SLNT E3 Faraday Backpack Review
The SLNT E3 Faraday Backpack can block unwanted incoming signals from reaching your devices, though it also hinders some quality-of-life tech features.
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- Silent Pocket Faraday sleeves work well to block signals
- Shoulder straps’ thick padding and wide shape aid comfort
- Being able to detach the Silent Pockets lets you carry them independently
- Smaller Silent Pocket can detach by accident
- Slick and slender bottles slip out of bottle pocket
- Services like Apple’s Find My won’t work with device in Silent Pocket
Like the Look
Polled on Instagram
4.6 lb (2.1 kg)
20.5 in x 12.2 in x 7.1 in (52.1 x 31 x 18 cm)
ECOPAK, Sailcloth, Duraflex Hardware, YKK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
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Digital nomads live and breathe the kind of lifestyle that’s tailored to electronic devices—lots of them, in fact. There’s typically a laptop, a smartphone, a smartwatch, or some sort of wearable device, and a wide entourage of accessories that orbit them like the many moons of Saturn. However, those first two devices are particularly vulnerable to sophisticated cyber-attacks. So, what’s a digital nomad to do?
For the folks over at SLNT (that’s pronounced “silent”), the solution is Faraday cages. No, we’re not talking about those huge ones you’ve probably seen in labs featured in documentaries. Instead, SLNT took the core Faraday cage concept and made a laptop sleeve and smartphone pouch for the E3 Faraday Backpack, hence the name.
Is it a gimmick, or do these custom containers actually work? More importantly, is the E3 Faraday Backpack even a good travel bag apart from its security features? Let’s find out.
We’ll start off with the looks of the E3 Faraday Backpack. What can we say, except that it looks like what you’d expect from a tech-focused backpack? Its all-black exterior stealthily hides a lot of the bag’s exterior features. The logo, loops, zippers, and handles all blend into the inky blackness of the Challenge ECOPAK Sailcloth fabric. Plus, the 100% recycled fabric is coated for weather resistance.
The E3 Faraday Backpack has a relatively boxy and structured design that’s not easy to pull off. We dig similar bags, like most of Aer’s Travel Packs. That said, brands can often lean too heavily into the angles, making them not only look boxy but also feel that way. In the E3 Faraday Backpack’s case, SLNT nails the looks, so we’ll see if they get the comfort of the fit right later as well.
At the front is a daisy chain of loops on the left side, which are always handy for a wide range of accessories. We use them to carry a mobile tripod in case the water bottle pocket is occupied or to hang collectible keychains.
SLNT does a good job outfitting the E3 Faraday Backpack with thick handles. There’s one at the top that’s wide and comfortably padded and one on the right side of the bag that’s just as thick. There’s none on the bottom and left side, but the top and left ones are more than enough for most cases.
Handles are an often-overlooked feature on backpacks that can be quite useful when traveling. Sometimes we just can’t be bothered to put on and take off the shoulder straps whenever we have to move. For example, we may need to move to a bench across the terminal and handles provide a quick and easy way to carry the bag.
Unfortunately, a water bottle pocket on the left side of the bag is too loose for our use case. We typically travel with a slender bottle like an 18 or 21-ounce Hydro Flask. The bad news is that those can come with a slick texture that the E3 Faraday Backpack’s water bottle pocket doesn’t have the elasticity to hold onto. Using the side handle usually results in the bottle on the opposite side falling out, and even an upward toss can launch it out of the pocket.
Standing at 23 liters, the E3 Faraday Backpack isn’t exactly what we’d call a heavyweight. As such, there’s really no need for SLNT to go overkill on the shoulder straps, yet they did. To their credit, the shoulder straps’ thick padding and wide shape positively impact comfort. We’re unsure if that would necessarily be a universal opinion, though we’ll cover that more in the next section. For now, let’s look at the smaller details.
Mesh underneath the straps slightly wraps around the inner edge to prevent chafing around the neck. It’s soft and allows hot air to escape quickly, keeping you cool. Needless to say, that’s also the reason why there’s mesh on the padded areas of the back panel. That said, no amount of mesh will prevent a sweaty back if the weather’s hot enough—passive heat convection by air can only do so much.
The included sternum strap is magnetic, and we were apprehensive at first. We go back and forth about the pros and cons of magnetic buckles: whether they’re more secure versus side-release buckles, or whether the convenience is worth it. Regardless, we can say this particular magnetic fastener feels notably robust compared to other magnetic sternum strap buckles we’ve tried. It feels more secure, and that’s really all we can ask for.
The sternum strap is adjustable by sliding it along a rail. We prefer this mounting style over the clips and loops on other backpacks since it’s more granular. Sizable fabric welts obscure both rails, and the one on the right shoulder strap has a small integrated zippered pocket to hold transit cards and some cash for your commutes.
It’s a nice little feature, though we wish its opening was inner-facing rather than oriented to face the outside so we could better see inside. Also, note that this pocket doesn’t have RFID protection, so be careful with your credit cards if you put them here.
Tired of hauling the bag on your back? Well, if you’re also traveling with rolling luggage, there’s a pass-through strap in the middle of the back panel that you can use to slot the bag on its handle. We rarely, if ever, travel with rolling luggage, though others may find it a handy option.
Lastly, we must shout out SLNT’s inclusion of strap keepers for the shoulder and sternum straps. Freely dangling slack can cause headaches when they catch on random fixtures like airplane seats and park benches; strap keepers help prevent that. Of course, you can opt not to use them if you like the strappy look.
