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tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Review

The tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L is a minimalist solution for everyday carry with decent weather protection, though it lacks much organization.

Our Verdict

7.2 /10
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  • Durable fabric and weatherproof AquaGuard zippers
  • Water bottle pocket on each side
  • Nicely padded shoulder straps provide a comfortable carry


  • Minimal organization inside, making it hard to find small gear
  • No sternum strap or waist belt to add support
  • No quick, side, or easy access to the main compartment

Technical Details

90 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 131/145 Airlines

86 %

Like the Look

Polled on Instagram

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    2.18 lb (1 kg)

  • Dimensions

    17.32 in x 12.2 in x 6.5 in (44 x 31 x 16.5 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    CORDURA® Ballistic Nylon, YKK Zippers, YKK Buckles

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Laptop Compartment Size


  • Warranty Information

    tomtoc Warranty Policy

Buying Options

Amazon Logo

Full Review

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The tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L lives up to the brand’s traditional standard of aesthetics and function with a slightly more minimalistic approach. It features two water bottle pockets, a laptop compartment, and a front pocket, all thoughtfully organized. The backpack has a sleek and slender design that you can expand when needed. We dig the all-black aesthetic and the minimal branding.

While it allows you to neatly organize your essentials in dedicated compartments and works well for everyday use, it may not be the best choice for those looking for a dedicated daypack while traveling. Its capacity allows for a good amount of storage while maintaining comfort, but lacks security and quick access, more on both those points later on.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Sitting
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The all-black aesthetic and minimal branding is stylish and functional.

It has a minimal and straightforward approach to organization that allows for neat storage and access to your belongings. The durable fabric and weatherproof PU-coated water-repellent zippers provide added protection in various weather conditions, making it reliable for daily commutes and running errands.

Before we dive in, we think it’s important to address the elephant in the room. If you’re familiar with Aer backpacks, this design may ring a bell or two (or three). It reminds us a lot of their Pro Pack line, and while it’s not a 1:1 comparison in terms of design and materials, it’s worth pointing out that the style is eerily similar. In fact, we’ve even confused it for an Aer bag once or twice when rushing out the door. We won’t be comparing the two in this review, but we think it’s worth keeping in mind.

For now, let’s take a look at this tomtoc backpack a little more closely.

External Components

In keeping with the tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack’s minimalist vibe, the backpack maintains a slim and compact form without compression straps, ensuring a sleek and streamlined appearance. The absence of exterior attachment or lash points allows for a clean and straightforward aesthetic at the expense of hooking on gear to the outside.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Carry Handle Studio
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The minimal approach to the top grab handle.

The backpack does feature two grab handles, one on the top and another on the side. Although the braided nylon top handle does the job in a pinch, the side handle is slightly more comfortable to carry. However, we don’t often tote it this way. Throughout the day, we found the default carry method to be picking it up and setting it down using the top grab handle, which, after a while, proved to be less than comfortable. This is a personal preference, though, and your mileage may vary.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Pass-Through
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | Luggage pass-through is convenient but keep in mind the orientation when storing gear

The backpack also includes a dedicated strap for luggage pass-through, which functions fairly well. Something to keep in mind, due to the design, the bag sits sideways so there is a potential risk of items in these pockets either falling out or being squished.

In terms of branding, the tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack keeps it minimal with just a standard logo on the front in black. This understated branding adds to the overall sleek and modern aesthetic, and we are fans of its style and practicality. Blending into the crowd without drawing excess attention can sometimes be the easiest way to avoid being the victim of a pickpocket or thief.

The CORDURA® ballistic fabric used in the backpack’s construction has a smooth and durable texture. Although it may not be the softest or the quietest fabric, it offers a nice degree of ruggedness, ensuring durability over time and making the backpack suitable for various environments and activities.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Zipper Pull
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | Exterior and interior zippers are smooth and easy to use.

When it comes to zippers, the tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack utilizes industry-leading YKK zippers. They are reliable and known for their durability and ease of use, which is the case throughout the bag; all the zippers inside and out are smooth and easy to use. Additionally, the front pocket features minimum coating over the zippers to help seal out some degree of weather. The dedicated laptop compartment benefits from an AquaGuard coating, ensuring water resistance and additional safeguarding for any sensitive electronics. We got caught in light rain during testing and were relieved that all the gear inside remained dry.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Logo
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The durable CORDURA ballistic fabric provides durability and style.

As for the harness system/shoulder straps, the tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack excels in providing a comfortable carrying experience. At first glance, it is evident that these straps were designed with comfort in mind. They are decently wide and very nicely padded, which does a fantastic job of ensuring comfort even during extended periods of use. We’re happy to report that we never found the shoulder straps digging in throughout our testing.

