Able Carry Daily Backpack 20L X-Pac and accessories review

REVIEW – Bags and packs have become staples in our EDC (Everyday Carry) gear, and although I have a handful of favorites, I’m always on the lookout to try out a new one.  Able Carry has some great-looking backpacks and accessories in their product offering, so I was very interested to give them a hands-on evaluation.  I was provided with the Able Carry Daily Backpack 20L in X-Pac Deep Black color.  Let’s check it out!

What is it?

The Able Carry Daily Backpack 20L in X-Pac Deep Black is a day pack-sized backpack made from durable materials that is loaded with features including several internal and external pockets for organization.

What’s in the box?

The Able Carry Daily Backpack 20L in X-Pac Deep Black arrived in a grey cloth drawstring pouch with a subdued Able Carry logo on the front.  I thought this was a classy touch and also helps protect the products contained within it.

As shown above, Able Carry included the following products for review. Note that each are sold separately.

  • Able Carry Daily Backpack 20L in X-Pac Deep Black in drawstring shipping/storage pouch
  • Rain Cover for the Daily Backpack
  • Stash Pouch in X-Pac Black
  • Joey Pouch in X-Pack Black

Hardware specs

The items in this review are available in the following fabric:

  • Daily Backpack is available in either X-Pac or Cordura 1000D nylon depending on the color
  • Rain Cover is available in waterproof nylon
  • Stash Pouch is available in X-Pack
  • Joey Pouch is available in either X-Pac and Cordura nylon depending on the color

Further specs:

  • Weight: 2.1lb (0.9kg)
  • Height: 48cm (19in)
  • Width: 28cm (11in)
  • Depth: 19cm (7.5in)
  • Capacity: 21L

Design and features

My first impression of the Able Carry Daily Backpack was that it both looked and felt to made of high-quality materials and durable construction.  I’ve owned and reviewed quite a few backpacks in my time, and this one was impressive right out of its drawstring shipping/storage pouch.

The Daily Backpack has a simple, minimalist appearance in general, but in particular when viewing it from the front.  In fact, it only has one exterior vertical zipper pouch which is not fully visible from the front.  It also has a relatively long, narrow shape.  Its shoulder strap also has a fairly minimalist look as well, with few straps or webbing to clutter its appearance.

The Daily Backpack also has a fairly boxy shape in its side view, although again, not overly so.  Its main compartment’s nearly fully wrap-around zipper can be seen in the images above, as well as its webbing straps near top and bottom of the pack.

The Daily Pack is available in two fabrics: 1000D Cordura nylon or X-pac material (reviewed here in Deep Black color), both of which include a layer of Dynamic Water Repellant (DWR) coating.  Certain colors are available in certain fabrics.  The image above shows the X-pac fabric’s subdued geometric pattern.

The Daily Backpack’s back five pads with channels between them to allow airflow, which helps keep your back at least somewhat cooler and therefore helps cut down on the nearly-inevitable sweat build-up when wearing a pack for any length of time.

The pads have dual density foam and when the Daily Pack is loaded with heavier items, the pads help the pack feel comfortable against your back.  Able Carry refers to these as “Ventred Airmesh” andl when paired with the channels between the pads, further aids in sweat reduction.

The wide, dual-density foam shoulder straps have a built-in sternum strap with a side-release buckle.  The sternum strap’s location can be adjusted up or down to the wearer’s liking and its attachment points are hidden behind strips of material to help maintain the Daily Pack’s sleek and minimalist aesthetic.

The sternum strap is made from heavy-duty webbing with a strip of elastic on the left side that expands slightly for a more comfortable fit.

The two halves of the sternum strap can also be tucked away when not in use.  This is a feature that I’ve not seen on other packs.  I like the idea of it, but in practice, it is a bit lacking as the straps seem to find their way out of their vertically-oriented pockets fairly easily.

The Daily Pack’s shoulder straps are wide and thickly padded, which helps distribute the pack’s load and makes them very comfortable.  The right shoulder strap has a single strip of extremely durable Hypalon material that has the Able Carry logo imprinted on it.  This strap is not only a very subtle product logo, but it can also be used as an attachment point for carabiners or other small accessories for quick access.

