AlpakaGear, the company that brought us the 7Ven Messenger bag last year, are back with their latest bag on Kickstarter, the Shift Pack. Its a stylish rolltop backpack designed for your active lifestyle that spans work, play and travel. This backpack aims to deliver on the diverse functionality we need from a bag in 2017, with the plethora of technology we need to transport.
Weather its drones, laptops, consoles and phones, the Shift Pack executes on that portability diversity in spades, with more than 20+ features specifically designed for frequent travellers and commuters.
I was lucky enough to spend some time using the Shift Pack ahead of the Kickstarter launch and absolutely love it. Its easy to tell this product was designed by people who understand the problem because they have the same problems we do, from day-to-day commutes to longer trips away.
The bag itself is made from water resistant fabric and waterproof zippers to protect your gear when it inevitably rains. The back is available in 3 different colours, which are Indigo Blue, Carbon Grey and Jet Black to choose from. Personally I like the Carbon Grey the best and fortunately that’s the one I got for review.
The load bearing parts of the straps are re-enforced to make sure you never have to worry about the capability to withstand whatever you throw in the backpack.
For a bag that features storage for between 20-30L of volume, it weighs remarkable little, only 1.8kg, which leaves plenty of weight for your products, particularly important when travelling with weight restrictions.
At first look this, may appear like most other backpacks on the market, but look closer and you’ll understand its anything but. The sheer amount of features is actually kind of ridiculous.
The clips on this bag are something I absolutely love. They’re magnetic which makes them easy to connect quickly and get back to your bust life.
There’s a laptop slot, good for carrying up to 13-14″ laptop. There’s a quick access zipper in the top of the bag to easily remove the laptop. This is great for a couple of reasons. If you’re a student and going between classrooms, or at a conference and moving to the next session, you’re laptop will be in and out of your back multiple times a day.
The other time its useful is when travelling through airport security scanners when you need to remove it from your bag. Its convenient, easy and well thought through. When you have the slot open, if you remember you need something from the rest of the larger storage area of the bag, there’s also a zipper to allow that access.
We see the return of the luggage sleeve on the rear of the backpack here, which lets you slide it over the handle of your suitcase and only have one back to worry about. If you travel often, you’ll appreciate this will never fall off, its a brilliantly simple solution to a common problem.
At the base of the bag, there’s a 12cm compartment that can store cables, your lunch or even a DJI Mavic or Spark drone. The base of the rubberised compartment is padded, to protect your valuables and to further secure them, you can add a lock the zippers.
If you’re a photographer, then its a great place to store your lenses as the compartment doesn’t compress like the rest of the bag, so they’ll be protected. I didn’t get to try them, but apparently size US11 shoes will actually fit in there (I’m US13).
Hidden passport pocket
Housed in the back of the bag lies a hidden compartment specifically designed to hold your passport. While I often travel with my passport on my, there are times, like on a long haul flight, that you’d love to be able to store it securely. This may be the perfect spot for it.
Keys and cards
Almost everything in this backpack has more than one use. The shoulder straps are a great example of this with a quick storage pocket in each side. One of these can be used to store ATM cards, great if you’re outfit doesn’t have pockets and the other one contains a built-in key ring.
Price and availability
The Kickstarter for the AlpakaGear Shift Pack has just gone live (at the time of writing) and you can visit it here.
There’s a range of support tiers available. The early bird pledge is just$159.00 and has an expected delivery of February 2018.
The top tier is bundle for $249.00 which includes a Go Sling, a whole separate small bag, that holds all your overnight essentials (read toothpaste, hair products and deodorant.
If you’re completely sold on the Shift Pack, the guys at AlpakaGear are also offering bulk buys with a ‘Retail Pack’ of 10 Shift Packs for $1,400 a significant discount on the RRP of $2,390.
The AlpakaGear Shift Pack is a seriously well put together product. From the features it offers, to the design of the bag and the selection of fabrics quality fabrics, it all comes together to create a stellar product.
If you’re like me, you’ll regularly travel and need to carry your laptop, mouse, headphones and your lunch (as well as a bunch of cables, adapters, phones, cameras etc, this bag will be your new best friend.
It really is the diversity of options you have available to you in such an efficient package that’s the most impressive here. The roll up top on this bag allows you to carry tall objects when required, but roll it down and clip into place when you don’t. It’s that kind of range of uses that matches our modern lifestyle and something I appreciate in a backpack.