The big backpack roundup pt 2: Modern styles

It’s been a while now since I last posted a backpack guide so I thought it would make good seasonal reading. As we have previously established, the goal is to get away from the standard issue black nylon laptop-pack that you’ll typically be given at work. The sort of black hole of style and tast that listlessly hangs from the shoulder or sits on the dirty carriage floor, usually with at least one bust zip. That one, yes.

So without further ado, here is part two of my picks for Backpacks of Autumn/Winter 2015! Part one, covering classic and heritage styles can be found here.

Part 2: Modern styles


Sandqvist Jerry Backpack


A cheeky little number here from Swedish Sandqvist. Looking at their massive current range I see I could have included a few more from them, as their range of styles is large indeed. What I like about this one is the combination of the canvas and the leather details, and the handy zipped pockets you can easily access from the outside. There’s a pocket inside for a laptop, but only up to 13″. If you have a larger one this is not the pack for you. Padded shoulder straps and a handy roll top complete the pack. [LINK]




Master-Piece Series Backpack


Master-Piece is all about Japanese made details. The high-density nylon outer is tough and waterproof, but that’s not really what you notice. It’s the quality zips, leather details and the carabiner clasp on the back that catch the eye. There a large zipped compartment inside, and a outside pocket closed by the carabiner, adjustable passed straps with sawtooth edging and twin bottle holders. [LINK]


Hawthorn Navy Leather Canvas Rucksack


Another example of how British backpacks are coming into their own is this Hawthorne. Made in East London from waxed cotton and veg-tan leather, with a padded laptop sleeve inside. And the inner is all in organic cotton! Add in brass components and YKK-zips and this pack is ticking a lot of boxes indeed. It even has a lifetime guarantee and the price is surprisingly reasonable. The design is quite subtle, but the leather, brass and waxed cotton should wear in splendidly. Various colours available. [LINK]


Herschel Supply Co. Little America Mountain Bag


Another American heritage-style you can’t avoid these days is Herschel. A classic outdoorsy design with leather straps and proper padded shoulder straps. Zipped front pocket with a key clip (many forget this useful feature!). The main pocket has a padded laptop sleeve and there is a pocket for your media player and hole to thread your headphone cables out of. Modern features in a classic style pack. [LINK]


Trakke Arkaig



My old favourite from Scottish Trakke is now available in a new version, with added Ventile! This is a classic daypack size with thoughtful details and quality construction, and all made in Scotland. The outer fabric is a combination of Scottish waxed cotton and venture. Stainless steel hardware and leather details. This swallows a 15″ laptop with ease. Side pockets for water bottles etc. Available in various colours (though this NATO green one looks great) and has the WDD stamp of approval. Read review for more details. [LINK]



Archival Clothing Roll Top Ranger Tan Waxed

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 08.34.26

Archival Clothing are another heritage style brand that makes a selection of nice packs. The 24oz waxed cotton on this one looks great, is weatherproofed and durable. Plenty of space inside, though just a single compartment. Leather and brass details are very nice. [LINK]

Savage Supply Co Leo backpack

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.23.08

A neat pack from Savage Supply. Duck Canvas outer with full grain leather details. Together with the brass hardware and copper rivets this should age very nicely need. Padded interior pocket for laptops up to 15″, and cotton inner lining. Zip closing. [LINK]


CB Company Mk1 Roll Top



And not to forget, the recently reviewed Mk1 Rolltop by CB Company. Read review for more details. Made in Cornwall. [LINK]

Barbour Wax Leather Tarras


Yes, I know, it’s not a backpack at all, and hence I’m not including it as such here. When I see it though it does strike me that Barbour could have made a really nice backpack using the bits and pieces that went into this bag. The Sylkoil waxed cotton, dark leather and brass bucks just look great. But, a backpack it isn’t, so Barbour, you’re not really included… [LINK]

Part one, covering classic and heritage styles can be found here.



  • Jan Pospíšil 27/12/2015 at 15:35

    I wonder if Savage Supply specify where exactly their packs are made. Recently I bought this backpack from a Chinese manufacturer, and it looks almost exactly the same as the Leo. (without the diamond back and a few rivets on the straps)

    Obviously, could be a knockoff, but they do say “Now we are making top quality leather bags for some top brand USA…”.
    At a 49 USD price point vs. 139 USD for the Leo, it might not be a bad deal. Mine doesn’t feel terribly cheap, or like it should fall apart soon.

    (also, looking at their Kickstarter, it seems they still haven’t delivered quite a few of those backpacks, backers are a bit angry. Interesting.)
    Oh, nevermind, in KS comments they claim the bags are assembled in the US, with parts from the UK and Hong Kong.

    OK, so, in the end – I likely bought a very close imitation for quite a bit cheaper. We’ll see how it holds up.

    • Well Dressed Dad 27/12/2015 at 16:45

      I’m always skeptical to where things are produced when it’s difficult to find out, or they are quite obviously not mentioning it. If it’s made in the UK or US, it’s obviously a big selling point, so it would be mentioned. I’m also a little cautious when something is “assembled in”, as by law that doesn’t necessarily mean what we would naturally think it means. It may be enough that they put the brand name on it to qualify as “assembled in”. In the case of Savage though I don’t know.

  • Matthew Pike (@mat_buckets) 10/01/2016 at 12:14

    I like the look of the CB Company and Masterpiece ones the most.

    Buckets & Spades


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