The Best Scandinavian Backpacks to Buy Now

The back of a woman wearing a black backpack showcasing Scandinavian design.

Backpacks are practical for daily use, but can they look good too? Absolutely! Scandinavian backpacks will convince you with their minimalist style, functionality, and high-quality materials.

There are a range of brands that produce great choices, whether it be Swedish backpacks, Danish backpacks, Icelandic backpacks, or anything else from the Nordic region.

There’s something for professionals, travellers, cyclists, people who want to swap out their handbag with something easier on the shoulder, or just people who need to haul a lot of crap around (we see you, parents!).

Find the best minimalist and functional backpacks from your favorite Scandinavian brands:


Best Backpacks for Outdoors

List Marker: Number 1Rains Backpacks

Waterproof, durable, and sleek, the Rains Messenger Bag is a hold-all kind of bag that also looks professional. Danish raincoat and accessories company

Rains always strikes the right balance of minimalist to functional, and their prices are very fair for the quality and design you get.


We love

The rolltop rucksack. It’s a perfect all-in-one backpack, also featuring a side-access laptop pocket, front zip pocket and padded back panel.

✔   Waterproof: W3
✔   Excellent materials
✔   Padded straps
✔   Signature closure
✔   Adjustable chest strap
✔   Padded air-mesh back
✔   Front pocket
✔   Webbing carry handle
✔   16” laptop pocket

Also, classics are classic for a reason, and most Danes at one point or another have owned the classic Rains backpack, which now also comes in a mini version.


Rains Backpacks


A minimalist black backpack on a white background.A beige backpack with black straps, perfect for scandinavian minimalists.



List Marker: Number 266°North Backpacks

It may not be the most minimalist of all the backpacks, but if you need something to withstand extreme weather conditions, you can’t get better than products from 66°North .

Their Waterproof 15L Backpack holds everything including the kitchen sink. The tough outer layer makes it a great choice for cyclists or campers. Also, this backpack is made from leftover fabric and is therefore produced in limited quantity.




A pink backpack with a black logo on it.A yellow and black backpack on a white background.
✔   Sustainable materials
✔   Weather-proof
✔   Durable



Best Backpacks for Travel

List Marker: Number 3Fjällraven Kånken Backpack

The classic Kånken with a little twist.The Fjällraven No 2 backpack has a black logo patch to match the black backpack body, making it a little bit more sleek that the typical Kånken.

These bags are internationally popular for a reason: they fit way more than you’d think, the quality is excellent, and they look great.

This is a backpack you can use for work, use for the kids, use for travel – anything! They flatten out and weigh almost nothing, so it’s a great bag to have when you need extra space. The mini version is ideal for kids.


Fjällraven Kånken


Fjallraven kanken backpack black.Fjallraven kanken backpack in pink, scandinavian.


What does Kånken mean in Swedish?

In Swedish, Kånka means “to lug” or “to carry.” Kånken is the name given to a backpack.

The Kånken’s external pockets and side pocks are super useful for storage on-the-go. The label itself is reflective, a very clever hidden safety measure.

There’s even a secret compartment inside the bag with a foam mat. This not only helps protect your back from sharp objects that can dig into you from the bag, it can also be removed and used as a seat pad on cold or wet surfaces.

Fjällräven kanken backpack - olive green.Fjällräven kanken backpack in yellow.
✔   Ultra-light
✔   Top handles
✔   Foam mat included


List Marker: Number 4Arket Ruckstack

A useful nylon backpack that’s both spacious and water-repellant, this ARKET backpack actually folds into a small pocket, making it a perfect travel bag addition.

It comes in a range of colors and the lining is made of majority recycled polyester.


ARKET Backpacks


✔   Water-repellen
✔   Lightweight
✔   Spacious



Best Backpacks for Work

List Marker: Number 5Sandqvist Backpacks

Swedish brand Sandqvist makes timeless bags that will last for ages and look good the whole time.

