Vasco waxed canvas backpack review

The brand “Vasco” draws its name from the famed Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, renowned for being the initial European to set sail and reach India. This naming choice mirrors the brand’s dedication to crafting premium, enduring products, channeling the essence of a pioneering spirit.

The Vasco waxed canvas roll top backpack, with its robust waxed canvas complemented by rich full-grain leather accents, exudes a timeless, rugged charm. The roll top feature offers versatility in adjusting the bag’s size while ensuring the safety of its contents. Additionally, it boasts a range of pockets – a zipped pocket at the back and a pair of pockets in the front.

What is waxed canvas?

Waxed canvas is a special fabric crafted from cotton canvas treated with wax, typically beeswax or paraffin. This treatment gives it a water-resistant quality, ensuring its durability, and bestows upon it a distinctive aesthetic akin to weathered leather. Historically, during the 19th century, sailors and adventurers used waxed canvas for sails, clothing, and tents. Fast forward to today, and this material has become a go-to for crafting items like bags, jackets, and hats that exude a vintage and robust charm. Moreover, over time, this canvas tends to develop a patina, a natural evolution in its color and feel, enhancing its uniqueness.

This review will delve deeper into the aesthetics, craftsmanship, utility, potential drawbacks, and the wear-and-tear pattern of Vasco backpack.


Sporting a khaki hue, the backpack’s waxed canvas grants it a seasoned, vintage aura that contributes to its allure. With dimensions of 39 cm in width, a height ranging between 40 to 58 cm, and a depth of 13 cm, it has a weight of 950g. This bag can comfortably accommodate a 15-inch laptop, alongside other necessities such as books, attire, and day-to-day items. Its roll-top design, secured by a leather strap and a brass buckle, not only allows height adjustability based on its contents but also ensures your possessions remain shielded from inclement weather. For swift access to your gear, there’s a zipper at the back. Further enhancing its utility is a leather handle atop, facilitating easy handling or suspension.


Crafted from cotton canvas saturated with paraffin, this backpack boasts water-resistance, durability, and hassle-free cleaning. While the canvas is robust and resilient, it retains a gentle flexibility. The vegetable-tanned leather detailing is not only smooth to the touch and pliable but is also robust, handling wear effortlessly. With meticulous and strong stitching combined with rust-proof brass fixtures, this backpack is built to weather demanding conditions and prolonged use without compromising its form or function. Over time, the leather detailing matures beautifully, enriching the bag’s aesthetics. The zippers operate seamlessly, and the buckles are both sturdy and user-friendly.


A unique feature of this bag is the rear zipper, which provides direct access to the interior contents. The front pockets are ideally situated for storing your water bottle, umbrella, or other quickly needed accessories. The bag’s main compartment is roomy, accommodating plenty of items without appearing bulky or stuffed. With its padded, ergonomic straps, this backpack is a pleasure to wear. The straps, which are adjustable, distribute weight uniformly across your shoulders. Notably, the straps are detachable, enabling you to switch between using it as a backpack or a shoulder bag, depending on your mood or need for the day. Also, the leather handle at the top is a handy feature for carrying or lifting the bag.

Drawbacks of the Backpack

The roll top is somewhat limited in length, which restricts the amount of extra stuff it can accommodate. While the shoulder straps reinforced with rivets seem sturdy, there’s an oversight in the finishing with burrs around the rivets not being completely smoothed out. The bag’s interior lacks compartments, so it’s a good idea to place soft items, like clothing, against your back to avoid any discomfort from harder objects. Given the thinness of the canvas, re-waxing isn’t advisable as the wax might seep through to the inner side. The nature of the waxed canvas means it tends to pick up lint and dust, leading to a slightly unkempt appearance at times. This is easily remedied, though, with a gentle wipe-down using a moist cloth or a light brushing.

The Aging Process of the Vasco Backpack

The shoulder strap, crafted from Himeji vegetable-tanned leather, is dyed using age-old techniques to evoke a vintage flair. As for the waxed canvas, it’s not just about repelling water and stains; it gracefully gains a distinctive patina as time goes by. The chalky white streaks resulting from friction are characteristic trademarks of paraffin wax. However, it’s worth noting that its water-resistant capabilities will wane over time. Also, owing to the backpack’s lighter hue, the bottom tends to pick up the dye from jeans, leading to noticeable color transfers.

In conclusion, the Vasco backpack presents a solid choice for those in search of a durable, fashionable, and adaptable backpack. It often draws comparisons with the Filson Rugged Twill backpack, given their similar aesthetic appeal. Yet, each carries its unique charm, with the Vasco embodying Japanese craftsmanship, and the Filson backpack reflecting the quintessential Made in the USA ethos.

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Stan is an adventure enthusiast with a love for the outdoors and American heritage brands like Red Wing and Filson. With a background in environmental science, Stan combines his outdoor experiences with a commitment to sustainability. His reviews go beyond functionality, exploring the brand ethos and craftsmanship. Stan inspires readers to choose gear that's durable, environmentally responsible, and true to American craftsmanship, making his advice indispensable for outdoor aficionados.

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