On my first pass, Able Carry’s newly-released 30L Max Backpack looks highly capable for anyone exploring the steadily reopening world. XPAC fabric and 1000D nylon anchor the rugged build. Inside, a high level of organization and a spacious 17-inch tech compartment deliver practicality.
Initial impressions of the test unit have been convincing. The sleek exterior has overlapped seams and rip-stop gridded panels. Able Carry fits each pocket with a zipper chosen for that pocket’s intended purpose; they all operated well on our initial look. And the top and side carry handles are substantial and heavily sewn.
Here’s what I think of the Able Carry Max Backpack so far; full tested results to follow after the review period.
Able Carry Max Backpack Materials
The first thing that stood out about the Max Backpack was its sturdy build. The XPAC VX rip-stop material seemed elite in terms of handling abrasion. The zippers were highly promising; the zipper to the main compartment seemed durable in both function and attachment. The tech compartment zipper is waterproof.
Plenty of attachment points at the corners and on the shoulder straps help users modularly equip the pack. A chest belt attaches with a metallic clip that was effortless to operate once I got the hang of it. And there’s plenty of excess strap for bigger folks. There’s even a loop in the air channel on the back, which can be used as a luggage handle pass-through or another way to pick the pack up.
If I could change one thing about the pack, I would want a hip belt. The Max Backpack doesn’t have one, but users could potentially attach their own with the webbing loop in the air channel. The hanging loop is sturdily built, but a little small. And while it could be semi-helpful that the tech pocket unzips three-quarters of the way down on one side, the uneven arrangement makes it a little awkward to dig into.
Organization Potential in Review
Even in light of its impressive build, the Max Backpack’s best quality may be its organizational capacity. Each pocket is carefully laid out with various stretch and zipper pouches.
I’m encouraged by the evident quality of the various elastic pockets. Like the rest of the pack, they do not feel cheaply built. They should keep their elasticity for the long haul.
Other options include a key clip inside the front pocket, a zippered laptop sleeve, and a couple of zippered pockets inside the main compartment. The bottle pocket on the side has an ingenious design that makes it flush with the rest of the pack. Instead of your water bottle jostling around outside your pack, Able Carry fits it inside a secure zipper. The trade-off is that when you are carrying a bottle, the pleated pocket does take up space inside the main compartment. It remains to be seen if the lack of easy access is a problem.
Finally, Able Carry shows attention to detail and finishes by lining every pocket with rip-stop material.
Livin’ that Backpacker Lifestyle
The Able Carry Max Backpack has the potential to be a great travel asset. The 30L pack has heavy-duty materials and offers high-level organization potential inside. Despite its material weight, it’s not very heavy overall at just over half a pound.
The pack carried well during initial testing. Though there are some design quirks to get used to, it felt more than capable of handling any travel or work/play task. And because of its under-the-radar styling, it can match up with a wide range of personal aesthetics. Able Carry prices it at $260 MSRP, which I consider fair for its tier of build quality and function.
Be sure to check back later for our full, tested review of the Able Carry Max Backpack. In the meantime, you may see me testing it at various western and midwestern airports. If you do, heckle me and I’ll buy you a beer if you make me laugh — there’s nothing we love more than a little audience engagement.
Learn more at AbleCarry.com.