I’m a small person with big needs. Travelling often, working out of office almost everyday, and having a ton of commitments means that I often find myself packing my everyday bag to the brim.
That’s well and good, until I want to go to the gym – and then I have to deal with additional bags to fit the clothes, towels, toiletries and running shoes.
Everything changed with The Neweex Backpack – which, described in one word, would best be characterised as “cavernous”.
The Neweex Backpack is available a single (large) size at present with two colour options: Brown and Black. Both are great options at masking the grime that will inevitably accumulate over your daily adventures.
Within are two main compartments: a flatter one intended for gadgets, perfect for your laptop, tablet and accoutrements located closer to the straps; the second one a more roomy space that opens with a flap, capable of storing everything you need for a short day trip or gym session, with room to spare.
Proceeding outward, strap side-first, the gadget pouch begins with the laptop compartment, lined with that luxurious, furry material that’s on the best soft toys that are irresistible to stroke – but as a grown man, this is probably as close as I get. It fits laptops up to 15.6-inch in size, and is complete with two elastic bands to hold either corner snug, meaning that if you left your bag unzipped and precariously perched on a high place, the laptop stays relatively safe.
The compartments all unzip with robust YKK zippers (including the packing cubes); the main compartment seals with a rubberised water resistant YKK zipper.
Next is the tablet compartment, that could probably do with the same lining, since tablets usually have an outward-facing glass surface that owners tend to want to avoid scratching. In any case, it’s the same width as the laptop compartment, which means it fits almost all tablet sizes.
Next, are three phone-sized compartments that could as easily fit similarly-sized items like card cases. To its side is two slots for pens, and then a small zippered compartment ideal for change and the like.
Right at the bottom is a 2.1A, 5W USB-A cable for you to attach a power bank – this connects to a USB-A port on the outside of the bag that we will touch on more in-depth down below.
The two halves of the compartment can be opened 180° by unbuttoning two supports on either side to allow deep access within.
On the other half are two medium sized pouches. Positioned high in the bag, they are ideal for containing items that require quick access. I keep my card case, RFID gate access card and lanyard, along with my everyday carry camera: the venerable Ricoh GRII. All these neatly fit into the compartments with room to spare.
Below that is another large zippered pouch that can be ideal for cables and other flat items.
Where the gadget compartment is the compact, intermeshing dense engine compartment of the Neweex Backpack, the storage compartment is its roomy, cavernous trunk.
There’s plenty of room to fit a change of clothes or two, along with toiletries, a pair of shoes, and still accommodate a bottle poncho and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Perfect for a day trip, the real benefit of the storage compartment can only be realised with the two packing cubes that come with the bag.
They’re different: one’s a regular, empty cube, but the other is purpose-built for toiletries – complete with door hook easy-access for poorly designed toilets in the airport, office or gym. I’ve personally got this packed with a dedicated set of gels, creams and ointments – ready for any last minute junkets I get summoned on.
The other cube is perfect for your repertoire of chargers and memory drives and sticks.
These cubes make it trivial to pack for short trips – all while keeping limited space impeccably organised and not at all an eyesore for that dreadful moment you have to access your storage compartment under public scrutiny.
There’s then a smattering of pouches around the bag. Right in front on the top is a glasses pouch lined with the same luxurious soft material as that in the laptop pouch – perfect for your shades or glasses. I’m permanently bespectacled, and don’t use shades, but the pouch helpfully doubles as a quick-access point for my non-valuable items. I put my coins and name cards there, but am honestly considering dropping serious dough on a pair of prescription shades to make the most out of this bag. I believe this is what they refer to as occupational hazards.
On either side of the bag are smaller pouches – one with a lanyard for keys, and the other with a cable and combination lock should you choose to leave your bag unattended for brief periods of time. The key attachment is located on the right (literally) side of the bag – perfect for right-shoulder slingers.
On the opposite side, the security cable, like the key hook, attaches directly to the bag. The idea is to loop the cable around a sturdy handle or hole, and then lock the looped end to both zippers on the gadget compartment with the provided combination lock.
