My review of 4 high-end backpacks

August 3, 2017 - Comment

The One Bag Traveler recommends Gear, Destinations and Adventures. I recently ordered 4 backpacks with the intention of trying them and keeping the one I like the best. This would ideally be one bag that I could use for years to come for school and traveling, so I didn’t hesitate to look at expensive options.

The One Bag Traveler recommends Gear, Destinations and Adventures.

I recently ordered 4 backpacks with the intention of trying them and keeping the one I like the best. This would ideally be one bag that I could use for years to come for school and traveling, so I didn’t hesitate to look at expensive options. My 2 important criterion were that it had to protect my big, heavy gaming laptop from drops, and it should be highly water resistant. After much research, I narrowed it down to 4 bags: Goruck GR1, Tortuga Outbreaker, Timbuk2 Parker, Just Porter Streeter.

  • Construction: GR1 > Parker = Streeter > Outbreaker. The GR1 looks and feels like it will last for a lifetime. The Parker and Streeter are well constructed as well and feel solid. I was a bit disappointed with the Outbreaker because some parts feel flimsy (namely the plastic backing, near the bottom of the backpack), and there are threads coming out of the stitching which made me feel like there was a lack of QC.

  • Capacity: Outbreaker > Parker > GR1 > Streeter. It’s funny because the Outbreaker and Parker are both advertised as 35L, but the Outbreaker just holds so much more. I feel that the GR1 could hold almost as much as the Parker, and it’s advertised at 26L. The Streeter is a bit smaller than the GR1.

  • Laptop Protection: Parker > Streeter = Outbreaker > GR1. The Parker’s laptop compartment is so well padded at the bottom, it’s exactly what I was looking for. The Streeter and Outbreaker both do just fine — they both have compartments that are suspended above the bottom of the backpack, along with some cushioning. I was a bit disappointed with the GR1 here, because it is the only one that didn’t have the laptop compartment suspended. It does have a good amount of cushioning at the bottom, but I don’t think it’s as good as the others. If you have a Mac or similar laptop, you’ll be fine with any of these. But if you like big gaming laptops, maybe not the GR1.

  • Water resistance: Unfortunately, I can’t spray water at these bags to test. But judging by their claims, online reviews, and looking at them, I would guess Outbreaker > Streeter > GR1 = Parker. The Outbreaker uses sailcloth and is the only one with water-resistant zippers, so I feel pretty confident saying this one is the best. The Streeter is great as well, it has a roll top and uses tarpaulin, so it makes me feel confident. From what I’ve read about the GR1 online, the fabric is amazing at resisting water, but the zippers aren’t. The Parker has an included rain-fly, so I would guess that the backpack by itself isn’t enough for the worst downpours. But still, keep in mind that these are literally 4 of the best bags for water resistance that are out there.

  • Features: Outbreaker > Parker > GR1 > Streeter. The Outbreaker has so many pockets and compartments, I love it. It also comes with a nice padded removable hip belt. The Parker is a really modern looking bag, with magnetized buckles and flaps. It doesn’t have that many pockets for stuff, though. The GR1 is a pretty simple bag, and some might say the Streeter is more high-tech than it, but I personally like the MOLLE, which could let me add compartments and accessories to it in the future. The Streeter has these really nice magnetized buckles, but I wasn’t a fan of its inner organization.

  • Looks: I can’t rank them because looks are so subjective. I have to say though, the Parker is a sexy backpack. The only issue is that I don’t know if will continue to look great after it’s used and dirty. So I don’t really factor this into my decision making.

Ultimately, I’m probably going to keep the Outbreaker or Parker. The Outbreaker would be my perfect bag if it weren’t for my concerns about its construction. But keep in mind this conclusion is because of my particular needs. For example, someone who wants something durable and simple would come to the conclusion that the GR1 is best. Anyways, hope you enjoyed my commentary, and if you have had experience with any of these bags, please share it as well!

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