If you’re a regular follower on our Instagram feed or our blog in general, there’s a fair chance you’ve seen this backpack on me on more than one occasion.
This backpack has served me on all kinds of adventures, both domestic and abroad, on daily commute, school and many recreational outings throughout these years. It has been my go-to daily driver backpack for 4 years now and continues to be until I find something more adventurous for adventuring! So in the meantime I thought, I might as well do a full review on it and share my thoughts on the Haglöfs Backup 15.
To me, Haglöfs is a well esteemed outdoors brand, at least here in the Nordic countries, since the origins of the company go way back in Torsang, Sweden and the year 1914. A forester’s son Wiktor Haglöf designed and manufactured his first backpack for local forestry workers, and from there on, his business started growing. The company has become one of the largest suppliers of outdoor clothing, hardware and footwear in the Nordic region, Europe and Asia, and a member of the ASICS® family since 2010.
Haglöfs focuses a lot on sustainability, in every process of their manufacturing, which is more than respectable. Haglöfs is a member of bluesign® and the Fair Wear Foundation, setting and meeting stringent real-world goals of recycling and toxicity reduction, as well as fair labor practices.
You can read more on the Haglöfs story and their sustainability goals in HERE.
The Backup 15” is a 23 Liter backpack, that is very much oriented for anyone who needs to carry a 15” laptop with them comfortably, but is by no means restricted to that only. Perfectly suitable for everyday use, whether commuting, going to the gym, school, or even for a day hike in the nature. And is not too heavy even, weighing only a mere 1,05 kilos/2,3 lbs.
The Haglöfs Backup 15 retails between 99 and 119 euros here in Finland ($129.00 US) , but the prices may vary depending on the country of sale, local tax rates and currency rates.
- Outer shell features an elastic cord to keep any excess outer layers of clothing at hand when you’re on the move.
- Outer face has a singular flat pocket behind the cordage, which covers pretty much the whole front panel of the pack. Zipper is water resistant, not waterproof, brand unknown.
- Two compression straps with Duraflex Stealth V-buckles on the sides to keep your load snug and to disable unnecessary wobble on the move.
- The padded backside features a heat formed Haglöfs H-logo and none-whatsoever venting in it.
- Shoulder straps are nicely contoured and well enough padded and have lots of room for adjustment. Sternum-strap is adjustable in length and height in the shoulder straps.
- The carry handle is rather slim, but sturdy, round tube of thick nylon webbing.
- Sides feature small wings for waist-strap attachment via larger Duraflex buckles.
- Closest to your body is a slimmer, full size compartment to house the padded laptop sleeve, and a small zippered pocket. Outer zipper for the compartment goes about halfway down the sides of the pack.
- The laptop sleeve is very basic, but well padded sleeve with carry handles, and a strap of webbing with velcro to secure the opening a bit.
- Main compartment has a larger zippered pocket on the inside of the outer shell of the pack. The backside of the main compartment has a multi-pocketed ”organizer” pocket system. Outer zipper goes pretty much the whole way down the sides.
- Both major compartment zippers have covers to gain maximum weather-proofness.
Material-wise the backpack consists mainly from 420 denier HD Oxford Polyamide(bluesign® approved) and 800 denier JR Ballistic Polyamide (bluesign® approved). Especially the outer 800D material provides some water resistance, but will only hold for a while. Zippers are of decent quality, though unidentifiable brand-wise.
All buckles and slides are Unitex/Duraflex hardware which seem to be well sturdy enough for the backpack and any use you throw at it.
The Backup 15 is only available in the forever fashionable black-colour, making the backpack totally unisex and commuter friendly.
PERSONAL THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES
When I leave the comfort of my apartment for more than a couple hours, I usually take the backpack with me. And there are a few reasons for it.
My main reason for the backpack carrying nowadays is, that I have personal medicine at hand, any moment I might need it. Most commonly the necessity dictates a painkiller or two for headache/migraine, both of which I have the pleasure of experiencing somewhat frequently.
