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Geek Review: 22seven Design Orion Modular Backpack

Searching for the perfect backpack is a lifelong journey for some, and a never-ending one wrapped around the accumulation of countless bags, only to find out that most are designed to serve one or two purposes. The cycle continues as we buy another and another, until our closets and cupboards are full, and we start donating or selling them to family and friends.

Still, it hasn’t prevented the occasional bag company to tout that they’ve made a design and functional breakthrough, of having that perfect backpack, even though it’s highly improbable since everyone has a different set of expectations on what suits them best.

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But what if there was one backpack that could be almost everything that all of us need, and we in turn could adapt it, based on our individual lifestyles?

That’s the premise set forth by 22seven Design, which claims to have designed the last backpack you ever need to buy. While the name is new to the backpack industry, the team behind it is not. They have been manufacturing and designing bags and backpacks for some of the biggest names in sports and leisure, so they know what works and doesn’t. And after years of research and testing, they have come up with the Orion, a fully modular backpack system that allows you to adapt the bag to your needs, versus what a luggage company dictates you might need.  

The Orion comes in two colorways to start off with: Stealth Black and Urban Heather. The latter is made with a high weave polyester and from the Kickstarter photos alone, it might look as if the Stealth black would be the standout choice but after having both bags in the studio, we found the urban Heather to be the standout in terms of looks.

On the outside of the backpack, or the base pack as 22seven Design called it, we have ten round plastic pieces. These are a magnetic locking system designed by Fidlock out of Germany and we first caught wind of these from the bicycle community, as these locking systems would replace the standard bottle cages on bikes. With the Fidlocks placed on the frame and bottle, it allowed cyclists a more easily accessible bottle, while also allowing the design of the bike to stand out, instead of the bottle cages mounted on the frame reducing the aesthetics. 

The dimensions of the Orion are 50cm (20 Inches) tall, 30.5cm (12 Inches) wide, 13cm (5 Inches) dee, which is an optimal size for travel, day trips and daily commutes but therein lies the first issue for some – there is a chance this is a huge bag for those of smaller frames.

On the front of the basepack are six locks, two on each side and two inside the bag. These are the key to the modularity of the bag, as the style packs 22seven Design produces lock into place using these locks.

Before we talk more about the style packs the attention to detail, material and inside the bag are worth exploring more. More often than not you are left with either not enough compartments, dark interiors that make finding items difficult, lesser quality zippers, bags that lose their form over time, Laptop compartments that are limited in size, lack of weather resistance etc.  All of this has been considered and tested thoroughly by 22seven Design and they seem to stand out so far. 

Case in point, the interior lining of each bag is either Red (Stealth Black) or Neon Green (Urban Heather) and this isn’t just for aesthetics, but also so it’s easier to find and see your items placed within. In addition, the amount of compartments and sleeves inside allow for great organisation, so if the content in the bag ends up being messy, it’s due to the user and not because of the bag. In addition, the zippers used here are the YKK ones, with different textured tips so you can tell if the zipper is for the main compartment or for your laptop. Speaking of laptop size, we were able to easily fit a 16-inch Macbook Pro within, where it is wrapped in padding and designed to keep laptops or tablets safe from daily commutes and travel.

In addition to the main compartment and laptop area, there are two hidden storage compartments for those that may want to store more sensitive items. One is the RFID Stash pocket on the back of the bag, enclosed by a zipper that will protect your ID and Credit Cards from those pesky scanners. The other is a magnetic Fast Access Pocket located on the top of the bag perfect for storing small items you need to access quickly, including smartphones, earbuds and keys.  

All that, plus that and the bag is also capable of sitting upright on its own. Most backpacks fall over when packed with items, but due to the construction and design, the Orion always stands at attention.  

Then there are the style packs that transform the Orion into Batman’s Utility Belt of backpacks. 

The main style pack that comes with the Orion adds a touch of elegance and even more storage on the outside of the base pack. The main style pack does differ slightly in design from the Stealth Black and Urban heather.  The Black style pack is all about zipper enclosures, where the Urban heather has an envelope style enclosure for the main compartment. If you are on a budget, this style pack alone is more than enough for most use case scenarios.

For those who want a little more, there are the optional Utility Pouch Set (US$42), Envelope Slip Case (US$28), EVA Hard Case (US$28), Water Bottle Holder (US$18), Internal Organizer (US$18), Utility Twin Pouch (US$25), Sunglasses Case (US$25), Key Holder (US$14), Aquila Laptop Case (US$28) with even more on their site. In the near future, though, we’re hoping there’s one designed for camera gear.

All of these style packs transform the bag to be many things: The gym bag, the day trip bag, the office bag, the casual hiking bag and more. 

While it all sounds great if you have the budget for it, there are some points that need to be addressed on some of the style packs. Case in point – the utility pouches, which are lightweight and only utilise two locks. If you store items inside and add weight all is okay, but because they are lightweight in design, they are relatively easy to knock off the bag especially when using the side locks. Unfortunately, one went missing just by setting the bag down in a taxi. The folks at 22seven Design say they are looking into it and while the packs look great, our advice is to not attach the side utility pouches unless you have something to store within, as the locking system isn’t tight enough without the additional weight applied.   

Overall, the Orion does stand out among the sea of bags out there. The construction, materials, attention to detail is apparent and the modular aspect helps with the variety of tasks we do on a daily basis. While some of the style packs lock on better than others, this hasn’t deterred us in the least, and it’s a bag we highly recommend you check out.

To make the deal sweeter, from now till 30 September 2021, if you head over to 22sevendesign.com to order your backpack via this link, you’ll receive a FREE customised leather handgrip with your initials (3 letters) engraved on it.

GEEK REVIEW SCORE

Summary

The construction, materials, attention to detail on the 22seven Design Orion Backpack is apparent and the modular aspect helps with the variety of tasks we do on a daily basis.

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Build Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Durability - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 9/10
    9/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8/10
    8/10


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