- Why This Vintage Backpack Is A Modern Innovation
- WWhen you first see one of Builford’s rucksacks, such as the one pictured above, you’re most likely to assume it’s a vintage backpack. From the material to the design, it seems like the kind of pack that was more commonly seen a few decades – or more – previously.
But actually, all Builford bags are the product of a very modern innovation.
To explain what we mean by that, let’s start with the idea of “innovation.” It’s a term that has to be defined in context.
True innovation means creating or discovering something entirely new. But in 2018, the only truly new discoveries seem outside our own planet, and we can’t create anything completely new. Indeed, these days it’s commonly said that all the stories have been told, and everything has been done before.
Instead, in our modern world, innovation is mostly commonly defined as the recombination of old elements in unique ways.All the elements have been found and used, but not all the combinations and possibilities have been exhausted yet – and there are many more possible combinations than elements!
With this definition, Builford’s entire brand concept is innovative.
Waxed canvas and leather can often be found in the same bag, so it’s not the materials that make the brand unique. Instead, it’s the mix of luxury and waxed canvas, blended with designs that are inspired by vintage bags but not copied.
That’s why a Builford backpack seems like a vintage backpack at first sight. But on closer inspection, you’ll see the modern touches and features. Waxed canvas is most often used for rugged outdoors backpacks, yet under Builford’s masterful touch it becomes a luxury item. The essence of the rough rucksack remains, certainly. Here, however, it is more elegant, suitable equally for the runway as it is for a jaunt in the woods.
It’s not just combining different materials together and calling it “new.” Builford brings multiple elements of past and present to concoct a backpack that’s much more than just vintage.
- Upgrading Vintage: Adding Modern Features
- As stated above, innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum, pulling the proverbial rabbit from an empty hat. It comes from a certain context and grounding, and often involves the recombination of old elements in surprising and new ways.
In Builford’s case, it’s also the ability to take ideas from the past and reimagine them to be relevant and prepared for the future.
Take the Deluxe Daypack, for example. If we forget the design and the waxed canvas, it’s a very modern backpack.
That’s certainly the case if you only look at the interior. The durable, waterproof lining is a modern material great for ensuring the bag’s functionality in the long term. If that wasn’t enough, the protected laptop compartment with its padded sleeve and Velcro strap betrays the bag’s origins of the twenty-first century.
On the outside, a few hidden features tell the same story. Builford often uses magnetic snaps on the underside of leather buckles, which makes everything ten times faster and easier to close.The snaps are strong and much more convenient than a buckle. This is also the case on the Deluxe Daypack’s front flap, closing securely with two snaps.
Another extra feature is the side zipper on the back panel that leads into the main compartment. While the Deluxe Daypack doesn’t include this feature, many of Builford’s rucksacks do, especially those with flap or drawstring closures. This again adds to the overall user-friendliness of the pack. Every time you need to get into the main compartment, you don’t need to open the flap, undo the drawstring, unroll the top, or etc. Instead, you can access what you need quickly and efficiently from the side zipper. With enough dexterity, you can even remove and replace items without taking the pack off!
- Some of the more modern additions are even less visible. Most Builford backpacks have padded back panels. Back in the knapsack days, people definitely weren’t thinking about ergonomics! But the extra padding helps for longer treks.
Additionally, all rucksacks have padded, wide shoulder straps. A simple leather strap is very hard to carry in the long run as the weight is concentrated in one narrow strip. Even without the extra chest or hip buckles that some heavy duty hiking or backpacking packs have, the extra padding goes a long way.
If we only described the features of a Builford vintage backpack like the Deluxe Daypack, you might picture a generic, supermarket style backpack. Nothing special, maybe a few extra zippers for the fun of it.
But that’s where the Builford innovation comes in, because there’s nothing generic about these rucksacks!
- The Vintage Appeal: Heritage Material and Inspiration
- Now you might be wondering, what is actually vintage about this brand? Is it all just a show?
It’s not, and here’s why.
Every single rucksack Builford makes is primarily Original Martexin Waxed Canvas. This the oldest and most well-respected brand of waxed canvas. Indeed, the family business has kept its secret formula for close to a hundred years! That means the waxed canvas Builford uses is almost the same material the Martexin family was making back in the 1930s.
We say “almost” because of course every generation has made their own improvements. The waxed canvas of today is a bit softer and smoother than the original. But the heritage remains the same, and the material is one of the main reasons for the bags’ vintage appearance.
That’s also due to the bag designs. These designs come from a long time before the standard Jansport was even thought of, and it shows. Builford doesn’t copy vintage designs, but it does take inspiration from it. You’ll often see it in the shapes, with the bags more like knapsacks and rucksacks than a modern backpack.
Additionally, the closures often come from old-fashioned styles. While they may close with a zipper, you’ll often see flaps or drawstrings. The Deluxe Daypack, for example, has a central zipper at the top, more in the knapsack style, which the Explorer Rucksack closes with a zippered flap. Without the standard backpack “hunch,” the overall look radically changes.
