EVERGOODS Civic Half Zip 26L (CHZ26) Review
The durable materials and comfortable harness system of the EVERGOODS Civic Half Zip 26L daypack make it a joy to carry, but it is an absolute pet hair magnet.
- Pockets are liter independent & don’t eat up space inside main compartment
- Shoulder straps are contoured for a comfortable fit
- Has two stretchy water bottle pockets
- Interior pocket can stick out & give the bag an odd shape
- Material is stiff and takes a while to break in
- Exterior material attracts pet hair
2.75 lb (1.2 kg)
19 in x 12 in x 9 in (48.3 x 30.5 x 22.9 cm)
Nylon, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware, Polyurethane
Laptop Compartment Size
The good people over at EVERGOODS are known for putting out high-quality and incredibly durable gear. Known on the streets as “the cheese,” the EVERGOODS Civic Half Zip (CHZ) 26L is somewhere between a sleek backpack and an indestructible jetpack. Like something you’d wear while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before rocketing into space with it. That’s after you’ve used it as your daypack from work to the gym, of course.
This is pretty much a bigger version of the EVERGOODS CHZ22 with a few upgrades from the earlier version we have. Mainly an improved sternum strap and a swanky new mesh pocket that we’re pretty sure was made for snacks. Aren’t all pockets made for snacks, anyway?
We are huge fans of the CHZ’s harness system and how the padded shoulder straps and back panel curve to fit your body. The pack sits high up on your back, which made us feel like a badass astronaut strolling down the street during the two weeks we tested it. On the other hand, its uncanny ability to attract pet hair was a bit of a turnoff.
Materials & Aesthetic
Let’s get right into the design and branding of this bag. It’s minimal and low-key with just the classic EVERGOODS velcro logo on the front, where you can stick a patch. EVERGOODS sells reflective velcro patches, but any 3” x 2” rectangular patch will fit. The reflective patches are kinda cool if you plan on biking or walking at night, but we suggest sticking on a Pack Hacker patch if you want to be the envy of all your friends. There’s also an EVERGOODS tag on the inside with the materials and year it was made listed.
The shell’s primary material is a hefty 500d high tenacity 6,6 nylon with air textured yarn and weather-resistant coating. This nylon is one six away from being the number of the beast—that’s your first clue that it’s not playing around when it comes to durability. The air textured yarn is what gives the bag its matte, tough look.
The CHZ is pretty stiff in general, but that’s kind of the point—it’s built to withstand years of use. The only time the bag’s stiffness presents a problem is when what we call the “rhino horn” appears, depending on how you’ve packed the interior security pocket. We had the same issue with the smaller version of this bag, something we’ll get into later. The weather resistant coating does fine in light rain, but in a torrential downpour, you’re gonna want to put a rain shell over it to be safe.
While the stiffness didn’t bug us too much, one downside of this fabric is its ability to attract pet hair. Compared to earlier EVERGOODS bags like the CPL24, the dust and lint attraction isn’t as bad. But it’s still pretty bad, especially if you have a long-haired cat or dog that sheds a lot.
Having to lint roll your backpack every morning before walking out the door with it is pretty time-consuming. On days we couldn’t be bothered with the lint roller, showing up to work with cat hair on our coat became a new fashion trend. If you don’t have any fur babies at home, no need to worry, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re a pet owner.
For the interior, there’s a slightly lighter 420d high tenacity 6,6 nylon material in a grey color that makes it easy to see what’s inside. We’ve also got some hefty Duraflex hardware and YKK racquet coil zippers. The zippers can be a bit sticky at first but loosen up over time.
There are so many awesome features on the cheese before you even open it up, we don’t know where to start. Just look at it. It has two water bottle pockets, a comfortable harness system, a sturdy back panel, and… okay… hold up… deep breath. One feature at a time. Let’s back up to those water bottle pockets.
Yes, there two of them, one on either side of the bag. For maniacs like us with a separate thermos for coffee and water, this is pretty boss. Even when using both at the same time, they didn’t eat up any space on the inside of the bag. These things are so stretchy and soft that we could touch them all day. That may be a bit weird, though, so we won’t. They’re made of a nylon and polyurethane blend and have an elastic band around the rim that holds your bottle tightly in place. The elastic also keeps the pockets close to the body of the bag so they don’t stick out when not in use.
Notice those little escape holes on the bottom of the water bottle pockets? Those are so you don’t get a bunch of liquid or debris pooled up in there. This is pretty genius as dirt and dust always seem to accumulate in the bottom of our backpacks. Really, these water bottle pockets can be used to hold anything you want quick access to like gloves on a cold day.
Moving right along, let’s talk about the harness system and why it’s our favorite part of this bag—mainly the shoulder straps. We love how the shoulder straps are cut and contoured to follow the curve of your chest and shoulders. There’s also a dense amount of EV50 Zotefoam padding for added comfort.
