For the longest time, I have sought the holy grail. We all have a grail we chase. A small satisfaction in an insane world. A spot of order in a world very much out of it. For me, it is a proper bag. A place for all things that want carrying when afoot, on the commute on train or bus, or on short trips.
I define things that want carrying as things like fine steel water bottles, Bluetooth headphones, fountain pens, Moleskine cahiers, and a laptop. The occasional book. Bar shaped foods. All of the chargers and cords and batteries that propel modern gadgets in their myriad forms. A tablet to read when the book is not around. And lately, a Contax RX for maximum 90s SLR vibe together with a lens or two and of course, film itself.
A space to put on my back, in which order is preserved in a world rapidly descending in to chaos.
Enter my most recent foray seeking to bring order in to the world: the Brevite Rucksack.
“Who doesn’t love a rucksack?” I thought to myself as I ordered it. It was handsome, looked well put together, and wasn’t very expensive at all.
It was on back order. I plunked down the money anyway, and waited. It took about a month, but the bag showed up. And almost immediately, I was underwhelmed.
It was shipped in a plastic bag, but unlike many other times I have gotten something in one of those, it wasn’t torn open or crushed. It was well made. The pockets were reasonably well thought out and placed. The one on the top was perfectly sized for a pair of sunglasses, and lacked only a microfiber lining to prevent scratches. The pocket under the flap was described as perfect for passport or keys, but I kept more than that in it, using it for power supplies and cables. A pocket on the outside held several cahiers, pens, and the odd accessory.
The problem was the size. The rucksack is advertised at 22.5 liters of space. It seemed smaller than that. The modular insert could hold a SLR, spare lens, and a few rolls of film. The top compartment could be closed with a drawstring, but if you actually used the compartment, you really couldn’t use the drawstring. I realized that after putting a fleece in that compartment. And the mechanism of flipping down a divider between the upper compartment and the insert and zipping it in place was not very well thought out and aggravating.
The still image at the beginning of their video shows the pack, a TLR, a SLR, a digital camera of some sort, what appears to be batteries, a spare lens, a pair of boots, a cable knit sweater, and a hat. The only way you can carry all that at the same time is to wear the hat, sweater, and boots, then put the rest in the pack. It’s just too small.
When I wore it, if I cinched the shoulder straps down, the entire pack rode on my shoulder blades, and the waist strap went around my sternum. I looked like I had stolen the pack from a middle school kid. I took to tucking the waist strap out of the way and loosening the shoulder straps to let the bag hang at a more normal height. This made the chest strap unusable, since it mostly rode up on to my neck.
There are tons of Instagram shots of hiking with this bag. I am skeptical of this. It might do for a well traveled area or state park, but it just doesn’t have enough room for a backcountry outing. Especially if you carry cameras in the insert. It would be a challenge getting a weekend trip’s worth in to it as well.
All of which is too bad, really. Their customer service was excellent. Returning the bag was a breeze (my refund hasn’t cleared as of yet, though.) If they just made this bag bigger, it would be a solid contender.
In the mean time, the Quest for the Holy Grail continues. Que the Indiana Jones theme.
UPDATE: True to their word, Brevite gave me a no questions asked refund for this bag. Their customer service is flawless.