- Buyer's Guide
Kasperi Fold Top Backpack Review
I’ve seen many vintage-inspired packs. Honestly, I thought I’d seen them all… and then I discovered the Kasperi Fold Top Backpack! A manufacturer from Finland, who makes packs in an old-school way – with nothing but leather, steel hardware, and strong waxed thread. Plus some very special Scandinavian magic sauce.
- Name: Fold Top Backpack
- Brand: Kasperi
- Format: Roll-top backpack
- Measurement: Width 30 cm, Height 35–55 cm, Depth 16 cm
- Capacity: 27 liters
- Material: Vegetable-tanned leather
Who It Suits
Bushcrafters and classic adventure men. This is as classic and old-school as you can get. If you use Danner leather boots and a waxed canvas trucker jacket… well, this may be your ultimate pack.
Who It Doesn’t
Climbers, ultralight hikers, people looking for modern materials and the newest technologies. If you’re one of these, stop reading now (joking of course; please read, maybe you’ll like it).
A leather pack never looked so good, and I mean it! This is just a perfect classic pack design. Tall and slick, not a ‘fashion’ style pear-shaped leather pack. It’s scalable and expandable – it starts at about 22 liters (fully rolled down) and goes up to almost 30 liters when overstuffed. I really like the design details like side leather keeper straps, bottom attachment points, and even a strap extender. All that makes using Kasperi a unique and truly enjoyable experience.
Construction, materials and hardware
The Kasperi Fold Top Backpack is a classic roll-top pack with a 27-liter base capacity – all you may need for a day hike in a forest. It’s made just with leather and stainless steel, like centuries ago. It’s hard to deny the longevity of leather…but only if properly taken care of. To make it easier, Kasperi can supply a small jar of their own leather wax with natural wood tar, probably the best stuff to keep your pack in perfect condition for a long time.
So you say you know leather packs? Oh, do you? Well, Kasperi is like nothing you’ve seen before. The back side is L-shaped hardened leather. It’s as rigid and springy as carbon fiber, which creates a perfect sort of frame to support even heavier loads. I’ve never seen such a feature before! On the other hand, the top part of the pack is extremely soft whitetail deer leather, dyed moss green. Or soft yak leather in the regular version. It’s actually softer (and probably also stronger) than waxed canvas…it’s like magic! Honestly, I was not expecting that. Of course, leather needs a break-in period for easy buckle operation and to soften the shoulder straps a bit, etc. – so just give it some time if you get yourself a Kasperi pack.
It’s a fairly simple bag, and that’s another power of Kasperi. It’ll work well as a vintage-styled bushcraft pack. But also as an office/commuter pack. An internal laptop sleeve, mid-sized front pocket, and no less than six outside attachment points help a lot with organization. And not just on city streets, but also in the wild. That stiff L-shaped back gives it a solid structure and allows for self-support, which means it can stand up by itself. This pack is a beauty!
Space and Access
I’m a big fan of roll-top packs as it’s an easily scalable design depending on what you carry – just roll it down and clip on the stainless steel toggle. Believe it or not but I can’t find any weak points in this design – it’ll last you a lifetime. The main sack is regular in shape and really spacious, easy to pack and unpack. Due to materials and design, there’s no side access, etc. so keeping a good packing order is important. Overstuffing is possible as well with a clever strap extender (storable inside the pack).
Pockets and Organizing
The outside front pocket is obvious, no need to explain – good for a headlamp, pocketknife, firestarting kit, or similar stuff. But there’s more organization inside the pack. The awesome internal protective felt sleeve for a laptop or tablet is great for more civilized use of the Kasperi pack in the urban jungle, office environment, or for traveling with style. It’s removable too, so you don’t need to take it on your wilderness walk as it eats into some space inside. The vintage look of the grey felt insert really matches the pack’s old-school soul.
But the secret weapon of organization is on the outside: four side straps and two bottom lashing points (extra straps available). This is one of the reasons why I like this pack so much for forest use: I can easily strap a knife, hatchet, my kuksa, firestarter, etc., and even some freshly harvested tinder or piece of fatwood on the pack. All that together! Plus a rolled blanket or sitting pad under the pack or even my compact Manfrotto camera tripod. This strapping system makes Kasperi an awesome bushcrafting pack IMHO.
A pack with clear Scandinavian heritage…and it is made to match Scandinavian weather conditions – coldish summers and super-cold snowy winters. The leather shoulder straps and flat leather back work great on some sort of insulating layer, or even just a meaty flannel shirt. Really no complaints; I’d even say it’s a surprisingly comfy pack for such use. Still, I’d not recommend wearing this pack with just a T-shirt during a hot summer in SoCal. It’s clearly made for use in the cold climate of Lapland forests. So for me personally it’s a perfect 3-season outdoor pack or year-round office carry.
Well, waxed leather is pretty much waterproof, so it really all depends on how you take care of the pack. If you do your job and wax it well it’ll be fine for virtually any weather. I used it extensively in heavy snow without any issues. However, in really heavy rain even waxed leather can get soaked after a certain exposure time, so be prepared.
Alternatives to Consider
There’s really not much on the market that could match Kasperi in vintage look, weatherproofness, toughness, and multi-environment usability…and still be made of leather. If you’re looking for a classic bushcrafting pack I can recommend these as a kind of alternative. Not pure leather, but with a lot of leather and waxed canvas.
– Fjällräven Rucksack No.21 Large
– Frost River Summit Boulder Junction
Classic look, superb materials and craftsmanship, real bushcraft usability. Also, I like the removable felt laptop insert. It should age nicely and actually will look even better with use. The Kasperi Fold Top Backpack will last you a lifetime.
Not So Good
Leather and steel are not lightweight materials, so it’s quite a heavy pack for the size. Due to the solid leather back and straps, it’s not a pack I’d recommend for summer use in hot and humid areas. Also leather needs some maintenance to stay in top condition for years. And yeah, classic craftsmanship has never been cheap. At 624 EUR it’s not a budget product.
The Kasperi Fold Top Backpack is a piece of true leathercraft art. It looks awesome, works great, and will last a lifetime. Just give it some time to break in and take care of it and it’ll become better and better with time. Like an old friend. If you’re a bushcrafter at heart and can swallow the price, you’ll love this pack! It will work for the office too but I need to warn you: it’ll surely turn heads. So be prepared for questions (and compliments) as this pack won’t stay unnoticed on your back. But in a good way only, not to worry. After all, it’s a stunning piece of carry equipment. And a very unique one as well.
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support