– Thin fabric. Dirties easily
– Zippers get stuck
– Not suited for rain
+ Magnetic closure makes whole bag quick access
+ Shape of bag prevents things getting lost at the bottom
+ Comfortable back panel
From now on, I will focus on info that is missing from YouTube/blog/Facebook reviews or is worth restating.
Pockets, and Zips:
The main compartment opening flap uses both zippers and magnets. The magnets hold the flap shut even when zippers are open. This has been fantastic for reaching into the bag frequently. Anytime I’m not outside or not in a public area, I only use the magnets and not the zips.
While the magnets are great, the zips aren’t that good. The zipper track is curved: first going away from the back panel and then down towards the bottom of the bag. When both opening and closing the tech backpack, zippers often get stuck at the turning point of the zippers curve. It is true you can “rip” open the front compartment, but it is smooth only up to that turning point (after which you need to do a little side to side motion with the main flap)
There are some useful nylon loops at the top of each zipper track that I have been using to help stabilize the bag as I pull the zips, but given the zipper sticking issue, I wish these were loops bigger.
The interior of the tech backpack, has a pretty unique layout with “floating” pockets on either side. With all the pocket openings being at the same height, it can get tough to unzip a pocket fully if things are fully packed out. I think they could have improved here by making the pocket openings bigger and place them at staggered heights.
The front quick access pocket is pretty straightforward, but it often doesn’t close fully. This leaves a small hole which seems vulnerable to water.
Bag shape & Fabric:
Compared to a goruck bullet, this tech backpack is alot shorter and fatter. This shape has been so much more useful than a tall, narrow bag. The rip ruck lets you place items in your bag side by side (such that all items are still visible and accessible) rather than force you to stack things on top of each other (such that only the top items are visible and accessible).
The fabric left much to be desired. It feels rougher than xpac, thinner than 1000d cordura, and less premium than ballistic nylon. I think something like ballistic nylon would have been a good choice here due to nylons stiffer structure. A little more structure would give more stability when opening/closing the zips.
The fabric also tends to pick up and hold stains and dust quite easily. What you see in the pics is 1 month of commute use with no cleaning (aside from an occasional brush of the hand). I decided not to use this bag on a trail because of this issue. The green and brown colors may hide the stains better than black.
The backpanel has a an elevated bump at the bottom that aligns roughly with my lower back. This bump is nice to have if you wear your tech backpack straps loose (when straps are loose, the bottom of the bag touches your back while the top does not). I think bag designers should give more consideration for people who don’t sinch their bags up to their shoulders, especially for bags designed for commute/office.
Not so useful lifehack:
You can put a glow in the dark patch on the front. Then at night, you can tuck the front flap into the bag to act as a makeshift nightlight (to see bag contents).
Other 15L-19L sized bags with external bottle pocket:
Moment MTW 17 – I didn’t want a separate laptop compartment
Able carry 13 – better construction, might be too small
Aer fit pack 3 – good if you want main compartment split into two.
Arktype dashpack – too tall for my liking
Goruck bullet- too tall for my liking
Tombihn synik/synapse – too many compartments
Peak Design Everyday zip 15 – no separate quick access compartment
HPG Junction – overkill harness for my usage
Helikon tex edc lite – too tactical for office
Eberlestock bandit – not wide enough for books
Fjallraven 20 – no major flaws I could find