Access & Space
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this. You’ve got your one zipper into the bag. It runs along the top and nearly halfway down the sides. The main textile is soft enough that you can easily spread the opening when the bag is unzipped and easily access your gear.
Pockets & Organization
Again, you get more than you’d expect from a first glance. There are multiple lash points on the exterior for either securing the bag down or attaching other things to it. On the interior, they’ve added a sleeve on the back wall for flat items, which will fit a small laptop, a tablet, or a notebook and maps.
You can attach hook-and-loop pouches and organizers to the back wall for keeping smaller items from sloshing around the bottom. I’ve already got most of my gear split up into pouches, so when using the bag, I could just toss those in, and I’d already have things organized.
Comfort / Fit
Fit and comfort for the pack depends on how you pack it and how you carry it. With very minimal padding and straps made just from webbing, how you set it up will make a big difference in comfort.
The padding on the bag consists of a square panel of thin foam and spacer mesh. There are anchor points at the top with plastic tri-glides, where the shoulder straps can be attached. Behind the back panel are webbing loops where the bottom ends of the shoulder straps can hook in as well as the waist belt.
Lumbar pack – The shoulder straps are just 25mm (1-inch) webbing that attaches to the top and side of the back panel. The webbing does a suspenders-style crossover on the back. The good part about this setup is that you can adjust the strap lengths from both ends to get just the right fit. The bad part is that the 25mm isn’t going to carry much weight comfortably. The adjustable straps help keep the bag in place over the shoulders, but the waist belt is what really makes the difference. Also removable, the waist belt is made from 38mm (1.5-inch) webbing and doubles back so the weight is spread out over a larger area. Once the waist belt is clipped into place and tightened down, all that weight on the shoulders disappears.
Carrying the bag this way, you end up with a lot of webbing hanging around and a couple of times I had to stop and figure out which bits went where. Just something to keep in mind.
Waist bag – To be honest, the bag felt a bit too big to wear with just the hip belt and nothing over the shoulders. It was less an issue of weight, and more that it felt a bit awkward carrying something that large and boxy. While the waist belt held most of the weight, the shoulder straps kept the bag hanging more comfortably.
Crossbody – I carried the bag as a lumbar pack for trail hikes, exploring along the beach, and for the photoshoot. When carrying it around town, however, I swapped out the straps and wore it crossbody because I wanted a more casual look.
Right off the bat, I’ll say – this bag is waterproof. Apart from the other testing I did for the different carry modes, I also put the welded seams and AQUASEAL zipper to the test by heading down to the ocean and jumping in.