While we like the boxy and structured look of the E3 Faraday Backpack, some of that boxiness translates to how it wears. It’s not that it feels like a crate on your back; it’s the stiffness we perceive as “boxiness.” Luckily, the shoulder straps are comfortable enough to offset the sensation. Their wide shape does a good job distributing the heft of a fully-loaded backpack, although users with small frames may find the straps’ wide shape to be cumbersome.
The sternum strap, meanwhile, does feel noticeably secure despite our initial reservations about the magnetic buckle. It’s also not too fussy to remove compared to other magnetic fasteners that you sort of have to unhook in order to detach.
Inside The Backpack
In case you missed it, the E3 Faraday Backpack does have a pocket built into its back panel. Do you see that zipper near the side handle? That’s where you can safely store your passport and wallet. The RFID-safe pocket rests against your back, so it’s also hard to access, adding to its security.
The space is a bit tight since the pocket is sandwiched between the back panel and the laptop sleeve inside. Consequently, we recommend using a minimalist wallet since a chunky one can bulk out the back panel, impacting comfort. It is quite deep, though, as it spans the entire width of the back panel.
There are also two pockets at the front, one near the top covered by a fabric welt and one opposite the daisy chain of loops. The latter has a sideways opening and a fair amount of room to store a battery bank or a pair of winter gloves. Meanwhile, we found the top pocket suitable for use as a quick grab pocket. Granted, the fabric welt does slow down access since we have to get it out of the way, but it’s not too much of a hassle.
Now let’s get into the real meaty part of the E3 Faraday Backpack: the laptop compartment. This zipper has an AquaGuard-style track, giving it more weather resistance than the other pockets. Our only issue is that the zipper frequently snags on the corner of the Silent Pocket laptop sleeve inside. The zipper just barely grazes that corner, but it’s enough to interrupt an otherwise smooth unzipping experience.
Once the laptop compartment’s open, you see the Silent Pocket laptop sleeve. It’s completely removable via two FIDLOCK magnets behind it and uses a magnetic closure for convenience. In case you were wondering, no, it’s not rigid like the cage-like ones you see in laboratories. Instead, SLNT’s Silent Pockets feel more or less like regular pouches, albeit crunchy and crinkly.
What’s special about this black envelope-looking laptop sleeve is that it can block incoming signals. In other words, this effectively blocks your laptop from would-be hackers and other unwanted connections—and it works, too. We couldn’t call the iPhone or connect AirPods Pro to the 16-inch MacBook we put inside.
We’ll leave it to you to ponder the value of this kind of security in your lifestyle. However, note that services like Apple’s Find My can’t track your device if they’re inside a Silent Pocket. So while using a Silent Pocket can contribute to security, it can also hinder some quality-of-life features.
Most of the E3 Faraday Backpack’s organization resides in its front compartment. On the front side are two zippered pockets. Though they have room for small accessories, these pockets are layered next to each other, so it’s fairly easy to overpack them. Above them is a D-ring where you can attach your keys for easy access.
On the back side near the bottom is a pair of stretchy pockets. SLNT did a good job placing these lower than the two zippered pockets across them, preventing the pockets from robbing space and clashing with one another. That said, above the stretchy pockets is another Silent Pocket. This time, it’s for a smartphone, hence the smaller size. Our only issue with this Silent pocket is that it detaches too easily, and we found it accidentally removed from its magnetic sockets from time to time.
The main compartment’s opening starts from the water bottle pocket’s top edge and runs around to the base of the bag on the other side. If you fully pull the main compartment apart, it even makes a heart shape. Fun shapes aside, this serves to demonstrate that a wide opening is good for accessibility.
There is plenty of room in the main compartment, and we’d be remiss not to compliment the bright liner SLNT chose to use here as it makes the E3 Faraday Backpack easy to pack and unpack. Bonus points: SLNT even included a large laundry bag you can use as a packing cube. Pack all your clean clothing inside, leave it in the hotel, and use the backpack while exploring your destination.
Make no mistake; this laundry bag isn’t just some random baggy SLNT found in their storage shed. Half of its front is see-through mesh, so you can see what’s inside, and there’s a handle you can use to carry it to the laundry shop. It doesn’t block access to the zippered mesh pocket near the top of the main compartment. The pocket fits your travel-sized headphones, by the way—full-sized ones probably won’t fit.
For the most part, SLNT does nail the bag aspect of the E3 Faraday Backpack. It’s comfortable to wear, has a variety of organizational options, and has space and accessibility that we find convenient for travel. The deciding factor is the value of the security features to you. While the Silent Pockets do indeed work in blocking signals, they also hurt quality-of-life features that use signals to give updates and track lost devices. You’ll have to put a smart tracker in an unprotected pocket of the bag if you want to track it. Does security trump convenience? Only you can answer that part.
- The Faraday sleeves work—we tested by calling a phone inside—this is great for security, but make sure you don’t put a device inside that you want to track, or share your location of (for example, an AirTag or a phone with find my enabled)
- Digging the structure of the bag overall
- Included packing cube is GIANT—curious to see how this goes in testing as we typically prefer multiple smaller cubes for organization
- Organization in the bag is promising upon initial packout
- Front magnetic pocket can fall out of place pretty easily
- Bag is comfortable and looks good—even with a boxy shape
- Water bottle pocket doesn’t hold a standard hydro flask well—it easily falls out of the pockets
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