Bellroy Lite Ready Pack Review
The Bellroy Lite Ready Pack is lightweight and ready for adventures, though it lacks much organization and is saggy even when full.
- Extremely lightweight
- Effectively resists moisture
- Holds a fair amount of gear
- Front pocket sags bag
- Sternum strap is flimsy and feels unnecessary
- Potential to feel gear through back panel
0.9 lb (0.4 kg)
18.5 in x 8.27 in x 4.72 in (47 x 21 x 12 cm)
Recycled Polyester, Ripstop, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, Woojin Hardware
The Bellroy Lite Ready Pack is, well, lightweight! All kidding aside, this daypack is for travelers who want to be active on their next adventure since it’s super light, packable, and water-resistant. It takes a featherlight fabric for an 18L pack to weigh less than a pound (14.4 ounces, to be exact), but there are sacrifices in structure that come along with it.
Are they worth it? Let’s find out!
First, let’s talk about the materials that make the Lite Ready Pack so light and ready for everything. The primary material is a recycled “lite textured poly,” according to Bellroy, although they don’t specify the fabric’s denier. The texture is a diamond-patterned ripstop and is fairly shiny. We’re testing the Copper colorway, which is a dark mustardy gold, but it also comes in Chalk (off-white), Shadow (black), and Arcade Gray (charcoal gray with a white grid pattern).
The fabric is also coated to resist wetness, and while the bag is not waterproof, it does keep moisture at bay. We got caught in a heavy downpour while testing it and plopped it down on a wooden kitchen floor once inside. When we went to grab it again, there was a puddle on the floor where the bag had lain, and the front of the pack still looked soaked, but all the gear inside (including tissues and a paperback book) was dry! While it could eventually soak through if you carry it for hours through the rainforest, we think that’s pretty good protection, especially if you seek shelter when the skies open up.
The YKK zippers are water-resistant to prevent moisture from seeping through the tracks. This makes them a bit stiff to open, especially when combined with the floppy fabric. Still, Bellroy thoughtfully includes a couple of loops at either end of the front pocket zipper that you can grab to pull that section open, and they work when you’re trying to access the main compartment, too.
Instead of metal pulls, knotted cords wrapped in heat shrink are attached to the zippers so they are easy to grasp. Your mileage may vary as to how you feel about that aesthetically, but it works well for functionality. Another nod to usefulness is the bike light loop made with a strip of the primary material on the bag’s front; it’s subtle and blends nicely with the pack if you don’t need it, but it’s there when you do.
There’s a carry handle atop the pack made with recycled polyester webbing folded on itself. It’s soft and easy to hold if you need to carry the bag that way for a while. As for branding, it’s standard subtle Bellroy: the lowercase name centered at the bottom of the front pocket and a tiny Bellroy bird on the left shoulder strap.
There are also Woojin Plastic adjusters on the shoulder straps, which include plastic keepers that try to tame the excess strap. We say “try” because the keepers only hold one extra strap length, so smaller users will still have some dangling at the end.
Speaking of straps, there is a very thin sternum strap. It’s a narrow webbing strip that you attach with a slipknot to one of three loops on one shoulder strap with an adjustable plastic hook sliding along it that hooks onto one of three loops on the opposite side. We prefer the granular adjustment of a rail-mounted strap, but it’s a lightweight and unique way of adding additional support, and we didn’t often need to utilize it on this size daypack. Luckily, it’s easily removable if you don’t want it. There’s a loop on the right shoulder strap where you could attach something small, like sanitizer or a hat clip, if you need to, but it’s primarily designed to hold the drinking tube of a hydration bladder in place. More on that when we get into the main compartment.
The shoulder straps and the back panel feature squishy padding covered in breathable Airmesh. It’s super flexible and comfortable, but that flexibility can work against you if you pack bulky gear that can protrude into the back panel. Tl;dr, pack flat gear against the back, or you could feel it. We’ll get into more detail about why that can be problematic later on.
Now it’s time for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
First, the good! The wide shoulder straps and cushy back panel form nicely to your body to be comfortable to carry. That’s great since this is an active backpack designed for hikes and other outdoor activities. Now for the bad; the caveat to that comfort is your size and how you pack the main compartment. The back panel padding is so thin that we do feel much of what we put inside.
