Trakke Wester Roll-Top Backpack Review
The Trakke Wester Roll-Top Backpack pairs waxed canvas with an easy-going design, although we wish the rolltop fastener would be easier to tighten.
- Dry-Finish Waxed Canvas is durable and sleek-looking
- Side pockets fit oversized water bottles
- Laptop pocket separate for quick access
- Minimal padding on shoulder straps and back panel
- Rolltop fastener can be finicky
- Main compartment lacking internal organzation
2.2 lb (1 kg)
18.1 in x 9.45 in x 6.3 in (46 x 24 x 16 cm)
Canvas, YKK Zippers, Cotton, Stainless Steel
Laptop Compartment Size
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The Wester Roll-Top is yet another pack from Trakke that uses their staple Dry-Finish Waxed Canvas material, this time with a rolltop design. Trakke, founded in 2010, makes its products by hand in Scotland and is known for attention to detail. Using locally sourced, durable materials, their packs have been tested with high regard here at Pack Hacker. Will the Wester continue that run of good form? Let’s find out.
Materials & Aesthetic
The primary pack material on the Wester is Dry-Finish Waxed Canvas, a staple on most Trakke products. It gives the pack a heritage look and an inherently soft texture. That’s not to say it doesn’t feel durable, as there’s little-to-no stretch when it comes to the fabric’s elasticity.
When it comes to There are four colorway options at the time of writing. We got the sleek Black colorway. There are also Olive, Whisky, and Port options, all of which look earthy and clean. All four colorways have a nice matte finish, primarily due to the waxed canvas, and feel at home in an urban setting but don’t look out of place in the woods, either.
The classic-looking Trakke logo on most of their daypacks and slings is on the front of the pack—and as usual, we dig it. It almost feels like a fancier, handmade Jansport patch. That’s not an insult to either brand, but we think you’ll know what we meant once you see it.
There are two YKK #5 zippers on the pack’s exterior. There isn’t much to report regarding the zippers; they work as well as we expect them to. On the other hand, the zipper pulls are worth mentioning. We’ve seen them on other Trakke products in the past, and they’re just as effective here. They have a metal circle at the end, which is extremely easy to grasp and looks unique, too. You’re missing out if you haven’t tried one of these pulls yet.
A few places on the pack use a strap material crafted from cotton—most notably on the rolltop fastener and shoulder straps, but it’s also integrated elsewhere. The top of the rolltop opening has a thick layer around the edge, which makes rolling the top a lot easier and adds some sturdiness to the process. There’s a patch of this cotton strap on the back panel below where the top of the shoulder straps connect to the pack, which also adds some structure.
Trakke uses stainless steel for the shoulder strap adjusters and the hook on the rolltop fastener. It’s durable and adds hardiness to those aspects of the pack. We’ll review how they work in the next section, but we had no issues with them bending or breaking in use.
With a rolltop pack, there must be a way to fasten the rolled fabric down. Trakke goes with a hook and loop for the Wester, which works quite well. The cotton strap is sturdy, looks nice, and offers a secure way to fasten the pack.
You can roll front ways or backward, but Trakke prefers that you roll it back. If you try to do it to the front, there are issues with the fastener. You can get a few more rolls in when the pack is emptier. However, this also means that there’s too much strap left over, and it poofs outward. If there’s too much gear is inside the pack, it can be hard to fasten it at all. Rolling it backward is an easy way to fix these issues, though you can get a max of three rolls in before you run out of room, so you lose a bit of compressability. Ultimately, this is only a problem if you’re hard set on rolling one way over another.
The Wester employs two large water bottle pockets, which—upon a first shallow inspection—felt inadequate but have proved extremely useful. We can fit a 48-ounce Nalgene bottle inside each of them, which is no small feat. The bottle is hardly visible even with its size, keeping the pack looking sleek.
When the main compartment is full, getting bottles of any size inside is much more complicated. The side pockets share space with the main compartment, which causes the issue. You can combat this by placing the water bottles before you stuff the pack, but that isn’t always ideal.
The shoulder straps are relatively rigid due to the waxed canvas but don’t offer a ton of padding or any mesh for breathability. The back panel is mostly the same, and both get pretty warm on a hot day. It’s especially true when you’re moving quickly, like if you go for a bike ride. The pack doesn’t induce more sweat than most packs, but we definitely notice the lack of padding and mesh.
The lack of padding is most noticeable when you have a laptop in the Wester. It isn’t uncomfortable per se, but you can feel it on your back.
The pack doesn’t have a sternum strap or hip belt, but we didn’t expect that. This pack comes in at 21-liters, a nicely sized daypack, but its intended use isn’t heavy hiking or one-bag travel, so we’re okay with the omission here.
Inside The Pack
Moving inside the pack, we’ll start with the front pocket. It’s a reasonably roomy offering with orange lining to make seeing your gear easier. There are three liner pockets in two rows: the back row has a large pocket spanning the entire width and length of the compartment. It’s an ideal place for sunglasses, a phone, or flat items like a passport. Although it isn’t the safest pocket, you could loop a lock through the circle zipper pulls we mentioned earlier for a little extra security.
The second row of liner pockets sits on top of the large one we just went over. This is an ideal spot for a wallet, keys, or similar-sized items. Opposite this pocket is a zippered one that is pretty large but not terribly deep. If you pack the front bag out, you can see the imprint of whatever you stow inside this pocket through the waxed canvas, so smaller items like bandaids, a boarding pass, or headphones do well here.
As we move into the main compartment, there isn’t a ton going on. We don’t want to overcomplicate things, so we’ll describe it as a large chute with no organization. That might seem like a detriment, but we are fans of this compartment. It isn’t a huge pack, but there’s more than enough room for a day’s worth of exploring or a weekend trip if you’re smart with your gear selections. The rolltop assists with this because if you have extra items to pack, you can roll the top down less to fit everything inside. You can combat the lack of organization with packing cubes or intelligent stacking, but ensure you put your water bottle inside first so you don’t have to redo everything!
A separate laptop compartment on the back of the pack holds up to a 16-inch laptop. We dig that it’s a distinct section because it enables quick access, especially when you don’t need to get anything else out. You don’t have to show everyone at the coffee shop or local cafe your extra socks and underwear when you get your laptop, which is nice.
You do need to undo the rolltop fastener because the zipper is covering it, which can be annoying when you’re at home, but it acts as an extra piece of security while you’re traveling. We dig that feature. You can’t get inside the pack or into the laptop compartment while it’s buckled, which slows down someone trying to get into your stuff.
Overall, we are happy with how this rolltop bag performs. There isn’t much to get in your way, and the pack’s key components are crafted from hardy materials to last through the bumps and knocks of travel. The lack of ample padding and breathable mesh on the shoulder sleeves and back panel may be a deal-breaker for some, but for most trips, the Wester will work out just fine.
- Dry-finish waxed canvas is soft but feels durable
- The zipper pulls are sturdy and easy to grasp
- Stainless steel hardware feels unbreakable
- Material picks up hair easily
- No noticeable loose threads or markings on the fabric
- Cotton straps continue to show durability