The search for the perfect rucksack

I haven’t worn a rucksack since the tender age of fourteen, and all of a sudden I’m in desperate need of one. I need your advice! Where can I find a chic and affordable backpack that is consistent with my style? Something clean, simple, sophisticated…. It must be large and rugged enough to carry three notebooks, four heavy books, a macbook pro 13″, pencil case, food, chargers, water bottle, and music sheets. I like the ones from Fjällräven, but every other teenager in my city wears that backpack, so I’m not really eager to jump on that bandwagon right away.

Merci d’avance!

104 thoughts on “The search for the perfect rucksack

  1. Personally im just in love in these sandqvist rucksacks , i would only change shouder straps for something simpler, more subtle and less jansport-alike. Also, I think that this macbook case is just the most perfect one Ive ever seen

    but even though I hate searching for things like that on ebay, it used to be great source of lovely leather-canvas bagpacks, both vintage and new

  2. Hehee, I’ve all of a sudden fallen in love with the basic black Fjällraven rucksack! I have no idea why, but oneday I saw one on the bus and fell in love. There are lots of them here, but I just haven’t noticed them before. But here in Helsinki, it’s mainly the “hippies” who wear them, and I’d rather not be identified with the type of people who wear them. Or maybe that is exactly why I should get one, to break the boundaries and show that other types of people can use them too :D

  3. I really like my Ally Capellino “Dean” rucksack. I use it for school/work and it’s durable enough to haul my laptop, adaptor, books, and notebooks. Also, it’s waxed canvas, so it’s water-resistent!

  4. i feel like leather back packs are the simple classy way to go. Especially since they age well and generally go well with either casual or ‘smart casual’ looks.

    they are higher in price but will probably have a longer life than other backpacks.

    I remember seeing an Alexander wang backpack somewhere on the internet. Also marc by marc has a classic q backpack.

  5. Check out the ruck sack’s from
    I saw a post about their bag’s on milk&mead’s blog and was instantly mesmerized.
    I think you’ll really like them, and they they’re a bit pricey, I’m sure they’re completely worth it. The canvas tote’s look nice as well.

    • I was looking at this bag a few months ago, has it held up well for your boyfriend?! I was a bit skeptical because the shoulder straps don’t seem secure enough to handle the weigh of heavy books.

  6. I have the Makr farm rucksack in black and as much I love it and use it for a 13″ laptop, charger, Nook and some small knick knacks, it isn’t really very utilitarian. If you have heavy books, it’s not going to be comfortable. The little leather flaps that keep the bag closed are also a pain to use. I love Seil Marschall bags, particularly the Solo backpack – they are very well made and guaranteed to last for life.

  7. I love backpacks but just to give you a tip (unless you already know) avoid getting backpacks that have thin straps. They aren’t functional for what you what to put into you backpack thin straps wont do. It will give you shoulder pain because the weight isn’t distributed evenly enough, so try and get one with a more thicker strap like the ones in gym bags.
    Besides that good luck! xx

  8. My friends and I agonised over what backpack to buy for a friend last year – we ended up buying something from Porter, which is a Japanese brand. They’re not in the style you’re looking for probably, but in terms of functionality, they had the best pockets and the most comfortable straps, and they’re incredibly rugged – all my male friends with POrter bags have used them for years and they still look brand-new.

    For looks alone, the Makr ones can’t be beat, I admit. Haha. And ASOS carries Sandqvist if you’re looking for convenient shipping.

  9. I just realised why I’ll never buy a rucksack. I would be too scared someone would steal something from it, as I wouldn’t see what’s going on behind my back :/

  10. I love the Roots leather rucksacks (,default,sc.html). I have a black one, and it fits everything I need, is very durable, matches everything, and looks a little fancier than the average. I’ve had it for about a year and a half and it’s held up incredibly well, given that on any given day it holds a macbook, my lunch, spare clothes, and several pounds of books or groceries! It also holds up well in snow and rain – I live in a very wintery city and have never had problems with things getting wet.

  11. I know you’re looking for an alternative to the Fjallraven ones but I have one in Naples yellow and it’s love. Thankfully I live in the US and got to a school where I’ve only seen about 2 other people with my backpack (and nowhere else!) but regardless it’s a fun backpack. It does pull together outfits sometimes.

