Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 Review

Many outdoor companies are moving towards bringing back classic pieces and adding modern technology to improve the function, while keeping the retro look. Fjallraven has done just that with their Rucksack No. 21 by adding eco-friendly wax to the G-1000 fabric, which is a blend of polyester (65%) and cotton (35%). The wax helps to create a water and wind resistant fabric. The fabric is rugged and therefore extremely durable from regular wear and tear. However, I found that it took a solid month of regular use to get the bag to soften up or become more pliable.

Style of the Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21

The Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 is a top loading backpack that features a drawstring cinch at the top, termed a snow lock by Fjallraven, just under the lid. The snow lock brings together the lighter weight canvas placed at the top of the backpack to help keep your belongings in place in an overstuffed pack. The lid on the Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 borrows from Fjallraven’s best selling backpacks in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The lid features two leather straps that run through a leather loop or track on the lid; the leather straps then run through a metal loop on the body of the backpack and are then anchored in four different positions, depending on the load you are carrying in the backpack.

The shoulder straps are a combination of the Fjallraven’s G-1000 fabric and leather. The straps feature a hint of padding within the fabric portion, while the leather section features 11 pre-drilled holes to allow the wearer to get a custom fit. The back panel of the Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 has two strips of padding that run the length of the backpack.

The Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 is available in 9 classic colors.

Pumpkin (orange), Red, Ochre (yellow), Navy, Green, Uncle Blue (sea blue), Black, Dark Garnet, Dark Grey. No matter your color selection or preference, each Rucksack No. 21 comes with identical leather detailing, including leather trim along the lid and the Fjallraven logo along the center of the lid.

Function of the Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21

The Rucksack No. 21 may have a throwback look, yet it accommodates modern day needs. For starters, the Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 has a padded laptop sleeve incorporated into the back panel. There is also an included bottle pocket to help keep a thermos or water bottle upright. This pocket can hold a traditional bike water bottle, Camelback water bottles, Stanley coffee mugs/thermos/water bottle, yet a standard Nalgene bottle is a tight fit. I have also used the bottle pocket to place my charge cords for my computer, phone, and tablet.

The Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 features an included seat pad. While the seat pad is a nice addition, I removed the pad as it occupies some space at the rear of the pack and interferes with access to the small internal zippered pocket at the top of the pack. The small pocket is great to help keep key items secure, however if the pocket is not tucked within the seat pad pocket, I found that it obscured my view of the inside of the pack by flapping over the opening of the pack. There are two external vertical pockets that are good for an umbrella or stashing extra layers, such as gloves and a hat. My favorite pocket is the large front pocket for items that you need to get to while on the go.

If you would like to use this backpack in town and out on the trail, the seat pad sleeve could accommodate a 2L bladder. I slid a Hydrapak and Camelback bladder within my Rucksack No. 21. There is no exit hole for the tube, however you can easily pipe it out the top and secure under the should strap.


The Fjallraven Rucksack No. 21 is available in 3 sizes: small, medium, and large. I tested out the smallest size and found that I needed more space for a full day at school, work or on the trail. Rucksack No. 21 Small may be best suited for those with small computers or tablets and those that don’t need to carry to much. In a regular day I have my backpack stuffed with my laptop, lunch, a change of clothes for the gym, water bottle and coffee mug.

Here are the specs on each size.

Small- 15L capacity, accommodates a 13″ computer.

Dimensions: Depth = 12 cm or 4.72 inches, Height = 42 cm or  16.5 inches, Width = 25 cm or 9.8 inches

Medium- 20L capacity, accommodates a 15″ computer

Dimensions: Depth = 13 cm or 5.11 inches, Height = 44 cm or 17.3 inches, Width = 28 cm or 11 inches

Large- 30L capacity, accommodates a 17″ computer

Dimensions: Depth = 15 cm or 5.9 inches, Height = 52 cm or 20.47 inches, Width = 29 cm or 11.42 inches

If you are in the market for a durable, retro looking backpack, with extreme quality and modern additions, then check out Fjallraven’s Rucksack No. 21.

MSRP 149

Shannon: Shannon, our fabulous female tester, takes gear testing to a new level for women. When not at work or school, she is most likely training for a marathon, climbing one of Colorado’s tallest peaks, riding her road bike, or skiing down a mountain slope. Like many women, Shannon gets cold easily, therefore, we try to test the best all weather gear to help her stay warm and dry during all day outdoor pursuits. In the warmer months, Shannon enjoys exploring the Colorado backcountry with her friends and dogs and attempts to escape for as many trail runs as her schedule allows. Shannon is a great women’s tester because she gives readers true insight into how a product may perform for an active woman.

View Comments (1)

  • What size of computer do you have?

    I have an 13", but i'm afraid the small one will get TOO small - i need space for some clothes and so on too.

    BEST review i've found yet!

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