Even with a decent hardened lock, this is at best a temporary solution to the security of your personal belongings. I wouldn’t, under any circumstance, leave my bag unattended, even while locked, especially while travelling. This solution, however, is perfect if you have to sleep in the airport or train station, or pop in for a shower at a venue without lockers.
The last pouch resides safely behind your kidneys, perfectly sized for passports, tickets and boarding passes. It’s pretty well hidden, too, and would-be thieves wouldn’t think to look there, at least not at first.
There’s a pouch on the underside of the bag, but it is intended to be filled with a rain cover. That being said, the bag itself is made from a water-resistant material, and the YKK zips are water-repellent with rubberized material extending to the intermesh.
The last pouch resides on the right strap. It’s rather small, and can at best contain a few credit-card sized items – like credit cards, for example, or transit cards. For reference, the small Airpods case couldn’t fit, and I wouldn’t risk ruining my cabled earphones since the pouch is rather flat and constricting.
On the other strap reside two unique features. Near the breast is an array of suction cups overlaid with a single elastic band – intended for depositing your smartphone in a pinch. That’s an incredible solution especially for ladies in pocket-less garb or people wanting to avoid awkward protruding pockets at all cost.
Near its attachment point at the bottom of the left strap is the USB-A female output we left off from up above. This means you can choose to plug in a device when you choose to, or leave your bag cable dangle-free when you choose not to.
The Neweex Backpack also stows securely on your suitcase, with a thoughtful gap between the orthopaedic back pads and the bag itself allowing the handle to pass through.
It’s comfortable, and I’ve carried a full load for weeks now with no complaints whatsoever. Physiologically, I’m a basket case. I’ve got a tiny frame despite my 1.7m (5″7) stature.
The S-shaped shoulder straps mean that I no longer have to struggle with straps slipping off my narrow shoulders, and also obliviates the need for unsightly and unwieldy shoulder straps. It helps that the shoulder straps themselves are made of a soft material that Neweex claims are intended to minimise abrasion and wear and tear on your clothing.
With a bag of this size, it is very important to be easily carried by hand. In crowded public transport, or whilst transiting between spaces, we often have to move our bags by hand for significant periods of time. The Neweex Backpack offers a very comfortable carrying handle on its top side, although I would have preferred it closer to the middle of the bag instead of being between the straps.
Carrying it as above, the shoulder straps naturally extend outwards, interfering with my gait slightly. Then again, this design choice might have something to do with waterproofing the storage compartment, but I might be wrong.
In any case, Neweex does provide a much more comfortable solution to hand-carrying your bag – a wide, sturdy, retractable handle on the left side of the backpack. It’s the perfect solution, and I almost look forward to heading out of the office, bag in hand, at the end of every day. I’m still not sure if it’s the handle or the beckoning scent of dinner, but I’m happy remaining agnostic.
I might prefer if Neweex gave a way to tame the shoulder straps in this configuration, but it really isn’t an issue since it’s a backpack, not a duffel, after all.
I’m a stringent stickler to utilitarian principles. A litany of design principles in hand, I approached the Neweex Backpack with close scrutiny and healthy scepticism.
Through a battery of tests, observations and a daily relationship with the bag, I emerge convinced that The Neweex Backpack is the best large tech backpack you probably can get your hands on today.
The Neweex Backpack has dropped on Kickstarter at a Super Early Bird deal, coming in at USD 149 for the Neweex Backpack, the two packing cubes and laptop case and will be limited to 100 pieces.
The Early Bird Deal gets you the Neweex Backpack and two packing cubes at USD 129, and is limited to 150 pieces.
Thereafter, but for a limited time on Kickstarter, the Neweex Backpack and cubes will come in at USD 159, and at USD 199 with an added laptop case. For retailers, three sets of the Backpack and cubes come in at USD 567.
After the Kickstarter campaign, the Neweex Backpack and pouches would likely cost around USD 199, and the laptop case at USD 69.
The Neweex Backpack and Laptop Case comes in Black and Brown.