Bellroy Lite Daypack Review

The Bellroy Lite Daypack isn’t a packable bag, but it’s lightweight and portable enough to feel like one. However, too many bulky items can impact comfort.

Our Verdict

7.4 /10
Good info

Form

80/100

Design

73/100

Value

70/100
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Pros

  • Portability makes this a great pack to bring along while traveling
  • Materials are strong and sustainably sourced
  • Internal organization is limited but effective for most uses

Cons

  • Bulky gear can protrude out the back panel
  • Sternum strap is thin and loosens in use
  • Thin shoulder straps can dig in at times

Technical Details

91 %

Carry-On Compliance

View 131/144 Airlines

70 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity

    20l

  • Weight (oz)

    12.34 oz (349.8 gm)

  • Dimensions

    18.9 in x 10.6 in x 0.71 in (48 x 26.9 x 1.8 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Ripstop, Woojin Hardware, Duraflex Hardware, YKK Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country

    Philippines

  • Warranty Information

    Bellroy 3 Year Warranty

Buying Options

Brand
Price
Deal
Bellroy Logo
Amazon Logo
$99.00 

Full Review

Bellroy has made a name for itself over the past decade by crafting eco-friendly bags for people who are constantly on the move. We’ve tested a ton of their products over the years, but the new Lite Collection is a step in a different direction from a company that prides itself in making sustainable gear that lasts.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Side
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The pack was designed to always be ready for action.

The designers at Bellroy said that they wanted to shift their focus to gear that offers versatility and the ability to adapt to changing lifestyles as the world shifts from commuting to the office to working from just about anywhere. At just a third of the weight of their usual materials, we couldn’t help but wonder, how well can these packs possibly hold up?

Materials & Aesthetic

The shell of the Bellroy Lite Daypack features a textured diamond ripstop polyester with a thin waterproof coating. In testing, we found that the weather resistance is enough to keep our stuff dry for under thirty minutes in the rain, but after that, things start to get a little damp. The polyester on the entire Lite Collection is made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles which makes the fabric a little crunchy when handled. Sustainability is par for the course for Bellroy, as they always seem to find a way to incorporate recycled and sustainable materials into their designs.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Studio Front
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The shell of the pack is sleek and low-key.

The pack only comes in two colorways at the time of this review, Chalk and Shadow, which are really just off-white and black. If you’re a minimalist, they may strike your fancy, but if you like bold colors, the options will leave a little to be desired. The orange zipper pulls are a nice addition to the overall aesthetic of the Chalk pack, incorporating a small pop of color to an overall inconspicuous color scheme.

The branding on the pack’s exterior is very subtle and is consistent with what we have come to expect from Bellroy. On the shell of the pack, Bellroy is written out in grey lettering that is barely noticeable from afar, but we think it adds a nice touch to the pack’s exterior. The left shoulder strap features the Bellroy owl logo, which is very low-key but quite nice looking.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Brand Material
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The diamond ripstop is noticeable upclose, but blends in from afar

The diamond ripstop fabric feels extremely durable and does not show any sign of wearing out or fraying. Although the material is extremely light, it’s also quite rigid. The pack doesn’t have any flex once it’s full, so don’t expect to be able to stow that little bit of extra gear inside once it’s stuffed.

There are only three zippers in total, and they’re all YKK brand. The main compartment is a YKK #8, which is more than enough to hold everything we throw into the bag. The interior pocket and raised sunglasses pocket zippers are both YKK #5, which we find to be more than adequate as well.

The sunglasses pocket zipper is weatherproofed, which we find a little odd considering the main compartment zipper is not—but it’s a nice addition either way. The main compartment zipper is protected by a fabric welt, which adds enough protection to keep moisture out.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Zipper
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The orange is a nice pop of color.

The zipper pulls are a paracord-like material with a heat shrink coating on the tip and are easy to find and grab onto, even in inclement weather. There is a little orange nylon tab at both ends of the main compartment zipper that you can hold onto for support while opening and closing it. This makes opening the main compartment a breeze, especially when you’re in a hurry. The raised sunglasses pocket has paracord-like tabs for the same purpose that work just as well. They do look a little odd in our opinion, but the weatherproofing on the zipper makes it a little slower to open, so the loops are handy. Both the loops on the main compartment and the sunglasses pocket are convenient when the bag is fully packed, as there isn’t as much free material to grab to assist with opening the zipper.

