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Backpacks

Drive By :: Porter Tanker Daypack

by , November 9, 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally got our hands on a Porter Tanker Daypack thanks to the good folks at UNDSCVRD, who are building a world-class carry store from their base in Amsterdam.

Porter Tanker Daypack

This classic pack was originally released in 1983, inspired by the MA-1 Bomber Jacket of the US Air Force. And we need to say this right away – this pack is not for everyone. Lots of you should never buy it.

Just as with Bomber Jackets, there are now more practical and better value options if your focus is pure utility. But just like Bomber Jackets, this is about more than utility or performance, this is about a connection with our past and the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling it can summon.

Porter Tanker Daypack

For those of you who get it, you’ll probably love its flight satin feel and puffed Bomber Jacket styling. You’ll love the three decades of cult following the bag has built in Japan, and the city suitability it caters for. This is 80’s retro that still finds a loving audience today.

Porter Tanker Daypack

Who It Suits

Folks who get the whole Bomber Jacket thing. Big chunks of Japan. New York creatives. High-end streetwear fans or urban sophisticates. Fashion-forward folks looking for a quality brand with authentic roots. Lovers of the whole slippery satin thing. Those looking for the head-nod from a knowing passer-by. Collectors.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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Who It Doesn’t

Outdoor folk needing durability. Tech lovers seeking innovation. Value hunters seeking a cheap price.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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The Good

Porter build quality is virtually flawless. This is a very well made bag with excellent craftsmanship. While very lightweight, the nylon twill is tightly woven and will be more durable than you’re probably expecting (although it’s still way less than compared to a higher denier outer).
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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The essential layout of the pack is versatile and appropriate. A large main section fits most shaped contents. A front document section and then a smaller front pocket pick up the documents, stationery or extras that your urban pursuits might include.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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They haven’t skimped on zippers, with #10 YKK locking zips that are rugged and durable.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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The orange pop interior is both a head-nod to the MA-1 jackets, as well as a lovely lashing of life and a great aid to interior visibility.
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The entire bag is padded, which means you may get some surprise bonuses with improved insulation and protection.
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“Porter build quality is virtually flawless. This is a very well made bag with excellent craftsmanship.”
The outer twill has a water-repellent treatment, so at least for brief showers, water will bead off.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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The Not So Good

This is a fairly polarising pack, which means you won’t get the broad admiration that a more conventional materialisation might lend.
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“…like Bomber Jackets, this is about more than utility or performance, this is about a connection with our past and a feeling it can give.”
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Those #10 YKK’s somewhat overpower the bag, dominating the ultra-fine nylon twill exterior. They’re pretty sharp, and get your attention each time you brush past them. The locking zip-heads also require clear direction and a little extra pull-force, which is tricky from beneath the fine nylon storm flaps. All this means that the well-intentioned sections end up a little slower to access than they could be.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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The flight satin is slippery, which means you need to get used to a bag that doesn’t grip the way you expect. A grippier surface has been stitched to the underside of the straps to help reduce this issue, but the back panel still slips against you more than you’ll be used to.
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“Those #10 YKK’s somewhat overpower the bag, dominating the ultra-fine nylon twill exterior.”
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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There are not the typical tech organising features that most modern urban packs have. For smaller laptops and tablets, you’ll be able to make it work, but for 15″ MBP’s you’ll need a separate laptop sleeve (they just miss fitting the long front section).
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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And the waist strap can’t be removed, so you may find it occasionally gets in the way.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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Other Options

If you’re digging this, you might dig other fashion-forward carry brands like Cote et Ciel, Haerfest and Y-3.
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If you’re coming at this more from the high-end streetwear thing, it might be more Lexdray and Visvim that resonate.
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And if you’re digging Porter, but find that the flight satin is a little intimidating, they have an enormous library of other forms and fabrics to choose from.
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Porter Tanker Daypack
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Verdict

This daypack has stayed true to its intent since launching over three decades ago. There’s no air-mesh or earbud ports. There are no reversed zippers or structured laptop sleeves. And there’s no apologising for the price or padded sheen of its exterior.
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“This is 80’s retro that still finds a loving audience today.”
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This is a polarising pack that will stoke some, and weird others out. But if you dig the vibe, don’t mind the burly zippers, and keep your expected duties to urban environments, you should find satisfaction in the soft and padded caress of a bomber jacket brought to carry life.
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Porter Tanker Daypack

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
7
Organization
6
Comfort
8

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
8
Build, Materials & Hardware
9
Features
6

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
5
Brand experience
9
Value
6
X Factor
8

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