We love their Hege backpack for the way it mixes leather elements with a cotton canvas body, and made using recycled polyester and organic cotton. The canvas means it sits nicely against the back, and the leather front helps it keep a clean, sharp silhouette. The Stig bag is another Scandi minimalist classic.




✔   Professional look
✔   Roomy
✔   Durable



List Marker: Number 6O’KANA backpacks

O’KANA began in Denmark in 2014, with a view offer “new-age” Scandinavian design.

Their take is preppier than your usual Scandinavian design piece, heavily influenced by heritage menswear, and their bags sit in the center of a Venn diagram of “briefcase” and “backpack.”

This is a smart and stylish option, perfect for work or school, in 100% handcrafted leather.




Get 10% off your entire purchase with the code SCAN10.

✔   Water-resistant waxed leather
✔   Front pocket
✔   Vintage patina



List Marker: Number 7COS Backpacks

This is the perfect backpack for those who want an ultra-professional looking option that’s still affordable.

When held by the top handle, it’s a sleek briefcase. When slung on the back, it’s a geometric, beautiful backpack. Win-win!

If you’re looking for something less structured from COS, their Technical Drawstring Backpack (€51) in canvas is also worth a look!




✔   Minimalist
✔   Multi-use
✔   Good value for money



List Marker: Number 8Adax Backpacks

Danish heritage brand Adax makes sleek and useful bags. The Ann backpack has an old fashioned silhouette that is made contemporary with its subtle crossed straps and detailing.

This bag can fit all your work or school gear, plus it looks great when you go out after the office.




✔   Classic silhouette
✔   Day-to-night
✔   Durable



List Marker: Number 9Mismo Backpacks

Mismo is a brand that puts meticulous care into every item they produce. Although that means the cost can be high, it also means the quality you can expect is top-notch.

This slim nylon bag with strong leather straps is both beautiful and highly functional, with a fold-over top that keeps all your items safe and also gives it a little visual pop.




✔   Long-lasting
✔   Minimalist style
✔   High-quality construction



Best Backpacks for Every Day

List Marker: Number 10Tretorn Backpacks

Water-repellent bags made from ocean waste that are impossibly chic; do you need another reason to buy a Tretorn bag? Tretorn are most famous for their shoes (Tretorn is the second oldest sneaker manufacture in the world), but their bags are just as impressive.

As a company, they’ve been at the forefront of innovation for decades, so it’s only fitting that they would lead the charge when working with sustainable rubbers.

Through multiple – though teasingly diverse – collaborations with the likes of COMME DE GARÇON, Naturkompaniet, and even ABBA, Tretorn has come to be synonymous with style and sustainability. Their matte bags in tonal shades are a sophisticated take on the traditional backpack.




✔   Sustainable materials
✔   Sleek style
✔   Long-lasting



List Marker: Number 11Marimekko Backpacks

Simple and useful backpacks from Finnish textile giant Marimekko. The slim silhouettes and spacious interiors make them an easy choice for people who need to carry a lot but don’t want to be too weighed-down.

Marimekko always has both minimalist and maximalist options, thanks to their strong heritage of color and pattern usage. Find the one that’s right for you!




✔   Many styles
✔   High-quality
✔   Great functionality



List Marker: Number 12Norse Projects Daypacks

It doesn’t get more simple and functional than this backpack from Norse Projects. Constructed from a crisp and pure nylon rip-stop with a waterproof backer treatment.

Made with integrated padded straps, an internal mesh compartment to keep essentials secure and side pockets for quick access storage. The bag is so lightweight that it can actually be folded into its own pocket and easily fits a 15″ laptop. Double reinforced to strengthen in essential areas.

When is a backpack not a backpack? When it’s also a tote. The Hybrid Backpack makes the transition look easy with thick straps that lie flat against the back of the bag so you can carry it as a tote.


Norse Projects


✔   Hidden tote handle
✔   Padded straps
✔   Interior compartments



Want even more Scandinavian backpacks? See our full list of waterproof backpacks, including backpacks for travel, hiking and cycling!

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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.