We love the convenience of backpacks, as they free up both hands and distribute the heft of your gear across your upper body. We equally love the clamshell design of briefcases, which gives you unimpeded access to the main compartment by laying completely flat and open. The Ekster Grid Backpack combines those excellent qualities to turn out a great everyday bag.
Don’t worry, it’s not one of those oversized and uncomfortable backpack-suitcase hybrids. Instead, it actually blends the size and proportions of slimmer city backpacks with the easy-organization clamshell design, giving you a bag that looks like a regular backpack while giving you full rein when it comes to organizing your gear.
The Ekster Grid Backpack is a standard everyday backpack that measures 18 x 12 x 6 inches (height x width x depth) with a 21-liter volume capacity. Designed to allow unimpeded access to the main compartment, it has a zipper that opens all the way through the sides and top, allowing the front shell to move completely out of the way, so you can organize your gear with the same full access as a suitcase or briefcase. Inside, it gets a wide open main compartment, so you can arrange all the stuff you’re taking with you as you see fit, although it also gets an A5-sized pocket for tablets, a roomy open pocket, and a zippered mesh pocket.
Since opening the main compartment requires pulling up the zip from one side, it’s not quite ideal for quick access. As such, the outfit adds a separate laptop compartment with top access sized to hold computers up to 16 inches, which should be able to accommodate most modern laptops in the market, as well as a smaller soft-lined pocket for small tech devices (or sunglasses).
The Ekster Grid Backpack also comes with external storage for items you want to keep within easier reach. Specifically, they put in a series of compression straps that you can use to secure larger gear such as jackets, tripods, and tool rolls to the exterior of the bag, as well as an elastic side pocket sized to hold a water bottle and an RFID-proof side pocket. Around back, there’s also a pass through strap for securing the backpack to the telescoping handle on your luggage during travel. Yep, they’re looking to position this as an ideal travel backpack, too. Additionally, the outfit is offering a couple of accessories designed to work perfectly with the bag, namely a camera cube for your precious DSLR or mirrorless rig and a tech case for organizing your electronic devices.
Construction is 600D recycled ripstop fabric made up of rPET and tarpaulin, with waterproof zippers, so this is a heavily recycled backpack that can shrug off both water and rough handling. To ensure comfort, it boasts an air-mesh ventilated back panel, padded back support with a tested gradation pattern, padded shoulder straps, and a shoulder strap equalizer to help you balance the load. Other features include autolocking zippers, zinc alloy buckles, and a light ripstop lining.
The Ekster Grid Backpack is available now, priced at $195.