- Buyer's Guide
Lander Carry System Commuter Review :: Drive By
Utah-based Lander is no stranger to the outdoors. Born in the Rocky Mountains, the brand aims to promote outdoor exploration while making it easier to bring tech along for the journey and protect it from the elements.
Lander has been around for a few years, providing items such as iPhone cases, cables, and power banks. With their new Lander Carry System, the goal is to provide protection and a carrying solution for both the work week and for weekend adventures.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve had the chance to test out the new Lander Carry System that included the Commuter backpack, Kit, and Parcel. Here’s what I came to find over the course of a few standard work days and a weekend camping trip.
Who It Suits
The outdoorsman who also wants to stay connected. The tech junkie who enjoys the occasional outdoor adventure. Anyone looking for a balance between urban style and weather-resistant innovation for everyday and weekend use.
Who It Doesn’t
Those looking for extreme performance from their packs. The cyclist, the mountaineer, and anyone else who requires more storage for bigger excursions.
The Commuter is one of two packs that form part of the Lander Carry System. With 25L of storage the pack holds enough gear for a work day or a weekend trip. I found the exterior organization suitable for my needs. The soft top pocket is lined with microfiber and stores my sunglasses, wallet, and earbuds, keeping them safe and easy to access. The front pocket includes a keyring which was a nice touch and has ample space, though there are some organization issues. The two side pockets also came in handy for a water bottle and other quick-access items and the security straps ensure the items stay in place. When not in use the side pockets collapse to keep the bag streamlined.
The cargo straps located at the bottom of the pack don’t detract from the design as they fold up cleanly and tightly. The straps each have a band to keep the excess length in place.
The weather protection on the pack is a definite plus. The main compartment’s exterior has a DWR coating for water resistance over the recycled Cordura EcoMade fabric. Weatherproof zippers round out the protection.
A unique feature of the pack is the “Crash Pad” which is comprised of three compartments, namely a laptop compartment and two smaller compartments which are meant to house smaller tech items such as a smartphone or a portable power pack. Each of these compartments is internally microfiber lined and soft to the touch. The “Crash Pad” is made from a TPU ripstop with welded seams and weatherproof zippers to protect the items stored within.
One thing that most bag designs overlook but the Lander Commuter Pack excels at is laptop protection. The laptop compartment can hold up to a 17” laptop, and the pack shines in the placement of the foam padding. The “Crash Pad” foam extends lower than where the actual laptop sits, so if the bag is dropped the foam absorbs the impact rather than your valuable laptop.
“The “Crash Pad” is comprised of three compartments, namely a laptop compartment and two smaller compartments meant to house smaller tech items.”
Each of the 3 “Crash Pad” compartments connects with one another through the “Hot Route” that allows you to route cables through the pack internally. Handy if you need to charge one item that’s located in another compartment.
The Commuter pack was quite comfortable, even packed to the gills when hiking for an hour. The foam padded shoulder straps as well as the back area feature breathable mesh. One thing of note is the ribbed back foam covered by mesh, which may look a bit odd at first, but is quite useful for providing comfort and cooling. The sternum strap is another key feature as it is fully adjustable not only to tighten but can be placed higher or lower on the straps to fit all body types.
For quick grab-and-go situations there are two top handles. One located closer to the front cargo area and one only a few inches away in a more traditional location towards the back shoulder straps. Both can be useful depending on how your pack lays on the ground or is stowed.
I liked the overall look of the bag, with a nice charcoal grey and black colorway and minimal branding elements. Additionally, each logo is actually practical with a reflective quality for night visibility.
The Commuter pack is reasonably priced through the Kickstarter campaign currently at $150 with delivery in December 2017. Then it jumps up to $175 MSRP, which is a bit steep in my opinion.
The Not So Good
The internal organization left a bit to be desired as the main cargo compartment only has one large sleeve to fit a magazine or documents and lacks any additional pockets. This could be due to the suggested pairing and use of the Lander Parcel and Lander Kit, but on its own it would have been nice to have a couple of additional areas to store smaller items.