    • Haha I WON’T! I tried yesterday and I couldn’t even carry all those things myself.. so frickin heavy. so I guess I have to eliminate things.. it’s just that I spend my entire day at school and don’t have time to swing by home to pick up my mac and music sheets, etc

      • I often have this dilemma too. Word of advice: only take the laptop on days that you really need it. Otherwise you could end up doing long-term damage to your neck and back.
        Also, consider putting some things in a canvas bag to carry outside of your backpack – at least you can switch sides on that. And if you are going to be carring over 5 or so kilos, do choose a rucksack with a hip strap so that you will be carrying the weight on your legs, not your shoulders. It isn’t fashionable but girl, you HAVE to be kind to your body. I’ve seen some from Vaude that have decent padding and straps, yet are fairly basic-looking.

        Disclaimer, this advice is coming from an American from the Northwest, where we all tend to prioritize utilitarianism over fashion, and tend toward the outdoorsy type of clothing! But still, your back!

  12. Maybe you should look into getting a locker at your school. It has saved my back from a lot of heavy books :) Good luck in you search. It is not easy to find the perfect ruck sack.

  13. Jeg har heller ikke brukt ryggsekk siden ungdomsskolen. Er på evig jakt selv, etter noe bedre enn de veskene jeg har nå…
    Så jeg gleder meg gjerne over forslag!

  14. say what you will about the kanken, but honestly it’s the only bag I’ve found that can fit giant books (GRE and LSAT test prep size books), my macbook (the old big white kind), a kindle, a nalgene, a wallet, sunglasses, other odds and ends, AND an umbrella in the side pocket–all without weighing a ton since the bag itself is only a few ounces. The straps are thin but solid and never uncomfortable and manage to distribute the weight quite evenly. I’ve used mine almost everyday for daily commutes, backpacking/hiking trips, and weekend/day trips and it has broken in and held up amazingly well.

    So I say go for it! The hardest part is deciding which color to get, really. I’ve been wanting a second one for a while but the light grey and graphite colors seem to be sold out everywhere.

    The other bag I’d recommend would be the Filson rucksack. It can definitely hold all of the things you listed, but it’ll be quite heavy since the bag itself is more industrial weight than a Kanken. If you want something that will last forever, though, they’re definitely worth checking out. If you want to read more of my thoughts on Fjallraven and Filson, check out this post:

    Good luck!

  15. I can tell you what I’m carrying around with me. It doesn’t fit the definition of a rucksack, though: I don’t know if they ship to Norway… before I bought the above one, I was considering Porsche designs (it was easier to find a store with Wittchen):
    All of them are about 16l and large enough to fit 3/4 of what you’ve listed.

  16. Wow! So many comments. I too have been searching for the perfect backpack, though not necessarily for school. I want something that looks chic and minimalist that I can wear without looking like I just came from school (and for when I don’t feel like carrying a handbag but don’t want to look too casual).
    Anyways, I found this website with pages and pages of great rucksacks (And I believe some of the packs mentioned in the other comments are present on the site) Check it out: I have been eyeing the Duluth packs, they have a great selection of colours and I like the mix of leather and canvas:

    Good luck on your search and let us know if and when you are successful!

  17. Try Army surplus supplies? – They’ll be cheap and practical. I made the mistake of buying one from a fashion store, and though it looks lovely and simple, the thins straps are painful and the sack shape means that anything shaped you put inside, digs into your back!

  18. I have the Dean rucksack by Ally Capellino, in brown. And I love it! It is perfect for me, because it is really sturdy and durable, and perfectly sized. I always carry my computer to school (15 inch macbook), and I still have room for lots of drawing tools, notebook, calendar etc. It looks nice both filled with stuff, and when it is almost empty. It is on the more expensive side, for me at least, but it is worth it. I think I will use it for years :)

  19. Pingback: My new backpack | Maja Huse

  20. Hi ! Did you found the perfect rucksack ? :)
    Deadfleurette, i need inspirations for summer, i rely on you because i’m totally in love of your outfits, moodboards…

    Thank youu !

    (Sorry for my (bad) english)

  21. I would definately recommend the Property of bags.
    They are kind of focused on men rather then on women but I like the style for women as well. After much time thinking and doubting (they are quite expensive, for me at least) I bought the Tommy work bag. They have beautiful rucksacks as well. Really hope this helps you out :)

Leave a Reply