lululemon City Adventurer Backpack Micro 3L Review
lululemon’s City Adventurer Backpack Micro is a 3L mini backpack for your daily essentials that can convert to a crossbody, albeit not comfortably.
- Mesh pockets add helpful organization to interior
- Easy-to-clean fabric
- So light you forget it’s there
- YKK Vislon zipper gets caught on lining
- Strap adjusters can rub under arms
- Mesh pockets can interfere with gear in main compartment
7.55 oz (214 g)
6.5 in x 3.1 in x 8.7 in (16.5 x 7.9 x 22.1 cm)
Polyester, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware
Sometimes we need a big travel backpack to carry everything we need for a week, while sometimes, we simply need a bag to get us through a few hours. The lululemon City Adventurer Backpack Micro 3L is the latter, not the former. Even with the small capacity, we find it fits quite a few essentials to get us through the day, and it’s light enough that we don’t feel the weight on our back.
The lululemon City Adventurer Backpack Micro 3L is made with water-repellant polyester and designed to be a tiny backpack to get you through the day. Despite its miniature size, it has many features we see on larger packs, likely as a nod to the fact that it’s the mini version of the brand’s City Adventurer line of backpacks.
You can get the same backpack in four sizes: a 20L, Mini 11L, Micro 3L, and a Nano, which is tiny enough to slip on a belt. All four have similar design features: a bottom compartment that unzips horizontally, chunky zippers, and a flat base that allows them to stand upright. All except for the Nano include zipper garages for added protection from the elements. Since lululemon calls out the water repellant fabric on the Micro, it’s a nice touch to add the garages to help prevent water from seeping in at the ends of the zipper tracks.
The zippers themselves are YKK Vislon, and they’re pretty chunky. They work well, except we catch the bottom zipper on the lining fabric at least half the time we’re trying to open that compartment. It isn’t very pleasant, and thus far, we haven’t found a foolproof way to prevent it.
We find plastic Duraflex hardware throughout the mini backpack, for the slides and rectangular rings where the straps slide through to adapt it to crossbody carry. The strap is a thin, satiny webbing, an inch wide, that is doubled at the top to create a carry handle.
It’s very stiff to adjust through the slides, though the silver lining is that it stays put. That isn’t necessarily the case where the carry handle slides through at the top of the bag. The rectangular rings do a pretty good job of hanging onto the strap so that it stays in backpack mode, though if you shake the bag a little, it slides through. That can get irritating if you just want to pick up the bag and sling it onto your back, though we found it takes a bit of effort to do so. For the most part, the rings grip the strap to keep it in place.
lululemon branding is on the plastic zipper pulls, and there is also a tiny metallic lululemon icon in the bottom right corner where the top meets the bottom section of the bag. It’s silver on the Seal Grey/Graphite Grey colorway we tested, a gray colorway with a grid pattern. The Micro also comes in Pink Pastel, Black, and Trench—which is tan, like a trench coat.
While it may seem silly to discuss back panel padding on a 3-liter backpack, the Micro actually has some light padding to protect you from feeling … your phone? Frankly, we don’t even feel it while wearing the backpack, though we appreciate the thought.
Now onto the hip belt … Wait, you didn’t really think there is a hip belt on a mini backpack that’s not even 9 inches tall, did you? Didn’t think so. Let’s talk about fit.
lululemon’s City Adventurer Backpack Micro is a mini backpack at heart. It’s got a fun, casual vibe that’s not out of place when shopping, at festivals, or in the park, though it’s not what we’d grab for a formal event. It’s not designed for that, though.
Since we can’t stuff it full of too much gear, the shoulder straps’ comfort doesn’t come into play that much. We find it pretty comfy, though—the satiny webbing strap doesn’t irritate bare arms, which we’ve encountered with other mini backpacks. What jabs you, however, are the strap adjustment slides.
It’s more of an annoyance than a long-term irritation, although when the mini backpack is adjusted closer to the body, multiple testers feel them. Depending on how the straps are adjusted, they tend to hit between your upper arms and your chest. Lengthening the straps moves the adjusters to the bottom of the backpack, alleviating that problem. If you prefer your mini backpack tight on your back, you may feel them rub.
lululemon touts the City Adventurer Backpack Micro’s ability to be worn as a crossbody, as well. While that isn’t a look we love, it may be preferable in certain situations; your mileage will vary. Pull the carry handle through the slides at the top to create one long loop instead of two shoulder straps to do so. However, we have to point out that you’ll have the portion at the top of the strap—where it’s folded in half to create the carry handle—resting against your shoulder. It’s not the best feeling, though it’s not the worst. Playing around with having the mini backpack in front or behind you moves that portion of the strap so you can find a good resting place for it on your shoulder.
Inside The Mini Backpack
There are two sections to the lululemon City Adventurer Backpack Micro 3L: a bottom section that opens like a mouth on the front and the main compartment that opens the top two-thirds. The bottom section is a front compartment where we like to store small items like lip balm, hand sanitizer, and other small necessities.
We would toss keys there, too, if it weren’t that it’s not always the easiest to get into this section. The YKK Vislon zipper runs horizontally from either side of the back panel, and it tends to get stuck on the inner lining when making the first corner (on the left side as we’re looking at the bag), possibly because the lining of the main compartment runs the length of the bag. Anything in the front pocket of the main section pushes into the front compartment, though we had this problem upon unboxing, so an empty pocket doesn’t solve the issue.
The main section also opens with YKK Vislon zippers, though this one is dual-sided so that you can open it from either direction, like most backpacks. The liner is polyester like the remainder of the bag, and there is a small label with the lululemon logo and brand name along the back panel. The compartment features two 6-inch deep polyester mesh pockets lined with elastic at the top: a 6-inch wide one along the rear panel and a 5-inch wide one along the front. These are nice for keeping your wallet and phone from falling to the bottom of the mini backpack. Tossing things in these pockets naturally makes them bulge out, blocking the bottom of the bag, so you’ll have to push them aside to grab your AirPods and other gear that’s fallen to the bottom. Since it’s 6 inches from the top of those pockets, however, it’s not that far to dig.
Overall, we find the City Adventurer Backpack Micro a fun way to carry the essentials throughout the day. Its tiny nature means you can toss it in your travel daypack as an everyday carry while you’re on your trip or carry it with you as you board the plane with your carry-on. It’s not likely to tip any weight scales and trigger extra charges, and it will easily slip under the seat in front of you and still leave room to stretch your legs.
- Excited to see zipper garages on a mini backpack
- Converts easily from a backpack to crossbody carry
- Zipper catches on exterior pocket liner
- Rather awkward as a crossbody
- Straps stay put in slides
- A great alternative to a sling for carrying essentials