- Buyer's Guide
It’s safe to say that we’ve all re-evaluated our daily carry over the past two years. With the rise of remote work, we’re not just carrying differently, we’re carrying a bit less. So many of us are no longer hauling heavy workstation laptops, power bricks, and everything that goes along with that. The new Bellroy Lite collection caters to those modern remote workers. The Daypack, Duffel, Sling, and Tote all hit at different aspects of our new daily lives; from the gym to the coffee shop, the market, and everything in between.
These bags are familiar, taking notes from current and past Bellroy designs. What gives the Lite collection its edge is the lightweight diamond ripstop – made from 100% recycled plastic bottles – and complete lack of one of Bellroy’s staple materials; leather. As a result, we end up with bags that are almost three times lighter than their counterparts at a really great price point.
It’s instantly apparent that the Daypack owes its heritage to the Bellroy Classic Backpack, with similar angles and an almost identical silhouette. Though unlike the Classic, the 20L Daypack is air-light and easily packable, with a few extra features to boot.
The shoulder straps are thin, but still well padded to suit the overall weight of the Daypack, and flexible enough to allow you to roll or fold the entire bag up into your luggage or travel bag. We had no problem carrying our usual cafe-warrior loadout; a tablet, small water bottle, a rain shell, and a few other smaller items like sunglasses and an extra battery. If you’ve gotten your hands on the luxurious Bellroy Apex, you’ll find the sternum strap familiar. It’s not my favorite sternum strap on the market, but it’s perfectly functional and nails the lightweight vibe.
Both the back panel and shoulder straps are lined with air mesh to keep everything comfy and breathable even on hot days. This air mesh seemed a bit softer to the hand than we’re used to, which means we wouldn’t expect to see any wear on your clothing, especially given the light weight.
Around the top of the Daypack is a water-resistant quick-access pocket. We found this a great spot to stash not only our sunglasses but also earbuds, or a mask and sanitizer. The waterproof zip means we never worried too much about electronics in here on wet days.
The interior back wall of the Bellroy Lite Daypack features a document or laptop sleeve, two slip pockets with some elastic, and a small zipper pocket. The laptop sleeve itself isn’t padded, but it is raised. We found it safe to keep our 14″ laptop in but just don’t go tossing it around. If you want a bit more protection, bring a sleeve. The other pockets were great for our tech-related accessories; chargers, dongles, and everything else you might need to spend a few hours at the coffee shop.
The Duffel is the younger sibling of the Bellroy Weekender. We were able to fit everything we needed in here for that – a weekend trip. If you’re a heavy packer, it may not work for that intended purpose for you. But our opinion is that it will work for most people for those getaways. We also found the Duffel to be a killer gym bag.
When on the road, the Bellroy Lite Duffel gives you two ways to carry – dual carry handles or a removable, padded shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is lightweight enough that even when we weren’t using it, we stowed it away in the bag itself just in case. We love that the strap was designed with the same aesthetics and materials as the Duffel, rather than just using an off-the-shelf nylon strap.
The front of the Duffel has a recessed zipper pocket with two interior slip pockets and a key strap. These are great for stashing your phone, passport, and other slimmer items you want quick access to during your travels.
The access to the main compartment is a bit inverted – the zipper pulls being in the “closed” position at opposite ends. This allows for excellent access, giving either end more room to open rather than being fully affixed together at the ends. It might seem a little odd at first but we really love this approach.
The interior itself has a surprising amount of organization for a duffel. All walls are lined with pockets of various sizes, for everything from an extra phone charger and snacks to your water bottle. You can see how wide the duffel opens on the left side of the photo.
The Lite Tote is simple and everything it needs to be. It has a generous gusset to hold bulkier items, and the whole thing is weather resistant, down to the zipper. We found the fixed handles were set to a Goldilocks length – perfect for both shouldering or carrying in your hand.
The inside has a single zippered pocket; we found ourselves stashing a wallet and keys in this when out and about. The bright red-orange cord used as zipper tabs throughout this entire series of bags is an eye-popping experience every time we look at it. We also love how small the tote packs up, and would often keep it at the bottom of the Daypack or Duffel for extra carry capacity when we needed it.
The Sling, in our opinion, is the star of the show. It takes cues from its larger brother, the Venture Sling, and turns it into a killer lightweight daily and travel bag. Like the rest of the collection, it packs down to a negligible size; meaning it’s easy to stuff in your travel bag or daypack.
The front pocket is simple, with two slip pockets and a hi-viz key leash. On one side, it easily stores a car key and slim wallet, and on the other some earbuds and a small 1oz hand sanitizer. It’s great for getting to those things quickly without digging through the bag.
The main compartment opens along the top with a waterproof zipper, and has a similar inverted zipper setup to the duffel. This allows for wider opening on either side so you can more easily see and access your items inside. We found there was more than enough room for everything from a small water bottle to a small mirrorless camera.
The inside has a welcome amount of organization, but it doesn’t get in the way for such a small bag. There’s a back-wall zipper pocket that we used for sunglasses, and even a slip pocket on the side for smaller items you don’t want tumbling around. Due to the lightweight material, the sling does tend to take on a “bulky” look, breaking up the silhouette, if you overpack it.
The new Bellroy Lite Collection is a divergence from the typical work-centric, leather-adorned bags we usually see from Bellroy, and it’s a welcome one. The Lite bags are all perfectly suited for everyday use; in many ways even more so than their more traditional counterparts. The icing on the cake is the really approachable price point. You can buy all four bags in this collection for less than the price of many single bags.
The Bellroy Lite Collection is available now in both Chalk (shown above) and Shadow, and we think they’re a great addition to your everyday routine.