July Carry All Backpack Review
The July Carry All Backpack is a comfortable, good-looking way to carry everyday gear and essentials for your next trip.
- Laptop compartment accessible without opening entire bag
- Exterior fabric easy to wipe clean
- Zipped bottle pocket holds hydration securely
- No compression for when you carry less
- Easy to catch on tablet sleeve when packing main compartment
- No strap keepers
2.2 lb (1 kg)
11.1 in x 6.3 in x 17.4 in (28.2 x 16 x 44.2 cm)
Nylon, Twill, Leather, OOK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
When you’re heading out for a trip and looking for a personal item bag, there’s a decent chance you’ll grab the one you carry every day. July takes that idea and runs with it with the Carry All Backpack. It’s a carry on that can carry all you need on board—get it?
Wordplay aside, it’s a 20L bag with enough space for daily essentials and what you’d need for the plane and the first day of your trip, wrapped in the elevated design July aims to incorporate into their products. How does it work in real life? Let’s find out.
The first thing you notice when checking out the July Carry All Backpack is its structured design. Reinforcement on all sides of the nylon material keeps the bag looking the same, whether empty or full. That also helps it to sit upright most of the time unless you pack a lot of heavy gear at the top.
Along with 420D twill nylon, there are leather accents scattered around the bag, including a band along the top of the back panel where the straps attach, the attachments for the adjustable portions of the shoulder straps, the zipper pulls, and a tab along the left side of the front bearing the shiny metallic July brand name.
The carry handle is satiny webbing folded in on itself to provide some padding. A strip of leather reinforces it along the back, providing additional structure when you hang the daypack on a hook. That’s nice because you don’t end up with a crease in the handle if you hang it up for a long time.
We’re testing the Forest Green colorway, but as of this review, you can also get it in Midnight Black and French Navy. On all three colorways, the leather accents are black and include gunmetal metallic zippers. The zippers are OOK, a brand we’ve seen on some Bellroy products, and they function well.
Other hardware on the bag includes shiny metal strap adjusters. They have no visible branding, but they also work well, keeping the adjustment in place as you don and doff the bag. Plus, there’s a gunmetal D-ring attached with a leather tab on the right side of the bag. It’s a great place to hook your keys with a carabiner, hang a small bottle of hand sanitizer, or attach pretty much anything else you’d like to hang off the side of your bag.
Since the Carry All Backpack is just a 20L bag, we’re not surprised to find a simple harness system. There are nicely-padded shoulder straps that connect at the bottom to satin webbing so you can adjust them tighter or looser. Surprisingly, the bag lacks strap keepers, and the dangling straps detract a bit from the bag’s otherwise clean lines.
The back panel is as well padded as the shoulder straps, providing comfort as well as protection for your laptop, which stows in an adjacent compartment. There’s no means of aeration or breathable mesh, but you’re unlikely to take this bag on a hot, sweaty hike. If you were thinking about it, you might want to reconsider or plan to take breaks to let your back air out.
You will want to take the July Carry All Backpack to the airport. If you pair it with the July Carry On or another piece of rolling luggage, you’ll be happy to see a luggage pass-through on the back panel where you can slide it over the handle for easy maneuvering; it fits like a glove.
First, we have to talk about how comfortable this backpack is. Seriously, it’s rare that the entire Pack Hacker team feels the same way about a bag, yet we all agree that the simple harness system works well on this bag. While the lack of breathability is something to consider if you’re commuting by bike in downtown Phoenix, if you won’t routinely wear it in sweltering weather, it’s unlikely to be an issue.
We also just think this is a great-looking bag. The structured sides, internal bottle pocket, and subtle front pocket all combine in a package that’s clean, simple, and will fit nearly everywhere short of the red carpet at the Oscars. But hey, if Julia Roberts thinks the July Carry All Backpack meshes well with her evening gown, we won’t argue!
Inside The Pack
While this is a sleek-looking bag, it still has quite a few extra places to store your gear. We’ll start at the top, with a hidden pocket between the carry handle and the back panel. July calls this the QuickPass™. It’s a somewhat deep pocket with a magnetic closure, and while you can fit a phone inside, it’s probably better for travel documents that you want secure but don’t need to get at constantly, like your passport. The pocket is deep but doesn’t open very widely, so it can be a bit of a challenge to quickly pull out a phone that’s slipped to the bottom.
Instead, we slot a phone into the front pocket, which opens horizontally about halfway down the bag. The bag’s fabric nearly entirely conceals the zipper, giving it a clean design. The pocket is quite spacious since it runs down to the bottom of the bag, so we use it to carry a wallet, phone, and other tiny travel accessories. You can toss your keys in here, too, although there’s another dedicated place for them inside the main compartment.
On the left is an integrated travel water bottle pocket. It zips closed, so you don’t have to worry about your bottle falling out no matter which way the bag turns—even if it’s upside-down. While it looks quite slim and easily holds a Standard Mouth Hydro Flask, it can also accommodate wider bottles like a Wide Mouth Nalgene.
Nothing bulges out the side when you carry a bottle because the pocket goes into the main compartment. Of course, that impacts how much space you have to pack inside the backpack, so you might want to plan ahead to carry a bigger bottle.
There’s one more area to chat about before we head inside the main compartment: the separate laptop section. A zipper atop the back panel gives you access to a well-padded sleeve that can accommodate up to a 16-inch laptop. Thanks to quilted back padding, you don’t feel a device pressing into your back, and there’s a slight false bottom to protect it if the bag falls, although it’s not the biggest we’ve seen, so we don’t recommend tossing this in the corner at the end of the day like a 10-year-old unless you’ve unpacked it first.
A separate section like this is great for the plane because you can easily pull out your laptop to watch movies you downloaded or get some work done without dislodging the contents of the carefully-packed main compartment. And provided that you keep the top of the bag facing you when you slide it under the seat in front of you, it’s easy to pull out your device without pulling out the entire pack. There’s no further organization here, but that’s OK; there’s more space for tech pouches and other gear in the main compartment.
A horseshoe-shaped zipper along the front of the bag lets you inside. Even though it only proceeds about halfway down the bag’s sides, their built-in structure allows you to easily see all the way to the bottom of the bag. The interior has a black liner, though, so even though you can, theoretically, see to the bottom of the bag, if you have something like a black Aer Split Kit down there, it may still be tricky to notice it (we speak from experience here).
At the top of the front panel is a zipper pocket that contains a swivel key clip on a leather leash. It’s not long enough to open a door with the keys still attached while it’s still on your back (even if you’re a flexible enough contortionist to open the main compartment and this pocket with it on). However, it’s an excellent place to stash your home and car keys when you head out on vacation so you can easily find them when you return.
Below are two slip pockets for larger gear, like a glasses case or a wall charger. They can lay flat if you don’t need them, although you may catch them accidentally as you slide larger gear like your lunch, an extra layer, or a pair of shoes in the main compartment.
Another slip pocket along the back side can cause the same issue. It holds an iPad or other tablet so that you can carry two devices at a time. It’s easy enough to push the pockets out of the way; we just want to mention the issue so you remember to do it. Since they’re black pockets on a black liner, it’s easy to forget about them.
Even with the other pockets packed, you can easily fit a packing cube with an outfit or two and a tech pouch inside for travel, or your lunch and gym clothing inside for every day. This makes the July Carry All Backpack great for everyday gear as well as a personal item bag. So if you’re looking for a stylish bag for both purposes, it may be a great choice for your next daypack.
- Has a lot of built-in structure
- Leather accents look premium
- Digging the Forest Green colorway
- Super comfortable to carry
- Exterior D-ring convenient for small accessories
- Looks great in many situations