Couple that with the foam on the back panel and how it curves to fit your upper back, and you’ve got a recipe for an exceptionally comfortable carry. The pack sits high up on your back, fitting snuggly against your body. The HDPE (plastic) frame sheet gives it the right amount of stiffness without being too stiff—it’s like carrying a firm foam pillow. We took it on a brisk hike for a few hours, and it never once felt heavy, even packed full of snacks and extra layers of clothing. The shoulder straps also have a small opening to thread a water bladder tube through in case you’re doing some more intense outdoor trekking.
While it wasn’t a problem for us, the back panel is lacking any mesh for breathability. This means you may run into some issues with dreaded back sweat in warmer climates—something to consider.
We’re also happy to report a dramatic improvement on the sternum strap of the CHZ 26L vs. previous EVERGOODS bags. With the 22L version, we accidentally pulled the sternum strap through the attachment loop when trying to tighten it. With the CPL24 V1, it came loose twice. With the CHZ26, the new and improved sternum strap design gave us zero issues as it was much more secure. Seems like EVERGOODS has really paid attention to customer feedback, and we appreciate that!
The rigid top handle on this bag is stable enough for easy grabbing and hanging on doors. Fair warning, though, there’s not much in the way of padding on the handle, so carrying it this way for long periods probably isn’t ideal. As a plus, it does have accessory loops on either side of it where you can clip on an organizer pouch, tie on a jacket, or whatever else you want.
Inside The Pack
Let’s open this baby up and talk about the internal features, starting with the top quick grab pocket.
Inside there’s a bright reddish-orange key leash, adding some nice color contrast to the bag. We used this pocket for small items like earbuds, a wallet, and of course, keys. It’s also ideal for stashing your passport while you go through airport security.
When you open up the main compartment, you’ll notice some nylon webbing on the other side of this pocket. EVERGOODS suggests using these to hold pens, but the spacing between the webbing is pretty wide. A regular pen will slide right out unless it has a clip on it. These webbing loops seem better suited for clipping on an organizer pouch with a carabiner.
All of the pockets on this bag are liter independent, meaning they don’t eat up space inside the main compartment. Giving each pocket its own volume is an excellent overall design aspect, but it presents a small problem for the interior security pocket. Since the volume doesn’t cut into the bag, there’s nowhere for it to go but outward, and it sticks out quite a bit depending on how much stuff you’ve shoved in there. It makes a kind of a rhino horn shape on top of the bag, making the bag look oddly bulky. This issue is even more pronounced if the security pocket is full, but the rest of the bag is empty. This is a pretty minor issue, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The pocket itself is quite roomy, and we used it mostly for chargers, cables, and other tech bits. Just be careful how you pack it if you want to avoid that little horn. We’re not sure if “better out than in” applies in this case, so we’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Underneath that is a slender mesh pocket. At first glance, we wondered, “why the heck is the zipper upside down??” Upon further use, we realized this is actually a genius design from EVERGOODS that we hadn’t seen on their previous bags. The CHZ opens up horseshoe, half zip style (CHZ stands for civic half-zip, not actually cheese after all). When you load up the interior security pocket, it weighs the front down, so it just sort of flaps over. When it’s open and folded like this, the zipper on the mesh pocket is actually right side up! We found it great when we’re hankering for a snack, which is always. Just unzip the bag, fold that front flap down, and that mesh pocket is in a prime spot.
Back in the main compartment, there’s a robust laptop sleeve with a nylon loop tab on the front that you can use to pull it open. When we say robust, we mean the sleeve is basically like a bed for your laptop with a weighted blanket tucking it securely in place. The false bottom and sleeve’s thick padding provide ample protection for up to a 17” laptop.
Our laptops are pretty much like our babies, so tucking them to bed in such a cozy sleeve makes us feel pretty good. Even with an added laptop sleeve, a 17” MacBook still fits (albeit a tight squeeze), but you honestly don’t need one with how reinforced it is already. One thing to look out for is that the top pocket can also block the laptop sleeve if you’ve got it filled up. A small nitpick, but just something to keep in mind.
The laptop sleeve also doubles as a compartment to carry a water bladder with the hose coming through the shoulder straps, as we mentioned before. You probably don’t want to use this space for both your laptop and a water bladder at the same time, but whichever you put here will be nestled in securely.
- Stiff back panel, curved shoulder straps, and an overall well-padded harness system makes for a comfortable carry
- Everything we like about the Civic Half Zip 22L (CHZ22) in a bigger size
- Durable construction and materials
- Attracts a ton of cat hair…
- No issues with tears of rips
- Took it on a short hike and it was super comfortable even fully packed out
- Overall enjoying carrying it everyday