First it was the return of the sling/messenger, then it was the do-everything day pack , and now it seems that every company has decided to make a one-bag travel backpack. If you know me at all, you know I’m a massive fan of Jack and Keven over at EVERGOODS and wanted to see if the designers of some of my most-used packs including the Civic Panel Loader 24L (CPL24), Mountain Panel Loader 30L (MPL30), and Mountain Quick Draw 24L (MQD24) would dream up something that could compete with the likes of Peak Design, Aer, or GORUCK to meet my rather strange desire to go from gym to plane to mountain to business meeting as efficiently as possible.
Enter: the Civic Transit Bag 40L (CTB40).
|Height||22 in||55.88 cm|
|Length||14 in||35.56 cm|
|Depth||9 in||22.86 cm|
|Weight||4.28 lbs||1.94 kg|
|Capacity||2441 cu in||40 L|
|Shell Fabric||420D HT Nylon 6,6 with PU coating|
|Lining Fabric||210D HT nylon with PU coating and silicone finish|
|Shoulder Pad Foam||Zote EV50|
|Zippers||YKK 10RC and YKK 8RC with DWR finish|
Quality and Comfort
Every bag I’ve ever gotten from EVERGOODS’ Vietnam-based manufacturing center has been immaculate in terms of construction and QC, and I’ve gotten a fair few. Although the bags always start out a bit stiff, they quickly break in without losing their good looks and the CTB40 is no exception. Every stitch is well-manicured, load points are reinforced, and you can tell that this bag is meant to take a beating on the daily.
Speaking of things that are stiff, EVERGOODS warned me that the zippers were manufactured for longevity and thus would take some love before they would glide like clouds over the ocean on a windy day*, but opening and closing the main compartment about 20 times got everything working smoothly without much more hassle, and the beefy YKK 10 Racquet Coils on the main compartment will keep your gear where you want it for years to come.
For a travel bag, the shoulder straps are a key aspect to making sure you arrive at your destination with happy shoulders. EVERGOODS knows not to mess with a good thing and has kept the straps on the CTB40 very similar to everything else in their lineup. The thick foam and relatively wide straps help cushion a heavy load. Unfortunately, this also makes the straps stick out quite a bit, and I often found them getting caught on things in my truck, or when trying to slide the pack into a bin on an airplane. This is obviously a hard trade-off, since I’ve yet to find stowable straps as comfy as these.
On the subject of hard compromises, I’ve found myself wishing that the CTB had even a basic stowable hip belt to take the load off my shoulders when walking between terminals or from the car to the crag. Even with the well-padded shoulder straps and back, having the full weight of an over-packed bag begins to wear on the upper body.
Finally, an often overlooked feature of many backpacks is how they are handled “in transition”. Moving the bag from your boot to your hotel, or grabbing it off the X-ray at airport security can be difficult on a minimalist bag without anything but shoulder straps. Luckily EVERGOODS includes a few well-placed aluminum-reinforced handles on the sides and top to make quick grab-n-go a breeze.
*Note: Not an exact quote, but we wish it was.
Sticking with the minimal design of the outside, the majority of the CTB is one large compartment with fabric/elastic retainers to help with packing bulk loads. The two internal compression straps do a great job of keeping everything tame and contained whether you’re hauling clothing for a business trip or camping gear to a swimming hole.
Even though the CTB mostly focuses on allowing for BYO organization, the opening side of the clam shell comes with a few zip pockets to keep smaller items organized and separate from the main compartment. They all come with a small, but well thought out amount of dedicated space that seemed to swallow whatever I wanted to chuck inside. Although I rarely say this, I wish that the creators had found a way to add more of these pockets around the bag!
If you’re going to one-bag travel, it’s essential to have a few pockets that can be accessed quickly to grab your passport, wallet, phone, etc. The CTB has a small pocket at the top that’s about big enough for exactly those things, but not much else. I also found that the available space was quickly swallowed up if the bag was over-packed in even the slightest. Another small zipped pocket sits just inside the bag and provides space to slip a business card to identify a lost bag as well as maybe a slim wallet. I’ve honestly had a hard time finding a use for this pocket and it’s often difficult to access on the go.
Finally, a slim zip panel that closely hugs the back provides space for even the bulkiest laptop, or a well folded suit if you’re in a pinch. I tend to travel with a Microsoft Surface which was well-protected, but definitely swallowed up by such a big pocket. Although with would easily fit a 17″ Macbook Pro in terms of length and width, a thick computer or too many folded items of clothing definitely eats into the back panel and makes the bag sit oddly on the spine.
- Hot-damn this bag looks good.
- Fantastic, rugged build quality.
- Multiple ways to carry/grab makes it easy to throw in the back of a truck or grab from an overhead bin.
- Internal compression system keeps everything tight.
- Removable side stays gives added flexibility.
- Hip belt would be a plus. Your mileage may vary.
- Ability to hide shoulder straps would make stowage easier.
- A larger “quick stash” pocket would make airline travel easier.
- Sternum strap often comes loose when donning/doffing.
Overall, this is another instant classic EVERGOODS pack. The minimalist styling, clean functionality, and tough-as-nails construction, earns it an easy spot in your quiver if you’re someone who hauls gear in your vehicle or subscribes to the one-bag travel religion but maybe needs a bit more room. For my personal needs, it’s too big for a day bag, but too small for an extended trip. That being said, I find myself reaching for it every time I’m car-camping, climbing, or hauling any load in my car that I might want to move somewhere else once I reach my destination. To be completely honest, this is my least favorite of all the EVERGOODS bags, but I could easily see how it might be someone else’s favorite! When it comes down to brass tacks, if you’re looking for a minimalist, well thought out bag that does what the CTB40 does, EVERGOODS is probably where you want to look.
The CTB40 is available directly from EVERGOODS for $289 in either black or grey.
Editor’s Note: CTB40 was provided by EVERGOODS as a sample for review purposes. The content of this review was not shared with EVERGOODS before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.