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There will always be a time and a place for high tech, low weight, go-faster rucksacks, but there's also an ever expanding niche for tough, beautifully made packs that will age elegantly and quite possibly outlive their owners. The Trakke Findo rucksack falls firmly in the latter camp, and only seems to look more lovely the more scuffs it incurs.
Yes, £195 is a lot of money for a relatively small rucksack, but we're not talking something mass-produced in a huge faceless factory in the Far East. The Findo is handmade, to order, in Scotland using components largely sourced – wherever possible, Trakke says – from the UK.
It's the quality of fabrics and components that really stands out as justification for the high price, though. Trakke's USP is a return to more traditional bag making techniques, to produce the sort of bag that scouts and adventurers of old would have used and loved for a lifetime.
The fabric of the Findo is waxed cotton, the straps are nylon and leather with felted wool, the buckles stainless steel. The company's aim is to produce a bag where nothing can fail, a bag that will age gracefully over many many years, showing its adventures along the way.
While the Findo is not a pack designed strictly with cycling in mind, being more of a general outdoor, walking or even city daypack, it is, quite simply, one of the best looking and comfortable packs I've ever used.
At only 10 stated litres, it's small but surprisingly roomy. It took a 13in Macbook with ease, along with various bits and bobs at the same time. It would also take a pair of shoes and a change of shirt, or an emergency shop, for instance.
The waxed cotton fabric, inside and out, coupled with a rather nifty design which folds in the corners of the main body, mean that even in heavy rain the contents didn't get soggy, and the fabric and leather panels didn't suffer either. I had some concerns about the felted wool padding of the straps in the rain but they were well protected by the leather and were fine.
The straps are comfortable even without the optional extra of a chest strap, and with this size of pack it's unlikely to be so heavy that this does not remain the case. I filled it to its maximum and incurred no problems with stability or comfort.
Any adjustment of the polyester webbing portion of the straps also stays put without slipping, even when frequently removing and replacing the bag. The rather ingenious poppers that fasten the front of the bag manage to be both attractive and effective, with the little leather loop behind making them easier to operate, although they are still a tiny bit tricky single handed.
The zipped internal pocket is just the right size for a smartphone and wallet, and helps to reassure that everything will stay dry, while the side pouch pockets are, as claimed, big enough for a bottle of wine. Ah, the lengths we testers will go to... There's also a slimline pocket on the front of the main body of the bag.
It's not the lightest pack, but it's not designed to be. It's not the most technical pack, but it's designed to be just technical enough. It's obviously not the cheapest pack. What it is, is a genuinely beautifully made and well-designed pack, hand crafted in the UK, that will give years and years of service and, maybe more importantly, real pleasure in its use.
Superbly crafted and a genuine pleasure to use. Just as well, as it will probably last forever
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Trakke Findo backpack
Size tested: Black, Volume 10 Litres
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at those looking for a traditionally style backpack that will last and last.
Trakke says: "Inspired by vintage backpacks for boy-scouts in the 1950's, the Findo backpack is the epitome of everyday adventure. With leather straps that form to your shoulders over time and side pockets that hold a bottle of wine, this weatherproof pack is built for work and play – whether you're citybound or exploring nature's playground."
A fair description of the pack and its character.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waxed cotton outer
Dry finish waxed cotton lining
Stainless steel buckles and fastenings
Leather, polyester and felted wool straps
10 litres (will take a 13" Macbook)
Superbly well made from extremely high quality materials and components.
Comfortable, kept everything dry even in heavy rain, rugged and the straps stayed put after adjustment.
No reason to think this pack couldn't outlive its owner.
Not especially light but it's designed for robustness and longevity rather than to be lightweight.
Very comfortable indeed, even when heavily laden.
Yes it's expensive but it is handmade to order in Scotland, using UK sourced materials and components wherever possible. It should also be a very long-term investment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, quality, comfort, materials, hand crafted in UK.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Outstandingly high quality and very well designed. A backpack for lovers of tradition.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.