- Buyer's Guide
Let’s get right to the point; ever since the Able Carry Max smashed onto the scene, even winning the Carry Award for best carry-on bag, carry aficionados around the world started clamoring for a smaller, daily use variant of the Max – something a bit more substantial than Able Carry’s current offerings, with some of the updates the Max brought to the table. Well here it is; the Able Carry Daily Plus. The Daily Plus is certainly more Daily than Max, but I think this is going to be pretty close to what readers were hoping for.
The Daily Plus leaves nothing on the table, offering an all around upgraded experience over the Daily at a moderately increased price point – and the current Daily isn’t going anywhere. Why? Through years of user feedback, Able Carry was able to identify two primary users of the Daily; those looking for a simple way to carry the essentials, and those craving a bit more space and organization for their gear. Let’s dig into the latter, which offers roughly a 0.5″ of extra space in every dimension.
Yep, we’ve got a water bottle pocket. This was one of the most requested features from any new Able Carry launch. It will either be the first or last thing you notice about the new Daily Plus, and that’s because it’s hidden so incredibly well. This pocket is very similar in use to the side bottle pocket on the Max, if you’re familiar with it. It has a side-rear facing entry with a single vertical zip. You’ll be able to fit most bottles that aren’t full sized Nalgenes.
While this does take up some internal volume, it’s made up for by the bit of extra space available in the Plus. It also means that your bag will maintain its silhouette no matter what, without anything to snag on the exterior.
The aesthetic-defining front slash pocket is a bit more organized than its younger brother, where it simply acted as more of a stash pocket for pouches or other gear. The Plus lets you be a bit more considered with your carry, especially with smaller items. I love the stretch material of the interior pockets, as it provides some active retention while allowing you to over stuff them just ever so slightly. This area also ends up as a great spot to stash bulkier gear like a shell or gloves since it has a good amount of its own volume near the base, which I really appreciate in smaller bags.
Once inside the main compartment, the front panel looks a little different due to the addition of the water bottle pocket – just one horizontal slash pocket with a bit of its own volume. The slightly canted zipper gives a wider opening than if Able Carry had just sewn it completely horizontal at the top; probably adding at least an inch or two to the length and giving the user an easier time getting larger items in and out.
One of the biggest upgrades users will notice is to the laptop and tech sleeve on the back of the main compartment. In my humble opinion, it’s a vast improvement over the Daily if you’re going to be carrying tech of any sorts. Not only is the main sleeve easier to get your laptop in and out of, thanks to the tapered top, but there’s also a tablet / e-reader sleeve on the front of that, with yet another stretch pocket for accessories like a charger or mouse. There’s also four pen slots, two on either side. I do wish we would have seen a fully dedicated laptop compartment like on the Max, but that would have added some depth and weight, so it’s easy enough to see why Able Carry took this approach. The laptop and tablet sleeve fit up to a 16” and 12.9” device respectively.
In our review of the Max, Matt Ritscher said there was one pocket that he “didn’t notice for the first week of using the pack”, and that pocket returns on the Daily Plus. It’s just above the tech sleeves, and it’s a perfect place for any highly sensitive items, or tracker tags. This zipper also gives you access to the back padding and frame sheet, but we suggest you leave that as is unless you have significant issues.
The rear facing quick access pocket also makes a return, and this time it’s a bit more protected from the elements. Since this is a common place to stash your earbuds or other smaller electronic items, the Daily Plus adds an unobtrusive rain flap. Personally, I’m not a rain flap fan, but I think it’s used correctly here. It hides the pocket, provides protection, and doesn’t get in the way.
Clean and Comfortable
The Able Carry A-Frame is a staple of their everyday and travel bags. The A-Frame is a combination of patterning and strategic webbing use to create a clean profile that never sags, and makes sure the weight of the bag is distributed evenly. It’s a wonderful design – we love when a brand is able to couple aesthetics and functionality.
The webbing also offers some intuitive attachment points, for smaller PALS-compatible pouches, simple carabiners, or even a bike lock. As a bonus, they also act as a pseudo-security device, allowing you to lock your zipper pulls on either side of the bag behind the webbing. This was a carry over from the original Daily, but it’s a really solid design choice to keep crimes of opportunity at a minimum.
The straps and backpanel are going to feel familiar, and going from our experience with the original Daily, that’s a good thing. We’ve been hauling this around with a laptop, a tablet, some recording gear, and extra daily items and we’ve been really happy with how this carries. One little upgrade you’ll notice is the addition of four webbing loops, two on either side of the top and bottom of the 3D molded padding – which is wonderful by the way. These are here to add a bit of future-proofing. Able Carry will eventually be rolling out some accessories, like luggage pass-thru add-ons. I assume we may see a belt as well, given the positioning. The slightly-hidden magnetic sternum strap also returns, and is easy on-and-off.
To Each Their Own
Able Carry’s decision to not release a replacement to the Daily, but to instead release a complimentary variant, is an interesting one, but one I wholeheartedly support. We all carry differently. Some of us want a slot for every pen and item in their lives, and others just want something simple and intuitive.
Able Carry now covers a wider range of users without alienating either of these groups, and they’ve done it quite well. The Daily Plus is a worthy addition to the family of commuter bags that Able Carry has brought into the world, and I’m happy to have been able to use it in my daily life over the past weeks.
The Able Carry Daily Plus is now available for pre-order at an introductory price of $168, increasing to $198 after launch. At the time of this writing you can choose from VX21 Black or X42 Olive.
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