I thought I cracked it — finally a fantastic everyday bag for the office. Something that blended in, organized well, carried what I needed, didn’t feel too bulky on my body, and most importantly was comfortable to wear. These bars are not high, as I park in a parking garage and simply take two elevators up to my office, but as it turns out — the little things always blow up many of the bags I tested.
That’s the story here: so very close to good, but at the end of the day the DSPTCH Daypack failed itself.
Size & Materials
There’s a few variants of this bag out there still sold by DSPTCH. The variant I have is the “older one” I am told. As far as I can tell, that means the top handle is placed in a different spot and I honestly don’t know what else is different. From there, DSPTCH sells Ballistic nylon version in a couple colors (this is Ballistic 1680D in Grey) and a couple Dyneema variants for marginally (a lot) more money and occasionally other materials too. I like ballistic nylon for office bags because it’s easy to clean, doesn’t collect pet hair, and feels smooth and soft. Good material choice for office bags all around.
On appear this bag is kind of big and boxy, but in person it doesn’t look it. The bag itself measures at 18”h x 10”w x 8”d which DSPTCH rates at 22L. It’s a bigger 22L and packs closer to what I would estimate at 24L. Not a huge difference, and the tall but a little skinny nature to it means that a taller person (like me at 6’-3”) can pull off the bag well, and a smaller framed person can also wear it comfortably. Smart sizing on the bag.
The 10” width means it wears easily and doesn’t feel big, but the 8” depth is a bit much at times, while aided by some compression straps on the bag. I like the size, I like the primary materials, but there’s one area the bag fails on: webbing and buckles.
I’m not a big snob on these usually, but they feel cheap on this bag. The webbing adjusters feel thin and flimsy and when paired with the very rough webbing, it makes for a bad match. The straps don’t easily glide through anything, feel rough, and look rather stiff. And each time you touch the hardware to adjust the length, you remember how cheap they feel. That sucks, but I’ve seen worse, so these stand out because of how well the rest of the bag design executed not for being generally bad.
Using It & Comfort
After using the bag on the first day, I was all in. I was even more all in on the second day. The organization on the bag is smart, enough to be useful without being too restrictive. The front pocket has nice elastic loops, and a small mesh pocket, and tons of volume that doesn’t seem to eat too much into the main area. And then in the main area is a device sleeve, an open pocket, and a zippered pocket. Oh, and two hidden water bottle pockets inside at the bottom edges which don’t get in the way, but also work damn well to hold your travel mug in place.
The laptop compartment is fine, nothing to write home about, but sits apart from the inner device sleeve — a true two device bag, winning hearts over here.
I even found the external d-rings useful for clipping my mask to so I never lost it, or left it at home. Generally, getting stuff in and out of the bag was a nice experience, except for two issues:
- The zippers are not great. I don’t know if it is the curves or structure of the bag, but they don’t run very smoothly anywhere. My bag is/was used when I got it, but certainly not older than my Mystery Ranch or GORUCK bags and yet it felt stubborn to move the zippers. Even cleaning the bag and lubing the zippers didn’t help.
- The laptop compartment is massive and smooth not soft. This means that when you put an iPad Pro into it, it disappears down to the bottom and is incredibly annoying to get out of the bag. And because it’s smooth not soft, it feels rough on your hands as you dig down into the compartment to retrieve the device. Further, because my bag is used, there’s marks all inside this compartment showing how poor of a choice the lining material is here, it’s the wrong choice.
And then there’s the deal breaker for me: the harness system failed me. Because I hate dangly straps, I adjusted the bag at home and coiled the straps and secured them out of the way — as you do. But after a few days I realized the bag was sitting about a half an inch too low to be comfortable as the bottom of the bag was hitting the waist of my pants and bothered me, and just looking at the bag proved it was wearing too low.
Moving the bag up to the proper height made everything feel better, until I started moving. That’s when I felt the quick release buckles on the bottom of the shoulder straps digging into my sides. At 10” wide the bag doesn’t have enough width to avoid this when the bag is being worn at the proper height on my back. It’s a full deal breaker: because I either wear the bag too low and have annoyance at my lower back, or properly and have strap buckles digging into my sides.
No thanks the comfort factor killed the entire gambit that day.
There are some other odd choices on this bag worth pointing out:
- It has load lifters which both don’t lift the load, and are not easily adjusted tight enough to do literally anything. Would be better with out.
- That there is a buckle at the bottom of the shoulder straps makes zero sense to me. The straps don’t fully detach like on the Ridgepack, nor do they stow away. So why put a buckle there? Pointless. And that these are the reason the bag doesn’t work for me only adds insult to injury here.
- Speaking of pointless: why are there straps along the bottom of the bag? They can be used to compress the bag, but since the bottom of the bag is padded, they end up folding the bottom awkwardly and not being useful. They could be used for outdoors I guess, if you wanted to carry something there, but that’s a bad spot to put items unless you are forced to. But more than that, my used bag showed just how much wear and abuse straps on the bottom of a bag like this take, and it’s a lot. Not only is this rather pointless for this bag, it’s ill advised.
Weird stuff, seems like these were added for aesthetics not function.
This bag is made really well, aside from the buckles which I question the quality of. It looks really good too. Even on my bag when nearly full, it never felt like a giant box and never felt bulky. It felt like a bag that blended in. It was easy to work out of for the most part and had cool choices (the internal water bottle pockets work extremely well).
But a backpack is first and foremost something you carry on your back, and this is not a bag which is comfortable for that. The straps are fine, the padding is fine. But I don’t like a bag that rubs on my lower back, or digs into my sides and those seem to be your only choices with this one. Removing the buckles at the bottom of the shoulder straps might mitigate this, but I may also never know since I am unlikely to try this bag again.
To the car it goes, as it will make a solid emergency bag there.
You can find it here, but I’m not sure you should.
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