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The Duluth Laptop Scout Pack, A Review

How many of you carry your laptop in a backpack? I’m guessing a substantial few. Well, here’s something to consider – a non-plastic, made in America, $125-costing, slice of history.

You see, how I carry my computer matters to me. I take a 30 minute urban walk to work and back almost every day. I like to feel sharp. But I’ve been carrying a non-descript black Tumi for over a year. Dull.

And I while used to carry everything loose in the Tumi, wallet, makeup, computer, papers, when I moved to a cross-body bag, my Bottega Veneta made for a tight fit in the Tumi front pocket. Tight enough that I was forever scraping the back of my hand on the zipper. I hate that. Midlife thins our physical skin, even as our psychic skin toughens up.

So I’ve been in the hunt for another laptop carrying option, since, well, since this post. I decided to try a distinctly non-luxury, non-urban brand. Have you all heard of Duluth Pack?

The backpacks are made in Minnesota, of canvas and leather. The company’s history, in this era where we crave authenticity and craftmanship, adds to the brand’s appeal. From their website.

“The Duluth Pack has its humble roots in a French-Canadian named Camille Poirier, who made his way west to Duluth. Arriving here in 1870 with his “little stock of leather and tools”, he began a small shoe store and quickly made a go of it in this booming frontier town on the shores of Gitchi Gummi. On December 12, 1882, Camille filed for a patent on a new type of packsack. It was a canvas sack that closed with a buckled flap, had new-fangled shoulder straps in addition to the traditional tumpline, a revolutionary sternum strap and an umbrella holder (for portable shade in this newly cutover country).”

Sturdy Gals, practical sorts that we are, would scoff at romantic history were it not for how well the packs function. Mine has a laptop sleeve, and one zippered inside pocket large enough for a pair of reading glasses and thens ome. The Bottega Veneta fits inside quite well. And the Laptop Scout, for such is its name, weighs far less than the Tumi.

I like the leather straps and the roller buckles. This model’s made of waxed canvas, so it’s even waterproof. Duluth warns that their wax may rub off, so I would be cautious of my Max Mara camel coat. They have other models that would work for Max, I believe, not waterproof, but available in a rather glorious array of canvas colors. Other models that are larger, too.

The moose logo almost compensates for that umbrella holder’s disappearance. Practical success.

But as we know, Sturdy Gals also dream of adventure. We love the feeling of walking away.

In field jackets, GAP jeans, and well-cushioned blue shoes. We’ll even sport cuffs.

But in the end, we tend to come back, on time. Only the Artsy can leave home for good.

One final benefit to the Scout Pack. It’s a Sturdy Gal’s kind of discreet rebellion to pull an Italian luxury bag out of this Northern Midwest canvas contraption. Good accessories support multiple agendas.


No consideration was received for any of this folderol.

36 Responses

  1. Good grief and thank the gods for the internet. I’m from Minnesota and although I’ve been to Duluth, this is the first I’m hearing of Duluth Pack. I hope it gives you many years of good service!

  2. Getting to be a lot of Street in your Sturdy, Gal! I like it! One question: Do you find the canvas makes the Duluth Pack somewhat heavy? I’m really conscious of weight, now, in anything that goes near my shoulders. . . .

  3. I love that. I have a thing for canvas and leather. Will go to their website and browse now!

  4. With that backpack you are hands free which I think is great when walking.
    I’d be tempted to overpack one and would put too much strain on my back so do be careful. Pack light!
    Interesting history to the company. I like firms that have been around for eons. It gives them more credibility IMO.
    Looks sunny in SF lovely day for a walk:-))

  5. Now that backpack looks cool. I´d imagine young women liking it very much too.
    It has a ” country ” feel in it.

  6. I ordered a leather tote from Duluth Trading last autumn and it is wonderful.

    Love the backpack.

    1. Duluth Trading is NOT the same thing as Duluth Pack, FYI. Duluth Pack is the original! Frost River and Duluth Trading came later.

