Why We Chose It: Retro looks, tried and tested materials, quirkiness!
It was on social media that we first spotted Finland-based Savotta, when a video popped up showing one of their big bearded employees launching a packed tent from a medieval trebuchet. Digging deeper, we also found someone riding on a backpack while being dragged behind a pick-up truck.
Savotta are a quirky brand, that’s for sure, but that’s not to say they shouldn’t be taken seriously, not when they’ve got almost 70 years of outdoor gear making heritage behind them.
This external frame backpack is based on one of their first ever products. In fact, it’s barely any different from the original made in the 1950s. Refusing to bow to convention, it still proudly sports an external frame and paraffin-treated cotton, plus that original Savotta badge. The only noticeable update is that they’ve swapped the leather straps for webbed ones (the smaller 323 design still uses leather though).
“Refusing to bow to convention, it still proudly sports an external frame and paraffin-treated cotton.”
Modern packs are getting more and more high tech, and in turn, some would argue that even the best backpacks for hiking are getting a bit too fussy. This is a pack for those who want to go back to the old ways, using something that almost looks a part of the landscape rather than something straight out of a science lab. OK you might not get a pack that is quite as luxuriously comfortable, or light in weight, but at least you know it’ll last a heck of a lot longer.
The materials are all tried and tested after all. The thick cotton has a very dense weave that’s able to withstand any abrasion and will block out all but the heaviest and prolonged rainfall. You can also apply extra wax onto it yourself if you want added water resistance. Then there’s the steel carrying system which is curved at the bottom so the pack can self-stand. None of that flimsy aluminium stuff here. To keep the Saddle Sack off your back there’s a sheet of webbing and then a tight strap, or ‘saddle’, at the bottom that, well, looks like a tightened seatbelt.