- Finally, the details complete the package. Builford uses only metal zippers, and the designs feature buckles and leather straps as small add-ons. Many of the rucksacks have a small metal hook on the side, straight from the days of carrying tools on knapsacks. These finishing touches don’t necessarily recall a certain era or knapsack style as much as they bring a character and feeling to the bags.
Old-fashioned styles and details, yet with a modern eye for fashion and composition. Heritage waxed canvas, with contemporary upgrades and interior. The mash-ups go on, but when you see a Builford backpack, you don’t see the juxtaposition of the various elements.
Instead, they all come together seamlessly and create a united image, simple and beautiful: a vintage backpack.
The brand’s attention to heritage goes beyond just visible aspects of the bag. Builford brings a very vintage attitude to the market: that of craftsmanship.
- When Builford first got started, the idea of craftsmanship was a large part of the brand concept. It wasn’t just about the bags themselves, but the whole process. That’s why, for example, we wanted to work with Martexin Waxed Canvas. It’s why we chose a longer treatment process for the leather, using only premium cowhide.
The idea was that Builford bags and rucksacks would be the work of a craftsman, the product of careful attention and time.
At the beginning, each bag was hand-cut and assembled. As the brand grew and we struggled to keep up with the demand, we moved to machine-cutting but stuck with the hand assembly. It takes more time to create the bags, and we can’t manufacture as much at one time, and sometimes we have to ask our loyal customers to wait until their preferred model can be manufactured again.
But at the end of the day, we’re proud of the product we present to the market, and that’s more important than churning out pure numbers.
- So after all of this, with the modern this and the traditional that, we have to ask: well, is it a vintage backpack or not? Is it innovation or not?
Perhaps at the end of the day, it actually doesn’t matter. Words and labels are not always useful, or helpful.
What really matters is that Builford is unique, and each backpack in the collection is a strong, hard-working, and versatile accessory. The brand certainly has a vintage look, whether or not it fits whatever definition of vintage you might have. Each backpack also certainly has the quality and specs on par with any modern rucksack.
Whether or not you use it as a hiking backpack, travel backpack, student backpack, or anything else, one thing’s for sure: you can count on a Builford backpack one hundred percent.
Here’s a look at some of the top rucksacks in the collection to help you choose your new vintage backpack.
- The Explorer Rucksackis a large-size, heavy-duty pack great for travel or outdoors adventuring. It has a top flap closure designed to direct moisture away from the interior. It has minimal exterior pockets and pouches, focusing on the extra-large main compartment for the bulk of storage. While it is best for hiking and camping, it does include a laptop sleeve. Its large size makes it ideal for travel – take it as a carry-on for your next vacation. With its leather X-marks-the-spot detailing, the Explorer Rucksack is ready for any treasure map!
- The Roll Top Safari Backpackis another pack ready for the outdoors. The longer main compartment with the roll top closure is perfect for longer hikes or weekend camping trips. It does feature an extra zipper if you prefer not to use the roll top. With extra pockets for maximum organization and and pouches for water on the side, it has all you need for longer trips. Like the Explorer, it has a laptop compartment, so you can use it as a carry-on as well. If you pack lightly, you can take it alone and leave the suitcase behind!
- The Basic Backpackis a lovely balance between a rugged outdoors rucksack and a more everyday pack. It brings the vintage look with a flap top closure and decorative buckles under the front pocket and on the side. The buckles are fully functional, though, so you can use to strap on an extra jacket for a cooler-weather hike or attach other equipment. This bag is slightly smaller than the previous rucksacks, and is a great daily pack for school, work, travel, and more. Its minimal design is simply elegant and won’t be out of place in more formal professional settings.
- The Deluxe Daypackis a more recent addition to the Builford collection. It brings a slightly more modern feel with slimmer leather buckle details more ornamental than those on the older rucksacks. It still has the same strong waxed canvas, however, and the double pouch in front will come in handy especially for carrying water on day trips – indeed, this bag lives up to its name perfectly! It’s also the perfect size to make an excellent school backpack.
Like what you see? Head over to the online store now to order your own vintage backpack. Each bag comes in a variety of colors, which can affect how vintage or modern it appears. The Brush Brown and Tan colors tend to recall the past days of ranchers and wranglers, while the Burgundy and Olive colors speak to a more contemporary era.
If none of these models catch your eye, don’t worry! There are many more rucksacks in the catalog, ranging from the larger ones like the Safari to the regular size of the Daypack, each with a unique design and look. Builford also makes vintage waxed canvas messenger bags, totes, duffle bags, and even a waxed canvas jacket! Every bag brings the same mash-ups of past and present, yet they all present a united, cohesive look – the look that makes Builford unique, and our customers satisfied
Tags: vintage backpack, backpack innovation, vintage waxed canvas rucksacks, vintage rucksacks, waxed canvas backpack, school backpack, hiking backpack, waxed canvas and leather backpack