That’s OK when it’s the padding of our laptop case, but maybe not when your gear includes a novel, tech pouch, and glasses case stacked on top of each other. However, it doesn’t hit all users in the same area of the back, so taller users may not feel it as much as shorter ones. Nevertheless, you’ll want to keep comfort in mind when you’re packing.
And lastly, we get to the ugly. OK, well, maybe not ugly, per se, but that’s how the saying goes! On its face, this is not a bad-looking pack. The sheen of the material, the shape of the bag, and the accents placed around the bag make it look at home in the forest, the campground, or wherever you want to take it exploring—as long as you don’t overload the top pocket.
The flexible material gets saggy very quickly, practically falling down the front. That pocket doesn’t eat into the main compartment capacity, a fact that we’d usually applaud, but instead, it protrudes out of the top of the bag and can sink down depending on what you have stuffed inside the main compartment. It’s just something to be aware of if appearances like that matter to you.
Inside The Pack
Ah, now we get to that front pocket we’ve mentioned so many times. Maybe you’re wondering, if it drags down the pack so much, is it even worth using? The answer is yes because it provides some convenient organization for smaller gear.
This pocket spans nearly the entire width of the bag and extends about a third of the way down the front, so you have plenty of space for your phone, wallet, and keys, plus tissues, everyday toiletries (i.e. lip balm, a hair tie, and makeup powder), AirPods, etc. Two slip pockets fit gear like a minimalist wallet, headphones, and the like, and there’s also a corded key leash attached just above the pockets on the right.
However, attached as it is partway down the pocket, the leash can get buried under your other gear and be pretty hard to find when this section is full, so it’s not as convenient as it could be if it connected at the top. On the other hand, it never gets caught in the zipper track, which is great.
On the left side of the bag is a travel water bottle pocket with a little bit of stretch thanks to an elastic gusset on the back side. It won’t open enough for a wide-mouth bottle, though it fits a Standard Mouth Hydro Flask just fine. Said bottle can slide out of the slippery fabric if you experience turbulence on the plane or have to slam on the brakes on your road trip, causing the bag to fall flat, so keep that in mind before you have to go searching up and down the aisle for your drink.
As for the main compartment, it opens via a dual-sided zipper, which we mention both for the accessibility—we like being able to get into a bag at any point in the zipper and from either side—and because this is how you lock down the drinking tube of a hydration bladder.
There’s a large slip pocket on the back wall where you can stash such a pack, and a webbing loop at the top you can hang it from. There’s no built-in pass-through, so you’ll have to leave the zipper partially open when you want to use it. If you’re not carrying extra hydration, you can use it for a notebook or a pair of minimalist travel shoes. It’s the only place to lock down small gear in the main compartment, so we’re tempted to slip small pouches and kits inside too, but that’s a mistake because you’ll feel each and every one against your back as you carry the bag. Instead, go for something large and flat to provide some much-needed structure to the back panel.
It’s big enough to hold a small laptop, too, but it’s not padded on the front and has such minimal padding on the back that you probably shouldn’t do so without adding a protective case or laptop sleeve first, in which case it might not fit.
Back to the main zipper for a moment, though: it opens in a wide horseshoe, which is great for accessibility as long as you zip the front pocket first. That’s because the weight of that pocket will pull the front open, making it easy to access what you have inside but potentially dumping what’s in front because it’s now upside down. Just an FYI for you before your lip balm goes rolling away.
Once it’s opened, though, you’ll have no problem grabbing whatever you packed in the rest of the open main area, whether that’s your lunch, a packable travel jacket, a Bluetooth speaker, a travel towel, or whatever else you want to bring along. You can fit a decent amount inside, although packing cubes and pouches will be your friend if you like more organization since there isn’t any built-in other than the slip pocket. However, if you’re planning to hike a mountain trail and want to bring some snacks, a drink, something to sit on, and an extra layer, you’ll be able to do so easily—and comfortably—with proper packing.
- Back panel feels very squishy
- Seems very outdoorsy
- Heat-shrink zipper pulls are easy to grab
- Closed loop means your hydration pack needs a hook
- Sternum strap clip can be finicky to hook on
- Quite a bit of gear fits inside