- Great level of organization
- Nicely padded, breathable harness system
- Velcro Pouch adds modularity
- Not a lot of visibility in the main compartment
- Water bottle pocket isn’t very secure
- Removable pouch can obstruct access when fully packed
2.85 lb (1.3 kg)
19 in x 14 in x 8.25 in (48.3 x 35.6 x 21 cm)
Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware
Laptop Compartment Size
Daypacks come in all different shapes and sizes—some hold the bare essentials, while others you can load up for a weekend getaway. It’s all about finding which one works best for your gear and use case.
If you’re someone looking for that just-right size, the Ogio Pace 25 Backpack is one to check out. It has the organization you want for your regular everyday commute and the space you need for those weekend trips.
With two weeks’ worth of testing down, we’re ready to jump into this review. Let’s do it.
Materials & Aesthetic
The Ogio Pace 25 Backpack isn’t so big that it looks unnatural, and not so small that it seems shrunken. We’ve been digging the design, although only about 41% of you would agree, according to our Instagram poll on the bag’s look.
At the time of this review, you can pick up this bag in two colorways—Heather Grey and Black, which we’ve been testing these last two weeks. It’s pretty low-profile and blends in with the crowd if that’s what you’re looking for. Now, if you were hoping for something that makes a statement, this probably isn’t the bag for you.
Ogio kept branding to a minimum here. You’ll find their logo only on the front quick-grab pocket and on one of the shoulder straps—both of which are black-on-black and blend in nicely with the surrounding fabric. It doesn’t draw much attention, which you might appreciate if you prefer a more streamlined look.
This pack is constructed with a durable 840D Ballistic nylon body and is reinforced with 1680D Ballistic nylon on the bottom and sides—it’s always nice to have some added durability on high-traffic parts of the bag. This fabric feels stiff and rugged in hand and has held up well during testing. It’s not the most water-resistant that we’ve ever tested, but you’ll be just fine in some drizzly weather.
The Pace 25 Backpack features YKK zippers with some nylon-webbing pulls that are easy to grab. We’ve tested lots of YKK zippers in the past, and we’re happy to report that, per usual, they’re all gliding smoothly.
As for the hardware, that comes to us from Duraflex—yet another brand we’ve seen integrated on many packs. Our only issue is with the sternum strap, which we’ll talk about in the next section—everything else has been working just fine.
Before we get inside this thing, let’s look a little more closely at the harness system. We have a few nitpicks, but overall, we’ve found it super comfortable and breathable throughout our testing.
Starting with the shoulder straps, you’ll notice some spongey padding and a mesh lining that keeps you comfortable and well-ventilated. They also bend sharply at the top, which allows them to contour nicely to your shoulders.
There’s also a sturdy attachment point on one of the straps where you can attach a carabiner and clip gear that you want to keep close by. What you won’t find are elastic keepers, meaning if you need to max out their adjustment, you’ll have quite a bit of dangling to deal with.
Next up is the sternum strap. We like that it’s securely attached, but it takes some effort to adjust as you have to fit the attachment points through slits in the hardware to remove and re-secure it. This is really only an issue the first time around—once you’ve got it set for your preferences, you shouldn’t have to readjust very often.
The sternum strap does have an elastic keeper that helps manage any excess strap and does a great job of it, too. We’ve tested some sternum straps in the past that are pretty dangly even with a keeper, while this one keeps the majority of the strap smooth and out of the way. We dig it.
Like the shoulder straps, the back panel has a nice level of padding and mesh to keep your back comfortable and the air flowing. There’s also a luggage passthrough across the back panel that you can use to slip the bag onto your roller luggage and easily wheel it around when you’re traveling. When not in use, it lies flat against the bag and works as some extra padding.
You also have a handle at the very top of the pack. There’s some padding around this handle, but it feels pretty stiff in hand, so it’s not the most comfortable. That said, it works just fine for grabbing and picking up the bag when we need to get something out.
To finish off this section, we also want to point out the water bottle pocket on the side of the bag. It’s a soft mesh pocket secured by a cinch that you can tighten or loosen, depending on the size of the bottle you’re carrying.
It’s difficult to cinch the pocket much tighter when you have a larger bottle like the YETI Rambler 36 oz Bottle inside, and as a result, we’ve had the bottle fall out once while we were bending over to pick something up. We also tried with a smaller bottle, the Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap 21 oz, and it slipped right out as well. You can keep your bottle on the inside of the pack if you want to keep it more secure, but you may not be comfortable keeping it so close to your tech.
Inside The Pack
We have quite a few pockets to go through, the first of which you’ll find on the back panel. It’s a hidden pocket that sits against your back when you’ve got the bag on, so whatever you keep inside will be nice and secure from the wrong hands. This makes it great for your more valuable items, like your passport. You don’t want to keep anything too pointy or bulky here; otherwise, it’ll stick into your back, which isn’t very comfortable.
