Fjallraven’s Rucksack No.21 is one of my favorite backpacks. It’s stylish, durable, and the price is reasonable. But whats it like to live with once the honeymoon is over? Read on for my long term review.
Fjallraven Rucksack No.21 Review
For two months now I have been carrying the medium Fjallraven Rucksack No.21 as my daily commuter bag. It is a svelte little bag that looks great and manages my stuff pretty well. It’s low profile makes it fantastic for navigating busy streets and buses. Style and comfort wise it’s fantastic but it’s not for everyone. Let me dive into more detail.
Things that work
The Rucksack No.21 has amazing shoulder straps. they are a combination of leather and padded G-1000 fabric. They don’t adjust on the fly as you have to fiddle with a buckle but I don’t often change my shoulder strap length so this is perfectly fine for me. The stiff leather actually helps me get the bag on my back as it makes the strap hold open so I can snake my arm through.
All three outer pockets have come in handy. The side pockets are good for umbrellas or a flashlight. I wish that one was a bit larger or expanded to accommodate a water bottle but c’est la vie. The front pouch is useful for anything that you want quick access to. I keep headphones and sunglasses there.
The main flap works surprisingly well. At first I wasn’t sure how well the post and keeper closure system was going to work but its one of the best implementations of this system I have seen. I will be very curious how long the leather straps last. The keepers seem to put a lot of friction on them. Under the flap there is a drawstring closure for the main compartment. It was ungainly at first but has since broken in and opens easier.
Things that don’t work
Security on the exterior pockets is an issue. The main compartment is super secure. I have no worries there but the side and front pockets have little to keep them closed. The main flap kind of, sort of covers them but if the Rucksack No.21 took a tumble down a hill I would expect everything in those pockets to be strewn across the hillside.
The laptop slot is largely crap. It is a baggy pocket in the main compartment. When I walk my laptop flops around in an annoying fashion. It is secure in that the laptop wont fall out and it’s padded but it’s design feels like an after thought.
Things of interest
The capacity of this bag is both good and bad. If you are looking to haul several textbooks and a laptop and other EDC stuff, I would look elsewhere. This backpack excels at carrying a modest amount of stuff. I routinely carry: lunch, laptop, power cables, water bottle, headphones, umbrella, and have some room left over to stuff a light jacket. Think over night bag unless you pack very lightly and then maybe a weekender.
The Fjallraven Rucksack No.21 is a fantastic commuter bag. Especially if you don’t want to look like everyone else but you also don’t want to scream “I’m unique” in caution yellow ballistic nylon. Two months in and I can wholeheartedly recommend this bag as a great commuter bag!
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