  7. You subversive, you! I concur: the Bottega Veneta emerging Venuslike from the canvas backpack would give me a delicious frisson, too. And the array of canvas colors (especially the tangerine and the royal blue) have me all a-quiver.

    “Good accessories support multiple agendas”…couldn’t agree more.

  8. I’m from Minnesota and I have many, many items from this company. They make wonderful products and have a great shop on Canal Park in Duluth.

  9. How will you clean that? I find it handsome but that is a concern; on me the corners would be grotty in no time and then I’d drip tomato sauce on it.

  10. I love it! So very … sturdy. (Handsome, too)

    I just bought myself some fuscia Manolos. Completely impractical in every possible way, but I think you might understand :) Now I just need someplace to wear them!

  11. Very cool and works for you. I must confess I don’t care much for backpacks. Some kind of residual security concerns from my law enforcement days. I need to have the access point of my bag in full view. I’m not sure I have the right posture to pull off the look of a backpack either.

  12. I love it – it has a utilitarian elegance to it. Pared back to the essential functional elements and all that. It looks great on you.

  13. What a great bag… really appeals to me… Similar to the fabulous Ally Capellino ones here in UK. You look great with it too… It suits you so well. And I totally agree about that whole zipper/ thinner skin thing – ouch! S x

  14. We buy our kids some sort of Duluth backpack for h.s. graduation..great products. I have a handbag of theirs in navy/leather.

  15. Oh, I’m the sort that doesn’t know what I like until I see it. I do know what I don’t like….This has everything I like—genuine materials, made in U.S., function and understated elegance in bed together…. I like it!

  16. Nifty as can be. How did you come to have the second larger logo “medallion” [stamped?] on the backside, in addition to the small leather logo sewn onto the front? I looked at the samples and the video, but saw none with the larger moosehead like you have on yours. Your hair, a French braid? LOVE IT!

  17. i’ve been eyeing one of these for ages. i’m so glad you did a review. maybe i should indulge now that i’ve gotten my tax return…

  18. Nice review and thank you for posting pictures of you wearing the pack; it helps me visualize which one I want to buy.

  19. This will be the hipsters’ next fashion accessory (post skinny jeans, scarves, and chunky plastic frames of course). I find it vexing to see functional camping equipment trivialized by shallow, fashion conscious city-dwellers. Next up, crappier quality to pander greater demand, simultaneously taking advantage of consumers ignorance and lack of appreciation for the bag’s intended purpose, design, and quality. End result? Ironic self defeating behaviour.

    You’ll understand what I mean when you realize just how silly those glasses look on you, while proudly sporting your new “I’m a rugged outdoorsman who loves the wilderness” backpack — even though you do’t own a pair of proper hiking boots, or rain-gear, or tent, or sleeping bag, or stove, and are afraid to pee in the dark — all while you have a perfectly good pack without holes sitting on the floor of your closet. #landfill

  20. Right, and don’t forget to accessorize with spotless Blundstones (which you thought looked goofy 2 years ago) and socks that look like wool socks (with the red stripe around the top) that are actually made from cotton. And make sure you tuck your pants into them, so everyone can see them.

    1. Maybe leaving rude comments isn’t the best way to promote your typography business? But then again neither is the font you chose on your website.

  21. I am completely mystified by this comment, but rather enjoy the prose, so will leave it here.

  22. Hello,
    I have been researching for review concerning the Duluth Backpacks…
    This is by far one of the most inform review I’ve yet stumble upon.
    I am in Medical school (TCM) We tend to like 10-15 pounds of text books,
    and i am wondering if the strap could hold a laptop and a textbook as well as my lunch, a girl got to eat! and be comfy, no strain on the lumbar.

    Thank you very much,
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thanh Xuan The

  23. Hi, I find this article by searching the duluth pack.
    May I ask what is the colour of your pack?
    I can’t locate the right colour like yours in their official website.

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