The folks at Everki sent me their Pace backpack last fall. I’ve been abusing it solidly ever since. Does it still work?
Style: 2. The first thing you notice about this pack is its relative formlessness. Kinda just a big lump, with everything else tucked away inside. And, it’s uh, mostly black. With this kind of dull, non-reflective orange highlight. Not really my thing. But all the messengers seem to be into that.
Fit & Feel: 4. Man, if only this thing had a chest strap. It’s cycling designed, so it sits low on the back, allowing you to swing your head around without the back of your helmet smacking into it. It’s impressively light, too, with decent padding/airflow on the back. But jammed full, it’s just hard to shake the feeling that its about to slide off my shoulders. A chest strap (easy enough to DIY) would make it easy 5.
Features: 4. Lotta crap on this thing. Padded iPod pouch with a cool little portal for your earbuds. So if you feel like dying young in traffic, this could be the way. A ton of other pockets/pouches for keys, tubes, levers, jimmy hats, and all are quick access – especially the shoulder strap cell phone pocket. And a super-paded laptop slot that can fit a hydration pack in a pinch. Two things missing: reflectivity and a rainfly.
Capacity: 5. For its weight and size, very impressive. I can bike into work with a full set of clothes, street shoes, rain jacket, hat and gloves back there. Helmets and stiff-soled bike shoes are notorious space hogs, but it’ll eat a set of bike gear easy if you pack the soft stuff inside your lid, and stack the shoes carefully.
Durability: 5. I had my doubts with the weight, especially after a few threads splayed early, but they haven’t continued running. I’ve been rough with it, dragging it across pavement, yanking on straps, and jamming zippers, and still nothing worse to see than scuffs. Short of tying it to horses moving in opposite directions, I can’t imagine how to abuse it more.
Final Thoughts: Maybe its your style, maybe it isn’t. Regardless, it packs a lot of size and features into a light, compact, and tough case. The chest strap issue is minor, and probably localized to the more broad-chested. It’s a great pack for the day-tripper or cyclist-about-town, but really needs for-real water resistance and reflectivity to appeal to the hardcore commuter.