10 BEST VINTAGE BACKPACKS & RUCKSACKS FOR UNDER $50 IN 2020
The vintage rucksacks of today have some distinct improvements over those of the past being more practical for your everyday carry (EDC) in 2019, while still retaining the charm and classic looks of another era.
Before backpacks were called backpacks they were called 'rucksacks'. In German, 'Rücken' means 'back' and 'sack' means 'bag'.
The true origins of the modern day backpack have been traced back to Lloyd Nelson, known as the father of the outdoor sporting industry.
Legend has it he was hiking Alaska around the 1920s when an Inuit gave him a pack made of sticks and sealskins, which was worn on the back.
Inspired, he later created "Trapper Nelson's Indian Pack Board” and the first backpack was born.
After years of no success, he finally got it commissioned to be mass-produced for army infantry units in 1927.
It wasn’t until near the end of World War II, however, that the traditional rucksack materials of leather or canvas were being replaced in favor of lighter and more waterproof, nylon.
The vintage rucksacks in this list will give better-known brands a run for their money at almost half the price.
1. Bluboon Vintage Canvas Rucksack
Trapper Lloyd Nelson and his daughter Lois in 1922 with what might be the first ever backpack.
A timeless vintage look needn’t be expensive. The Bluboon vintage rucksack is an affordable, and spacious vintage bag with a nice rustic design. Larger than some on this list, the Bluboon fits a 15.6" laptop in the inner sleeve.
Made from hardwearing canvas and genuine leather, the Bluboon might not be as light or waterproof as some contemporary fabrics, but it is a trade-off for the vintage look. The Bluboon features many pockets, which will enable you to keep your gear organized.
Staying true to the vintage look on the outside there are no zippers, however, on the inside two smaller pockets have zippers for safe keeping.
Magnetic closures for the main pockets are another contemporary addition and combined with the drawstring, make this bag a snap to close.
2. Lifewit 15.6-17 inch Canvas Laptop Backpack
Another good value larger size vintage pack, the Lifewit is made out of durable waxed canvas and ‘crazy horse’ leather, this rucksack is both strong and has some water resistant properties. The Lifewit is also designed for a modern-day EDC, despite its vintage looks, with internal pockets for days.
Storage spaces include a main compartment to keep large items, an anti-shock laptop sleeve for laptops (15.5 inch), an inner zipper pocket for important items such as wallets and ID cards, two inner slip pockets for storing mobile phones, chargers, headphones and glasses, two pen holders and two front slip pockets that can carry an Ipad Mini.
Two side mesh pockets perfectly hold normal cups, bottles or umbrellas. Small design flaws to contend with are no magnetic closures, so you may fumble a little opening and closing. Padding on shoulder straps is sufficient without being luxurious. Worth keeping in mind for really long carries.
3. EverVanz Outdoor Canvas Leather Backpack
EverVanz designs and manufactures canvas and genuine cow leather bags. This cotton canvas and leather-trim rucksack is decent quality and feature packed for the price.
A spacious rucksack it features a large main compartment for your daily essentials, while the lined interior includes two slip pockets, a laptop sleeve, one front pocket, two side pockets and one back side zip pocket for small items such as a smartphone.
The all-weather cover is a nice contemporary feature that deals with a major limitation of canvas bags, they generally don't perform well in the wet.
The only small criticisms of this bag have been that the laptop sleeve could be more padded and the magnetic closures can prove to be a bit cumbersome, although the rucksack can also be closed quickly with the provided drawstring.
4. Vaschy Vintage Waxed Canvas Anti-Theft Backpack
The Vaschy casual laptop backpack is made of waxed canvas and delicate genuine cowhide leather, which will look more and more vintage over time as it records scratches and marks.
The vintage design features a rectangle, streamlined shape with two top handles for hand toting and adjustable backpack straps that make it easy and comfortable to carry.
While definitely vintage in style, this rucksack comes with some contemporary features. Wide shoulder straps are provided for comfort, the spacious main compartment features a separate padded sleeve for a 15-inch laptop. Two small pockets inside and one big frontal pocket are both easily accessible and a secret zippered back pocket is ideal for valuables.
Two webbed top handles with magnetic buckles finish the look. This vintage backpack comes with a one-year warranty against breakage.
5. Kaukko Laptop Rucksack EP5
The Kaukko Laptop Rucksack EP5 is a stylish quality rucksack made of durable 600D polyester and high-quality linen at a reasonable sub-$US50 price point.
The Kaukko features a good amount of padding on the back panels and on the straps making it one of the most comfortable for an all-day carry on this list.
Like other vintage laptop’s in this class, it features some nice modern features like a laptop compartment that fits up to 15.6" laptop, magnetic snap closures and a drawstring for stowing on the go.
In addition to a spacious main compartment, this rucksack features an outside zipper pocket, two inside pockets, and two side pockets for easy organizing all your essentials. The Kaukko also comes in a wide array of different colors to match your style.
6. Augur High Capacity Canvas Vintage Backpack
Bring out your inner Indiana Jones with the Augur High Capacity Canvas Vintage Backpack. Big enough to fit everyday essentials and a 17-inch laptop, the Augur is constructed with premium quality durable canvas fabric and PU leather.
A classic button closure flap over design, vintage brass hardware adds to the overall look. The Augur is well endowed with storage options including two side pockets, one front pocket and one large compartment with drawstring closure. All Augur bags have a one-year warranty.
7. VDSL Vintage Canvas Leather Backpack
Made from vintage canvas and genuine leather this canvas backpack from wholesale supplier VDSL is one of the most inexpensive in this list representing great value for a large capacity backpack. It features the classic over flap design with a drawstring to secure your items quickly and easily.
Multiple pockets are provided to keep your gear organized included one front zipper pocket, two interior cell phone pockets, one interior zipper pocket, one interior pocket and a padded sleeve for a 13-inch laptop.
8. Berchirly Vintage Canvas & Leather Rucksack
The Berchirly Vintage Leather Rucksack is another stylish vintage backpack, which represents great value at around US$30. Made of high-density canvas and genuine crazy horse leather it is perfect for storing a laptop or tablet up to 15.6”. Four outside zipper pockets, one laptop pocket, and multiple inner pockets enable you to organize your everyday essentials with ease. The front pockets are convenient for storing smaller items like keys or a cellphone.
9. Bagbar Canvas Rucksack
This canvas and leather rucksack is almost a hybrid between a duffel back and a backpack, providing options in how you want to carry it. Like most of the vintage style backpacks in this list it has some modern features that improve on the original designs of yesteryear.
An integrated breathable mesh pad on the back helps keep your back from sweating on extended journeys. Padded shoulder straps provide some comfort for your shoulders, while the large capacity main compartment will fit most of your necessaries. A padded sleeve will fit a 17-inch laptop.
This bag is well sized to fit in carry-on luggage for multi-day trips where you want to travel light.
Bagbar offers a one-year warranty against breakage.
10.Paraffin Outdoor Canvas Rucksack
Last but not least, Paraffin has designed a great looking vintage style canvas backpack that's durable and large enough to reliably carry all of your essentials. The backpack features a large capacity main compartment with a sleeve for an up to 15 inch laptop.
The Canvas used is heavy duty, buckles are sturdy and the genuine leather trim adds to the overall look of this pack. Being heavy canvas this pack might be a little heavier but it’s a trade off for durability. The manufacturers are so sure about the toughness of this pack they gave it a lifetime warranty.