The bottom of the shoulder straps is the same heavy-duty webbing as used in the sternum strap.  Able Carry has also included a small band of elastic to help keep the free ends of the webbing from flapping around while wearing the pack.

The Daily Pack’s top carry handle is also made from a tube of heavy-duty webbing.

The very top portion of the top carry handle’s webbing has some light padding inside.

This top carry handle’s webbing material combined with its light padding helps make this one of the most comfortable top carry handles I’ve ever used.  It just feels good in your hand.

The top carry handle’s webbing is a single, long piece that extends partially down the top sides of the pack which provides a few points for connecting carabiners or other accessories.

 

There are no bottle holders on either side of the Daily Carry pack.  Instead, Able Carry has opted to place their webbing in two different configurations that also allow attachment of carabiners or other accessories to the lower sides of the pack.

The left lower side webbing has another small strip of Hypalon with a subtle Able Carry logo imprinted on it.  I particularly like when companies include their logo on the exterior of their products, but do so in a way that is subtle and does scream “HERE IS OUR BRAND!!”

Able Carry extends the utility of the Daily Pack all the way down to its underside by including another single, long webbing strap on the pack’s bottom.  This webbing strap that wraps up and onto the lower from of the pack is part of what Able Carry calls the “A-Frame,” which helps the Daily Pack keep its shape whether fully loaded or unloaded.  I like the way that Able Carry has incorporated the various strips of webbing into the Daily Pack, doing so in a way that does not turn the appearance of the pack into a monstrosity of webbing but still giving the wearer lots of options for attaching items to the pack’s exterior.

The back of the Daily Pack also includes a “secret” Top Quick Access Pocket.  This zippered pocket is meant to be somewhat concealed while the pack is worn, I presume to aid in theft prevention.

This pocket is quite deep and is therefore actually able to hold fairly largish items.

The final pocket on the exterior of the Daily Pack is its vertically-oriented Front Pocket that runs nearly the full length of the front of the pack.  This pocket is quite large and therefore quite handy for holding all manner of items to which the wearer may want to have quick access without having to dig into the main compartment of the pack.  This front pocket also has a key leash hook at its inside top that can be used to secure keys or other items.

Every exterior zipper on the Daily Pack is all of the type that includes a coating that provides some weather protection to the pack’s contents.  All zipper pulls are also similar to the above, made from a loop super durable Hypalon material as the two points with the Able Carry logo described further above.   The zipper pulls vary in length depending on where they are located.

The interior of the Daily Pack is equally as minimalistic yet functional as its exterior.  Unzipping the large main compartment reveals multiple sizes and types of organizational pockets.

Starting with the back top of the interior of the pack, there is another subtle strip of Hypalon with the Able Carry logo that is attached to a Velcro flap.  This flap conceals the access slot to a foam insert.  This foam insert gives some additional stiffness and rigidity to the Daily Pack, which both helps it keep its shape and also helps distribute the load the pack is carrying.

The inside front flap of the Daily Pack contains two pockets.

The pockets on the inside front flap of the main compartment include the long, narrower Open Lining pocket with an open top that is quite deep and best suited for longer, narrow items.  Next to this pocket is a Zippered Lining pocket that is quite large and can hold all sorts of items.

The back inside of the pack, beneath the foam insert’s hidden access slot, is a lightly padded laptop sleeve sized to suitable for thinner laptops up to about 15″ and including the 16″ MacBook Pro.  This is a “floating” pocket design, which keeps it elevated off the bottom of the pack for additional protection from drops.  The front of the laptop pocket has a Mesh Zippered Pocket that can hold large, thin items.  There are also two narrow, long pockets on either side of the laptop pocket.

The main compartment is quite large and actually seems to be able to have more capacity than a 20L pack.

Able Carry also included a separately-sold Rain Cover for the Daily Pack.  The Rain Cover compresses down into a built-in storage pouch and is a bit large than a fist once stuffed into the pouch.

The Rain Cover is made from a single piece of lightweight nylon material with a drain hole grommet at the bottom.

The Rain Cover fits perfectly over the Daily Pack thanks to the elastic running around its edge, which allows it to grip the pack securely.  Able Carry notes that although this X-pac material has inherent water resistance which is enhanced by the DWR coating, this material is not waterproof and they recommend a Rain Cover to further enhance water resistance.

Able Carry also included a Joey Pouch, which is another item that is sold separately from the Daily pack.

The Joey Pouch is a small pouch made from X-pac fabric that is roughly the size of a wallet (and in fact could be used for this purpose).

The Joey Pouch’s main zippered compartment has both a divider as well as a loop for attaching items.

The rear of the Joey Pouch has a diagonally-oriented card pocket with a Velcro closure and a pull tab.  In the photo above you can also see the diamond pattern in the X-pac material.

The Joey Pouch has a Hypalon exterior strap with a subtle Able carry logo printed on it, allowing it to be attached to other objects like the exterior webbing straps of the Daily Pack.

And finally, Able Carry also included their Stash Pouch, which is also sold separately from the Daily Pack.

The Stach Pouch is roughly the size of a small Dopp kit or toiletries pouch.  Like the Daily Pack, the Stash Pouch is available in either X-pac fabric (shown here) or Cordura nylon, depending on the color.

The Stach Pouch has a slip profile with a roughly triangular cross-section, giving it a flat, fairly stable base and allowing it to generally stand on its own.

The Stash Pouch’s zipper opens into a single cavity inside which can be used to hold all manner of accessories, gadgets, toiletries, or other help organize other small items.

For my field test with the Daily Pack. the Stash Pouch, and the Joey Pouch, I loaded them up with all of the EDC items that I typically carried to the office every day prior to mid-March, 2020.

All of the items shown above fit into the Able Carry Daily Pack, and I was surprised to find there was room to spare.

My laptop, a 13″ Lenovo X420, fit OK in the laptop pocket, but because my laptop has a bulbous, protruding extended battery, it did fit a bit strangely.

It’s somewhat difficult to see in the image above, but there is room to spare in both the Daily Pack’s main compartment as well as in several of its organization features.

The external vertical pouch turned out to be super handy for items that I wanted to keep…well, handy.

Both the Daily Carry’s shoulder straps and sternum strap were easy to adjust and both were quite comfortable even with the pack fully loaded with the above items.

While the Daily Pack officially has a 20L capacity, it seems to hold cargo more like a 25L pack and in fact, it seems to be a 25L pack while I’m wearing it (keep in mind I am 5′ 8″ and about 160 lbs).

One last point about the Able Carry Daily Pack is related to its X-Pac fabric with DWR coating.  It’s a bit of a dog hair magnet.  We have two pugs in our home whose shedding fur seems to attach itself to just above every fabric, and the Daily Pack with its X-pac and DWR coating is no exception.  It also seems to pick up dust fairly quickly as well.  These are just a few things to keep in mind and in my opinion, do not significantly detract from Daily Pack.

What I like

  • Sleek, minimalist styling
  • High-quality, durable materials, and meticulous construction
  • Useful though not overdone organization features
  • Comfortable even when fully loaded.

What I’d change

  • Nothing.  It’s an excellent pack on its own merits.

Final thoughts

I was highly impressed with the Able Carry Daily Pack in X-pac fabric.  It looks sleek and minimalist, it is made from high-quality materials such as X-Pac and Hypalon, it contains several useful organizational features both inside and out, and is very comfortable even when fully loaded.  Its A-Frame design that helps it keep its shape when loaded or unloaded is clever and effective, and its “secret” Top Quick Access Pocket and its long Front Pocket are great for keeping items handy.  If you are in the market for a day pack, commuter/office pack, or even a pack for short hikes, the Able Carry Daily Pack is worth a look, especially at its price tag of $148 for the X-Pac version, which is a very reasonable price for a backpack of this level of quality, comfort, and thoughtful design.

Price: The Able Carry Daily Backpack is available in Cordura 1000D Nylon fabric for $110 and X-Pac fabric (reviewed here) for $148.  Additionally, the Rain Cover is $20, the Stash Pouch is $20, and the Joey Pouch is $18.
Where to buy: Ablecarry.com
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Ablecarry.com.

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