Nomad Lane Bento Bag Sport Edition Review
Business travelers will dig the Nomad Lane Bento Bag Sport Edition's professional look, though we feel there's a mismatch in the quality of some of the materials.
- Most materials feel premium and professional
- Dedicated compartments keep toiletries & tech separate
- Fits underneath the seat on the plane
- Front pockets can be tight when bag is full
- Included toiletry bag and tech pouch feel cheap compared to the rest of the bag
- Charging port only supports USB-A cables
2.7 lb (1.2 kg)
10 in x 17 in x 8 in (25.4 x 43.2 x 20.3 cm)
Nylon, DWR Coating, Vegan Leather
Laptop Compartment Size
If you landed on this page because you thought the Nomad Lane Bento Bag Sport Edition was a bento box for your lunch, we’re sorry to disappoint you. If you’re a business traveler looking for an overnight bag for work trips, then you’ve come to the right place. And if you do happen to be in the former category, don’t blame us. We didn’t choose the name!
Touted as flawlessly taking you “from boarding to the boardroom,” the Nomad Lane Bento Bag Sport comes with a lot of organization and accessories you’d need for a business trip. There’s an included toiletry bag, tech pouch, and shoe bags with dedicated compartments to put them in. It’s also got a USB charging port so you can keep your devices from dying during a day packed full of meetings. At 24L, it’s sized to fit underneath the seat in front of you on the plane.
These all sound good in theory, but some features don’t come together as cohesively as we’d like. For example, the front pocket has deep pockets, but if you stuff things all the way to the bottom, they are hard to reach. Some of those pockets are so tiny that you can’t get more than a tic-tac box in them. Cool if you always carry tic-tacs, not cool if you want to put literally anything else in them. The toiletry and tech pouches also feel cheap compared to the rest of the bag. We’ll get to all of that soon, but first, let’s take a look at the materials and aesthetic.
Materials & Aesthetic
This bag is the embodiment of an office worker jetting in between meetings, slurping down gallons of coffee to get through the day. The primary material is a thick 840D Nylon with a weather-resistant coating that gives it a smooth look and feel. So if you get caught in a slight drizzle while you’re waiting to catch a taxi, your stuff will be safe. Just remember, we said slight drizzle, not torrential downpour. Vegan leather on the carry handles makes it a safe pick for travelers who want to avoid animal products. Those leather accent strips on the front and back with the Nomad Lane logo imprinted on them are pretty boss, too. We’ve got a bone to pick with the thin piece of leather that wraps around the carry handles, but we’ll get more into that later.
At the time of this review, the Nomad Lane Bento Bag Sport is available in black or navy blue with either bronze or silver zippers. We chose navy with silver zippers because we have a lot of black bags, and navy felt like a professional choice. Over on our Instagram poll, only 33% of our followers said they liked the look, but this bag is definitely geared towards a specific type of traveler.
The YKK zippers with metal zipper pulls made us feel like a finance exec carrying stacks of classified paperwork. We’re too fancy for plastic zipper pulls (not all the time, only when we’re carrying this bag). These can be a bit jingly due to their length, so if you want to sneak into the office when you’re running late, this bag won’t do you any favors, FYI.
As you’d expect from a duffle/briefcase, you can carry it either across your shoulder or in hand. We’ve gotta say, the carry handles are puzzling. There is no form of padding on here, and the thin strip of leather that clasps the handles together just doesn’t cut it. It looks like some cheap fabric you’d use in a beginner sewing class. The raw edges aren’t serged, so ours started to fray after only a few uses. It’s certainly an odd choice for a bag that is supposed to feel premium and professional.
Luckily, the removable cross-body strap felt much more comfortable with better construction. Here, there is some shoulder padding with a layer of mesh for breathability. This one feels much better. On the side of the bag where you attach the cross-body strap is a tiny carabiner. It’s so tiny, we almost didn’t notice it, and we were hesitant to clip on a heavy pouch in fear that it might fall off.
The USB charging port could be useful if you don’t want your phone to die in the middle of a long day. We say could because it comes with a few caveats. The first being that it only supports USB-A cables. If you have switched over to USB-C, this will not work unless you have a USB-A to USB-C cord or a small adapter. And that’s at the time we’re writing this review. By the time you read this review, we could be on USB-Y or Z, and this charging port would be obsolete.
It also doesn’t come with its own battery, so you’ll need an external power bank. This makes the bag TSA-compliant (unlike some “smart backpacks” with batteries that can’t be removed), but then there’s an additional product you need to pick up. We’re not saying it’s a bad thing, just something to be aware of.
