I have a ton of differing interests, but one of my obsessions is backpacks. While I appreciate all types and designs, I tend to side more on the “tech backpack” side of things. I love pockets. Being able to organize everything in my bag so I can just go to a certain pocket for what I need is fantastic.
Up until recently I haven’t cared much what the bag actually looks like just so long as it worked. One bag that helped change my stance on looks was the Boundary Supply Errant pack. I think the thing that got me was it just looked different than just about anything else out there.
That brings me to the Vessel Bags Signature 2.0 backpack. Our team was provided a review unit and I was only too happy to check it out.
For the sake of discussion, the one I received is the black pebbled version which looks strikingly similar to leather. It’s not, but at first glance no one would know. It’s super soft and just feels nice.
The outer front pocket is easily accessible and has room for the things you would need to grab quickly such as pens/pencils, small hard drives, and/or a small notebook.
Opening the main compartment is where the majority of your space comes from. I can easily fit my Nintendo Switch, over-ear headphones, and some other random stuff. If push came to shove I could probably squeeze a small hoodie in there, too.
While this bag hasn’t had any problems keeping the things I need in it, it’s a small backpack. I’m about Kevin Hart size (5’4”) and the bottom of the bag comes to about my waistline. So it is a fairly small pack.
There are a couple mesh type pockets to help keep the smaller things organized too. The real gem of this part of the interior is the zippered pocket inside. It’s lined with a super soft velour-like fabric. If you have a small electronic device or something with a display that you don’t want to get scratched, this is the pocket you want to use.
Just behind that is another pocket that only zips open a bit. This is where you would put your laptop and tablet if you have such things. There are also mesh pockets in here that work great for a mouse and maybe a portable charger.
The laptop sleeve is also lined with that soft velvet like material. It’s listed as being big enough for a 16″ MacBook. I tried stuffing my 15” Lenovo Y740 in there and it wasn’t quite big enough, so unless you have a laptop on the thinner side, I wouldn’t suggest this bag. If you’re more mobile and carry smaller items, this would be great for say an iPad Pro and one of those thin and light wireless keyboards.
Around the back the straps are nicely padded and comfortable. The back of the bag has ventilation designed to keep you from sweating or getting hot. To be clear, I haven’t taken this out for super long periods, but it did the job in smaller outings.
On the right strap there is a little slash/loop that has ‘VESSEL’ on it, I’m assuming that’s for your sunglasses. That’s what I used it for anyway.
There’s two small pockets on the back that are for flat things, such as maybe a wallet and passport.
On the bottom there is a cut out if you want to slide the handle of your carry-on through. Sometimes it’s easier to pull or wheel your items around, right?
On the bottom of the Vessel Bags Signature 2.0 you’ll find one more zipper. Technically this is supposed to be for shoes, and if you’re travelling that probably would be a great place to put them. I will say I stuffed my size 10 running shoes in there and it was a fairly tight fit.
More generally I keep my little tech travel pouch in this pocket. You know, that little bag you have that houses all your random cords, dongles, and maybe a small battery bank? That lived in this pocket for me.
One thing I will note: whatever you decide to put in this bottom pocket, it will take room from the main compartment, so just keep that in mind.
Things I like
- It’s soft
- Main pocket is roomy
- Soft interior pocket is nice for smaller electronics
- Always nice having a luggage pass through
- Comfy on the back
- Small profile
Things I don’t like
- Laptop sleeve is small(ish)
- No external water bottle pocket
- Front most pocket can be a tad hard to get into
Overall, this is a really nice bag. There are some things that I would like to see changed in future versions, but nothing too drastic. I will say this though, it looks fantastic.
If you’re looking for a backpack that you can take to a board meeting as easily as the coffee shop, this is definitely one you should look at.
You can learn more about the backpack and other options at the Vessel Bags website. The Signature 2.0 is offered in some 11 different colors with pricing that starts at $235. For an additional $65 you can have the bag embroidered with a logo.
If you’re a heavy traveler, you may want to go for the 2.0 Plus backpack which gives you a lay flat opening, and a little more space at 27 liters. This might make your trip through security a bit easier. Available for $265, it comes in three colors.