- Buyer's Guide
The smallest bag in the Heimplanet Monolith series is this Daypack, which is undoubtedly inspired by the classic form and tactical vibe of GORUCK packs. However it adds features, most notable of which is that it lets you spin the bag and add a shoulder strap for satchel carry. It also changes up the fabric, adds some front straps, and tweaks a few details to make it their own.
It's a bit more refined and office-friendly than a GORUCK, though probably not quite as resilient. The overall vibe is a versatile carry piece that you can travel with, use for work, or get around with for day-to-day use.
*We reviewed the first incarnation of this pack, but Heimplanet have made some minor modifications and hooked us up with their latest version. As such, we've updated our review below to reflect these changes.
- Name: Monolith Daypack
- Brand: Heimplanet
- Format: Backpack/Shoulder Bag
- Measurement: 38 x 29 x 15 cm (15 x 11.5 x 6 inch)
- Capacity: 22L
- Weight: 1100 g (2,43 lbs)
- Zippers: YKK
- Material: 840 D Ballistic Nylon, PU coated; 1680 D Ballistic Nylon, PU coated
- Price170 €
Who It Suits
The sweet spot of this bag is for the folk who travel a bit with work. You can fit all your work toys with a change of clothes, and yet present well in front of a client. When you’re done with your meetings, you can swing it around as a backpack and cover serious airport miles without doing your back in.
Who It Doesn’t
This is a reasonably versatile bag, but it’s more about carrying work, travel and study tools than getting active, so don’t try and run marathons with it. And it’s well enough made, but it’s not going to handle the abuse that a GORUCK can withstand, so don’t try and dodge bullets with it either.
In the looks department Heimplanet have now got some really lovely colors. We've been running the burnt orange. It's a great tone, reminiscent of something Arc'teryx would do. The printed internal lining is standard. The bag then adds some tactical vibe with MOLLE webbing and some accessory pouch options.
All up, it’s a reasonably attractive pack only let down by the genericness of high denier nylon (which some folk still love).
The Daypack runs with 840D nylon fabric (with a small panel of 1680D). For the intended audience, this bag would probably work better in a coated canvas or a heathered polyester. High denier nylon is kinda 2003.
The materials have the same base specifications as the previous version but with a higher thread count/denser build which makes them a little stiffer for improved structure.
The plus to this fabric? It looks ‘travel’, it holds up pretty well to abrasion, and sits quite well when empty.
In terms of build and construction, there is definite improvement. I'm not sure if they're working harder at the existing factory or if they've moved, but their stitching is better and there are not many loose threads anymore. They've also slightly improved the backing fabric on the straps and added a lining inside the pack along the zipper to protect the coating of the main fabric. Overall the bag looks like a higher quality product and I'm stoked with the improvements they've made there.
"...their stitching is better and there are not many loose threads anymore."
Heimplanet have also updated their hardware to make it work more smoothly and avoid unintentional releases. There's an incredible anodized finish on their G-hooks, which are now aluminum instead of titanium because of the new and stronger 3D shape, which wasn't possible with titanium without a big increase in costs. The G-hooks also have a bit of bend to them. The hardware looks a million bucks now. It's really lovely.
The standard zip pulls have also been changed out to just a knotted one that I like a bit more than the molded pull, which now is just on the main section. That seems to be working well.
A lot of the trims have changed too. Before, they were woven Nylon labels. Now, they're an embossed leather that just looks a hundred times better. So their branding, their labeling, and their hardware has all taken a significant step up.
"...their branding, their labeling, and their hardware has all taken a significant step up."
More backpacks should offer a swap to landscape. No matter what backpack you choose, it’s going to struggle to look appropriate with a suit. Simply swapping the bag to a horizontal shoulder carry radically improves your ability to look sharp when you need to.
The transforming between backpack and shoulder bag works okay enough with the Heimplanet. You unhook the straps, push them behind the back panel, and close a zip. You then slip the shoulder strap G-hooks through some loops and you’re ready. It doesn’t have the elegance of the QWSTION approach, but each final stage is well resolved.
The shoulder strap doesn’t have a perfect home, but I found keeping it behind the back panel worked well enough.
The Daypack works well as a shoulder carry bag. The additional shoulder strap comes with adjustable G-hooks on top of the slip lock adjusters to make them more flexible in length. With a little hack you can now use it as a hip belt as well, but it's not ideal. I like that the front carry straps, or compression straps, can be tucked away. They stay neat. There's just a bit too much webbing though that all adds unnecessarily to the weight. I guess the upside is it gives you a cool look and vibe that's a little bit more tactical.