This bag is supposed to have enough space for all your work gear and enough clothing for a one-to-two day trip, but you can also use it with a rolling suitcase. There’s a passthrough for a suitcase handle on the back so that you can set the bag on top and roll through the airport like a pro. The only downside of this is the pocket on the outside of the passthrough. If you’ve got a lot of bulky stuff in here, it will stick out and make the space for your luggage handle slightly tight. So make sure you put small or flat items in here to avoid that.
Inside The Bag
You’ll notice there are a lot of zippers on this bag. That’s because there are a lot of compartments, and everything has a dedicated space. It can be a bit confusing at first, but it all makes sense (for the most part) once you’ve used it a few times. We promise to take this slow, so let’s look at the bag from front to back.
First is the front pocket. This hyper-organized compartment is where you’ll put your pens, notes, and quick-grab items like earbuds and a wallet. The power bank that you hook up if you choose to use the charging port goes in here too, but it can be a tight squeeze depending on its size. We used this with the Anker PowerCore II 10000, which is a bit chunky. It was hard to zip the pocket once we had the power bank hooked up in the slot where it’s supposed to fit (on the far right when the bag is facing you).
The organized pockets inside here are cavernous. If you put a coin inside, it will be lost into the depths of the abyss for eternity. But when we stuck the power bank all the way down, it was difficult to zip the pocket closed. So we stuck it only halfway down, and then the connected cable was in the way of the zipper. In the end, zipping the pocket closed is not impossible, but it’s not smooth, and the zipper track gets a little wavy. You’ll want to opt for a smaller, thinner power bank to use with this bag.
Overall, this front compartment has three pen slots and seven pockets, including a zippered pocket and two tight mesh panels. When we said “hyper-organized,” we meant it! Some of these pockets were a bit small for us to use comfortably, and all of them are as deep as the eternal abyss we mentioned earlier. We do like how the compartment itself is gusseted, so you can fit more in the open space. However, you’ll get a bulge going on, and the zipper is hard to close if you put too much inside.
Toiletry Bag and Tech Kit Compartments
The next set of zippers are for two separate compartments behind the front pocket—one for your toiletry bag and one for your tech kit. This way, you can pull them out quickly in the TSA line instead of digging around your bag for them. It’s a pretty slick feature. We like it.
We don’t love the included toiletry bag and tech pouch. The toiletry bag is clear and TSA-friendly, but it doesn’t offer any organization. The material on the tech pouch feels thin and slippery. Inside, you’ve got a zippered mesh pocket which is nice, another pocket, and a strip of elastic to hold your cords in. This elastic is loose and doesn’t hold much in tightly. It’s also positioned right on top of one of the pockets, so you may have to remove your cables to access whatever you’ve got in there.
Confused yet? We hope not! The next zipper will take us to the main compartment. And, you can always check out the video on the top of this page if you want a visual walkthrough.
This one opens up nice and wide clamshell-style. On one side, you’ve got a large mesh pocket. This is where you’d pack your shoes with the included shoe bags. We put a pair of size nine women’s hightops in here because we are baller gym-goers, and it was a bit of a tight squeeze. Plus, the shoes ate into the front compartment and made those front pockets even tighter. Above the shoe space, you’ll see the toiletry and tech bag compartments.
On the other side, there are two padded sleeves—one for a 16″ laptop and another for a tablet or notebook. We like to put our keyboard in here too. A little nylon strap with velcro closure keeps it all in place. One great thing about this compartment and where the laptop sleeve is placed is that you can just open the bag up and slide it right through TSA. Maybe slide is not the right word. Please put your bag in the bin and push it through the scanner gently. The point is, you shouldn’t have to take your laptop out, which will save you some time. There’s also a zipper behind the laptop sleeve you can use to access the next compartment, where your clothing goes.
Finally, we’ve reached the final pair of zippers. Hallelujah, we made it. This u-shaped zip opens up to a spacious open compartment. Put your clothes and whatever else you need to chillax after work in here, and you should be good to go.
We put two pairs of leggings, two shirts, a sweater, and underwear in a large Heimplanet packing cube in here, and arguably there was still room left. But it was starting to pucker inward just underneath the zipper, looking like it was riding the struggle bus to close. Makes us wonder what would happen if you have a massive collection of handkerchiefs or a couple of extra pairs of jeans to pack.
- The use of more water-resistant zippers is reassuring in unstable weather
- Clamshell-style opening made packing it easier
- Front pocket zips all the way down, but gussets stop it short of just spilling out
- Thin leather clasp on the grab handle has some fraying around the edges
- Included toiletry bag and tech kit feel cheap
- Charging port is only USB-A