- Buyer's Guide
Moment Travelwear 21L Backpack & Pouches Review
The team over at Moment has done it again. Recently I had the opportunity to review the Rugged Camera Sling, and over the past few weeks, I have been using the new MTW 21L backpack from the Travelwear collection. I rarely find a bag that is not only versatile but has excellent organization, and I will use it for a long time, but I dig this pack. The only thing that could make me dig this more would be if it were a waxed canvas material. (After talking to the design team, waxed was the original plan, but they could not find any available material in what they were looking for.) While I dig the aesthetics and the layout of the pack, I would love to see it in a material that will last a long time. Maybe in the future we can see an X-Pac version, or if I play my cards right, a waxed version.
The pouches that are available in the Travelwear line are a great addition to the pouch game. There are a variety of sizes that can serve many purposes. You can choose between the Tech Organizer, the Tech Organizer Mini, and the Battery Organizer. The two tech pouches are built so that the Mini can nest inside the full size. This way if you only need to carry a small amount, you do not have to carry the full size pouch. The Mini is a bit more flexible than the other two so that it can take up the minimum amount of space in a pack. The other two pouches are built to have a thin foam padding to help protect hard drives and other items.
All three are built to carry either batteries, cords, hard drives, or power banks, and with a zippered pocket, you can keep other items like SD cards safe.
Who It Suits
At $179 ($149 for a limited time), this pack is a great deal. The design is subtle and well thought out, and you can carry a decent amount. I used this pack for an everyday bag for a few weeks. It not only has a dedicated suspended pocket for a 15″ laptop, but also an admin panel, as well as enough room for an iPad, and another compartment for a laptop (at times I carry both a 13″ and a 15″ MacBook Pro), or documents. Personally, I dig when the laptop compartment is more than just the laptop, as it is nice to have room for other tech or items.
This pack works well on many fronts; you can use it if you are in school, or as a work pack. You could do short bike commutes, or even some day hikes if needed. The 21L would work well for a carry-on pack if you are traveling, as you can pack a decent amount in the main compartment. I was able to fit a rain jacket, the tech pouch, and a change of clothes all loosely packed inside. While using it for work, I was able to pack all my lunches and snacks with room to spare.
Who It Doesn’t
I really wouldn’t use this pack for bike commutes longer than two miles. The channel on the back panel is not made for venting with long-distance/high heat exertion.
To be honest, while they make a decent camera insert, I personally would not use this as a camera pack. Even if I was traveling, the camera insert takes up enough of the main compartment that one cannot pack enough other gear. The side access is also not designed for photographers, so get their sling if you need something for camera gear.
The layout of the pack is superb. The laptop compartment can hold a 15″ device and is suspended, so you don’t damage your laptop. But it also has room for a second laptop (in a case), or an iPad (in a case) or a book, or documents. The main compartment is big and can hold quite a bit. I was able to pack a few lunches as I normally eat enough for a small family, with a raincoat and had room to spare. If you were traveling, you could pack a few changes of clothes and a tech pouch and be fine. The front admin compartment has organization for pens, power banks, notepads and more. The pack carries well, and the straps are comfortable. The sternum strap can be used if you are right or left-handed and is easily adjustable. The water bottle holder can hold a 32oz Nalgene or something similar.
Not So Good
My main issue is the front admin pocket. But I will be the first to say that this is a personal preference. I am always dubious about these, and due to my error and forgetting to zip, I might lose some items. But even if you do zip the pocket, it is easy for items to fall out of the pockets and get all jumbled.
The front panel of the main compartment could use one more mesh panel. This way, if you are using the pack to travel, you can organize clothing a little better.
The only other change that I would like to see would be a different fabric. The current material is fitting for the price, and the pack will last for quite a few years. But if this pack came in a Cordura, X-Pac, or waxed option at a higher price tag, it would be hands down one of the best everyday packs on the market.
I would pick this up. If you want a sub-$200 pack that carries gear and has good organization, the MTW is a great pack. You can also pick up some great pouches for the backpack to help with organization.
Matt Ritscher is a Colorado-based adventure and wedding photographer. Check out his work here.