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Rucksacks. Backpacks. Haversacks.


In a few days we’re heading north for the holiday, to Yorkshire and then on to Cumbria. Weather permitting we will be spending some time in the Dales and around the Cumbrian fells and lakes. Our packing list is regionally appropriate; boots, gaiters, thermals, waterproofs, hatscarfgloves (all one word if you were part of our family in the ’70’s) and rucksack. Mmm, which rucksack? We’re lucky. We’ve a few to choose from.

Each version of our Black Sail Rucksack (there have been five) has been wear tested, and we still use all of them. This bag was sketched on the back of an envelope, literally, on the west coast train Oxenholme bound. At the time I thought, ‘Mmm, this is going to look fantastic in Herdwyck, but perhaps we’ll only sell one or two’. It’s become one of our most successful bags. Interpreted in earthy hues of tweed and leather for Cherchbi and some more exotic materials for clients such as Hardy Amies. The BSR, as it’s known in the studio, looks equally well on a Savile Row runway or Lake District fell-top. We’ll wager a bar of mint cake and a Hawkshead ale you won’t find another soul with a finer looking rucksack in either location.

Then there’s the slightly smaller Haversack, Mrs A’s preference, the understudy to the Black Sail. This bag was developed with inspiration from school satchels, military backpacks and vintage utilitarian bags. It’s name references all this research and there are many similar explanations. The ‘sack’ part is easy of course but ‘haver’ is less obvious. It’s actually old German for oats. This was an oat sack, or more likely an oatcake sac. In other words a bag to carry your lunch.

After some debate and a little to’ing and fro’ing we’re taking both the Black Sail and the Haversack. It usually ends up like this. If you’re in the north of England over the festive period and you spot a couple carry similarly tweedy bags then do say hello.

By the way, the images show both Black Sail and Haversack in use; three journalists from The Times on this years Tweed Run, the latest issue of Article magazine and a very festive issue of GQ magazine.