Able Carry is a Hong Kong based company that has been making high quality, affordable gear since 2018. They first aunched through Kickstarter and quickly broke out with their 20L pack, the Daily. The pack was designed for the everyday commute in Hong Kong where people not only needed something to comfortably carry their gear for the day, but needed it to be durable enough to withstand prolonged use and the elements. All while being sleek enough for public transportation and walking through crowded streets, and to just be a bag for the city, both functionally and aesthetically.
In early 2019, Able Carry released the Thirteen; a smaller, 13L backpack with the purpose of being a smaller, lower profile daypack with the same quality and aesthetically clean build as the Daily.
|Primary Materials:||Dimension Polyant VX51, YKK Aquaguard zippers, Hypalon|
Quality and Comfort
The quality of both bags is superb and immediately apparent. The bag is primarily made from Dimension Polyant VX51 with YKK zippers, with hypalon accents and zipper pulls, so there is no shortage of quality materials being used. It’s worth noting that right out of the box, Able Carry includes several nice details when you first receive a pack from them, such as a protective bag and a welcome card with a URL that when followed, takes you to an introduction on highlights of the bag and how to get the most out of your bag by properly adjusting it.
The stitching and quality control is among some of the best I’ve seen and displays a level of pride in their product and a commitment to delivering a quality bag to the user. Additionally, the choice of the interior nylon lining provides an extra layer towards weather resistance for any sensitive items as well as providing some contrast to the inside of the bag. Having bags made mostly from XPac and seeing no issues with construction is a feat worth celebrating, as the material’s properties make it impossible for the fabric’s fibers to “heal” from a misplaced needle puncture. So when there are no loose threads, and the construction is solid given the material and the seemingly complex pattern, it’s worth praising the bags.
Both packs are very comfortable. Both use curved straps for comfort for different shapes and sizes, especially for those with wider chests. The straps and the back panel are filled with EPE foam, keeping the bag cushioned and comfortable, without adding too much weight. While both bags use ventilated straps, only the Daily has airmesh on both the back and straps. The Thirteen also doesn’t support a sternum strap, but that doesn’t take away from the comfort. As a sternum strap lover, I strangely found myself not needing one despite having some days where I wore it for extended periods of time with denser loadouts; though having one on the Daily was even better. Since the Thirteen is a smaller pack, the length of the straps’ adjustability is shorter which is friendly to smaller users, but may be a point of contention for users with bigger builds. I actually found myself having the adjustment pretty far out with the Thirteen while the Daily had plenty of more room for adjustment.
The Daily has some webbing on the outside, which they call the “A-Frame”, that acts as attachment points, but also to give structure to the bag and prevent the pack from looking floppy.
Since both bags are built very similarly, they have broadly similar layouts. However, there are some notable differences. Starting on the outside, both packs share a second compartment accessible via a slanted zipper. Both feature a main compartment with a tech sleeve as well as extra organization on the panel opposite the tech sleeve. Both bags have a sort of hidden stash pocket but in different places. While the bags seem to have the same shape and overall rough build, both feature individual differences that make them have different identities and uses besides just a size difference.
The Daily’s main compartment has a single tech sleeve for laptops up to 15” with a mesh pocket attached, great for having a charger or accessories handy with pen loops tucked away on both sides of the mesh pocket. The panel opposite the tech sleeve includes a general purpose pocket and a sunglasses / small umbrella pocket; both pockets run about half way down the panel.
The pocket that is accessible from the outside has no internal organization but does feature a handy key lanyard with a D-ring. On the back panel where the user’s neck would be, features a wallet/passport sized pocket accessible via zipper. The very top of the main compartment also has a hidden compartment for cash, memory cards, picks/shims, or any other small item that should be kept hidden.
The Thirteen, I feel, has the better layout in terms of organization. The main compartment has a stretchy water bottle pocket on the side where one would naturally drop a water bottle in. The tech sleeve in the Thirteen is actually a two part sleeve, one main sleeve with shag material for protecting electronic screen’s and a basic, smaller, thinner sleeve — both suspended by a false bottom. While I wouldn’t design a small, low profile bag with two sleeves it was nice to be able to have my sketchbook in a separate sleeve. Able Carry mentions that the main sleeve will carry up to a 13” laptop and I even found it well suited to tablets due to the aforementioned shag material. The inside of the main compartment is honestly one of the best internal layouts and overall main compartments I’ve experienced. However the pack does tend to fill up rather quickly especially once the sleeves are full. The back panel also has a hidden flat pocket that’s great for storing a flat pouch like a Magpul DAKA with cash or travel documents. The straps also have a small opening to be able to store a card sized item like a bus/metro pass or ID.
- Size, material choice, and aesthetics make it a true city pack while having the technical capabilities that are missing from more typical fashion forward bags
- Curved straps, EPE foam, and ventilation on the back and straps ensure all day comfort
- The price tag makes it very accessible and competitive ($148 USD for XPAC and $110 USD for Cordura)
- External webbing provides external attachment points but also does a great job keeping the structure of the bag intact
- Main compartment layout is done exceptionally well. I wish other packs had a similar layout with the dual sleeves and hanging mesh pouch.
- Hidden back compartment is useful for travel documents and other slim items
- Carries well due to curved straps. Missing sternum strap isn’t missed
- Tapered, low profile design makes the bag easy to navigate busy areas with.
- Tech and commute centered pack but only has one main laptop sleeve while the Thirteen has two sleeves
- Does not have any sort of dedicated water bottle pocket. Adding the internal stretch mesh pocket from the Thirteen would be helpful for the commute
- Fills up a bit quickly and second sleeve adds a bit of bulk, maybe future versions can omit this second sleeve and pass it to the Daily, or have both sleeves be slimmer
- Lack of vented mesh on the back can lead to a sweaty back before you get to where you’re going
- Smaller length of strap adjustment limits who can carry the bag. It does feel a bit turtle shell-like on me, but smaller framed people will thoroughly enjoy the bag
- Also very accessible at $125USD
Able Carry has done a great job with the Daily and it’s smaller sibling, the Thirteen. Both bags carry comfortably, have solid material choices, robust construction, and an attention to the end user that deserves praise. The lower price points combined with the quality of the bags make them accessible to a wide range of users who want or need a bag that functions and looks great.
While both bags share the build quality and general comfort, they are still different in terms of layout and their intended use. The Daily is a great pack for the daily commute to work and/or school as its larger size can accommodate a wide variety of things ranging from tech, books, clothing, lunch, and more. While it comes with a good amount of internal organization, there is still an opportunity to bring your own organization in both compartments.
The Thirteen is a go-to bag for a day out and about in the city or for travel when it requires a smaller, compact bag, with some extra supplemental items. Able Carry also offers some small pouches to be used for extra organization that are also worth checking out when rocking either of their packs. You can find both pouches and both bags right at Able Carry.
Disclaimer: The Daily was provided by Able Carry as a review sample, while the Thirteen was purchased privately. The contents of this review was not shared with Able Carry before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.