Not so frequently, I might need my asthma inhaler. I’ve never had a serious asthma-attack and I’d prefer not to, ever if possible. So having the asthma inhaler with me could even make the difference between life and death for me some day.
Secondly, I’m a neurotic overpacker/overthinker. I just need the mental satisfaction of knowing that I have all the answers to the possible problems I might face after I walk out the door. And that means usually carrying some unnecessary things with me, because the ”threats” never materialized. Now I realize my neurosis causes a bad habit and more than often I try and fight it, but end up losing it, so I tend to carry more than I would realistically need, so thus I always have it with me.
But enough on that, and let’s focus on how I really feel about the Backup 15.
The quality and construction is great, seriously. Throughout the years of wide range use I’ve put this backpack through, only lately has it began to show noticeable signs of wear. Mostly in the form of some fraying on the stitching, and wearing down of the outside printed Haglöfs logo. My backpack is marked with ‘Made in Vietnam’ which always raises some questions on overall quality and the ethics of manufacturing, but I do have to say, that the Haglöfs manufacturing line has done a great job and I haven’t found any defects.
Originally I got this backpack for school work, and carrying a laptop was a necessity at the time, which it is not anymore, since my old laptop imploded a few months back. But when I did need the function, it worked great, I had room for all the books i needed and the laptop too, so I consider this a great school-pack. And well, later my younger siblings, and my dad, got themselves the exact same Backup 15’s, for the exact same purpose, so I guess it can’t be that bad at it, right?
As an EDC -backpack it’s great too, I can fit my gym gear in it, or my laptop with lots of accessories. Everything for a day hike comes along nicely too. And the laptop sleeve works as an insulator/holder for a hydration bladder if you have one in use.
Even still there’s a few things I don’t like in this backpack, which in my opinion make the pack overall worse than it should be.
First of all, the internal sewn in “organizer” is horrible. I really dislike it. I’ve tried using it, but it really served no purpose to me and I don’t see it as very functional. And if I were in the Haglöfs design team, I would have thrown the organizer out of the window post haste, but unfortunately I’m not.
- The velcro tabs holding all of the compartments on the organizer are on the weaker side, and hold their contents badly. And the edges of the fabric catch/block stuff when you’re inserting them all the time.
- A mesh cell phone pocket. Just no, it is way too early 2000’s. No modern phone fits the pocket, and even then it’s a bad concept to put one on the organizer in my opinion.
- Pen holders, mmmh okay, though I personally prefer to use a pencil case.
- Key holder/lanyard. It’s alright, though there would be better placements for it in the pack, like either of the two zippered pockets in the two main compartment’s.
I would also re-design the outer main compartment’s zippered pocket, which tends to sag into the compartment when in use and thus taking away space from the main compartment and hindering putting stuff in and taking it out. I use that pocket personally a lot, and it could be way slimmer in design and smaller in volume, and still remain functional and usable.
The back panel could also use some more rigidity, and most of all, airways/venting when you’re carrying the pack. As it currently stands, you’re bound to have your back sweating after a while due to it’s very flat form.
Other than that, the backpack is excellent. Looks are clean and neat, simple and functional features, and a modest and a very civilian look, as it’s intended to be for any commuter, outdoors person, schoolkid or an athlete even.
By no means this isn’t a backpack to end all other backpacks, no. But it really is a well designed and functional everyday backpack to consider if you need the option to carry your laptop safely around wherever you go. A very transformative pack for many different daily uses and occasions with great quality.
- Laptop capability/sleeve
- Good shoulder straps and the sternum straps great adjustment with a great adjustment range.
- Compression straps and elastic cordage
- Relative weather-proofness
- Detachable waist-strap
- Durable hardware(buckles, zippers etc.)
- Great price-quality ratio
- Organizer system is awful
- No venting on the back panel
- Not as waterproof as one would hope
- “Crowded” main compartment
Overall Total: 19/25
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased the Haglöfs Backup 15 backpack with my own funds from a Finnish retailer for my own use. I was not required to write a positive review by any party. The opinions I have expressed are my own entirely.
This review was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue