What are Hessian Sacks?

December 2, 2015

What is a Hessian sack? For those not in the ‘know’, Hessian sacks are a type of rough-spun fabric, generally made from the fibres of the jute ore sisal plant that has long been in use as cargo bags, and gunny sacks. Known commonly as ‘burlap’ bags in the United States and Canada, these are also referred to as sackcloth, since its primary usage was for the creation of sacks for storing and transporting raw agricultural and industrial goods.

Initially made as a coarsely woven fabric, the term ‘Hessian sacks’, specifically the word ‘Hessian’, became associated with the cloth that was integrated as a hardy and durable part of soldiers’ kits from the former Landgraviate of Hesse, in Germany, referred to as ‘Hessians’.

Hessian Sacks have a Long History of Use

In the olden days, these popular sacks were employed to transport raw goods – coffee beans, tea, tobacco, dried fruits, and spices. As time passed, more uses were found for this hardy type of sack was, it was used to transport and store soil, concrete, cement, and other industrial items. Due to the coarse texture and heavy weave of the cloth, as well as the fact that it was made from very tough plant fibres that allowed for a degree of breath-ability, it was, and still is the preferred choice for transporting agricultural goods.

Sturdy, durable and hardy are fitting terms when speaking about a Hessian sack, soon it was used as an alternative to rugs, or sometimes as reinforced backing for high-end carpets. The cloth can also be primed and used as emergency painter’s canvas, believe it or not.

The Handy Hessian Sack Today

Today, finer and softer weaves of Hessian cloth are employed as rustic or grunge clothing, and is sometimes employed as an alternative to denim. Ghillie suits – a type of military camouflage uniform worn by both commissioned officers, mercenaries and big-game hunters alike – are also made from Hessian cloth. This type of sack is even used as grocery bags by certain stores to cut-down the use of plastic bags and paper bags – a practice that is catching, especially in today’s more ecologically-concern¬ed societies.

Unlike disposable plastic bags, which lack durability and are non-biodegradable or take too long to degrade naturally, Hessian cloth is 100% biodegradable, ecologically friendly, cheap to mass-produce, and extremely durable. The beneficial reasons to use these sacks dwarf any negative aspects these may have, when comparing it with other materials.

If you represent a business or industry that is looking for an alternative to paper bags, plastic and cellophane packaging, then Hessian cloth is just the material you seek, it’s perfect, because it is sturdy, reliable, extremely durable, and re-usable.

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