Bellroy Via Backpack Review
The Bellroy Via Backpack doesn’t have much organization, but a sleek look and thoughtful design make stowing gear inside this daypack easy and quick to access.
- Durable, lightweight materials look professional
- YKK AquaGuard zippers offer extra water-resistance
- Internal organization is thoughtful yet stays out of your way
- No sternum strap, hip belt, or attachment loops on shoulder straps
- Larger phones can’t fit in the secondary compartment
- Top handle is too wide to work with all kinds of hooks
19.4 oz (550 g)
17.7 in x 8.66 in x 4.33 in (45 x 22 x 11 cm)
Recycled Polyester, Nylon, Aluminum, YKK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
The Bellroy Via Backpack looks simple, and once you dive in, you’ll realize that concept runs deep in this pack’s design. However, we often find Bellroy’s organization worth commending, and the brand has some of the most diversely usable bags. Will this one follow suit? Let’s dive in!
The primary pack materials are recycled nylon and polyester, which feel durable and have ample water resistance. The fabric doesn’t have much give, so you won’t be able to shove extra gear inside once it’s fully packed. The boot material yields higher durability and water resistance to better protect your gear from mayhem on the ground at the office, bus station, or airplane.
At the time of writing, we have a few colorway options. There’s Saltbush, a beige color, which we have on hand. It looks like a sandy beach with millions of hues and shades of white, yellow, and between colors.
Then, there’s Slate, which is close to black, Navy, and Black offerings. They’re each relatively sleek and offer a unique style compared to the other colors. Plus, they’re all leather-free, a great shout from an animal-lover’s perspective.
The logo on the front of the pack is a nice touch. It isn’t so large or loud that it attracts attention. Instead, it’s small and blends in with the materials nicely. We dig this and wouldn’t expect much else from Bellroy.
The pack utilizes YKK zippers throughout its construction and AquaGuard models on the exterior. These can be a little slow, especially for the pack size; however, we dig the added water resistance they offer, and they’re easy enough to open. After all, there are only two zippers on the exterior, so it isn’t like you’ll be constantly opening and closing five different AquaGuard models.
The zipper pulls are basic but adequate. It’s a small piece of looped fabric that doesn’t get in your way but is easy enough to operate. Plus, you can put your finger through the loop to open the zipper, making the AquaGuard issue less problematic if it ever was to begin with.
The shoulder straps have metal adjusters that are reasonably easy to manipulate but hold the strap well. The material feels like aluminum, which may chip easily over time, but we have yet to have an issue with them. Plus, they look sleek.
We have a handle on the top of the pack, which helps you carry it in certain situations. There isn’t much padding, aeration, or mesh for comfort; however, it doesn’t dig in too much, even with extended use. In addition to offering a way to hang onto the pack while riding public transit, you can hang it up with this strap too. It won’t work for all hooks, but it works for most.
Similar to the daypack as a whole, there isn’t much going on regarding the harness system. Again, that’s probably for the better.
The shoulder straps have a slight curvature that enables them to form well to your body. They’re amply padded and have mesh for aeration. We’re used to seeing this style of comfort from Bellroy, even if the shoulder straps have a slightly different design than other bags from the brand we’ve tried.
Some testers noted that the straps were a little wide. Not uncomfortably, but noticeably so.
The back panel has ample padding and mesh for added breathability. Overall, it’s comfortable and stays relatively cool.
As a whole, the harness system keeps you cozy all day long. There will be sweat on hot days, but that’s to be expected with any pack or sling.
However, the shoulder straps have no sternum straps, hip belts, or attachment loops. The look is clean and organized; however, some users may wish more was happening here. With the size of the pack, we don’t think you’re likely to miss the sternum and hip straps, but your mileage may vary. If you like to hang your sunglasses on your front, you don’t have that option with this pack.
Inside The Pack
After pulling back the curtain, you’ll find that the interior follows suit, and simplicity reigns supreme here, too.
We’ve got just one secondary compartment to work with. It’s on the top of the pack and offers quick access to the gear you want close at hand but not in your pockets. It’s a small area, barely large enough for a standard-sized iPhone with a modest case. Larger phones or those with beefy cases might not fit here. Sunglasses work well here, which is a bonus.
Moving into the main compartment, we’ve got only two organizational components; the rest is open space. The zipper opens roughly 45% of the way down the pack so that you can get a good look inside, and the lid folds down for quick access to the laptop compartment.
On the lid, there’s a mesh pocket with a zippered closure. It opens at a diagonal angle, with the mesh enabling the pocket to bulge should you stow too much gear inside.
The laptop sleeve on the back wall has ample padding and a fuzzy material to keep your gear safe. You can fit up to a 16-inch computer here without much wiggle room, but devices as small as a tablet feel at home, too.
The rest of the compartment is a vast open space without any organization. Because of this, it’s helpful to use organizers like packing cubes and toiletry bags alongside packable gear like a rain jacket. With organizers and equipment that packs down small, you can keep track of everything and fit more gear into this modestly-sized daypack. Without segmentation, it’s easy to lose smaller equipment in the abyss at the bottom of the pack.
There’s enough space here to work for a weekend trip or a more extended trip if you pack right. At 20 liters, it’s a bit small for anything longer than a few days, though. That size is also excellent for daily trips to work or the coffee shop.
Overall, using this pack makes you feel like you’re using a premium product. It’s well-designed and looks sleek no matter where you’re taking it. However, some users may miss the lack of organization. By using various segmentation products, you can keep your gear in place without compromising the overall feng shui of the pack. Or, go with the flow. Either way, you’ll look good while you’re doing it!
- Materials are soft but feel durable, and the boot has extra ruggedness for bumps and knocks
- The hardware feels solid, from the zippers to the strap adjustors
- The harness system is simple but appears comfortable
- Exterior materials have held up well
- No issues with water permeating the shell in light to moderate rain
- The harness system remains comfortable on long treks