Oi Polloi

Good Ruck Charm

Published: Thu Jun 16 2011

Whether you’re the last boy scout or someone who just likes nice things, there’s always a time and a place for some rugged luggage, or “ruggage” as we’d call it if we wanted to be slightly annoying.

When it comes to rucksacks, we’ve got quite a few classics in our locker here at OiPolloi.

Who can deny the iconic status of the Swedish Fjallraven Kanken for example? Not us, no way. The Kanken is pretty much the perfect backpack. It’s like a super-evolved rucksack with everything about it pretty much spot on.

If you’re a Euro-sceptic and pro-‘septic’ though, we’ve plenty of American brands that run the Kanken very close indeed. Jansport Heritage and Kelty Vintage are two brands that are in touch with their past. In both cases, their backpacks were born out of necessity and the DIY culture that existed in the US from the 60s onwards. Check out these great images from Backpacker Magazine, circa 74-76 or thereabouts.

It’s worth noting that the while the heritage bandwagon may have spawned a fair few cash-ins, the stuff we see from Jansport and Kelty is as faithful to the originals as you’ll find.

So with the USA and Europe done, how about something a bit different from the Far East? MontBell is a mid-70s creation, born in Osaka, Japan. With an eye of resignation on Japan’s rainy climate, Isamu Tatsuno was compelled to start manufacturing his own outdoor equipment with help from his mountaineering partners Sachiko Masuo and Fumiaki Masaki. It’s all dead nice stuff that does the job just as well as the other brands we’ve mentioned but takes inspiration from the Japanese tradition of ‘kinobi’, meaning ‘function is beauty’.