Next up, we have the two tall pockets on either side of the bag. Inside, you’ll find a soft mesh pouch with some elastic at the top. It’s not the stretchiest elastic we’ve ever seen, but overall, it’s great for segmenting smaller items. There’s also some guessed fabric on the opening of this pocket, which prevents your gear from falling out when you open it up.
On the front of the bag, towards the top, is a medium-sized quick-grab pocket where you can stash your more frequently-used gear, such as a wallet or a pair of sunglasses. It doesn’t have any organization, so it essentially works as a dump pocket, though you can add pouches to create some more segmentation if desired. The fabric welt that sits over the zipper is also a nice touch, as it offers some added water-resistance and a clean look.
The pocket below this one is about double the size. There’s a zippered pocket inside where you can store items you don’t want mixing in with your other gear—like smaller cables and dongles. Across from this pocket are two smaller liner pockets you can use to keep a small notebook and a mouse handy. We’ve been slipping the Matador Pocket Blanket 2.0 in one of these ourselves for easy grabbing when we find a nice spot to hang out for a while.
Lastly, we have a smaller pocket on top of this larger pocket. It’s equipped with RFID-blocking technology to keep your information secure from any hackers that are close-by. We can’t say just how often you’ll encounter this problem, but you can’t go wrong with some added security for your passport, wallet, and other cards that may hold your private information.
Also inside this pocket is a key leash with a plastic clip that feels nice and sturdy in hand. We didn’t get too much use out of it as we often have our keys in our pockets or clipped to our belt loops where they’re the handiest. However, if you want a spot that will keep them more secure, this is it.
Now we can finally get into this main compartment! This compartment opens up in a horseshoe-style fashion and only unzips about halfway down the length of the bag. This, along with the dark interior, can make it a little hard to spot your gear.
In terms of organization, you have some unique features at your disposal. The first is a removable zippered pouch that attaches to the front flap via velcro. This means you can load it up with your tech accessories, disengage the velcro, and keep it close by for easy access—it can operate as your personal tech pouch. It’s made with a silicone-like material that’s water-resistant and feels rubbery.
When it’s inside the bag, it stays securely attached to the line of velcro—we haven’t had any issues with it slouching or falling into the bottom of our bag. Our only note is that because of where this pouch is located, it can further obstruct visibility and access into the rest of the bag, especially when it’s fully packed out with accessories. But, you can easily remove it when you need unrestricted access to the rest of the compartment, so it’s not a deal-breaker.
Below this pouch are two smaller mesh pouches, which are a similar size as the ones we’ve seen in the gusseted side pockets. You can store other smaller gear you need to segment and any bulkier cables you might have leftover in the larger mesh pouch below them. With the larger mesh pouch, in particular, packing it out can make capacity a little tight in the rest of the compartment, which is something to be aware of.
Another interesting integration you’ll spot is a nylon strap with a buckle toward the top of the bag. Believe it or not, it acts as a way to keep a pair of larger headphones secure, so that they’re not all mixed up with your other gear. We haven’t had much of a need for it as we’re more often than not using a pair of Apple AirPods, but your mileage may vary.
Underneath that strap, you’ll find two sleeves—one deep and one shallow—that work for storing your flatter items, whether it’s a larger notebook, travel documents, or other miscellaneous gear. Next to the shallower sleeve, you also have four pen sleeves to keep pens, pencils, markers, or a stylus organized, so they’re easy to grab when you need them.
Then you have some free space left over to pack out with your bigger, bulkier gear—a sweatshirt or jacket, an extra pair of shoes, an umbrella for when it rains, you name it. We’ve been able to pack this bag out with everything we need for a weekend trip, which is great for any traveling you may do for work (or for fun). You can also incorporate some of your own packing cubes to help separate all your stuff or let it free float. It all depends on what works better for you and your gear.
At long last, we have the laptop compartment, located at the very back of the bag. It’s equipped with a sleeve that can hold up to a 17″ laptop, though we’ve mostly been keeping a 13″ MacBook Pro inside during testing. It has a pretty decent false bottom, so you don’t have to fret when setting your bag down, not-so-gently. You also have a shallower sleeve in front to store a tablet if you carry one, and it’s suspended to keep your tech safe from those accidental drops.
- Extra-large laptop compartment can fit a 17″ laptop
- Reinforced bottom and sides for extra durability
- Removable zippered pocket for easy tech access
- We took this bag on a boat ride on the lake to test its water resistance, and we’re happy to report that all of our gear stayed nice and dry
- The removable pouch has been super convenient to remove and use as a tech pouch when we want to keep accessories handy
- The sternum strap isn’t very quick to adjust—it requires two hands to remove when you need to move it up or down