The bag just misses a couple of those next level tricks for making the most of the transforming concept. For instance, I’d love to see a smart place for the shoulder strap to live when in backpack mode.
"The bag just misses a couple of those next level tricks for making the most of the transforming concept."
Also there are still some pocket issues around swapping between landscape and portrait. Some of the pockets start to feel a touch awkward in whatever the other mode is.
The pouches remain the same, and I feel like this is one of the missed opportunities. These pouches have quite a lot of structure, in a way where you can put them on the outside of the pack. But when you do, they still end up just a bit loose and wobbly. I was never tempted to actually put them on the outside of the pack.
"The pouches remain the same, and I feel like this is one of the missed opportunities."
Heimplanet have added a MOLLE section inside the pack, so you can attach them to the interior if you want. However, once you put them on the inside, because they don't locate all the way to the top or bottom, you end up misusing a bit of space.
I love the idea of the modules, but the reality is they're actually hard to fill properly. So you end up with lots of tiny empty zones in your pack and don't end up fitting all that much in the pack.
"Heimplanet have added a MOLLE section inside the pack..."
It’s quite a comfortable pack for travel and business needs. The laptop sits against your back, so you can’t arch nicely while riding, but it’s fine for standard duty.
There’s a wonderful lack of airmesh (yay for scratch-free), and the straps are well padded.
Heimplanet have also replaced the stiff PE board in the bag with a dense closed cell foam to get a better balance between comfort and stiffness and to make the edges less sharp.
Space and Access
There is no doubt that this bag has been designed with work travel in mind. Your laptop slips out easily even when the bag is full. There are some nice internal pockets for organising toiletries or work bits. And the size and shape easily accommodate airplane storage restrictions.
The side access zip is great for getting to your laptop when moving through security or setting up for your day’s work. A 15" laptop is the largest it will fit. Heimplanet have made the side access to the laptop compartment a little bit longer, so it now fits a 15" laptop easier than before. It does take a touch of alignment to get in, but it works smoothly enough.
The interesting thing using this as a daily bag is that I mostly used the laptop entrance to get in and out of it. And it just feels like that's not ideal for getting access to the full scope of the bag. The main zip entrance feels like you really only go into it when you start packing for a trip. But the laptop entrance is a single, straight zip. And if you're running a 15-inch laptop, and you're filling your bag, there is a bit of juggling to kind of get it through. It can feel just a little bit tight and constrained. You can do it, but it's just a bit of a juggle.
Unfortunately the internal pockets work better in vertical backpack mode than horizontal satchel mode, but that’s only a small thing, and you can get at them well enough.
"I mostly used the laptop entrance to get in and out of it. And it just feels like that's not ideal for getting access to the full scope of the bag."
The tuck-away front straps are a nice way to haul an oversize jacket or random purchase, and the low profile G-hooks mean you don’t feel them when tucked away.
It’s fine for a light shower, with a water-resistant zipper covering the laptop zip, and good storm flaps over the main zipper. It’s certainly not for torrential downpours though.
The Daypack is €170 (~US$185), plus around €30 per pouch. That means it’s slipping under the $295 of a GORUCK GR1.
Does that represent value? For me, the fabric and construction quality improvements have made headway in making the pack good value for money. The rest of the components are dialled for that price.
Others To Consider
The GORUCK range needs to be on your radar. The GR1 is the most obvious comparison. You’ll miss out on the shoulder bag conversion, but you’ll get nicer fabric and more bomber construction.
The QWSTION Daypack pulls a similar transformer trick, but with a slightly more fashion sensibility.
The Arc'teryx Blade 28 is another option definitely worth considering.
Thule has a similar design vibe and fabric choices, but at a cheaper price.
And then for a little more design flare, Cote&Ciel are totally rocking my boat at the moment.
This is a great format for a work and travel bag. It can pass between work and play functions smoothly, looking good in most environments. The rectangular silhouette fits work gear well, and the size suits short work trips nicely.
These guys are making good, solid progress. They've fixed the construction and build quality significantly. They've improved their trims and premium feel significantly. Some of the new colorways are really interesting too. It's still shiny nylons, though. But with a really interesting color, it just feels a bit better resolved.
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Space & Access
Look & Feel
Build, Materials & Hardware
Warranty & Support