog will know we are constantly hammering home the concept of gear, preparation and knowledge for all your outdoor adventures. A case in point is our survival pack, which we always mention. It’s the survival bag to get you home safely no matter what happens or where you are. But it’s heavy and, in many cases, just overkill. So today, we take a unique turn in the exact opposite direction. Let’s cover the times you want to be as minimal as possible! Hence the “possibles” or possibilities bag. And those minimalistic opportunities come up more than you think!

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What is a Possibles Bag?

The possibles bag or possibles pouch goes as far back as the ancient Native Americans. To their medicine men who needed a bag to carry out ceremonies. Or simply for their people to carry food and sacred items. But the “possibles bag” to anyone who knows what they are means something different. 

They harken back to the times of the mountain men or frontiersmen who carried the bag of possibilities, all items needed to carry out the day’s hunt. More simply, all the essentials required for a day of black powder shooting as they certainly didn’t have cartridge-based bullets back then.

Anyone who muzzleloads knows there are quite a few accessories involved, especially with traditional black powder shooting, as was the case back in the day. The desire to “shoot out of your bag” evolved in the quest to find some form of convenience in carrying these items. And, of course, the bag always carries some jerky, which grants the day’s sustenance, maybe even some tobacco and drink.

Is this About Hunting?

Yes and no. Anyone into black powder should seriously give a possibles bag some thought. It just works too perfectly to ignore.

For the non-hunter, the possibles bag is a concept that can easily be adapted. It’s just as applicable for something as simple as a woods walk or embarking on a scenic trail. The possibles bag is your way of carrying items you need for your activities of the day. Ladies know this all too well as a purse, and men need to open their minds that when you head into the woods, you’re not necessarily getting by with whatever you can cram into your pockets.

Instead of a backpack you don’t always need, that possibles bag is the happy medium to carry less gear. The concept here is also the same in application as a haversack or messenger bag. It’s about the ability to carry essential items and quickly access them without slowing down or taking off the bag.

What Goes in a Possibles Bag?

Suede Possibles Bag with Essentials
Suede Possibles Bag with Muzzleloading Essentials

Possibles bag for muzzleloading is pretty self-explanatory and well-illustrated in the photo above. In the essence of tradition, don’t forget to toss in some jerky and off you go.

From a non-hunting perspective, we still have to tick off a few boxes when heading into the woods. There are some essentials to carry in your possibles bag, which are a must, even in a minimalist situation. For one, you need a compass! It’s easy to get spun around when you veer off the trails. You’ll probably want a whistle so you have something to signal with. You’ll need some snacks and water. And I would NEVER head out without some fire-making tools. Before we forget, the most crucial item of all, let’s not forget a decent knife. Not to kill something nor defend yourself, as there isn’t much to be afraid of out there. No, the knife is there because it does several basic knife tasks that are essential in the outdoors.

Then adjust your possibles bag contents for your time of day, season or activity. What that means is to pack a headlamp if you know you might run into some darkness. Spare socks if it’s cold and wet outside. Maybe that little point-and-shoot camera if it’s nature photos you seek.

Further Reading: Morakniv Garberg Carbon: What Makes Bushcraft Knives So Special?

When to Resort to a Possibles Bag

Here’s the easy answer, and think of it this way. If you’re offroading on your ATV in the woods – you’re travelling faster and farther than you may think. It’s not hard to find a situation where an hour’s ride can equate to a day’s hike out if the machine breaks down. You best be packing enough gear to set up camp for a day if anything goes south.

Conversely, if you’re planning a short hike to some scenic woods on the outer edge of city limits, you don’t need all that gear. Especially if your pack is in your trunk and all the gear and safety you’ll need is not that far off.

Lessons From a Hunt

I got a perfect reminder of the possibles bag during the deer season. I went on a four-day trip to a friend’s hunt camp during the black powder or muzzleloader season. A hunt camp, where being on foot is all you’ll ever need and a camp I didn’t properly prepare for as I only had a pack to carry my gear.

When my hunting mates took their afternoon naps, I went for walks since I couldn’t nap. My gun needs powder, a measuring device, balls, patches, primers, a ball starter, etc. Ie. All the items which are normally found in a muzzleloading possibles bag! Mine had to ride in a backpack, which isn’t conducive to black powder hunting.