External Components

As far as external components go, the Bellroy Lite Daypack is not much to write home about, but not necessarily in a bad way. The pack is meant to be light and minimalistic, and it succeeds in that plight without much compromise.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Side-By-Side
Lauren Maternowski, Height: 5’6” (168 cm), Torso: 16.5” (42 cm) | Right: Eric Hergenreder, Height: 6’0″ (183 cm), Torso: 18.5” (47 cm)

The back panel has a thin layer of comfortable padding and the added mesh makes it breathable. The shoulder straps share the same padding and mesh, which we like, but when the bag is full, the straps can get a bit uncomfortable. They’re nice and wide at the shoulder, but as they move towards chest level, they lose width. When the bag is fully packed, the thinner portion of the straps can rub uncomfortably, but this isn’t an issue when the bag isn’t over-packed.

The sternum strap is removable, which we love, as a daypack of this size doesn’t always require one. There are three different loops attached to the shoulder straps to change the height of the sternum strap depending on your preference, but the gap between them is large enough that you may not be able to get a fit that feels just right for your personal preference. The strap is only a couple of centimeters wide, which doesn’t add a ton of security, but we find it useful while cycling. The strap may loosen a tiny bit, but only after 15 or more minutes of riding.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Studio Back
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The padding on the back panel is thin, but comfortable.

In addition to the sternum strap, the shoulder strap also has a nylon loop suitable for a bike light. The nylon is sturdy, but a heavier bike light may make it sag a little. You could also clip a small item here, like the Prometheus Lights Beta QRv2 Flashlight, but it’s not in a great location for that and dangles a bit awkwardly. If you have an accessory like the Yakoda Utility Pouch to clip onto the bag, you’re better off doing so on one of the paracord zipper loops on either end of the sunglasses pocket on the top of the pack. We tried clipping a pouch onto the extra sternum strap loops, too, but this felt awkward and out of place.

The bicycle light loop on the back of the pack is made of the same diamond ripstop material, which makes for a more streamlined look. It does not feel as durable as the nylon loop on the shoulder strap, but in use it works just as well.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Handle
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The handle is strong, but not all that comfortable to hold.

The top handle on the pack is a simple nylon loop that works for grabbing the bag quickly or hanging it up when it’s empty, but it can get uncomfortable to hold pretty quickly.

One of our favorite features of this pack is its portability. Although there is no hardware to assist in the packing process, and it’s not technically a packable bag, we found that it still compresses pretty easily. When empty, you can fold it up, roll it up, or shove it into another bag to take it as a second pack on a plane, road trip, or just about anywhere, really.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Packed
Bellroy Lite Daypack | Rolling up the pack is easy, especially with something to secure it.

The shoulder straps can get in the way when rolling it up, so we combat this by turning the pack inside out first before rolling it up. You can also use something like the VELCRO Brand Cable Ties to keep it from unraveling once stowed away, too.

Inside The Pack

The Bellroy Lite Daypack really only has one compartment, so if you like to separate your gear for short weekend trips, this pack might not be for you. There’s an additional raised sunglasses pocket on the top of the pack that we often put our phone in, but apart from a device, glasses, and maybe a pair of headphones, not much else will fit there.

There’s a little bit of organization within the main compartment, but most of the space is a free for all. There are two liner pockets in the lower portion of the compartment, one that stretches for a water bottle and another that is suitable for a cell phone or an energy-bar-sized item. Above those pockets is a black zipper pocket that contains a key clip and bears the Bellroy owl logo and an inspiring little paragraph about their mission. Behind that is an unpadded document sleeve that runs behind the three other pockets. Due to the lack of organization, smaller items can be hard to find if they are left loose in the main compartment, but larger items like a light coat or sweater fit nicely.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Main Compartment
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The storage options are minimal, but functional.

Here at Pack Hacker, we’re pretty split on how valuable a water bottle pocket is. Half the team can’t live without them, and the other half of the team wouldn’t mind if they never tested another pack that had one again. Depending on where you fall within that spectrum will decide how you feel about the stretch water bottle pocket on this pack.

As we mentioned before, there isn’t much back panel padding to speak of. This isn’t a huge deal because the pack isn’t that large, but it is easy for items in the pack to protrude because there isn’t much structure. When you insert a larger water bottle into the designated pocket, it strains the elastic and the bottle pushes on the back panel. This is noticeable and uncomfortable as soon as you put the pack on, and although it can be somewhat mitigated by using a smaller water bottle, you can feel just about any size bottle when placed in the pocket.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Back Mesh
Bellroy Lite Daypack | A large item like a water bottle can cause the back panel to bulge.

