Even more backpacks for the stylish man!

It appears I have become something of the go-to site when it comes to backpacks for the stylish man. This is of course a huge honour for me! My campaign against the utterly horrible and style-less black nylon backpack has not gone unnoticed, and there may yet be some hope for this very overlooked aspect of our daily attire. Let your carrying device be trendy, stylish or fashionable, just not boring or ugly.

New for AW14: Even more stylish new backpacks! Click here for the latest post!

My previous 2 guides to stylish backpacks can be found here and here.

The backpack can complement your look, or totally sink it, as shown on this photo I took of an otherwise dapper gent on the London Underground.


A fine example of how a really terrible backpack can bring down an outfit (London July 2013)

This time round another mixed bag (so to speak) of backpacks that would benefit your look rather than detracting from it. I’ve tried to vary the look of them a bit, as well as the price range, but in the end it comes down to selecting those I think look great (as in, I’d like all of them myself). Sometimes it’s a shame you can only wear one at a time, though I will note that once you are wearing a backpack, wearing more of them does work against you style-wise.

From the earlier reviews, there are a few things I tend to focus on: Weather resistance, comfort, capacity and style.

Please note: All the backpacks below can be found at End Clothing, and I’ve added direct links to their website.

1. Yuketen Boat Backpack


First out a rugged, casual backpack from Yuketen, the Canoe backpack. Usually know for their shoes, Yuketen are also behind the fantastic MonItaly clothing range. This one is in heavyweight canvas with lots of good leather details and brass hardware. Whilst quite a clean design, it does have it’s share of interior pockets and a top pocket with a zipper. Designed with a Japanese eye for details, with Made in the USA quality, I think it pretty much justifies the price. Also available in a stealthy black colour.

2. Fjällräven Medium Rucksack No 21


Fjällräven (to give it it’s correct spelling) means mountain fox in Sweden, a fact that gives you an idea of the companies outdoor origins, before the becoming the hipsters favourite with their boxy Känken backpack. This one, with the inspired name Medium No 21,  has it’s roots further back and is said to be inspired by their earlier backpacks, and I have to admit I rather like it. While the Känken is now so common that it’s gone beyond boring, this one has made me pay attention to Fjällräven again. A pleasing design, in modern weather-resistant fabric, with internal pockets and protection for your Macbook (natch), leather details and so forth. And it has proper shoulder straps, something that has always been a problem with the Känken and it’s shoulder-cutting narrow nylon straps (yes, I realise that they do a model now with proper padded straps, about time too!). ¨Coming in at a quite fair price, the Fjällräven Medium No 21 makes a lot of sense to me.

3. Filson Rucksack


If you like your backpack to have both top quality and a great story behind it, you can hardly go wrong with a Filson. With a company history going all the way back to the gold rush times in 1897, you know they have the experience required to make proper stuff. The material used on this one is great, combining the rugged good looks of coarse canvas with the weather-resistance of waxed cotton, in this case though we’re talking truly heavy grade, densely woven cotton twill, treated with paraffin to keep the water out. Nice bridle leather details, and brass hardware for extra class. I like the external bellow pockets as well, very handy. Filson is of course very much the pedigreed American heritage company, so this is Made in the USA and should last you at least 100 years or more. At the higher end of the scale money-wise, but to my mind, the Filson rucksack is actually worth the extra spendage.

4. Master-Piece Harris Tweed Slash Backpack

13-12-2012_masterpiece_harrisslash_navy1Isn’t it strange how so many of the cool things today are either Japanese or American, or a combination? We’ve had the Filson representing the American side, the Yuketen representing the combination, and now Master-Piece being a Japanese design, made in Japan, yet featuring a signature piece of Hebridean goodness by way of some Harris Tweed. Harris Tweed patches look terrific and add some individuality. Weather resistance is taken care of by using tough Cordura nylon, and you laptop is safe inside thanks to the thoughtfully provided water proof compartment. 2 leather-trimmed open side pockets and a single zippered front pocket allow for access and practicality. The straps look super-comfortable as well. Oh, and a sturdy leather base as well. By heck, I find I could really find room for this Master-Piece backpack as well. And the price is nice as well.

5. Cote & Ciel Isar Twin Touch Grid Rucksack


Finishing off this round-up, I’m including something a little different from the other selected backpacks. While the other 4 adhere to the more retro and heritage styles, the Cote & Ciel is bang up to date design-wise. Originally commissioned by Apple to compliment their designs, they have continued the original design ideas further. While I very much enjoy classic designs, I do also like modern styles and innovation, and to my eyes this backpack is quite smashing. Not really what I’d wear with a tweed jacket, but it would be great with a mountain parka. You can tell that the designers were allowed to start with a clean sheet and could go for the features desirable to include. High tech, waterproof outer fabric, a laptop pouch, document compartments, internal pockets. And, those leather covered straps look decidedly lickable. Yes, I’d cycle down to the coffee shop for my mocca with my laptop in one of these Cote & Ciel Isar Twin Touch Grid Rucksacks (a ponderous name for a sleek design). Around the same price as the Yuketen and the Filson, so not cheap, but heaps more style than a fair of fancy trainers. Right?

So there you have it, another 5 options for carrying your kit and not looking like your company gave you your backpack and you’re too cheap to care enough to say “No thanks, kind sir, but your standard-issue, black nylon, backpack is far too ugly for me!”.

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  • Ella 12/12/2013 at 01:52

    Oh my God, THANK YOU. Was losing the will to live looking for a nice bag for my husband. He saw one in Urban Outfitters which looked good but was terrible quality and £90… Have been trawling for hours but now bought a lovely dark grey Fjall… Medium 21 with 25% off at The Sporting Lodge website. Phew! Very pleased.

    • Well Dressed Dad 12/12/2013 at 08:20

      So happy to have been of help, Ella! I hope your husband is suitable thrilled with his new Fjällräven!

  • Scratch 12/12/2013 at 14:50

    “A fine example of how a really terrible backpack can bring down an outfit (London July 2013)”

    To be fair, that fellows appalling shoes didn’t really set the bar terrifically high.

    • Well Dressed Dad 12/12/2013 at 16:16

      Fair point, though they could have been even worse. Squared toe, or even trainers!

  • Scratch 12/12/2013 at 21:40

    I think you’re being very generous. Those horrendous style of shoe is every bit as bad as those risible square toed numbers. Both scream “I am a spiv. YOU WILL BUY WHAT I’M SELLING”
    At least trainers are a bit more honest.

  • WDG 13/12/2013 at 17:59

    I´ve had 2 Fjällräven Kånken backpacks. What I don´t like is that they fade very quickly, and the latest one (2 yo) is frayed already. It looks worn, and not in the good way.

  • Skylar 06/05/2014 at 17:20

    It falls a little short of the tweed-friendly style, but I’m using Chrome’s Knurled backpack (http://www.chromeindustries.com/us/en/excursion-rolltop-37) with the matching panniers on my bike. 100% waterproof, probably dunkable seeing as it’s a rolltop dry sac. Very sparse organization, but laptop pocket, pen pockets and tons of space for anything else. Using the Cocoon grid system for the small extras.

    Also worth a look at the Mission Workshop bags, also waterproof (previous owners of Chrome). http://missionworkshop.com/

  • Moselle: A backpack that fits my life | According to Julie 15/08/2014 at 12:11

    […] Update: Well Dressed Dad appreciates stylish backpacks as well and has plenty of recommendations on his blog. One post mentions Côte et Ciel and includes a photo of the boring backpack look. […]


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