Rated 4 out of 5 by PraetorianCXI Rugged and simplistic
I've had this pack since 2006 (8 years) and I have used it almost daily during that time to carry school stuff, from high school to college and now grad school. It has also been used extensively as a day pack for hiking. I love this pack! It has stood up to all the abuse very well, and is still fully functional. Worn, but functional.
The pack, however, will not give you the more modern features. In particular I miss having a sternum strap, and the belt on this pack is pretty much useless (I took it off long ago). I also removed the backboard. I've also always wondered why the front pocket has both a zipper and a strap.
I came back to the sight to look into purchasing another, but based on some of the lower starred reviews it seems that the pack has changed for the worse since I got mine, so take this with a grain of salt.
August 1, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 Awesome Backpack
I've had this backpack since about 2004 and its travelled all over the world with. I would highly recommend this pack to anybody that wants a good, heavy-duty day-pack. It can hold plenty of water, food, or small equipment for days exploring. I commonly have people stop and ask me about the pack, even at 10 years old. I'll probably get another one, assuming this backpack is still being sold in another 10-15 years.
One recommendation I do have for people who buy this backpack, treat the bag with respect, and it will be marvelous! Every couple years, I seal the bag with a waterproofer because I've been caught in the rain numerous times. Speaking of rain, the backpack withstood Beijing's nasty acid rain and smog like a champ!
July 9, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5
by jaystyle88 Good not Great
I bought this bag one year ago and am now doing a review so you'll all understand how this bag holds up after a year's worth of use.
The bag has held up well overall. Like other posters have mentioned, the leather does frays on the edges almost immediately, but doesn't affect its utility--just the aesthetics.
The biggest problem with this backpack becomes noticeable right away: The straps desperately need a neoprene layer between the fabric. Because the straps are only cloth, they role up after a day's use and make what should be a nice wide strap feel like a piece of rope on both shoulders. It makes long hikes uncomfortable because of the narrow pressure it places on your shoulders.
The waist straps are useless as they don't actually fit on your waist. Fortunately, they can just be tucked away. This backpack could also use a chest strap to keep the shoulder straps together--though if the shoulders had neoprene it might not matter.
Overall, this is a good backpack with a vast amount of storage space that is underutilized because a lot of weight makes the pack uncomfortable. With a few modifications this could be the best bag ever, but until then it is simply average.
July 6, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by oldguyhiker strong and well made
I had my last waxed cotton back pack like this one for over 40 years. This pack is made well and can hold everything I need. I use this in Nevada for day hiking in both winter and the hot summer. I carry everything I need for hiking in the Nevada outdoors. I read some of the reviews and wonder what kind of use they were giving this bag. I have had this bag for over 5 years. It has never failed me to work the way it was designed to. I carry camera equipment, water, clothes and first aide items. I try to keep my pack at 20 lbs. One more thing this pack was left on the roof of my Jeep and thats right fell off the top at 50 mph on to a dirt road and was left there for a day. When I went back the next morning the rain had not gotten though the waxed cotton and the bag was not damage. So I think this pack is well made. This a back pack not a book bag so buy it for outdoor use and enjoy the pack.
July 6, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by GSD3 Could be better
I recently received the Waxed Cotton Continental Rucksack. It was all I expected it to be, a casual pack for short day hikes with my dogs. I have been hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing for over 40 years and have carried a variety of backpacks. I chose this one pack due to the fact I simply desired a bomb-proof canvas/leather pack. Those offered by other manufacturers found on-line are available but at a substantially higher cost than this pack. I have always been satisfied with LL Bean products and customer service and knew if this product was found to be inferior, there would be no problem in returning it for refund. Upon receipt of the pack, I immediately over-stuffed it with all my gear, more than I truly would need just for a day hike but I wanted to see what the pack would do. I immediately found the side pockets too small to house my water bottles, though wide enough, the pockets are not deep enough therefore the pockets would have to remain unsecured. Changing over to a small water bottle worked but truly would not provide enough water for a day hike for myself, let alone my dogs. Water bottles would obviously have to be carried on an additional waist belt or within the main pack. Second issue and my biggest complaint would be the top flaps found on the exterior pockets are not long enough to adequately cover the pockets, for when the pocket is fully-stuffed the pocket design thereby leaves the contents within exposed to the elements via gaps between the top of the pocket and the cover flap, or worse yet leaves an opening for possible loss of smaller gear which may be placed within the pockets. I found that there is at least an additional one and a half inches of space still available between the leather attachment straps and the pocket flap which obviously would allow that much more material, at least an inch more to be added to the pocket flaps which would obviously resolve this problem. To fix the poor design, I simply added another hole to the leather restraining strap which allowed the flap to be pulled down that much farther tightening the flap over the pocket opening. Thirdly, a chest strap would be a great addition. I found once fully loaded, the pack pulled backwards away from my back which caused the shoulder straps to splay out off my shoulders. A chest strap would eliminate this problem and would help keep the pack secure against the back. I also find the quality of the leather straps to be suspect, not really being of high-quality and will only prove themselves with future use. In conclusion, this pack is simply what I thought it would be, a light-duty day hike backpack which cannot be stuffed to it's capacity. It truly is not a bomb-proof indestructible product which I would have expected from a canvas/leather backpack made by LL Bean. Be advised, it is not made anything like their indestructible canvas totes! Most likely, I will be purchasing one of the other manufacturer's canvas/leather packs to truly satisfy my needs, as this pack will be most-likely be used as a secondary bag for quick outings lasting only a couple hours upon roadside trails and not used when I have to go deep into the woods with more gear. I would really love to see this pack design be made with the high-quality indestructible materials I have come to expect from LL Bean.
