As you might know already I like to carry a decent size edc backpack with me to work to keep all my tier 2 gear in. Picking the right backpack for that task sounds easier then I found it to be. After a lot of looking around and trying out I happened upon the U145 Urban Tablet Backpack. Now, seven months of hard daily use later it has become my trusted urban everyday carry bag for the urban office environment I live in. During these seven months I got to use and experience it enough to write a good, honest review on it.
In this review I’ll go over the U145 and tell you why I think it’s a great urban everyday carry backpack. Along the way I’ll also tell you what to look for in an urban edc backpack so you understand why I think this one fits the bill.
Pelican – the company
First of, just in case you’re not familiar with Pelican as a brand or company: They’re known for making incredibly strong and durable cases for all kinds of different gear, which are used in most demanding markets. You’ll find their products in use with firefighters, police, defense/military, aerospace, entertainment, industrial and consumers. That last group, we the consumer profit quite a bit from their years of experience in building high quality products that are designed to last a long, long time.
And I can tell you right now, ‘build to last a life time’ is not just a slogan of theirs. Their stuff rocks. You’ll immediately notice the high quality materials Pelican uses in their products. It’s strong, durable and looks good. It even feels nice to the touch, which isn’t always the case with rugged gear.
Top things to consider with an urban everyday carry backpack
There are all kinds of things to consider when picking the right backpack. First and foremost the issue of safety comes to mind, especially when you’ll be carrying valuable things like a laptop, tablet or your near person survival gear. But don’t forget looks and size either. Does it comfortably hold the stuff you’d like to carry? Will you stand out in a crowd, or will you blend in? Will it last a long time, or will it crap out on you after three weeks of hard use? Questions in need of an answer before you can trust your life, and I mean that quite literally, to a backpack. Lets get to it.
Tablets and laptops are prone to damage due to rough handling. It won’t be the first time that someone damages their iPad because they carried it in an unhardened bag or case. Laptops and iPads can take some abuse, but there is a limit. When you bump your bag or case into the corner of a table, or another pointy hard surface, the force of the impact is concentrated on a single small area. When all that stands in between that force and your iPad or laptop is nothing more more then a little fabric the impact will shatter the glass of a tablet and even break a laptop case.
The U145 Urban Tablet Backpack provides protection against exactly those types of accidents. The front pocket sports an impact protected velvety, cushioned sleeve for an iPad or 10″ tablet. A durable and hard polypropylene plate covers the front and absorbs most day to day impact abuse. When you scroll back to the top of this article you can see the scratch marks on my own backpack, no damage was done to my tablet.
The entire back is also hardened with a light weight yet strong plate to protect the laptop that sits in the rear sleeve in the main compartment. An extra cushioning protection is provided by the mesh back for when you lay the pack on it’s back.
The pack itself is made of very durable water resistant, PU Backed, 1000 Denier Kodra nylon. PU backed means that it has a coating applied to a single side of the base fabric, this makes the fabric water resistant, light weight and flexible.
Space / dimensions
I myself am never really helped when I read the dimensions of something. I need to be able to compare it to something else that I know already to get a feel of the size. That is the main reason why I made the article image at the top what it is.
You can clearly see the minimum amount of stuff that I carry with me every day. On a rainy day I might add a small umbrella and almost every day I take my lunch with me which takes up some space as well.
When I put everything you see in the image back into the pack it all fits comfortably. To give you an idea, when I put my laptop inside, the main compartment can easily hold five Eagle Creek Quarter Cubes (the green, half meshed pack in the lower left corner) stacked on top of one-another. Three stacked horizontally, like the green one lies there now, and two stacked vertically next to that. Stuffed to the brim these cubes are 2.4 inches, or 6 centimeters, thick. That leaves enough space to fit an extra regular A4 sized notebook, two magazines or a newspaper in there as well. So plenty of space for a good urban everyday carry backpack.
For the survivalists among us, I use these cubes as sub compartments. The green one holds my tech stuff. I got a blue one for personal hygiene items, a black one for small tools and a slightly smaller sized grey one (different brand) with a great fire kit in it. I’m thinking of adding a fifth cube with nothing but energy bars in there. I figure that one cube can pack enough calories for two days. Using cubes as sub compartments you can easily build your everyday carry backpack in a matter of minutes. Just choose what cubes you’ll need for that day and of you go.
Add to that the option to not take an iPad or tablet with you. That frees up more than enough space to take a survival knife with you. The position of the sleeve makes it a quick and easy to access place for your knife. It’s not quick draw of course, but when that becomes a requirement you’re best of wearing it on your hip anyway.
To the right you see from top to bottom the Coldsteel SRK (Survival Rescue Knife), Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife and the Bear Grylls Paracord Fixed Blade Knife. All three are viable options as an EDC survival knife.
Yes. Looks are important, and not just to the fashion minded. Considering that you’re looking for an urban everyday carry backpack you’ll most likely be at least somewhat like me. Someone that traverses the subway, crowded sidewalks, busy market places and yes, office high rises. On top of that I work a white collar job in an downtown office environment where they frown upon survivalists, are scared of knives and mock people in camouflage clothing.
So again, looks are important. What you don’t want is to unnecessarily alarm your dear colleagues to the fact that your backpack holds a heck of a lot more than a laptop and a thirty-five dollar stainless steel Starbucks coffee tumbler. In other words, forget OD green, foliage green, khaki, digital camouflage or any other tacticool patterns that stimulate the imagination. Next to not alerting your colleagues it’d be equally wise not to alert the ever present guild of muggers and thieves. Go grey man and stick to black, dark blue or gray toned fabrics befitting the white collar attire and blend in, everywhere.
A backpack that doesn’t stand out is likely not to attract unwanted attention. Not now in daily live when commuting or at work, and not in the future when everyone is frantically trying to survive a major disaster.
The U145 Urban Tablet Backpack provides that level of grey man inconspicuousness.
Specs of the U145 Urban Tablet Backpack
- Impact protected sleeve for the iPad® and tablets
- Lightweight design
- Balanced rugged grab handle
- Concealed water bottle pocket
- Ergonomic design with ventilated mesh back
- Durable, water resistant material
- Exterior Dimensions: 19.50″ x 13.60″ x 11.50″ (49.5 x 34.5 x 29.2 cm)
- Protected sleeve Interior Dimensions: 10.50″ x 7.50″ x 1.50″ (26.7 x 19 x 3.8 cm)
- Weight: 6.84 lbs. (3.1 kg)
- Bag Volume: 18L
- Case Material: ABS
- Fabric: 1000 Denier Kodra Nylon, PU Backed
- Front Plate Material: Polypropylene
I guess that by now you get why I rank this backpack as a great choice when it comes to picking an urban everyday carry backpack. And I haven’t even mentioned the subtle molle webbing on the side, the concealed water bottle pocket and the rugged grab handle yet!
All kidding aside. This pack does a superb job in the role of EDC backpack. It holds a lot of stuff, the nicely padded wide shoulder straps make that your shoulders won’t hurt after a day of strolling an exhibition floor and you have the added comfort of knowing you are prepared for whenever things go bad. What more do you want?
That’s all for now, thanks for reading this far. I hope I gave you at least one bit of handy information as a take away. I’d love to hear what your ideas and experiences are, either with the U145 Urban Tablet Backpack or any other pack, so please leave your comments below and share your thoughts.
Till next time, Kain.