A few years ago, Ben Blair and I took a trip to Sweden. We loved it. And we brought home a couple of Swedish-made souvenirs that we still use today. One of them is a Sandqvist backpack (pictured above). We use it a ton, it’s held up really well, and we love the look of it.

At the time we bought it, it seemed super unusual to us. We hadn’t seen anything quite like it around. We called it a rucksack instead of a backpack. There was no zipper, it had leather details and interesting textures, and it didn’t look like a typical high school backpack. It looked like an adventure waiting to happen.

We did have one concern when we bought it: Are we too old to carry a backpack for anything other than a hike? Will we get any use out of this? Will we end up giving this bag to our teenagers?

Apparently, it’s not an unusual question. I did quick search for “can adults wear backpacks” and there seems to be no shortage of articles telling me the rules. Several are adamant that backpacks are a no-go, but there are just as many saying the new versions are totally grown-up-appropriate.

Which brings me back to rucksacks.

You may have noticed, but the rucksack look is everywhere now. And I am here for it. I really love the trend and am pleased as punch that there are so many great options out there. I don’t know what the official definition of rucksack is, but I use the term to refer to any backpack that has adventurous-looking details like leather straps or buckles, a roll top or drawstring enclosure, and is made from sturdier-than-usual fabrics like thick canvas and heavy felt.

They remind me of my own backpack from college that we still have around (it’s in the shed holding 72-hour emergency supplies) — meaning, they look like they’ll last forever. And they feel more grown-up and sophisticated than a traditional backpack. 

I’m definitely in the camp of: these backpacks are totally appropriate (and even stylish!) for adults to carry. 

Extra bonus: You don’t have to go to Sweden to find them. I’ve been keeping my eye out, and made a list of some of the coolest ones I’ve found. Take a peek:

  1. Herschel Supply Co. Little America Rucksack.
  2. Minimalist Canvas Travel Rucksack, Available in 4 Colors. This brand seems to be the most affordable I’ve seen.
  3. Chrome makes tough, functional bags for city-dwellers of all types. I always love watching their designs.
  4. Poler Retro Rolltop Backpack.
  5. Ibagbar Canvas Travel Bag.
  6. Chrome Barrage Rolltop.
  7. Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack, Available in 52 Colors! It’s the most traditional backpack on this list, but it’s boxy shape and handle at the top, makes it feel unusual. This is what Olive uses for high school.
  8. Sandqvist Stig Yellow Backpack. This is the Swedish company I mentioned at top. Lots of colors available.
  9. Just Porter Rucksack.
  10. Leftfield Casual Backpack.
  11. HotStyle Coyan Minimalist.


What do you think of this trend? Does it appeal to you? And do you have strong opinions on whether or not adults should use backpacks as their main bag?

Also, what are you carrying for an everyday bag these days? Do you prefer a tote bag? Do you have several purses you trade out depending on the outfit? Maybe you carry a diaper bag? And does anyone else still have their backpack from college? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Are clogs fashionable?