Mission Workshop Vandal Backpack Review

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There are backpacks and then there are BACKPACKS.  I love backpacks, always have.  I’m the ultimate Bag Lady in that I just love all kinds of bags.  I’m not “fashionista” in that I carry around a Coach bag with all the Cs all over it or a Louis Vuitton with the tapestry logo.  No. Seriously, I’m over that.  The older I get, the more practical I get.  Where other women have all kinds of designer handbags, I go for the laptop bags and backpacks.  But rather than the “showiness” aspect, I’m looking for one that can hold as much stuff as I feel necessary to haul about.

Backpacks are great for kids’ schoolbooks, lunchboxes and artwork.  I’ve always used them at work to schlep the kinds of things that a woman just has to have handy just in case. Cloth and reusable grocery bags are another necessary item for obvious reason so long story short; I gotta lotta bags.

The Vandal backpack by Mission Workshop changes most of that.  Essentially, this is a serious backpack.  I don’t have to carry anything except The Vandal to do anything and go anywhere. It’s also the best travel backpack I’ve seen yet. And it’s virtually indestructible.  Good luck trying to destroy it.  This pack is solidly made. It contains three weatherproof compartments, two accessory pockets on the outside, undo the outside waterproof zippers and the bag expands so that you can, seriously, carry anything and almost everything in it.

I’ve looked for a number of ways to test this pack.   I took it upstairs to my laundry room and waited until all of the family wash was clean, dried and folded and packed it into the pack and brought it downstairs.  I got four loads in before I started with the towels.     I also contacted the producers of CBS’ The Amazing Race reality show to ask what their contestants use in the race.  In this show eleven teams of two travel the world looking for clues and trying to finish each leg of the race in a favorable position.  All they are allowed to carry with them for the three to four weeks they are competing in this race is what they can carry in their backpacks.  They never know where they are going to go but must pack smart enough and comfortable enough to hit warm and cold weather countries. Plus toiletries et all.  I asked the producers for a list of what the contestants should or should not bring.   I was told that the contestants, outside of a strict list of “Can Not Bring” items like cell phones and cameras, could bring anything they wanted.  As long as it fit in the pack.

The Vandal backpack can and will fit enough stuff for 30 days on the go.  If you go to the farmer’s market, it will carry all of that, it will contain and carry bottles for recycling, it will carry books, newspapers, computers, and your favorite pillow.

At $239.00, you’re going to need a serious reason to purchase this besides carrying laundry down from upstairs.  If you’re a hiker, bicyclist, kayaker, camper, all around outdoors person, this backpack is the Gold Standard. Throw out what you have.  This is the backpack to use.  If you’re a college student traveling home or backpacking through Europe, if you are competing in a television reality show, if you’re competing in a triathlon, or if you want something that stows in an airplane overhead compartment or under the seat, this is your Go To bag.

See it in Action


Product Information

Manufacturer:Mission Workshop
  • Comfortable fit
  • Sturdy construction
  • Solid stitching
  • Deep pockets
  • Holds plenty of items and expands to hold more
  • Elastic strap stretches to fasten to secure large loads
  • Strong zippered pockets
  • No exterior pockets for easy access.
  • No exterior water bottle compartment

2 thoughts on “Mission Workshop Vandal Backpack Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. This is probably the best bike commuter backpack I have seen. However, your suggestion that it can replace any other backpack is ridiculous. No way would I ever suggest to anyone that they use this on a month-long European trek or even on an overnight backpacking trip in any outdoor terrain. Yes, it carries a ton and is great for daily cycling to work or around town, but the shoulder straps and back support are completely insufficient for hauling larger loads any serious distance. The fact that you suggest it for such uses tells me that you clearly have never been on a European trek or an overnight backpacking trip that demanded anything more than sneakers.

  3. Thanks for the review! Nice clear outline of all that the pack offers.
    A month trek, maybe not so much. But I can say that this is fine for overnight camping or even a few days. You just need to know how to pack minimally and efficiently. Too bad people always feel the need to be negative. =)

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