By Kelsey Dzintars

Alex Buck began sewing in the summer of
2008, when he and his wife, Allie, received
a sewing machine as a wedding present. He
started out with a few simple patterns to learn
the skill, and it didn’t take him long to start
dreaming up possibilities.

Originally from Portland, Maine, Buck always
enjoyed making and building things from
scraps of wood and objects he found in his
barn. In fall of 2005, he moved to Bozeman
to ski and attend MSU. By the end of that
year, he found a niche in sculpture. The need
for something simple and durable to haul his
sculpture supplies around campus led him to
make his first knapsack.
Tired of overly complicated, technical backpacks
on the market, he started with a simple
river duffel bag design. Buck has since refined
his design, but kept it simple – one large
pocket with no zippers, a roll top with a clasp
snap closure, and two smaller pockets inside.
Attention and demand for the “knappsacks”
grew quickly. He settled on CORDURA®
brand 1000-denier nylon and lined the bags
with water repellent Packcloth, making his
packs robust and long lasting. Buck realized
with the range of colors available, this could
be a useful, custom product for hauling everyday
life essentials.
Now, Buck has a full-time operation and his
own “knappsackery,” located in the Bozeman
Seed Building. He estimates he has sold several
hundred custom bags since 2009, producing
batches of about five sacks at a time. Having
his design, equipment and materials further
dialed, he spends about and hour-and-a-half
to two hours on each handmade knapsack.
In addition to his original knappsack,
Buck now has a new design: the not-yet-
titled Buck Product sack. This
design is slightly bigger, with easy
Velcro closures and pockets on the
outside, and the option to fold or roll
the top. He also makes custom padded
laptop cases that fit inside both packs.
Occasionally, he makes fanny packs
by request, and he plans to make a
smaller pack for kids, inspired by his
own two-year-old son.

Buck’s sales are almost entirely viral, having
sold custom knappsacks in Maine, New
York, Boston and California all through email
communication.

He is currently working
on a collaboration with Rogues Gallery in
Portland, Maine to produce unique, organic
knappsacks for their store. In Montana, he’s
sold packs through Girls Outdoors and Second
Wind Sports in Bozeman, and he plans
to add a few more local vendors.
Although sales and production have taken
off for Buck Products, Buck plans to keep his
business small, “sticking to simplicity and
classic design, all while creating highly useful
daily haul bags.”
buckproducts.com