This article was posted on Sunday, 1st June 2014
I'm on the market for a new backpack. My commute to work, whether it's to my office locally or when I'm working in Dublin, is punctuated by frequent saturations from the lovely Irish weather. My current backpack leaks like a sieve, and although my Macbook Air is in a, supposedly, rain proof sleeve, the rest of my stuff (or my Every Day Carry, as it seems to be called) has water stains.
While I can get backpacks in every configuration and price range, it seems that the waterproof angle is the expensive one. I've compiled a few backpacks that I have come across, which I really like, plus a few cheaper alternatives if you don't plan on being out in the rain.
I have tended to gravitate toward military style packs, simply because the colours are more muted and they all have the MOLLE expansion system (those horizontal straps) which allows you to attach more storage to your bag. The storage capacity is about 18-22 litres, which is about what my current pack has.
If money wasn't an option, and I could get one of these imported from the US, I'd have a Mystery Ranch ASAP pack. The design, with a three zip opening, is really clever, allowing you access from the top, but also allow you to access the entire contents of the bag. The lack of smaller compartments, is a slight con, but I love the design of this. At $245 (180 euros as of today) it's expensive.
Although currently unavailable, the FAST Pack Litespeed is a nice pack. At about 21litres, it is a more tall and narrow bag. I like the flap on the front (aka a beaver tail), allowing you to strap rain coats and other clothing to the back of the pack. At $239 (175 euros as of today) it's a decent price.
Of all the packs I looked at, the Rush 12 seems to tick all the boxes. It's the right size, about 22 litres. I can get it from Amazon (another shameless AA link), or eBay shops. It's about £72 (88 euros as of today). I've read a lot of reviews on forums and blog posts, and everyone who has one, is very positive about them. And, it's rainproof! I considered the larger, 34 litre Rush 24, but when I saw photos of it, I realised that it was too big for my needs.
The Rush 12 has a nice 'admin' pocket on the front, which will be useful for all my cables and junk that sits in the bottom of my bag. I've also seen people use the 'hydration' pocket for storing their laptops. Ironic, seeing as I want to keep water off the machine. All in all, a nifty little backpack.
I like the simplicity of these packs- there is some external MOLLE straps but on the lower part of the bag. The one feature I really like is the MOLLE straps on the inside, allowing more customisation inside. At $295 plus shipping (about 216 euros) it's probably beyond my budget.
I found these on eBay shops, and they seem like fun packs to have. One thing I must stress, is that lack of water proofing seems to a reoccurring negative for these bags. While the nylon will prevent a certain amount of water getting through, a good downpour will totally wreck your stuff, and your day.
Probably too big for my needs, but I nearly bought it, as I liked the cut of it's jib. I could yet buy it, $37 plus free shipping worldwide, it'd be worth a chance.
Not a particularly pretty pack, but it's only £17 plus shipping. The Amazon reviews seem to mention the poor build quality quite regularly. I guess that's to be expected.
I'll be sure to post a full review of whatever pack I get, once I've used it for a few weeks.