March 22, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by EngStudent Poor Quality Ruins a Good Bag
At first I thought this was a great backpack. I love the rucksack style and it stands out in the sea of common brand bags at college in Boston. The compliments end there however. I bought the bag when I left for BU in august, and since then I have already had to return it and have LL Bean ship me a new one. The shoulder straps are thin and flimsy, and after only a month of walking around campus the padding collapsed and the straps curl up and dig into my shoulders like knives.
Trusting the superior customer service of LL Bean I had them send me a new one (which they did with no questions asked), but I'm writing this review after my second bag failed in the same way.
Along with the shoulder straps failing, the stitching on all of the other leather straps on the bag failed as well, leaving loose strands hanging out all over the place.
Bottom line? It could be a great bag, but the quality is horrendous. After only a month of use each, two of the same bags have failed in the exact same way.
March 10, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by LeotheTrumpetPlayer Cool Look, Great Idea, Needs Some Work
I bought one of these rucksacks 5 years ago, before I started college. I had admired it in the catalog for over a year and finally decided to splurge and get one. In retrospect, I wish I had returned it. When I took it out of the package, I liked it, until I took a look at the shoulder straps. They were thin and flimsy looking. However, I am an LLBean believer, so I assumed that looks would be deceiving. Unfortunately they weren't. I used the rucksack for 1 year before shoving it in a box and digging out my old, cheap high school backpack. Here are the problems I encountered.
1.) The shoulder straps ARE thin and flimsy they curl and bite into my shoulders with my average daily load (~15 lbs of books, laptop, lunch, etc.).
2.) The frame sheet is too stiff and too wide at the top. The idea of a frame sheet in a bag of this style is great, but the execution is poor. The frame sheet gives the pack almost too much structure, always sticking up 6 inches above the other things in my bag, giving it a strange, boxy shape and reducing how much I can cram into the bag.
3.) The mesh on the back panel is really abrasive. It is so abrasive in fact, that only a few months of use did serious damage to the back of my favorite soft-shell jacket.
4.) The hip belt is not removable. It probably should be. While it does stow away in an aesthetically pleasing way, it results in a big, uncomfortable lump at the base of my spine.
5.) The leather strapping is terrible. In under 9 months of use, almost every strap became extremely frayed, with long thin threads dangling everywhere. Also, the straps for the main compartment cover do not have enough holes. The result is that the cover is never tight, allowing it to flap in the wind and get your contents wet.
6.) The flaps for the pockets are not big enough. The flap for the large front pocket is too small to cover the zipper. It looks ugly and allows rain to penetrate the zipper. The covers for the side pockets are too small to cover the pockets unless they are completely full. If the side pockets are only partially full, they sag open, allowing the contents to fall out and/or get wet.
In my humble opinion, this product should go back to the drawing board. The shoulder straps should be beefed up and reinforced. The frame sheet should be reshaped and narrowed at the top. The pocket lids should be larger. The "leather" strapping needs to be made of higher quality material.
On the plus side, the waxed canvas is very weather resistant and looks great. Also, the pebbled leather bottom is extremely durable.
A month ago, I found this rucksack in a box. I forgot why I had stopped using it, and seduced by its visual appeal, started using it again. It didn't take long to remember why I stopped using it. I would not recommend this product to anyone unless it was drastically redesigned. It looks great, but just isn't functional enough to suit my needs. This product has been one of my very few disappointments from LLBean.
January 26, 2014
Rated 2 out of 5 by LongIslandNYLovesLLBean Waxed Cotton Continental Rucksack
This is a nice looking rucksack with well-made shearling straps, but, for the price of $149.00, the compliments stop there. The material looked better than it turned out to be. For that kind of money, the material should have been a lot more substantial. The protective wax coating was superficial and I simply lacked confidence that the product would be able to withstand heavy rain, so I sent it back. Too bad. Frankly, I expected more from L.L. Bean.
January 24, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by metrojethro canvas rucksack
I really like the looks. I thought the canvas would be a bit heavier, we will see how it holds up in the field. I would like to see a larger size offered.
January 22, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by sjogran All the ruck you can ask for!
Needed something to carry all my hunting and non-hunting "ruck" out to the field with me. Plenty of pockets and a huge opening secured by flap and draw-chord. Nice leather and waxed cotton got really wet first weekend I used it and dried nicely. More room than you'll ever need if you ask me. The buckles make the thing look legit although if you need immediate access you'll find yourself leaving them loose. Recommended for those who need a central place in their pack to dump various items. Front pocket is nice and has zippered protection and mesh inner pocket for organization.
January 1, 2014