The Journal
12th March 2015

Chapman in the Arctic

chapman bags abroad

On the edge of the Arctic Circle stands a man and his Chapman Bag, about to battle the harsh and unforgiving conditions, this is a test of endurance, of quality and survival.

Will the Large Border Rucksack make it?

This is the question Raymond asked Chapman Bags before he embarked on his journey to Jokkmokk, Sweden, with the rucksack. Raymond was planning a trip to study reindeer  and required a bag that would last in the conditions. Jokkmokk can reach cold temperatures down to -20°C during the winter months. Our canvas bags are made from two layers of cotton canvas bonded to rubber to ensure the waterproof  nature of the material. Knowing this information, it posed the question whether or not our bags would stiffen and go brittle in freezing conditions.  We asked our technical specialist if this was an issue and he stated that ‘natural rubbers will gradually stiffen between -20 (-4F) to -50ºC (-58F) eventually going brittle at around -80ºC (-112F)…but the compound should return to normal flexibility when returned to more moderate temperatures.’

Raymond’s response to this information: ‘Many thanks for your information regarding the bags suitability for Arctic conditions. I assume that the leather can also operate in these conditions as the Sami use tanned leather from reindeer in their gloves and small coffee bags when they are herding their animals…Some background information on reindeer herding can be seen at’

With this reassurance and knowledge of the area, Raymond happily ventured into the North with his Large Border Rucksack.

A while had passed and then our mail order manager, received the email or the results if you will. Raymond’s expedition seemed like it went well viewing the reindeer he intended to. Below are a few pictures he sent.

marketing the Sami Lifestyle R   Reindeer trapped on the road R

The question is- what happened to the Rucksack?

His review is below:

Chapman At the Arctic Circle near Jokkmokk Sweden R     

‘I enclose… a photo of my rucksack on the Arctic Circle just south of Jokkmokk Sweden. The light was not great, but feel free to use the photo if it is of interest. I also enclose a photo of the Sami fair at Jokkmokk which has been running for over 400 years.  The bag coped with the temperatures which went down to minus 15 celsius. The snow fall was the worst the area area experienced since 1966. The brass grommet securing the top lid to the leather strap worked loose but it was easy to screw it back again. The simplicity of the bags design made it an ideal bag for these climatic conditions.

With temperatures of -15ºC and the worst snowfall for 50 years, our Large Border Rucksack came out on top. Its simple design, quick release fastenings and durable material allow the bag to embark on the most amazing journeys, including those to the Arctic Circle. If you’re planning an adventure and need a reliable, spacious bag, browse our men’s bags and our women’s bags.