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Backpacks

Cult Bag :: Gravis Metro

by , November 22, 2011

We give the low-down on an awesome value classic

You can get change from a $50 bill. That’s how much the Gravis Metro often costs. You see, it’s been around awhile, in countless colorways, of which there are always some on sale. But guess what? It’s still a better backpack than 98% of the bags out there, so we figured it was time to give it a good ‘ol Road Test and share some of the key points…

The Gravis Metro backpack has been around for years, almost unchanged. It’s a full featured laptop backpack suitable for study, work and/or play. It’s well worth the money around the $100 mark, and it becomes epic value as the sale reductions increase.

One of the rad things about the Metro is that it works well with very little in it, and also works well as you cram it full for some travel. There’s no compression straps to synch, or zip sections to expand, just a nice pattern that compresses well and keeps the contents close to your back.

The base has a significant angle that helps it achieve this. The downside is that you typically need to prop this bag against a wall or chair leg if you’re putting it beside you on the ground.

One of the secrets to the Metro’s longevity is the subtle folds and sophistication in the pattern work. That overhanging belly on the top pocket lets it sit flat when empty, but gain significant depth when needed. You can’t get this sort of fold if you’re filling your panels with foam like many brands do these days. There’s an old school zip flap (which has made a big comeback of late), subtle form patterning, and usually some pretty sweat zip-pulls to finish off the story.

The top pocket is not the only impressive bit of organizing. Those long front pockets work a treat for stationary, tech or umbrellas, and have loads of internal bits to help keep it all sorted.

The main section also gets the org treatment, with flat pocketing that only comes out when needed. Low pockets in main sections generally aren’t much use (contents get crushed), but these don’t get in the way and there’s plenty of other options if you have delicates.

The main section also opens right up for horizontal access, which is great when packing more clothes for a longer trip.

There’s a designated laptop section against your back, accessed through a 3/4 zip opening.

The laptop section has a suspended neoprene floor, utilising the only real structure in the pack to keep your laptop safe.

One significant note on these 3/4 laptop sections is that you have to remember to zip them up. If you don’t, you might well see your laptop go into frisbee mode as you swing your pack onto your shoulder (true story).

The back panel and straps are solid without being remarkable. They fall into the same airmesh trap as pretty much every backpack in the world, but we can’t hate on that too much.

And then there’s the variety. This pack is like Nike SB Dunks, available in countless colors and fabrics.

We have a few Metros between us, of which we’ve photographed the Black Shine and the Artillery colorways. Our advice on selection is to go for thicker backed fabrics like the Ultra Violet or Burnt Orange Tarpaulin, which have PVC or TPR backings. The bag was originally designed with thicker backings in mind, so many of the more recent versions with PU backing can feel a little too lightweight and unstructured.

You can see which is which from the way the fabric wrinkles (the black one pictured is lightweight PU, the green one is heavier weight PVC/TPU backing).

Summary

Finding bags that fit in for work or play is hard. Finding them for not much coin is even harder. The Gravis Metro is an awesome backpack that we continue to return to. It works for girls or guys, and teens or adults, depending on the colorway you chose. The frisbee laptop and airmesh are the only downsides we can see to a true classic. Thanks Gravis, for many happy trips/days/adventures.

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