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summer worsley

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Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.


Harber London Classic Rucksack

The Harbor London Classic Rucksack has a premium feel to it, one that compliments the elegant aesthetic. It’s a sustainable backpack for the urban commute. One that brings an outback or cowboy design into a modern setting.

It’s a bag that projects a professional style, and it’s size and top handle means that it can also be used as a valise.

But beyond the appearance of this higher-end backpack for everyday use, does it also provide a functional quality that the price tag demands?

Read our review to find out for yourself.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:


Reasons to buy

  • Materials feel premium and age nicely
  • It’s compliments a professional appearance
  • The anti-theft pockets are functional and well thought-out
  • Locking mechanisms on top flap easy, but secure
  • Laptop is protected

Reasons NOT to buy

  • The trolley strap is too narrow to fit atop many trolleys
  • Neoprene padding under shoulder straps create more heat


Harbor London’s backpack has both the quality-to-last and an updated design that is chic without being posh, making it an outstanding bag for professionals, serious students and executives.

On the face of it, one would be excused for wondering why you’d pay more than $200 for a backpack for everyday use. The Classic Rucksack by Harbor London illustrates convincingly that a backpack can do more than just carry your items, as well why you fork over as much for it.

To begin with, this bag is handcrafted in a way that reminds of an artisanal product made from a bygone era. The ones that are inherited from previous generations, but don’t get used anymore because of an outdated design.

The Classic Rucksack is cool in this retro-modern-fusion kind of way that merges style with functionality nicely.

See the complete list of the best Backpacks here!

harber london classic rucksack overview

Harber London Classic Rucksack: Key Specifications

  • Capacity: 17 Liters
  • Material: Full grain leather, aluminum buckles & recycled plastic bottles
  • Weight: 3.05 lbs/1.38 kg
  • 2 side pockets
  • 16” Laptop sleeve
  • 13” Tablet sleeve
  • YKK zippers

Where to Buy:


Hidden pockets for the daily commute, combined with a zippered enclosure for the main compartment, provide additional security (anti-theft), which is nice considering that it is a backpack that projects value.

These two pockets are big enough for a smaller water bottle, keys, telephone, charger, etc.

Further functionality is found in the up-to-16” laptop sleeve with the integrated spot for a 13” laptop or sketchbook, etc. Sewing is good and protection is there too.

There’s an additional zippered pocket

As far as the capacity goes, there’s enough for study or office items (including books, etc) and a change of clothes or sweater. The size makes it ideal for biking and getting on or off the train.

harber london classic rucksack capacity


Speaking of biking, the swivel connectors on the shoulder straps move adroitly with any body type. The swivels are durable and the straps are padded with neoprene for comfort.

While leather would be less comfortable around the shoulders, the neoprene adds extra warmth during the summer, but any solution to aerate would have compromised the style.

While it can take weight, there’s no rear padding to prevent heavy, sharp objects from digging into your back. But at 17 liters, it’s perhaps not relevant anyway.

harber london classic rucksack comfort

Other Features

You can’t leave out praise for the materials Harber London uses. It’s the type of bag that actually gets pretty as it ages, thanks to–especially–the leather, which is sourced from Spain.

Full grain leather is not treated in any way. It’s the layer of hide just below the hair of the animal and is the most durable kind of leather. It also provides the most natural look.

Because of this, and, like the cowboy’s satchel, the Classic Rucksack can cope with the elements.

We tested the water resistance in torrential rains and it passed every time. The full grain leather is reinforced with recycled plastic water bottles, providing this protection.

While Harber London calls it waterproof, it must be said that this bag is not a waterproof backpack that can survive a dunk in the river. But for days when the heavens open up, it’ll easily keep your kit dry.

There’s also a detachable, magnetic key chain. Nice for them that may use them, optional for the rest.

The trolley strap that allows you to set it atop a carry on-suitcase is great. We would have liked to see it a little longer so that it could fit broader handles. It’s really the only design element Harber London overlooked.

harber london classic rucksack other features


Considering the durability of the Classic Rucksack from Harber London, we consider it a worthwhile purchase. It’s pricey, but it’ll likely give you more years than most every other backpack.

Lined up against the comparable Herschel Little America backpack, the Classic Rucksack will stand the test of time better. And it has more functionality too.

See the complete list of the best Backpacks here!

What We Like

  • Materials feel premium and age nicely
  • It’s compliments a professional appearance
  • The anti-theft pockets are functional and well thought-out
  • Locking mechanisms on top flap easy, but secure
  • Laptop is protected

What We Don’t Like

  • The trolley strap is too narrow to fit atop many trolleys
  • Neoprene padding under shoulder straps create more heat

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Harber London Classic Rucksack

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is full grain leather?

    Full grain leather refers to the strongest part of the hide of an animal. It’s the most durable kind of leather, which is taken from the layer of hide just below the surface of the animal’s hair. It hasn’t been treated in any way like corrected grain leather, which is snuffed, buffed or sanded.

    Backpacks that use full grain leather are therefore extremely durable and develop an attractive patina with age. The Classic Rucksack from Harber London is a great example of this.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Why buy a leather backpack?

    A leather backpack has the advantage of durability. Depending on the quality of the leather, it’ll last longer than other backpacks and even become more attractive with time. Backpacks like the Harber London Classic Rucksack that use full grain leather will develop more patina with time and look more appealing rather than just raggedy.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is the best backpack?

    The best backpack will be the model that provides the function and durability to match the specific needs. Hiking backpacks are different from backpacks for everyday use. Equally, waterproof backpacks are great for maritime use, but compromise when used on the daily commute.


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