African Sporting Creations is the premier supplier of safari gear, including African shooting sticks, crocodile belts & leather goods. Originally a safari outfitter headquartered in Mansfield, Ohio, they have expanded into lifestyle and home décor products.

One of the product lines they carry are shoes and accessories from the Courteney Boot Company of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.   Founded in 1992 by a master shoemaker, Courteney specializes in products combining natural gameskins such as Ostrich, Kudu, Cape buffalo, Impala, Nile Crocodile and Hippo leather.

African Sporting Creations carries Courteney’s Haversack’s in impala, warthog, and ostrich leather. Traditionally, the term “haversack” refers to a bag similar to a knapsack but worn over one shoulder, something like a large “messenger bag.” Regardless of the classical definition, the term can be applied to rucksacks of several configurations, including small backpacks, which is what the Courteney Haversack is best described as.

At first blush, the Courteney Haversack conjurs up images of the affluent hunter on safari, which is precisely what this pack was designed for.  Unlike modern nylon packs, it has no waist strap, no chest strap, no hook and loop, no PALS webbing. It isn’t “tactical” in any sense of the word and it isn’t trying to be.

The Courteney Haversack has three zippered and buckled pockets on the back, and a large main compartment with a drawstring and flap.
Courteney haversacks are made in Zimbabwe and individually numbered. Notice the stitching on the buckle – which is decorative. The flap closure is actually a snap buckle just under the leather strap.
The main compartment is lined with a soft fabric and has a deep, zippered pocket. The drawstring is a substantial cord with a wooden ball keeper.
The Courteney Haversack’s shoulder straps are well padded, with two small, button-down pockets…
…that conveniently sit below where the butt of a rifle stock would be shouldered.

As it so happens, I received my Courteney Haversack just before SHOT Show and that seemed to me like a good place to try it out.  At SHOT Show, it’s nice to have a comfortable pack that’s big enough to hold everything you want to carry to the show: water, snacks, an extra layer, batteries and charging cables…along with all the swag, literature, and other goodies you might pick up along the way.   I had a busy schedule planned this year that demanded I get started as soon as the doors opened and not leave until they were ready to throw me out.  I would be on my feet for hours each day and covering a lot of miles.   This wouldn’t be a torture test of durability – but I never had any doubts about that – come on, it’s warthog leather, that’s about as durable as it gets.  This would be a very hard test of comfort, which is a significant consideration for a pack like this in my opinion.

After 2 days of fairly continuous wear, I was pleasantly surprised how comfortably the pack rode without chest strap or waist strap. I felt far less fatigued than in previous years. There was noticeably less soreness in my neck and shoulders. I have to concede this pack was much more comfortable than the typical nylon goods that I am used to – which is not what I expected.

Maybe you are looking for an appropriate pack for a safari.  Maybe a safari isn’t in your future, but you want a durable daypack for travel that looks more classical than tactical.   Maybe you are a professional that can’t bring yourself to carry a briefcase, but you still need something practical and with some rugged stylishness.  In any of these cases,  I think you could do a lot worse than the Courteney Haversack.   Sure there are nylon packs out there for all tastes and budgets, and I have my fair share, but part of the beauty of natural materials is the character they gain with use and wear. A pack like this is one you can make memories with. 

In addition to Courteney Haversacks, African Sporting Creations also carries footwear, knives, African spears and shields, some really cool field bar sets, and plenty of other premium goods and especially safari gear.  

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.




By Michael Lake

Writer Michael Lake is a Benefactor Life Member of the National Rifle Association and has been actively involved in a variety shooting activities since 1989. In addition to being a certified range safety officer he holds several NRA instructor ratings and armorer certifications. He has received training from the US Army Marksmanship Unit, the US Marine Corps Rifle Team and some of the finest private training facilities in the nation. In 2013 Michael co-founded Adaptive Defense Concepts, a Northwest Ohio-based Training organization. currently a contractor for the Department of Energy managing safety for the National Homeland Security program in Eastern Idaho, an instructor for Badlands Tactical Training Center, and is an accomplished Freemason.

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