Backpack review: Doughnutbags Colorado

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With Autumn sneaking in to replace those slow Summer days, it’s natural for those of us with a penchant for carrying an assortment of goods around us may start thinking of backpacks, or rucksacks, if you like, again. As all sensible gentlemen know, the backpack is the best way of carrying items of volume or weight. A tote bag may be fine for a short dalliance with your groceries, but anything more and you want to engage your back. Plus you get to keep your hands free, for grasping the leash of your hounds, or even the hand of your significant other. We know it makes total sense, and around these parts making sense is considered good. Hence, time to review a new one.

The Colorado is a handy sized daypack.

The Colorado is a handy sized daypack.

 

So, what is on the review table this week?

Doughnutbags is a new brand to me, but have been popular in their native Hong Kong for a while. I was initially drawn to the style of their bags, to my eyes very much in the vintage mountaineering style. Remember, we want to get away from the typical nylon blackpacks you get issued at work, then ones that scream “corporate drone with no identity or style!”, or would, if anyone noticed it, which you only do once you start considering it. Packs like this though tend to make a quite different statement though. What with the features, the ruggedness, the build quality and the fact that you’re unlikely to see another one on your journey. In addition, for what is arguably a reasonably priced backpack, it has features that put more expensive packs to shame.

The outside:

Let’s start on the outside and work our way in. For starters the pack is constructed from a to colours of heavyweight nylon fabric, providing both a heard wearing outer shell and water repellancy. The leather details are said to be organically dyed real leather, which I take to mean vegetable tanned leather. These should age nicely with use. The other details are variously nylon, metal and rope. And details there are many of on this backpack. Take all the ways in which you can hang stuff on the outside as an example, both from nylon loops and leather patches. Very much in the mountaineering style.

The duo colour outside works well though, especially with the rope detail. Moving on the back of the pack we find a superb pair of straps, well padded, adjustable and with a removable chest strap. Add in the ventilated and thick padding on the back piece and you’re sorted for the long haul. It’s strange to see how many packs fail on this simple point, as it’s shouldn’t be that hard to get it right. A carrying loop on the top of the pack makes it easy to hang up. The lid is closed by two loops that loop round the rope and fasten with snap buttons.

This brings us to openings, of which there are three from the outside. The obvious one is the generously sized zipped compartment in the lid. Then there is a side-entry pocket for a 15″ laptop from the side, which is a very decent idea as you can easily slide the laptop in and out without the fuss of opening up the pack and digging around. The laptop pocket is padded on both sides, which helps slide a laptop out of a stuffed pack. Finally there is a secured side entry into the main compartment, which may or may not be of much use.

The inside:

The pack is closed up using a drawstring, which helps seal the contents in place. Inside the opening we find another zipped pocket against the backside, large enough for a phone, passport and wallet. On the front side we have yet another zipped pocket, two map-sized pockets and a couple of open pockets to hold stuff. And there are a couple of pockets to hold bottles, one at each side of the base. Remember what I mentioned about features? Someone at Doughnut knows how important proper pockets are!

And that pretty much sums it up. Decent size pack, decent looking pack, extremely usable and well thought out. If there was a drawback to mention I think the closing mechanism for the lid could have been a little stronger, so that the lid could be really tightened down, but that wouldn’t be an issue unless you were stuffing a sleeping back under the lid. Which is probably less of a problem at 6:15 on the District Line than if you were roughing it on the fells. All things considered, a great backpack and excellent value for money!

Key details of the Doughnutbags Colorado:

  • Volume:21 Litre capacity
  • Available in a variety of colours.
  • Dimensions: 28cm (W) x 15cm (D) x 38cm (H)
  • Price 80 pounds
  • Made in China
  • Available from Doughnut UK
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