Ah, the golden early years of secondary school.
We skipped around, Eastpaks loosely slung across one shoulder, worrying about nothing more than boys, make-up and doing each other’s hair. GCSE’s were but a myth. A more pressing problem was whether Holly in Geography had stolen my green colouring pencil because, without it, how was I meant to colour in the land? Distressing indeed.
These are the kinds of images conjured up by the word ‘rucksack.’ Either that or ‘something you wear on a hiking or biking trail…when I hike…which is never.’ From the age of fifteen, I eschewed my Eastpak in favour of an oversized Longchamp in which I could throw anything and everything. However, my year abroad in Nashville proved me seriously wrong in my belief that rucksacks were the domain of mountaineers and schoolchildren. Everyone from frat stars to hipster geeks carried around their daily needs in a rucksack and the more you appeared to be off up Everest, the better. Carabiners, thick mesh straps, sneaky well-positioned pockets – these guys had it all.
…rucksacks have come very much back into vogue…
I’m about to start my Masters and I just bought myself a rucksack. Since I have a daily commute of about forty-five minutes and I intend to carry my laptop, ample food and all my other junk, I need a sturdy monster, which got me thinking about the rucksack options out there. A simple glance at the internet will reveal rucksacks have come very much back into vogue, with The Row’s £20,000 backpack garnering cult status. I keep a more realistic budge with my six top choices for rucksacks to see you through the new school year and beyond.
The practical one: Alpinestars
What the Slipstream Backpack lacks in looks, it makes up for in functionality. Super light, waterproof and durable, the nicely padded straps and back panel promise a pain-free experience at the end of the commuting day. The plethora of handy pockets and pouches inside makes this bag is perfect for anal organisers who carry more than their own weight every day. In other words, me. (£124.95, www.alpinestars.com)
The cool one: Converse
Branching out from their iconic sneakers, Converse are making a bit of a gamble, but in this case it’s paid off. Despite the lack of comfy padding or mesh panel, the front pocket on the All In Laptop Backpack is the most substantial I’ve seen and the capacity is excellent. A great little run-around that easily ticks off the Autumn/Winter pattern trend. (£29.99, www.surfdome.com)
The trendy one: Herschel
Follow any hipster around Shoreditch and, chances are, they’ll be sporting a Herschel. This Vancouver-born company are spreading fast and conquering British shores. My favourite is the bright orange Little America; its candy-cane interior brightens up anyone’s day, whilst the padded mesh straps and 15” laptop sleeve make for one comfy ride. (From £70, available at Selfridges, Urban Outfitters and Asos, amongst others – shop around for a good deal)
The sporty one: adidas
If you prefer a slightly sportier look, this one is for you. An adidas modern classic, the Campus 2Tone has a mesh back panel, front pocket and two side pockets for water or snacks. Plus it’s super light and comes in three different colourways – my favourite is this forest green with the beige and lime details. (£30, www.adidas.co.uk)
The fashionista one: Topshop
Every now and then, Topshop come up with a great little number that saves you from a gaping hole in your wardrobe. The Clean Clip Backpack is just that – unstructured, loose and easy, the simplicity of this bag is understated chic at its best. (£80, www.topshop.com)