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I’ve searched far and wide to find the best travel backpack ever. And guess what?

I found it. The Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack.

I never thought I could be passionate about a backpack, but here I am. Burning with passion.

So here’s my honest Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 backpack review, as a content creator and urban commuter, which I hope helps you make a decision on whether to invest in this roll-top backpack.

Side note: this article isn’t sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Anyway – onto the review!

Wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack at Nyhavn in Copenhagen Denmark by illumelation

Wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Review: Best Travel Backpack Ever?

My Mission to Find the Best Travel Backpack

Being a content creator who travels a lot, and who commutes regularly through London, means I’ve always got a bunch of stuff in my backpack – laptop, camera gear, a change of clothes, a hoodie. All sorts.

And that means I’ve gone through a lot of backpacks in my time, trying to find a bag that strikes the right balance between attractive and functional.

Modern black water-resistant backpack with buckles and reflective straps on a counter inside an airport

Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 black backpack by the window at Luton Airport

Last year I was looking for a replacement for my Knomo Berlin zip backpack, which is great for daily commuting, but just a bit too small to use for a weekend trip away. The zip had started getting a bit unreliable after two years.

I wanted something that was aesthetic, versatile and functional. Something that would fit all my travel essentials, but also look slick, urban and adventurous. Something water-resistant and preferably without a zip was important too.

After doing a ton of research online, from Reddit to YouTube, I narrowed my needs down to a black roll-top backpack so it could flex between daily use and travelling.

For a while I was torn between Sandqvist’s Ruben 2.0 and a roll-top from Kapten and Sons – so I decided to go to the Sandqvist store in London to narrow down my favourites and try some on in person.

Wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Copenhagen

Wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Copenhagen

Trying the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 On In-Store

In the Soho branch I must have tried about 5 different Sandqvist backpacks. The Konrad was way too small, so I mainly tried different colourways of the Ruben 2.0.

I brought along everything I’d need to properly test each backpack out and see how the weight felt on my back when I was carrying my usual gear: a 15-inch Macbook and charger, headphones, a bulky sweater, a book, a water bottle.

There was a really friendly employee in there who asked me lots of questions about what I wanted from a backpack and she helped me make my final decision.

I spent almost 45 minutes in there testing each backpack, but whenever I put the Ruben 2.0. on, I got more and more delighted with how good it looked and how light it felt. So, I ended up buying the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0.

Brunette man in blue cap and white t-shirt and black backpack crouched over the rocky edge looking down at the Algarve in Portugal at sunrise. Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Review - Best Travel Backpack Brand

My boyfriend’s Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 in action during a hike along Portugal’s Algarve Coast

Is the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 worth buying?

It’s been almost two years since I’ve owned my Ruben 2.0, and honestly… it’s the best backpack I’ve ever owned.

Trust me when I say I’ve churned through many different backpacks and brands to distill my top 3 travel bags.

The Ruben 2.0 solves so many issues I’ve had with other backpacks that have been too bulky, too rough, kinda ugly, or not supportive enough for my back (which is mildly curved).

The bag’s material is soft, flexible and water-resistant. It’s thin but strong, with a lot of give, so it’s still very usable and easy to manouvre when it’s full. Most importantly, it’s light.

The Scandis once again prove themselves masters of lifestyle design!

Wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Copenhagen

Strolling down Nyhavn canal in Copenhagen with my Ruben 2.0 Sandqvist Backpack

What fits inside the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0?

The Ruben 2.0 fits a ton of things inside it, looks awesome, and has all the pockets I need (laptop sleeve, inner pouch, outer pouch, two side pockets to carry a water bottle and umbrella).

I even use it to carry my grocery shopping home because it’s so durable, and the outside is easy to clean.

As mentioned, the exterior is water-resistant, which means I’m not stressed about my laptop or camera gear getting wet when wandering around in the rain.

Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 black backpack by the window at Luton Airport

Black Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 backpack by the window at Luton Airport – my favourite travel backpack

What are the pros and cons of the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack?

Pros of the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0:

Not only that, but the backpack’s straps have reflective surfaces to keep you seen at night, and there’s a small detachable buckle which I find really takes some pressure off my upper back and helps balance the bag a bit better if I’m walking around for a while or if it’s pretty heavy.

I use my Ruben 2.0 for absolutely everything. Daily commuting, travelling, cycling. Being a content creator who travels a lot, and who commutes regularly through London, it means I’ve always got stuff in my backpack – laptop, camera gear, changes of clothes, the whole shebang. The Ruben 2.0 handles all that and more.

Cons of the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack:

My two only (very tiny) wishes are these: firstly, it would be great if the inside zip pouch was located a bit higher up in the bag, because I’ll normally put my passport in there. When my backpack is full and I have to undo the roll-top, I then have to dig around inside the bag to get to the pouch – but at least the passport is safe and secure.

Secondly, I sometimes wish there was an accessible compartment or zip at the back of the bag so you don’t have to unfurl the roll-top to get inside – for example if I’m on a shoot and need to change camera lenses quickly, I have to stop and take some time to get into the bag. But again, that means the bag is super secure, and I’ve stomped around countless cities and countries feeling 100% certain that my goods are safe and dry while wearing my Ruben 2.0.

A brunette girl with an orange scarf looking at the Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, wearing the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Black, with a sugarcane biodegradable water bottle tucked into the side pocket

Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack in Black, with a sugarcane biodegradable water bottle tucked into the side pocket

Should you buy the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0 Backpack?

So, all this to say, if you’re looking for an amazing city backpack that looks good, that’s minimal and light but super strong, or simply just a great roll-top backpack that’s water resistant and fits loads of stuff inside it – then I genuinely recommend the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0.

I’ve convinced 3 friends of mine to get the Ruben 2.0 and all of them have raved about how much they love it.

I paid £165 for the black Ruben 2.0 in London, which isn’t cheap, but after 2 years it has held up like a champ and I’m already excited at the prospect of getting another in another colour. It’s available for slightly less on the Sandqvist website.

Again, this post wasn’t sponsored, I’m just passionate about this bag. If you’re debating on getting the Ruben 2.0, I’d say: go for it. It’ll change your life!

Buy the Sandqvist Ruben 2.0. here.

Any questions, let me know. While you’re here, check out the rest of my favourite travel bags.

Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation. She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram.