Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack (4 years)

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My Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack has been my most used bag after my Filson Zippered Tote. The model I have is made with Horween Chromexcel leather and in the “Sage” colorway. The bag was an unwaxed version, and I used it as such for most of the time until the last year when I decided to wax the canvas myself. These are some of my thoughts after 4 years plus of hauling a laptop, water bottle, chargers, camera gear, and often some gym clothes. 

Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack in Sage/Horween Chromexcel. Front view.

What I like:

  • Beautiful Horween Chromexcel leather.

The leather doesn’t show signs that it’ll give anytime soon. Horween Chromexcel is filled with fats and oils, and I have never needed to condition it yet. The variation of brown shades is beautiful.

  • Simple, but timeless rucksack design.

The rucksack is iconic enough for someone to recognize the brand/design, but doesn’t stand out as flashy.

  • Large handle loop at the top for easy carry.

I appreciate the wide the handle loop because the rich leather just feels great in my hand. The oils from my hand helps nourish the leather.

  • Leather is riveted at points of stress for durability.

I prefer rivets over bar tack stitching because it handles stress well multi-directionally. The brass is also gives a great contrast against the leather.

  • Wool felted shoulder pads are comfortable.

The wool pads are each sewn to a Chromexcel piece, but the whole piece together is removable by a button stud.

  • Includes interior wool felted laptop compartment.

On the inside is a full length felt compartment that is stitched to the rucksack’s side that hugs the back. I believe it could fit up to a 17” laptop comfortably.

  • Tanner Goods’ button stud closure will not fail.

There are three button studs with a loop – two for the top bag opening and one for the outer front pocket. Technically there is another two studs that hold the shoulder pads in place, but these ones don’t have a loop to secure them.


What could be improved (maybe):

  • No quick adjust shoulder straps.

The nice leather rucksack straps come at a compromise of being unable to adjust them quickly (like a cinch). But once you’re tactile enough, you can adjust each side to the appropriate length even while wearing the rucksack. The good news is the length stays put!

  • Single canvas layer throughout even at rucksack’s bottom.

The bottom canvas takes the most wear, and heavy/sharp objects will leave nicks/holes in the canvas. A waxed version of the canvas might help for this.

  • Wool wears thin over time.

With the wool felt pads rubbing against your shoulders, the fibers eventually wear away to a thin layer, even nearly causing the Chromexcel leather on the other side to be visible.

  • Limited strap holes included at top closure and shoulder straps.

This is more of a problem with the shoulder straps when the bag is nearly empty. The rucksack doesn’t hug my body close enough, but it was simple fix with a belt hole puncher.

  • Chromexcel stretches easily at handle carry loop.

Not so much a flaw, but a property of the leather. I don’t find it to be significant enough to change the length, but the leather does look slightly warped.

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