It was much warmer than usual four days in December, and hiking up the side of a big hill quickly got me sweating. Not to mention, the woods were dense, and sections were only passable by bushwhacking through. I would have loved to be lighter, nimbler and quieter with a possibles pouch on my side versus this bulky and heavy backpack weighing me down. 

Above all, the pack’s shoulder straps and plastic buckle (which sits right where my gun would mount) certainly complicated my odds of shooting something quickly should that deer and I have a lucky encounter. Lesson learned – don’t forget the possibles pouch!

Size and Materials

From a traditionalist’s standpoint, you want a small possibles bag. The idea is to shoot out of your bag. All it needs to hold is your black powder accoutrements and some sustenance. While some people will use canvas, there’s just something magical about a leather possibles bag.

If you have a lengthier hunt or are eager to venture farther into the woods on a simple walk, you may want something a little bigger. Perhaps something the size of a mini messenger bag or haversack. While it may be more than a “possibles bag” by definition, the concept remains the same. Some old-school coolness can still be pulled off here with waxed canvas. It’s a strong and traditional material that sheds water well, protecting its contents from the elements.

A feature to always consider is accessibility. A possibles bag should hang on your side like a crossbody bag. And it should hang low enough for easy access without dismounting the bag off your shoulder! If it’s one of those days you need to be on the move, the bag won’t slow you down. Put – watch for the correct length of the shoulder strap on the possibles bag.

Where to Get Your Possibles Pouch

Leather Possibles Bag
Leather Possibles Bag

Well, here comes the crappy part. It’s a very difficult item to source. The photo of the bag with fringes is something I purchased very close to a native reservation and is more of a native-style possibles bag. The size, length and so on are perfect for what I need so I bought it for function even though it’s not the look I was after. If this type of possibles bag works for you, you may get lucky by stopping by your local reservation and checking out their leathers.

The second bag in this post is technically just an antique bag. With no zippers and a basic open interior, it suits the purpose. The strap, however, is a little short, which needs to be modified as the bag should sit crossbody. It’s so hard to find the proper possibles bag in Canada, even from online sources. Hence, re-purposing and modifying items may be the way to go.

Some excellent possibles bags are down in the US. Track of Wolf has an array of traditional possibles bags, which are superior. We have no affiliation with them – they don’t even know we exist. Do, however, check out their bags if you want to see the mountain man-style bag we keep referring to. 

Making Your Own Possibles Bag

Finally, the possibles bag is simple. If you are remotely handy, it’s not a difficult item to create yourself! All you have to do is source in some leather and model it after a style of bag you like.

Local Native stores or online retailers carry fabric leather pieces. As to templates, a quick Google search will result in many leather possibles bag patterns for you to purchase or download for free. A search on YouTube will produce videos on how to make a leather possibles kit bag.

Or you can use your creativity, as the size and shape don’t matter, meaning you don’t need drawings or specific dimensions. It simply has to suit your needs. You can stitch by hand in a primitive form or find someone to sew it for you. Making your possibles bag is no different than making survival gear out of paracord. Once you figure it out and produce a usable piece, it becomes a source of pride. And, who knows, someone might ask you to make one for them too! 🙂

Further Reading: TITAN SURVIVORCORD: The Only Paracord You’ll Ever Need?

The Possibles Bag

In conclusion, it’s essential to remember that the size of your gear doesn’t always determine the quality of your experience. Sometimes, carrying less and moving more intentionally can lead to a more fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. Whether out in the field hunting or birdwatching, always keep an open mind and be willing to adapt to the adventure. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you can accomplish with less weight on your shoulders!

What do you carry for short adventures into the woods? 

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Possibles Bag: The Most Simplistic Way To Carry Essentials
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Stelios Lazos
Stelios Lazos

Stelios comes from the corporate world where he was a highly successful executive. Inspired by his love for the outdoors he has re-located with his family to live to the BushLife where he blogs about his adventures. Finding inspiration in the never-ending questions from aspiring outdoors people, Stelios aims to share his knowledge, one post at a time.

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