ALPAKA Elements Tech Case Max Review
The ALPAKA Elements Tech Case Max blends durable materials, reliable hardware, and thoughtful organization into a versatile tech case you can take anywhere.
- The materials are durable, water-resistant, and sustainable
- There are two pockets and ample organization in the main compartment
- You can easily add and remove the strap
- Sling mode isn't very comfortable due to a lack of padding or aeration
- It has a large footprint for its capacity
- Smaller items can get lost in the main compartment under the divider
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Have you ever had your tech pouch in one hand and a sling in the other and thought, why can’t these be the same thing? No? Well, never mind, then. If you have, we’ve got big news for you! The ALPAKA Elements Tech Case Max combines the two so you can save space and always have your tech with you. How well does it work while traveling, though? Let’s find out.
The primary material that this tech case-turned-sling uses is Axoflux 600D, which is a black, recycled polyester crafted from recycled bottles. Well, at least for the Black and Army Green colorways. You can also get Black, Dark Green, True Red, Slate Grey, and Hot Orange colorways in X-Pac® VX21 at the time of this review, which is lighter weight and more water resistant. There are perks to both materials, and which one you choose will depend on where you’re going, what you’re doing when you get there, and how tough you are on your gear.
The back panel is crafted from 840D Ballistic Nylon, which is durable and offers some padding. We’ll chat more about that later on!
The zippers are from YKK, which is one of the best in the business as far as we’re concerned. The main compartment has locking heads, so you can use a small travel lock to secure it. This is handy if you like to be sure nobody is sneaking into your pack while you aren’t paying attention, but it isn’t a wholesale theft deterrent. The zipper pulls feel like Hypalon and are easy to use, even in rainy or snowy weather.
There’s a logo tab on the front right of the pack. It’s hidden, so it isn’t noticeable, even when looking straight at the bag. We dig this inclusion because, here at Pack Hacker, we pride ourselves on looking like travel ninjas. How can we be discrete if we’ve got a huge logo plastered on our tech case-turned-sling?
We’ve got a handle on the top of the pouch that’s easy to use but stays out of the way when you aren’t actively using it, which is another feature we dig. It doesn’t deter you from carrying it nor detract from the bag’s overall look, which we’re here for.
On the back side, there are four loops where you can attach the included strap if you want to use this tech pouch as a sling. Additionally, you can use these loops to attach the bag inside your daypack or travel backpack, add a carabiner, or stow anything, really. Similar to other features we’ve gone over, they’re a simple design that doesn’t get in your way when you aren’t using them, which we dig. There’s a hard plastic D ring on the bottom of the back panel, another feature you can utilize to attach gear or leave alone if you don’t want to. Plus, you can attach ALPAKA’s stabilizer strap here if you want some extra security while carrying it in sling-mode.
Despite a relatively large footprint, this bag comes in at just 2.8 liters. It has a shallow depth but is tall and wide, making it easier to fit larger tech items, but it can make it cumbersome compared to other slings of the same capacity.
The back panel has no padding or aeration but is crafted from thick ballistic nylon, which is helpful for comfort. It has inherent padding, but some users may wish it had dedicated comfort features.
The strap is similarly basic but adequate. It has no padding or aeration and can dig in when the load is heavy, but it’s easy to pack away when you aren’t using it without taking up too much space. It attaches using two plastic G-hooks, which are fairly easy to use once you get used to them.
Because there are four attachment loops, you can get jiggy with the configuration of how you wear this thing. You can wear it on either shoulder, as a crossbody, or as a large, weird necklace. That might look odd, but it would be practical for frequent tech users!
If the strap isn’t your favorite, you can use a different one with the bag because it isn’t attached, and the loops are versatile. Depending on how much you pack inside and whether you’re traveling, it might be worth investing in a secondary one or using a padded strap from another bag you already own for heavy loads.
Inside The Tech Case
According to ALPAKA’s site, the Black, Dark Green, and Slate Grey colorways have Blood Orange honeycomb 200D ripstop nylon lining, and the True Red & Hot Orange colorways have Grey x-grid 210D ripstop lining. Similar to the exterior, there are perks to both options, and depending on your use case, one may be better for you than the other. That said, they’re both durable, water resistant, and offer versatile durability.
The front pocket has no organization and is a solid place to stow quick-use items for on the move or that you want to get to quickly while on the plane. There’s a pass-through between the two compartments, so you can leave your power bank inside the main compartment, feed a cable through, and have your phone in the easier-to-access secondary pocket.
There’s a lot more going on inside the main compartment. We’ll go from back to front to keep things organized.
A large pocket on the back wall is big enough to fit an iPad Mini 6. There isn’t a ton of protective padding, so you should probably use a case to ensure your device stays shatter-free. That said, if you’re careful, it’ll probably be fine. Either side has soft material, which will protect your screen from scratches. You can stow other flat items here, too, like a book or notebook.
A large compartment in the middle is segmented into two sides by a divider. It doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the pocket, so there’s a chance small items can flow from one side to the other.
On one side of the divider, there are two small mesh pockets. They’re stretchy, so they can hang onto larger items, like a mouse, cables, or other tech accessories. On the other side of the divider, there’s a zippered compartment. Inside, three smaller pockets work well for SD or SIM Cards and other small gear.
On the top of the divider, there’s a small opening that secures with a magnet. This is a solid place to stow pens for quick access or accessories like headphones, a phone stand, or other goodies you want to keep close by at all times. You can easily access this area while on the go, and the magnets offer a secure closure.
On the front side of the main compartment are two mesh pockets. These are a solid place to stow your mouse, phone, or other similarly-sized items. The pass-through is above one of the pockets, so you could keep your power bank here and run the cable into the secondary compartment using a short cable.
Most of the time, the ALPAKA Elements Tech Case Max stands up independently, making it a solid desk companion whether working as a Digital Nomad or editing a video of your kids while on vacation. However, it can topple over if a heavier item is loaded high up inside the bag.
Considering the versatile use case for this tech pouch/sling and the different materials available, this is a solid piece of travel gear so long as you have the space for its large footprint.
- The materials are highly durable; we’re amped to see how they hold up
- It comes with a strap so that you can transition it into a sling
- The internal organization seems thorough but not limiting
- The materials continue to show durability and look sleek
- No issues with the hardware or organization
- The strap isn’t the most comfortable and can be challenging to attach and remove