I’m not laughing now.
Why? Because I gotta tell ya. The Hex Backpack with iPad Pocket is one handsome and well-built backpack. Deceptively proportioned (it looks petite, and yet is cavernous inside), and lovingly put together with attention to detail.
At first sight
Frankly, I’m tired of all those backpacks that look alike — North Face ripoffs mostly, or formless soft blobs with generic canvas or nylon bodies and lots of garish straps and cords…
The thing about the HEX backpack is that it’s quite handsome in its own right. It keeps its rigid pear-shaped form pretty well, and is quite elegant in a near-minimalist way.
There’s also an attention to detail that was not seen in its HEX messenger bag, especially when it comes to establishing a distinctive character via its straps and zippers.
Check out the interiors
The HEX backpack features the company’s signature honeycomb cloth pattern, which makes the insides more visually interesting.
You get the requisite partition for laptops, and it will fit whatever size laptop you stuff into it. Aside from that, you also get generous space for whatever else you want to toss into it. Plus the usual mini compartments for small devices and stuff, like pens, wallets or cameras.
You also get a snap-on key holder, which is a nice touch.
There’s also an external pocket that’s good for change and your wallet (if you dare), plus another side pocket that’s good for earphones and the like.
So how much can you stuff into it?
To give you an idea about how spacious this deceptively slim backpack can be, I decided to see how much bottles of wine you can manage to stuff into it. You know, just for kicks:
Verdict: seven big bottles of wine, comfortably snuggled inside. That’s quite a feat for what is supposedly a slim profile backpack.
And then there’s that pouch
Here’s what made me laugh when I first saw the HEX backpack: it comes with an external pocket that is made especially for the iPad.
I laughed because, you know, the first thought that came to mind was say goodbye to your iPad as you walk around the city with this backpack strapped behind you.
And yet that’s just exactly what I’ve ended up doing. Walking around with backpack strapped on, and iPad snugly in the pouch compartment.
The iPad pocket fits your iPad quite comfortably. That is, assuming you like your tablets riding bareback with no casings. Under that use case, the pocket makes perfect sense: anytime you feel like it, just whip out your iPad from the backpack’s pocket and you’re immediately surfing. VERY convenient.
So I’ve found myself easily whipping out the iPad in banks, in airports… even in the MRT. No fumbling, no complications.
“You fool!,” you’re probably saying right now. “You’ve just marked your iPad as ripe for the stealing!”
But frankly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not that easy to pickpocket a tablet from the HEX backpack. Sure it’s easy to whip out when you need it. But not if you’re actually wearing the backpack behind you. And someone trying to pull it up and out from it simply attracts way too much attention. Especially if you’re walking around.
Besides, in the MRT, it’s bad practice to wear your backpack behind you. You carry it in front of you. That’s the protocol.
“But wait, you mean I have to use my iPad bareback?”
It’s gonna fit an iPad 2 with Smart Cover at most, but that’s about it for accessories (aside from screen protector, of course). No jackets please. So use your iPad bare, or iPad 2 with Smart Cover, and that’s it. Otherwise, if you prefer your tablet with its clothes on, then just stuff it into the HEX’s cavernous compartment and just use the pouch for half-folded documents. Like, say, your passport and plane tickets.
Besides, having an accessory wrapped around your iPad sort of defeats the purpose of the HEX backpack’s marsupial pocket. It’s supposed to be about rapid use: set the backpack on your lap or in front of you, unzip, whip out the tablet, and you’re ready to check out your Google Map or whatever.
And I gotta say that it’s pretty damn convenient that way. For this alone, the backpack has already replaced my usual bags.
Still, I usually resort to keeping my Belkin sleeve inside the bag while the iPad rides bareback outside.
Will it fit some other tablet?
A 10.1 inch tablet or below? Sure. Or at least I hope it does. Bring your pet tablet and try it out first just to be sure.
What’s not to like?
The straps. They’re way too long. Ideally you should chop them off, but I feel bad circumcizing this bag so I just rolled them up and taped them in place. A minor inconvenience. And… that’s about it.
So you really, really like it?
I love it. I’ve brought just this bag alone for three-day trips (I travel light) and it’s good enough to carry clothes (rolled up at the bottom), plus laptop and a whole bunch of cables and chargers and stuff. And of course the iPad in the pouch.
I love being in the airport and having the ability to take the tablet out anytime with ease. Or being in the MRT and being able to whip out the iPad without bothering the people around you. Try doing that by fumbling around with your regular bag and you’ll soon realize the difference that having the pocket offers.
More photos below:
HEX backpack with iPad pocket
SRP: Php 3,950
Available at: Digital Walker, Digital Hub
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