Vaude Wolfegg Backpack | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Vaude Wolfegg Backpack | Review

A stylish and eco-friendly backpack for urban commuters. And just wait until you find out what it’s made of…

Why We Chose The Vaude Wolfegg Backpack: Stylish, innovative, eco-friendly

Price: £130
Weight: 920g
More info:

This season, outdoor brands seem to be competing for the unofficial award of ‘new bit of outdoor kit made from the most unusual natural raw material’. German brand Vaude, who are well-known for their eco-friendly approach to designing and manufacturing high-quality outdoor gear, may well have just taken first prize with their curiously-named Wolfegg backpack.

It gets far stranger than the name though. The pack’s shoulder straps are made from old milk. No, really. Fibres made from cow’s milk proteins are processed with wool to produce a soft, strong and naturally anti-bacterial felt. Apparently, the extraction process is very energy-efficient, and the milk used has been deemed unfit for consumption and so would otherwise be wasted. Though this might all seem rather a-moo-zing (sorry), it’s all in the name of more sustainable design, and for that Vaude should be applauded for their efforts.

“The ‘milk wool’ on the straps is a great eco initiative and it’s got a lovely feel to it.”

In similar vein, the rest of the bag makes use of recycled polyester (using discarded plastic bottles) and sustainably-sourced leather. It is also free from PVC and PFCs, while the product is carbon-neutral and made in Germany, to minimise production and transportation costs and ensure good working conditions and wages for workers.

It’s more the sort of bag you’d see hanging off the shoulder of some environmentally-conscious Berlin hipster rather than strapped to the back of a serious hiker. But that’s to be expected, given its lifestyle-focused design aesthetic and modest 24-litre capacity. For general use, it’s a great product, with a deceptively clean and simple look that incorporates a generous main compartment with a fold closure, a padded tablet sleeve, various inner pockets, a key holder, a back zip pocket, a grab handle and adjustable shoulder straps. The front of the pack also features cut-outs for attaching additional gear such as a safety light, small carabiner or a specially developed shoulder bag, called ‘Egg’, which is available separately from Vaude (for an additional and somewhat steep 35 quid).


The ergonomic shoulder straps are nicely contoured to sit neatly on the shoulders without digging in, while still offering a good range of movement. It’s a good bag for getting around town with, either on foot or by bike.

So if you want a functional and stylish everyday bag, you could buy a Fjallraven Kanken. But if you don’t want to look like everyone else, you could buy the Vaude Wolfegg, which is a bit more distinctive and has unique eco credentials too.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, OM Editor

“This is definitely a bag aimed at the city commuter market, the padded laptop sleeve being the main giveaway there. However, I’ve found it stands up admirably as a pack for day hiking with. 

“It’s definitely waterproof, with a reliable feel to the material and taped seams throughout. That being said, it might look like it has a rolltop in the pictures but it’s actually more of an origami-like fold, and while I can’t confirm this, in really strong wind and rain, I’d be a little worried about water finding its way in. It’s definitely not chuck-in-the-river waterproof anyway. 

“I’ve found it carries comfortably, and that’s actually mainly thanks to the padded laptop sleeve, which doubles as a back panel to good effect. The shoulder straps are nicely shaped, but it’s a bit of a shame there’s no sternum strap – that’s in my opinion anyway. 

“The ‘milk wool’ on the straps is a great eco initiative and it’s got a lovely feel to it. Up close, it does, however, look a little bit like the blanket that my dog sits on in the back of my car. 

“There was a little bit of a fault I found with the little side pocket. It’s really easy to get the zip snagged on the inner waterproof lining so there’s quite a high risk of nicking it. An inner flap would prevent this. 

“Still, it’s a nice bag. I’d love to see a duffel version of it from Vaude.”

Chosen For Our Green Gear Guide 2019/20
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