The front cargo pocket does have three smaller sleeves that you can slide smaller items such as pens, a mouse, loose cash or credit cards into, but anything larger wouldn’t fit including a slim wallet, small notepad, or portable hard drive. An iPhone 7 Plus without a case barely fits. These pockets are also tiered, going from a deeper pocket to a more shallow pocket, making for minimal storage options for each. My final gripe for this pocket is that it has a reflective/shiny lining, which is more of a personal issue, but I can see it possibly being functional in helping find darker, small objects.
“The internal organization left a bit to be desired as the main cargo compartment only has one large sleeve to fit a magazine or documents and lacks any additional pockets.”
And finally, although durable, the pack only has a one-year warranty.
The Lander Commuter is a nice urban/outdoor hybrid pack for those requiring a more stealth look and versatility. The “Crash Pad” is the signature highlight of the pack that helps it stand out from the rest with its protection and weather-resistant elements. It’s a great everyday pack, but if you require more organization or more specialty performance then it’s not for you.
The Commuter is available now via their Kickstarter campaign that ends in less than a month.
Lander provided a Kit to help test their modular system and it became a nice complementary addition that worked well with the Commuter.
This is a trifold dopp kit built for toiletries or additional tech storage. The exterior is made from a durable TPU-coated ripstop to help protect your items.
Internally, there are several areas for storage and organization. From the top down there is a zippered pocket that can hold anything from cables to a toothbrush (things that are a bit slimmer work well inside), then there is a thick elastic band that can hold a hard drive in place or a MacBook’s power brick. The center has an open mesh zippered pocket that gives visibility to the components inside and has a small key ring, which I used to load up on my tech goods. Then there is a small band for a pen or toothbrush, and finally a larger zippered pocket that can fit larger and thicker items such as deodorant, a small camera, etc.
“The Lander Kit is a trifold dopp kit built for toiletries or additional tech storage.”
There is also a small internal strap to carry or possibly grab when packed to pull out the Kit from the pack. It could also be used to hang the Kit, but it would force it to be sideways. Alternatively it could be used to attach to the exterior of the pack via a carabiner.
The overall look is nice and the protection is solid. The construction is topnotch and the well-thought-out design makes this a very versatile storage solution.
The Not So Good
The external strap clicks to hold everything together or can be used to hang the Kit. I really wish this strap was adjustable so when not in use the Kit could be folded flat rather than take up additional real estate. It would also help to tighten when the Kit is packed for even more security.
I am a fan of the Kit. It is constructed well and will last a long time. The rugged exterior will help protect tech and toiletries alike.
It is still currently available at the bargain price of $20 via Early Bird Kickstarter pricing, which is a steal. At $30 for Kickstarter it is still a good deal for a dopp kit. The $40 MSRP could be considered a fair price as well.
I was also supplied the Parcel, a collapsible packing cube, as part of the Lander Carry System.
With 10L of storage, the Parcel is a great addition to the Commuter. It’s made from a lightweight yet durable ripstop and opens up halfway for easy packing and access.
The design for such a simple item is well thought out. There is an external pocket that can fit a cell phone (even an iPhone 7 Plus), but keep in mind it’s not secure. Just nice to have just in case. There is also a nylon daisy chain that provides multiple grab-and-go handles and can also be used to attach it to the exterior of the pack via a carabiner.
Now the beauty of the Parcel is that it is collapsible and packs inside itself to save on precious space when not in use. It easily fits in a pocket at about the size of a baseball. It also has a small strap to carry it or attach it securely to a pack.
“The Parcel is collapsible and packs inside itself to save on precious space when not in use.”
Priced at $10 during the Kickstarter campaign it’s a real deal. Even at the MSRP of $20 it’s competitive.
The Not So Good
The only negative of this packing cube is possibly the weight when compared to other packing cubes on the market. The addition of the nylon daisy chain may be a bit much, but even that is a stretch in looking for a flaw.
The Parcel is nicely constructed and very handy. It does pair nicely with the Commuter pack or any pack for that matter and is a must for travel to keep things organized and clean. One Parcel fits comfortably along with the Kit in a Commuter bag. At $10 this is a must-own item.