Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
Would work well for some.
on February 24, 2012
So I bought this bag June of 2011, and between commuting to and from work and traveling I've developed a love/hate relationship with it. First let me say that the construction is top notch. I lived out of it for over 3 months while in eastern europe, never parting from it unless it was at a hosts house; it's been shuffled in and out of cars, planes, busses, trains and boats more times than I can count and still hasn't shown any signs of wear. Another thing I like about this bag is the location of the zipper, keeping it on your back side I think helps keep things a bit safer while it's being worn. With this said, when packing it you need to be careful of the arrangement of items inside as if there are ANY odd shapes items on top (the zipper side) you WILL feel it jabbing you in the back later on. It took me some experimenting with different arrangements to fine one that worked well. Having everything packed properly, and with the straps pulled tight everything really hold it's place well, even when being tossed about all day. After packing and securing everything, it kind of resembles a giant flat sausage with backpack straps. The straps also make excellent places to attach carabiners for H2O bottles, etc. Also, with plenty of handels it can be handled from nearly any angle making for quick stowing and retrieval from luggage compartments.
One huge thing I feel needs to be adressed is the lack of a waist strap. Every single time you run with this pack it bounces about wildly unless you holding the two bottom pull straps, and who wants to do this when they'e trying to catch the tram or metro? Waist straps would also help take some of the pressure off your shoulders. I usually carry 9-10 kilos of luggage and initially it is comfortable, but after 8+ hours of exploring new cities on foot without a break my shoulders really felt every gram. Another thing is the lack of any kind of reinforcements. Since there is no frame in this bag, the arrangement of the contents will greatly impact the rigidity when closed and compressed with the straps. This was most evident on the bottom, if the shell was not sufficiently taut it would fold over into a dagger and stab at the bottom of my back. This was most noticeable on hot days when I would only wear a t-shirt, with a jacket on it's not noticeable. Maybe putting another foam pad there would alleviate this and provide more comfort?
I do feel like those rubber ribs are a bit over hyped, I didn't think they did anything for or against the bag, purely cosmetic I think. Someone mentioned that the duffel bag handels were a problem, I didn't find them to be. They fold nicely into the space between the lateral foam supports.
Overall, I can see this bag being perfect for the urban adventurer or frequent traveler who needs a strong bag for going between airports and hotels, or running about on a weekend adventure. For those who are looking for a bag to live out of for months at a time, I would get similarly sized Deuter with waist straps and better ventilation.