Bag Week: Chrome Soyuz weather-proof laptop backpack

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soyuz1Short Version: It costs a bundle, but the Soyuz is a fantastic backpack. Weather-proof, comfortable, roomy, and understated, it’s the best backpack I’ve used for years.

Features:

  • Truck tarp waterproof lining
  • Velcro-fastened rolltop
  • Padded back area
  • Fits up to a 15″ laptop (or two)
  • MSRP: $180

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Roomy
  • Bulletproof (not literally, but you get what I’m saying)

Cons:

  • Pretty freaking expensive
  • Cargo compartment not the best for organizing things
  • Possibly too hardcore for many

Full Review:

Rolltop bags are extremely common here in Seattle, where lots of people emulate bike messengers, wearing tiny hats and riding fixed-gear bikes in the rain. Rolltops are part of that deal, but I’ve always liked them because the standard crescent zipper style seems very grade-school — and it’s always the part that wears out. And this particular backpack combines the best of the zipper styles with the best (and the unavoidable issues) of rolltops.

Here’s a video tour/review so you can get a feel for it:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8264432&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

That pretty much sums it up. It’s got a ton of room, it’s admirably waterproofed, and it’s comfortable to wear. I took it on a few rides and walks around town and it seemed well-balanced, well-padded, and although I thought it would seem bulky, it really feels quite compact on your back. It’s really excellent.

Soyuzv4_BlackRed_Enlarge_3I only had one issue with it that wasn’t a matter of taste. The velcro on the front flap doesn’t always align up right; I don’t know why they didn’t go with longer strips like they did on the Buran, which closed like a charm every time.

The matter of taste is this: basically, the Soyuz isn’t an everyday backpack for a lot of people. The cargo compartment is big but you can’t count on anything staying organized in there, and it also squishes pretty good against your back (I found out the hard way with some bananas). There’s also no water bottle compartment and fewer pockets than are found on your average Eddie Bauer backpack. I don’t say these are bad things, but they are things you should be aware of. It’s not a high school backpack, it’s pretty much a Seattle-blogger-with-a-bike backpack. Which explains why I like it so much.

I guess the price might be considered an issue. $180 is a lot of money for a bag not filled with precious gems, but this is a 10-year backpack, you know what I mean? It’s got a lifetime warranty and it’s built to withstand a lot of abuse (though abuse isn’t covered by said warranty). At any rate, the Soyuz is my new go-to backpack whether I’m just biking down to the coffee shop or going on a weekend trip somewhere.

Product Page

Matt here. I also have been using this backpack around town the last few weeks but in a different capacity then hipster Devin. Where he bikes and walks around Seattle, I drive around my mid-Michigan town. The only walking I do is to the gas station around the corner to buy my daily Mountain Dew. This is not a backpack for me.

Sure, the Soyuz is comfy to wear properly, but it’s also somewhat awkward to wear on only one shoulder as I would casually. I can totally see it being a great weatherproof biking backpack though. I, however, only ride my bike in the summer to the playground with my family and wifey would divorce me if I brought along a laptop.

But I still love the bag. The dry sack storage and slim design are sweet, but it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle.

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