Recommended Price: £119.99
In recent years, retro-styled gear has been making a comeback – with many outdoor brands once again making rucksacks in canvas; perhaps heavy, but durable.
The Alpkit Brevent is a 22l pack made from tough 330 denier dry waxed cotton. The dry wax treatment means ensures it’s water repellent for showers but does not lose wax to your clothes, though as with all (non-waterproof) rucksacks you’d want a cover or liner in heavy rain.
There are two bellows style side pockets with compression straps – generously sized to easily take a litre water bottle a piece, and there’s a smaller zipped pocket in the lid (including a key fob), which fastens down with a single buckle. Beneath the lid, the pack has a drawcord top, whilst inside is a large mesh compartment against the back which could carry a water reservoir or – just as easily in town – a laptop. The foam back gives the pack some shape, though it’s best to pack carefully, and the shoulder straps are also foam padded. The hip belt has a metal buckle, and the (removable) chest strap a plastic one. The square on the lid is for fitting a rear safety light – useful for walking on roads after dark.
I’ve actually found the Brevent to be surprisingly large compared to other packs around the same stated 22l capacity, so there’s bags of room to use this as a hillwalking pack. Note, though, that there is no ice-axe loop, so it’s not for the winter mountains.
Apart from the looks, the big advantage here is the durability of the fabric, and it’s made in the UK too. Though not as light as synthetic alternatives, it is extremely tough and not actually as heavy as you might expect or remember from packs of days long gone. The Brevent is covered by Alpkit’s generous 25 Year Alpine Bond, which means you can return it for repair, replacement or refund. It’s available in mustard (pictured, but currently out of stock) or denim.