Fashion

The Best Scandinavian Waterproof Backpacks to Buy Now

If you live in Scandinavia, you’ll know the importance of a waterproof backpack: from cycling everywhere to constantly dodging rain, if your belongings aren’t easy to carry and safe from soaking then it’s game over. Many have learned the hard way *cough*me*cough* that shoving an open wicker bag into your basket on a “mild summer day” will often lead to soggy pages in books and water-damaged phone screens. Honestly, cycling in the rain is miserable enough, why make it worse? It’s time to work smarter, not harder, with a water-repelling backpack – the most important item in a Scandinavian wardrobe.

These are the best Scandinavian waterproof backpacks to buy now (before the rains come), for travel, for work, for hiking, and for cycling:

For Work

Rains backpacks

The clue is in the name with this Aarhus brand. Their matte, lightweight material, designed specifically to withstand rain, is a chic and modern approach to outerwear design. Every collection comes in a veritable candy shop of colors, with Barbie pinks, moss greens, midnight blues, sunshine yellows, and even iridescent holographics, though staple blacks, whites, and neutrals are also available.

There are a few styles available, including roll-top and messenger bags, all of which feature Rains’ watertight zip detail.

✔   Watertight zip
✔   Matte, lightweight material
✔   Minimalist design

Rains backpacks
from $92

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Tretorn backpacks

Water repellent bags made from ocean waste that are impossibly chic, do you actually need any more justification? 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 rubber
✔   Tonal shades
✔   Traditional style

Tretorn backpacks
from $92

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Sandqvist backpacks

Founded in Sweden in 2004, Sandqvist grew organically as a response to the lack of well-crafted, design-led, functional bags on offer at the time. Now, they’re still producing bags true to Swedish values: sustainability and care for the environment, high-quality designs, and uncompromising functionality. In fact, you can bring the bags back to one of their flagship stores if they need to be repaired.

Their range of water-resistant backpacks are refined in style with a sophisticated range of colors, all made to the highest quality.

✔   Sustainable materials
✔   Water-resistant
✔   Repairs shops

Sandqvist backpacks
from $139

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Mifland backpacks

Technically based in Georgia, Atlanta, but thanks to founder and brand director Tobi Egberongbe’s affinity to design, photography, architecture, and contemporary furniture, the brand has a Scandinavian approach to its utilitarian designs.

All pieces are designed with form and function as the most important requirement. The collections are defined by Mifland’s signature architectural-inspired bold design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on durability, a unique use of colors, and heavyweight waxed vegetable tanned leather.

✔   Vegetable tanned leather
✔   Naturally water-resistant waxed leather
✔   Utilitarian design

Mifland backpacks
from $290

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O’KANA backpacks

O’KANA began in Denmark in 2014, with a view to design and offer a “New-Age” Scandinavian look. 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 super smart option, perfect for work or school, in 100% handcrafted leather with a vintage patina.

✔   Naturally water-resistant waxed handmade leather
✔   Front pocket
✔   Vintage patina

O’KANA backpacks
from $182

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Arket backpacks

Arket’s range of backpacks come in water-repellent nylon with a recycled polyester lining. They’re super lightweight and easy to fold down, making them a great option for a weather-suitable shopping bag. The design is fairly basic, opting for the classic two-compartment style with watertight zippers.

The front pocket is perfect for keeping essentials, like keys, close to hand, so you can cut down on time spent fumbling in your bag when you’re trying to open the door. Our new go-to when the tote won’t cut it!

✔   Water-repellent nylon with a recycled polyester lining
✔   Lightweight
✔   Unfolds from a zip pocket to a useful daypack

Arket backpacks
from $42

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For Travel, Hiking & Camping

Fjällraven backpacks

After H&M and Acne, Fjällräven is probably the next most recognizable Swedish brand. Originating from the small Swedish town of Örnsjöldsvik, they make clothes and equipment for outdoor use, all of which feature their sweet arctic fox logo. The brand is dedicated to making nature more accessible, and nothing says “nature” quite like a sudden downpour.

They have a wide range of backpacks available, from laptop bags to something more suitable to an arctic expedition than a daily commute. Fjällraven are committed to sustainable practices and many of their waterproof options are made using recycled nylon, not bad.

The Kankens external pockets and side pocks are super useful for storage on the go. Also, 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.

✔   Waterproof options are made using recycled nylon
✔   Light, versatile and durable
✔   Comes with an internal foam mat

Fjällraven backpacks
from $81

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66°NORTH backpacks

Originally created to protect Icelandic fishermen from weather so harsh that suitable clothing was a matter of life and death. Nowadays it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in a situation so dire, but it’s nice to know your bag could tough it out if so. 66°NORTH will protect your belongings from a whole host of weather, including snow and gale-force winds.

✔   Made From Leftover Fabric
✔   Fabric on the sides, front and top are waterproof
✔   Adjustable shoulder straps and hook. Two buckle closing.

66°NORTH backpacks
from $152

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Haglöfs backpacks

Sometimes just trying to leave the house can feel like a military operation. For those occasions, we recommend a Haglöfs bag.

Boasting features like a key holder and a detachable ice axe loop (v. useful), plus ergonomic design to help disperse the weight, this is the definition of utilitarian design.

✔   Provides ventilation and air flow between the backpack and user’s back
✔   Ergonomic design to help disperse the weight
✔   Key holder and a detachable ice axe loop

Haglöfs backpacks
from $137

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Klättermusen backpacks

If Wes Andersen directed the first expedition to the arctic, it would feature these bags: the alpine-ready designs mix classic styles with modern twists and their infamous scallop trim detail. Zig-zag zips that break up powerful color blocking are as functional (all the compartments!) as they are charming.

✔   Weatherproof openings thanks to the double storm flaps
✔   Loop webbing for attachment
✔   3D-mesh shoulder straps and back panel for maximum ventilation

Klättermusen backpacks
from $147

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