I purchased my rucksack from Wilder and Sons just over two years ago and I’ve put it to the test more times than I can count.
This bag is a workhorse made from sturdy materials with a simple, elegant design.
I have found a couple of small flaws after years of use and there are some features I’ve really fallen in love with. I’ll share all of these thoughts and my final recommendation below.
I’ll start by saying that I am an avid rock climber. I spend nearly every weekend out in the mountains hauling myself and my gear up and down steep cliffs. I wedge myself into narrow chimneys, scramble over jagged rock and haul my gear around in generally rugged terrain.
Any bag I take out into the mountains takes a real beating. My Wilder and Sons rucksack has spent the last two years in the mountains of the northwestern United States and the highlands of Guatemala. I certainly put it to the test.
This bag is tough. Sturdy material, strong buckles and solid stitching allow it to withstand a heavy beating, day in and day out. All told, the bag is of a medium weight. It’s certainly not the pack to take trail running. However, it’s not as heavy as a combat pack with accessories coming out of its ears.
Wilder and Sons chose to use 600D nylon for the outer material of this bag. It’s an uncommon fabric weight and you’ll be hard pressed to find other manufacturers using this weight of fabric in their packs. It is a sturdy fabric with pretty hefty threads, causing a somewhat stiff, and resilient texture.You’ll notice it right away, the bag feels sturdy and strong.
The denier (D) rating of a fabric is a measurement of fiber thickness, not strength or durability. In general though, a higher D rating does mean stronger, sturdier fabrics and lower a D rating makes for a softer, sleeker fabric.
500D and 1000D nylon have both been the go to materials in bag making for a long time. However, 600D nylon is a little atypical. This gives the rucksack a unique feel and sets it apart from most bags on the market today.
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The buckles and seaming
Although the buckles on this bag are plastic, they are strong and reliable. I’ve bashed my bag into rocks countless times and all my buckles still work like they did on day one.
The seaming and stitching is pretty good, considering how much of a beating my bag receives. I certainly have managed to fray some of the seams on my bag and there are two spots by the top pocket zipper that have come unstitched. All of these are purely cosmetic and do not affect the bag’s function, so I really don’t mind. In the case of the seam around the zipper, I actually prefer the bag now that the stitching has come out because the zipper is easier to access and use.
I do have one small complaint about this bag. At times it is enough to make me choose my lighter weight Osprey pack with more bells and whistles. However, I have never regretted buying my rucksack because of it.
The rucksack by Wilder and Sons is a very simple pack with only two compartments. There are side straps and sturdy lashing loops to attach extra gear. However, the pack is essentially only one main compartment and a top zipper pocket.
When I’m out climbing, I don’t mind this because I am really using my rucksack as a gear hauling bag. I only need a big compartment for my gear and a small one for accessories like my phone, keys, and snacks.
But there are lots of times when I want extra pockets to keep things separate. I like a water bottle pocket, separate compartment for soft snacks or a small zipper pocket for change or small items where they won’t get mixed in with all my other stuff.
The addition of a few extra pockets would make the rucksack more versatile and cause me to use it exclusively over any other day pack.
The final word
This is a great bag. It certainly lives up to Wilder and Sons’ promises of rugged durability and dashing good looks. I take it into the mountains with me every weekend, despite my nitpick about its simple design. It can fit a surprising amount of gear inside of it and can take a harsh beating without complaint.
However, this pack is not for everyone. If you are enamored with accessories or just can’t live without a pocket to hold your Nalgene, then this bag might disappoint you.
Think about what you need this bag to do for you. If you need a bag that’s tough as nails for your next wilderness adventure, this is a sure bet. If you want to look like a stylish outdoorsmen on the college campus, this pack fits the bill. If you like a bag that is simple and reliable, here it is. But if you have all sorts of different items that need their own home in your bag, keep looking.
Not all the products I’ve owned by Wilder and Sons have been sturdy and reliable, but my rucksack certainly is. It’s spent two long years exploring the mountains with me and I expect several more before I retire or repair this bag.
Find yours at the Wilder and Sons official website here: https://wilderandsons.com/collections/packs-gear/products/rucksack-sand
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