Given the name of our site is Knapsack, it only makes sense that we’d be talking about bags and backpacks, right? With all of the lack of travel (or even work commuting) in the last year or so, that’s slipped from being a priority for us. But even so, folks ARE back on the move again, and I wanted to highlight two packs from Able Carry that I just became aware of.
Now, you may have heard of Able Carry before, and if so, good on you! For me, I was not familiar with the brand. They call Hong Kong home, and their story is much like many products we see on Kickstarter – “we couldn’t find the [insert product here] that we wanted, so we designed our own.” Unlike many of the watch projects we see over at WWR, however, this looks like they actually created something new, and not just a clone of existing stuff with a different logo on it. Consider just even the two different use cases we’ve got with the bags we’re talking about today.
For example – the Able Carry Daybreaker, this is very much your standard day pack. I’m not giving it faint praise, here, either. A daypack is very similar to what you picture in your mind when you think of a backpack. The terminology comes in when you start talking about hiking backpacks. So, we need to differentiate things, and a daypack is – you guessed it – what you think about carrying when you want to stuff to last you for a day, and then you’re headed back to your home or rental for the evening. To my mind, we even differentiate it a bit more now as to whether you are wanting/needing to carry a laptop in it as well.
Sure, the Able Carry Daybreaker could carry up to a 15″ device if pressed, but that’s not what it’s about. With the internal hanging setup to handle a hydration bladder makes it seems more like what you’re throwing on to go do some hiking for a few hours, or even a longer bike ride. And, after the activities, still have something that’s a bit more flexible in terms of utility than your standard Camelback-style pack would be.
I mean, with an overall capacity of 25L, the Able Carry Daybreaker should be able to swallow a good amount of stuff. On the trail, maybe that’s rain gear, snacks, and a pair of binoculars; if you’re exploring a city, it could be a complete change of clothes (if you land some last minute tickets to a show or land dinner reservations), and even a bit of groceries that you pick up before heading back to wherever your bed is for the night.
Externally, the Able Carry Daybreaker is pretty clean – no giant branding, and not a bunch of exterior loops or hooks. Just clean and smooth, covering up the main compartment zipper, and the side pocket (which will no doubt house a water bottle or coffee cup). Inside, you’ve got one main large compartment. Yes, there are some internal organization things there (including a small “hidden” pocket), but that’s another feature of daypacks – it’s just one big open section, that you can use as you see fit. Not that unlike a pickup truck bed, I suppose. Just load it up as you want, and away you go.
The straps of the Able Carry Daybreaker don’t look super padded, but so long as you’re not trying to haul bricks, it should do the job you’re asking it to, and the built-in sternum strap should help keep things steady, as well as keep the straps from digging into the edges of your shoulders. The Able Carry Daybreaker is available in either Grey X-Pac ($126) or Black Cordura ($108), so you’ve got some price control as well as color.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that can help you keep your backpack safe, as well as giving you a spot to pack your lunch – or even a change of clothes for a few day trip – then the Able Carry Max is where you want to be looking. As with the Daybreaker, the exterior of the Able Carry Max is rather smooth and unbranded, and it’s a look that I like. You can tell it’s a bit bigger of a bag (total capacity is 30L), but the main compartment still carries forth that daypack sensibility.
By that, I mean it’s a larger open section, not a lot of dividers and whatnot (though, again, some small organization tweaks). I like this for a business travel style, as it allows me to toss my own packing cubes in and not have to worry about what’s going to fit around whatever a brand thought was a good idea to include. Again, it’s the pickup truck idea – it’s just a wide open space that you can organize how you want.
On the backside of that large open section is where the Able Carry Max differentiates itself a bit. You’ve got a padded sleeve there to handle your laptop (up to a 17″ device) and there’s a spot in there that you can tuck smaller accessories, like your mouse and charging brick, and even some cables. In other words, the sort of organization you want for this section.
The straps on the Able Carry Max seem a little more padded, which makes sense given you’ll immediately have more weight in it with a laptop. You’ve also got a channel in the foam padding on the back to let some air through, and you’ve got another sternum strap. What I wasn’t expecting was another loop in that center channel, that allows you to put the Able Carry Max (on it’s side) over the handle of a rolling suitcase. So, in case you can’t fit it all in the bag, you can still keep it all together as you go through the airport.
They’ve also included external pockets (zippered) on the sides of the Able Carry Max, which is handy. One is the ubiquitous water bottle / coffee cup holder, but then you’ve got a spot to toss, say, your glasses case or an external power brick. The sorts of things you want to be able to have quick access to without needing to dig through the main compartment to find. In short, it really looks like there are a lot of thoughtful touches built into the Able Carry Max, while still leaving it open and versatile enough to sort of customize to how you want and need to carry your stuff around, either on the daily commute or for travel.
The Able Carry Max comes in four different colors, all going for $260. Sure, it’s a little pricier than you might expect for a work bag, but if you’re used to just grabbing whatever your local big box store has, this should offer a lot more durability and longevity (and the lifetime guarantee seems to back that up). Of the two bags (both of which look stellar, for what it’s worth), we’re working on getting in an Able Carry Max, so we’ll be able to get you a hands-on take of how the bag works and functions, and what the construction is like. Until then, you can check out a video run through (below) or just head on over to Able Carry to get the details on all they have on offer.
Specs from Able Carry
Daybreaker $108 – $126
- Cordura Ripstop 580g (1.28lb)
- X-Pac 560g (1.23lb)
- Height: 50cm (19.7in)
- Width: 26cm (10.2in)
- Depth: 19cm (7.5in)
- Internal divider will fit up to
- Height: 40cm (15.8in)
- Width: 24cm (9.5in)
- Depth: 4cm (1.6in)
- *Depth stretchable to 8cm (3.2in)
- Capacity: 25L
- Weight: 1.72kg (3.79lbs)
- Total Capacity: 30L
- Main Compartment: 25L
- Backpack Dimensions
- Height: 52cm (20.5in)
- Width: 32cm (12.5in)
- Depth: 20cm (8in)
- Surface: X-Pac + Cordura 1000D
- Lining: 420D Ripstop Nylon
- Laptop sleeve will fit: Up to 17″ devices
- Compartment Dimensions
- Length: 40cm (15.7in)
- Width: 28cm (11in)
- Depth: 3cm (1.18in)