We’re able to get around this discomfort by removing the bottle from the pocket entirely and laying it horizontally across the bottom of the pack. This can be problematic too, because if you have a leaky water bottle, you risk getting everything in your bag wet, and a full bottle makes the pack bottom heavy. This feature leaves the pro-water-bottle-pocket half of the Pack Hacker team very disappointed and sad. Very, very sad.

On a happier note, the internal zipper pocket is quite lovely and very useful. It’s made of the same material as the rest of the pack but is black, which adds some nice contrast and makes it easy to find. The zipper is a smooth YKK #5 and features a zipper pull made of the same material as the sternum strap. It has a key clip stemming from the side of the pocket that is made of the same material as the exterior zipper pulls. We found that because it comes out of the side of the pocket, our keys are almost always in the bottom corner of the pocket, which makes them easy to find.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Keys
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The only zipper pocket on the interior offers easy, but secure, access to your keys.

When we’re out with this pack in the rain for over a half-hour and things start to get a little wet, items in the zipper pocket stay dry. It’s made from the same material as the pack’s shell, so the pocket offers a little bit of extra protection within the pack.

Behind the main three pockets is a document sleeve that is accessible from the top of the main compartment. The sleeve is not meant to house a laptop, but we just had to know what would fit into it. We found that a 13 inch MacBook Pro fits without a case, but just barely, and smaller items like a Kindle or an iPad move around a lot while in transit. Lone sheets of paper tend to get crinkled due to a pack of protection, but a folder or notebook can hold their own just fine. This sleeve is not built for much more than that but can house some smaller tech in a bind.

Bellroy Lite Daypack iPad
Bellroy Lite Daypack | An iPad won’t fill the space, so it will swim around a bit.

There are two little nylon straps on the bottom of the pack’s interior that we could not for the life of us determine the purpose of. After a week of use (and lots of confused Googling), we decided to reach out to Bellroy for an answer. They informed us that the mystery straps are simply an extension of the shoulder straps looped into the interior to strengthen the shoulder straps.

The bag’s designer, JJ, further explained that “by running the webbing past the stitch we are reducing the stitches ability to fray or damage the webbing. Normally you would use a bartack at the end of the shoulder straps through the webbing, lining, body fabric and binding. This was too heavy-handed for our lighter weight fabrics, so we used this construction to increase the strength without degrading the webbing’s natural strength.” Thanks for that information, JJ!

Bellroy Lite Daypack Interior Loops
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The loops on the interior are a little odd, but well worth it for ensuring the straps last.

Overall, the main compartment has a ton of space, with a tiny portion of it reserved for handling smaller items like a phone, passport, wallet, or paper notebook. There isn’t much protection to speak of except for the back panel padding behind the document sleeve, but even that doesn’t add much security. We wouldn’t recommend putting anything in this pack with a glass screen, but it can hold smaller tech in a pinch.

Moving onwards and upwards (literally), the raised sunglasses pouch is an excellent fit for not just a pair of glasses, but a cell phone and other small tech as well. A weather-resistant zipper protects this quick grab pocket, so we had no issue throwing our iPhone and charger in there during slight inclement weather. Over time water did make its way into the pocket, but even then, it was minor. If you are heading out into monsoon season, we would recommend you go with another pack, though.

Bellroy Lite Daypack Top Pocket
Bellroy Lite Daypack | The top pocket is great for just about any small item you can throw at it.

The pocket is pretty small, but we’re able to fit a cased pair of glasses, an iPhone 6S Plus, and a pair of corded Apple headphones with a little bit of room to spare. When filled to the brim, the pocket weighs the top of the pack down and makes it look a bit droopy. However, it isn’t as noticeable when the pack is towards the full side because the gear inside holds up the material, but it can look a little funky in some instances.

The Bellroy Lite Daypack is an excellent pack for short trips across the city and to pack into a larger piece of gear as a secondary bag while traveling. The organizational pockets it does have are useful, but the wonky water bottle pocket and inability to handle a laptop leaves us feeling a little disappointed. At 20L, the pack can handle its fair share, but it isn’t always easy to fit essentials into its minimalistic styling, and it felt inadequate for our needs more than a few times.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • The ripstop fabric feels light and easily compressible
  • Has a built-in bike light loop at the front
  • It’s a small daypack, but it has a decent amount of organization options inside
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • The bag cleans up nicely after getting splattered with mud
  • The padding on the back panel and shoulder straps is comfortable and breathable until the bag is overstuffed
  • The water bottle pocket makes for good organization inside the bag, but larger bottles can push on the back panel
  • The pack feels light but durable during long bike rides, but we wish the sternum strap was more secure
mm
By Eric Hergenreder
Created December 14, 2021 • Updated December 14, 2021
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