Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 Review
The Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 has colorful straps and plenty of pockets, though remembering what you store where takes time.
- Wide fabric straps surprisingly comfortable
- No shortage of pockets for various-sized gear
- Removable shoulder straps prevent snags while traveling
- Fully-loaded bag digs into back due to minimal back panel padding
- Packing main compartment blocks pocket organization
- Lacks false bottom for laptop protection
1.8 lb (0.8 kg)
17 in x 11 in x 4 in (43.2 x 27.9 x 10.2 cm)
Polyester, Nylon, Duraflex Hardware
Laptop Compartment Size
When a company says it makes tools for thinkers, you have to pause and ask yourself, “Is that me?” Of course, by doing so, you are, in fact, thinking, and therefore, Baronfig is for you!
If you’re not already aware, Baronfig places a large focus on stationery, writing implements, and ways to streamline your daily working life. The Venture Backpack 3.0 aims to be ready for anything, whether working on a laptop, taking notes by hand, or carrying your gear to the coffee shop down the street to work remotely. Is it working for us? Let’s find out.
The Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 is the mullet of backpacks, and we mean that in the most positive way because it’s all about business in the front and party in the back. Bear with us as we start with the sedate business side of things—we’ll get to the party in a moment.
Although there are five colorways available at the time of this review, the bag itself is a sophisticated black rectangle, with Baronfig’s sparking idea lightbulb printed as a small white logo centered at the bottom of the front.
The polyester material is water resistant and held up well while dashing from the office to the car in the rain. However, the zippers are not water resistant, so beware of trekking for long periods in a downpour, or you may have a different experience.
The zippers are not a noticeable brand, though we have no reason to complain. They get the job done and have held up well throughout the testing period. Each does include a large zipper pull with the Baronfig name embossed on both sides for subtle branding on the bag.
Duraflex Hardware provides the adjustment slides and gatekeeper clips for the shoulder straps. If you don’t want to carry the Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 as, well, a backpack, there is a soft, wide webbing handle at the top of the bag and a luggage pass-through running horizontally on the back. We like that this pass-through secures with hook-and-loop fasteners so it lies flat when you’re not using it.
However, we think the lack of any side handle is a small miss; the Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 is vaguely briefcase-shaped, so carrying it vertically by the carry handle if you were to take the shoulder straps off is an odd vibe. We think toting it sideways would be better in that case, but alas, we didn’t share that thought with the thinkers at Baronfig, so no side handle exists.
As to the shoulder straps, that’s where the “party in the back” comes into play. Choosing a colorway other than Blackout changes the color of the wide fabric webbing shoulder straps and nothing else on the bag. We’re testing Moss Green, but you could also get Cobalt Blue, Blush Pink, or Electric Orange. If you change your mind later, you can order a new pair of Venture Backpack Straps to switch it up or mix and match straps of a different color.
The straps connect to loops on the rear of the bag via large, stiff gatekeeper clips, and Baronfig gives you a couple extra with your bag in case you lose one along the way. While they aren’t the easiest to use, we like knowing they won’t accidentally pop open while you’re carrying the bag, and you’re unlikely to take the straps on and off daily, which is when you would mind the difficulty of doing so.
The straps lack padding, yet they don’t dig into your shoulder and can be quite comfortable when you adjust them to the correct length. However, the back panel only includes thin padding between your back and the laptop compartment, so it can get uncomfortably stiff to carry when the bag is packed full.
Multiple testers at Pack Hacker find the bag comfortable to wear when lightly packed since the loops connecting the shoulder straps to the top of the bag provide enough flexibility to go around broader shoulders. It becomes less comfortable with the more heavy gear you load up inside, though you can alleviate the discomfort by loosening the straps to keep your computer from becoming a stiff corset-like backbone. Of course, if you need a reminder to stand up straight and your grandma isn’t there to give you “the look,” keep the straps snug.
Even with the strappy shout of color, this is a very professional-looking backpack, so it fits in office situations, as well as nicer restaurants and travel destinations. And if you’re concerned about sticking out from a sea of black at the annual convention of monochromatic digital nomads, you can always take the shoulder straps off or order a pair of black and swap them out.
Inside The Pack
We hope you like zippered organization because the Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 is full of it, starting with two zip pockets on the front: one running horizontally near the top and one running vertically on the right side.
Neither is very large, but the 6-inch tall vertical pocket is a great place to stash keys to keep them within easy reach, although there’s no dedicated key clip or leash. It’s about 4 inches wide, so nothing very large fits inside, and the zipper spans the entire height, so you need to take care when opening it, or the contents could spill out.
