Review: The CB Co Mk1 rolltop, the new backpack is black

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A new laptop at work meant I was looking for a new backpack with the space to carry it. Packs with space for a full 17″ laptop are less common than the smaller capacity ones, and if you want it to look good as well, that narrows it down further. I frequently use my pack as a carry-on as well, so it has to be a handy size for both the daily commute on bike, and an overnight trip.

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Enter CB Company, a fresh young company with a vision for the perfect backpack. The approach is minimalist. If it doesn’t need to be there, it’s not there. Keeping it simple means there is less to go wrong, and that will lead to it lasting a long time. That’s a line of reasoning I can appreciate.

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A quick rundown of the specs tells us that the main fabric used is an acrylic black canvas that is said to be waterproof, rot proof and UV-ray proof. All stitching is double. The air mesh on the back section and straps are mil-spec, as are the lock buckles on the straps. The closing buckle is a Fidlock patented magnetic slider.

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Decent size outside pocket with velcro closing.

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Three inside pockets of different sizes.

Backpacks are always about the features though. Usually it’s a case of the more the merrier, yet in this case it’s almost a case of how much can be removed. There is no closing flap for starters, you roll the top closed and fasten it with the magnetic slider. Inside there are three pockets, sized to fit a laptop, a tablet and a phone, plus the large main space. On the outside there are also three pockets, a large velcro pocket on the front, and open ones on the sides, one tall and one low.

 

Clever magnetic buckle holds the pack closed and is easy to open.

Clever magnetic buckle holds the pack closed and is easy to open.

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And that’s it, really. The straps are decently padded, the buckles hold well. And there’s a carry handle. And it’s all black. Simple and minimalist, yet well made.

 

What I like about this backpack is that it’s a black nylon backpack. If you’ve read my previous rants about black nylon backpacks, you’ll be wondering now what’s up. And yes, I do detest the standard issue black packs. The ones that often come as part of your new laptop kit. The ones that look saggy and derelict from day one and are worn without pride by commuters everywhere.

 

 

This one though is different. It stands tall and says that “yes, I consciously purchased this black backpack”. Plus you can put a really big laptop in it, and all your other gear. It really is surprisingly roomy, and the pockets mean you can keep some order in what would otherwise be a very large black hole.

I think this backpack is pretty decent value for the 145 pounds asked.

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If there is one small improvement I would like to see it would be the addition of some velcro on the inside pockets, or at least one inner pocket that could be closed. This would be handy for keeping valuables in.

UPS

  • Spacious and decent features
  • Well made in the UK
  • Looks good
  • Fair value for the money

DOWNS

  • A closable inside pocket would be good

SCORE

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Retail price is 145 pounds, currently on offer at 125.

And yes, the CB Company MK1 is proudly made in England. In Cornwall, in fact. More info at CB Company.

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