I've always been a fan of vintage designs. Just a few decades ago, almost everything was made by hand and it showed. Designs were simple but durable, and had solid features without the flash. One of my favorite pieces of vintage gear is the simple rucksack.
I've always gravitated towards the rucksack for it's simple features, and easy gear access. Taking a look around, I found some incredible vintage reconditioned bags that have seen adventure and are ready for more. Here are a few of the defining features that make the bag a go-to for my kind of adventure.
1. Top loading main pocket - The main pocket is huge on a rucksack. The big opening easily accepts jackets, shoes, or whatever else is coming along. It also protects the bag from water more effectively than any other design. The long top flap sheds water off the back of the bag and away from the gear inside.
2. Simple straps - While not always overly padded, the straps on a rucksack are always distinctive and a great part of the style. Straps can be made with leather, canvas, nylon or other awesome materials.
3. Useful pockets - The pockets in a rucksack are usually simple, easy to access, and useful. Built to store water bottles, or other small items so they can be found when they're needed.
4. Durable materials - The best bags I've found are made of waxed canvas, with leather accents on the wear points. These details mean that the bag will stand up to years of loving abuse.
A great place to look for some vintage reconditioned bags is Wynnchester Bags in the UK. Take a look at their bags here. For new bags with classic design look at the Fjall Raven Greenland. For an updated technical rucksack, take a look at the Ogio Ruck 20.
Overall, if I head into the backcountry for an extended stay, I'll grab a well designed "technical" 50-65L backpack with all of the modern advancements. But for daily use or simple overnights I'm still sold on that handmade vintage character of the timeless rucksack.