The nearly 9-inch wide horizontal pocket is also only 4 inches deep, yet it is a convenient place to toss your phone or sunglasses, along with something small like AirPods or a pack of gum. The lining material throughout the bag is black nylon, so you shouldn’t have to worry about scratches as long as you keep delicate gear separate from sharper objects—hence why we put keys and phones in different pockets.
Soft material lines the rear laptop compartment, which you access through a vertical zipper on the right side of the backpack. Baronfig is quiet on what size device fits in here, but we had no trouble sliding in a 16-inch MacBook. There are no additional pockets or organization here, and you won’t want to put anything too bulky inside, even if you can make it fit, since it will dig into your back when you’re wearing the bag. And we have to mention there’s no false bottom. You can feel the bottom seam of the bag inside the laptop compartment, so don’t act like a petulant teenager and fling your backpack to the floor when you get home, or your device may take the brunt of your brutishness.
The main compartment opens almost completely clamshell, with a dual-sided zipper extending to about 3 inches from the bottom on each side of the front panel. When you open it, you’ll find that another 3 inches or so of the front panel is connected to the bag with a fabric gusset, preventing the front panel from lying completely flat when it’s open.
That still provides quite a good view of the main compartment, which includes a plethora of zippered pockets: seven, to be exact.
The first four are along the front panel, hopscotching from wide to narrow to wide as you proceed from the top to the bottom. The top and bottom pockets are 11 inches wide by about 6 inches deep, so they fit small notebooks, cords, headphones, dongles—basically, anything you’d pack in a tech pouch.
The middle two pockets split the width and are a bit shallower than the top and bottom pockets, so they’re better for the smaller tech or travel accessories you may want to bring along, whether that’s lip balm or memory cards. Or both.
At the top of the back panel is a 7-inch wide pocket with soft lining, so if you didn’t put your phone or your glasses in the exterior top pocket, you could put them here. While some prefer to have their phone in an outside pocket for easy accessibility, this pocket is still within easy reach of the top of the bag, provided nothing else in the main compartment blocks it—more on that later.
Just about an inch below the top pocket is a very large mesh pouch, 11 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Use it for larger gear that you want easy to find since this is the only pocket you can somewhat see into without opening it. The remaining pockets are all opaque nylon, and it can be difficult to remember what gear you put in which pocket when the bag is new, since many pockets are similar sizes and shapes. While this issue undoubtedly diminishes over time, the daily hide-and-seek of the first few weeks of use gets old quite quickly.
Rounding out the organizational features is a 7-inch wide by 4-inch deep zippered pocket on the bottom right, with a grid of elastic straps to its left. At first, we were perplexed by this grid, but Baronfig shows pens placed through the loops on its product page, so we went with it. If you’re a sketch artist or like to carry numerous writing implements with you at all times, you’ll be pretty happy. There are five more loops near the corners and top of the back panel that Baronfig also shows holding pens. Apparently, when your company sells lots of pens and notebooks, you design your bags to hold that gear.
If you’re a more digital user than analog, though, you can put the grid and loops to use in other ways. Perhaps you want to clip modular pouches or a wallet to an upper loop with a carabiner or slide a flash drive in the grid if you somehow filled up all the provided pockets.
While having so many available organizational options will make some users happy, others may find it too much. If you like to use tech pouches to move your gear from laptop bag to travel daypack to sling, you’ll either have a lot of empty pockets or have to unpack and repack your gear every time you switch bags. It can also be difficult to see inside the pitch-black interior in dim lighting to find the pocket you’re looking for.
Of course, there is still 2.5 inches of depth to pack in the main compartment, as the pockets don’t protrude that far into the primary area. So you can slide your lunch or snacks, a travel jacket, and even a packing cube or two inside the Baronfig Venture Backpack 3.0 if you want to use it as a personal item bag on the plane. You’ll just have to realize that doing so will make the back panel pockets pretty inaccessible until you unpack the bag, so be sure to put the gear you need to reach en route in the front panel pockets and save the rear organization for items you don’t need until you arrive.
- So many pockets for tiny gear
- Really like the colorful strap options
- Hook-and-loop fasteners keep luggage pass-through in place
- Soft pocket for sunglasses located inside the bag
- Hard to see inside black-lined main compartment in dim spaces
- Organizational features become second nature with longer use