Even more impressive is the backpack’s ability to maintain its comfort even when heavily loaded with two jackets, dried fruit, fresh vegetables, some small souvenirs, and a not-so-light water bottle. Despite the added weight, the backpack remained remarkably comfortable. Of course, part of this is attributable to its limited storage capacity. Since it cannot accommodate a super heavy load, there isn’t much need for extra support in the form of a sternum strap or hip belt.
While some may see the lack of these additional features as a drawback, we find that the shoulder straps alone are sufficient to provide a comfortable carrying experience.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Harness System
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The wide straps and plush padding provides a nice amount of comfort.

The shoulder straps also have the only two attachment points on the backpack, and we find them fairly convenient for clipping headphones or sunglasses. However, we have a minor grievance with the difficulty in adjusting the length of the straps, especially while wearing them. It often requires two hands to adjust the strap length properly, and even then, it is not as easy as we would like. Nonetheless, we consider this a relatively minor inconvenience that does not significantly impact our overall experience.

Back panel padding provides a nice amount of cushioning, adding to the overall comfort of wearing the backpack. Additionally, the back panel features an airflow channel that runs from top to bottom, conveniently overlapping with the luggage pass-through to ensure good ventilation, preventing excessive sweating during use.

Fit Notes

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Side by Side
Morgan White, Height: 6’0 (182 cm), Torso: 17.75” (45 cm) | Lauren Maternowski, Height: 5’6” (168 cm), Torso: 16.5” (42 cm)

Aside from a few minor incidents when attempting to navigate a crowded market, we find that the backpack sits comfortably on your shoulders, and we have no significant issues maneuvering while wearing it. Its minimalist design looks good in various settings and offers a subtle and inconspicuous approach. The backpack provides a stylish appearance whether you want to use it for school, business, travel, or everyday essentials.

Inside The Pack

The interior features a nice blue accent with a subtle yet eye-catching contrast, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal without overpowering the space or diverting too much attention from other elements.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Interior
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The blue interior provides a nice contrast.

This backpack takes a minimalist approach to storage, offering one front pocket, one back pocket/laptop compartment, and one water bottle pocket on either side. The front pocket provides quick access to smaller items and offers light organization with a document sleeve, a pen loop, a key leash, and two slip pockets (one made of mesh), which we find convenient for a wallet or smaller Bluetooth headphones. However, this backpack prioritizes minimalism with simple organization.

One aspect that leaves us wanting is the lack of extra quick-access compartments. When it comes to travel backpacks, having easy access to frequently used items is crucial. Whether it’s for holding your passport, phone, or wallet, quick-access compartments can greatly enhance convenience during travel. While traveling, we would like a few more pockets to help with organization. Despite this minor inconvenience, the backpack seems best suited as a daily carry option for the essentials, ensuring safety, security, and comfort. Whether this is a positive or negative aspect depends on your preferences for dedicated compartments. Tech kit and pouch users will appreciate the spacious main compartment, with the organization primarily focused at the top, as there is plenty of room for gear at the bottom.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Key Leash
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | Interior organization at the top allows for the bottom to be a dump site.

The water bottle pockets on both sides of the backpack are identical in appearance, storage capacity, and use. They have a basic elastic strap to secure the contents. When not in use, they sit flush against the backpack, almost disappearing. While it seems like they can hold a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle, inserting and removing a bottle of that size is more difficult. Smaller water bottles fit easily in either side pocket, and we never experienced any issues with them falling out during the day. Depending on your flexibility, accessing a water bottle while wearing the bag is relatively easy, and you can also hide the zippers behind a bottle as a simple security measure. This prevented us from worrying about pickpockets, especially in crowded streets or on packed subways.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Water Bottle
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The water bottle pockets sit flush against the backpack but expand a decent amount.

The dedicated laptop compartment comfortably holds a 16-inch MacBook Pro and has a fleece-lined back panel to prevent scratches. It is important to note that this dedicated laptop compartment is only minimally protected, as it is located in the back pocket of the bag and lacks additional padding or elevation, so take care when placing the bag down.

In addition to the laptop compartment, there is also a slip pocket on one side, which is suitable for storing papers, magazines, tablets, and other similar items. On the opposite side of the compartment, a zippered mesh pocket extends about halfway down the bag. The remaining space in this compartment can be used as an open storage area, similar to the front pocket. Although some may like more organizational features in this area, a separate tech pouch is a suitable alternative.

tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L Tag
tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack 20L | The back panel is made with a soft fleece material to prevent scratching your gear.

Overall, the tomtoc UrbanEX-T65 Laptop Backpack balances simplicity, functionality, and protection. Its minimalistic approach to daily carry, combined with durable materials and weatherproof features, makes it a reliable choice for those seeking a versatile and reliable backpack for everyday essentials, daily commutes, or travel in a pinch.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Love the all black, sleek, and minimalist aesthetic
  • Feels like it was made of good quality and well made
  • Enjoy the rugged and durable materials
  • Top grab handle feels somewhat flimsy, though we appreciate the extra padding on the secondary grab handle on the side
1 Month of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Still looks good and scratch free
  • Organization is minimal, which leaves some to be desired
  • Backpack straps are comfortable considering the minimal design
By Morgan White
Created January 26, 2024 • Updated January 31, 2024
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