Starting from humble beginnings, DSPTCH launched their first product, a camera strap, right from their apartment. They later grew their product lineup to include accessories, cases, and bags, with three principles that they follow: designing products for a lifetime, creating fewer but better goods, and durability, with functionality following closely behind. After reviewing the DSPTCH Daypack for the past three weeks, I can comfortably say that it follows those core principles.
Who It Suits
DSPTCH knows their target audience well, and they effectively created a product that aligns with that demographic. This pack suits commuters, whether you’re traversing through the urban sprawl, or cruising through the suburbs. It fits in nicely in the office with its understated and utilitarian design, but it’s also built to withstand intense use. This bag would also make an excellent pack to throw under an airplane seat, and it has a luggage passthrough strap which may come in handy.
Who It Doesn’t
This backpack may not be for you if your office requires business formal or business professional attire. Further, if you’re looking for a bag to accompany you for the weekend, you may want to look elsewhere. I’d say that it would be comfortable for an overnight stay at most; anything more may require significant compromises. Also, although having water-resistant coatings on the exterior fabric and lining, it doesn’t seem like that coating is on the zippers. It’s been good for some short walks through the rain, but I wouldn’t trust it if there’s a downpour or if you’ll be walking in the rain for a while.
Dimensions: 10″ x 18″ x 8″
Hardware/Materials: YKK zippers, 1680D ballistic nylon w/ DWR coating, 410D nylon packcloth with DWR coating
When I first received this bag, I was happy with the form factor. The pack feels slim and compact. It has a very clean yet boxy silhouette, with a utilitarian and understated aesthetic to it. The ballistic nylon makes the bag feel dense and rugged, and I like the choice in lining as well. Not only is it a light gray to improve visibility, but it feels very durable. Lining is an often overlooked part of bags and DSPTCH knocked it out of the park here.
The zippers on this pack are phenomenal. They glide easily and the size they chose feels perfect. They also use these nice zipper pulls that are easy to grab and have a contour to them that makes them comfortable to hold.
One thing I noticed is that the front vertical zipper doesn’t close all the way, so there’s a tiny little hole there. Other than the possibility of water getting inside, this doesn’t really cause much of an issue besides it not looking perfect. I would like to see some sort of hood for the zipper to rest in at the top, making it look a bit nicer when closed and potentially protecting it from water, but that’s just a slight nitpick.
The laptop compartment perfectly fits my 16” MacBook; however, I do have to be careful to not let the zippers scratch it since the fit is so tight. The laptop easily slides in and out and it’s suspended. DSPTCH killed it here.
The front vertical pocket is good but falls prey to common issues that vertical pockets tend to have, such as being hard to access. The zippered mesh compartment is a little tough to get into, so I wouldn’t put anything that you need to get to quickly in there. They also have some elastic webbing that I believe is meant for cables; however, I do wish the elastic webbing in the front pocket had another loop further back to better secure pens.
The handle is minimal but killer. At its core, it’s just a piece of webbing that’s been folded over itself. If that was it, I would be really disappointed, but what makes it good is that it has Hypalon stitched onto it that gives the handle some structure and grip. I’d imagine it may not be comfortable to hold onto for long, but that’s not what it’s designed for. If you just need to grab your bag quickly, or briefly move from one place to another, then this handle is solid.
The water bottle pockets are good too. They don’t get in the way when not in use due to some elastic mesh that keeps the pockets slim when you don’t have stuff in them. However, I do wish that they were a little lower towards the bottom of the bag. When you have a water bottle or umbrella in the pocket, it can obstruct the zippers for the main compartment.
Speaking of, the compression straps also get in the way of the zippers as well. Now, you can unclip one end of the straps, but then it would be left dangling. Since this bag isn’t too large, I don’t really think the compression straps are necessary; so I could do without them. Perhaps something DSPTCH can do with a future iteration is to make them fully detachable or have a way to anchor them down when you unhook one end.
My primary, maybe only, pain point of this bag is the straps. The straps themselves aren’t the problem. They’re wide and comfortable, maybe a bit stiff for some, but for me it feels solid. The issue is with how they’re attached. DSPTCH made this pack so that the straps can be taken off, so they’re connected via a plastic clip. This clip is somewhat small and it can twist when you’re throwing the bag on your back. Then you have to spend a few seconds figuring out which way to twist the straps so that they’re sitting on your shoulders properly.
This is strange because the bag doesn’t seem to be suited for use without the straps since there’s no handle on the side. I think a better solution would be to make only the bottom end of the straps detach and then maybe include a sleeve on the back panel for you to tuck the straps in. Another issue with the straps is that the webbing on the strap is sewn a few inches below the top end. So when you put the bag on your shoulder, sometimes the strap folds into itself.
This pack has a few cool features like a suspended laptop compartment, a tablet sleeve, water bottle pockets on the inside and the outside, removable shoulder straps, a luggage passthrough, and elastic cord management in the vertical pocket. If you need it there are also the aforementioned compression straps. At the bottom of the bag there are more straps that may be good for a jacket, yoga mat, or in my case, a tripod.
The pack is extremely durable with its ballistic nylon shell and 410D nylon packcloth lining. The stitching is great and in my three weeks of constant testing, I’ve had no concerns about it coming undone. Despite some of my gripes, once you do get this pack on properly, it feels quite comfortable with the rigid frame sheet and the wide straps. It handled the Floridian downpours well, but I just wouldn’t leave the zippers exposed to rain, so if you have an umbrella you should be good.
Access can be a little tight here. Despite being ever so slightly larger than the GR1 21L, it feels like it carries like a slimmer bag, so I’ve had to change up the way I fit stuff into my pack. Perhaps the vertical front pocket may be a problem for some because of the aforementioned access issues.
Modern and understated aesthetic
Amazingly smooth zippers
Stellar laptop compartment
Slim form factor
The Not So Good
Straps can twist and fold when shouldering the bag
Access can be tight at times
Main compartment zippers can get obstructed
Vertical pocket can be hard to use
I’d had my eye on the DSPTCH Daypack for a while before I finally got my hands on it for this review. What really attracted me to the pack is the look and the simplicity. It didn’t disappoint there. I think that in the long term, what will bother most people are the small things like the straps twisting and folding and the tight access. However, I very well may have overpacked this bag since I expected the 22L capacity to feel the same as my GORUCK GR1 21L. I think it’s important to acknowledge that even though a pack may be larger or smaller in capacity, the form factor and access can greatly influence how the pack feels regardless of what’s on paper.
This article was written by Jeffrey McDuffie. Bag geek, everyday carry enthusiast, and connoisseur of video games.
Space & Access- 6
Look & Feel- 9
Build, Materials, & Hardware- 8
Warranty & Support- 9
Brand Experience- 7
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