ORBITGear is an Indonesia based bags and apparel company well known in the tech wear industry. They have a very extensive product line, and this R102 clamshell backpack is a direct update from their original model introduced in 2017. This is a versatile backpack, part of their ADV21.1 collection.
|Height||19.7 in||50 cm|
|Width||12.6 in||32 cm|
|Depth||7 in||18 cm|
|Weight||3 lbs||1.4 Kg|
|Capacity||1342 cu. in.||22 L|
|Primary Materials||Dimension Polyant VX21, YKK Zippers|
Quality and Comfort
ORBITGear is a small brand and their quality control is top notch. The build of this specific pack is superb. This version uses a mix of XPAC and genuine leather on the outside, with a 210D liner on the inside. Zippers are all various models from YKK. The added leather accent on the bottom gives this bag a unique look. I could worry about wear and tear on the leather bottom, but it feels like there is a very thick layer of material there at the bottom. Once scuffed and worn it may just add a bit of character. This angled bottom, while making the bag slightly harder to stand up on its own, gives the bag a more distinguish look and lets the weight of the contents hit your hips just right.
The rear laptop compartment has a single pull weatherproof zipper opening. The main compartment uses the large Vislon zipper that you will find in other bags in the ADV series. I find that I have difficulty sometimes getting that main zipper closed. The tapped seam behind the zipper can sometimes get in the way.
The straps and back panel are padded with a 3D mesh surface. The back panel system is updated for these 2021 version of their packs. The bottom part of the back has a separate vertical passthrough for a rolling luggage handle, as well as a separate horizontal passthrough for their new EXT203 waist belt.
The should straps are wide and curved, which distributes the load very well across the shoulders. It’s beefy and comfortable, but I personally find that the wider straps sometimes hits the sides of my upper arms. The straps have load lifters to allow for fine tuning on how the bag carries on ones back. There is also an adjustable sternum strap with a magnetic buckle.
The top handle of the R102 has an unusual design. One end of the strap is not sewn into the bag. Instead is is folded and inserted through a webbing loop, with the folded portion forming a stopper. ORBITGear uses this design to attach handles to a lot of their bags, and this results in a very easy way to attach and detach a strap. However, I see no reason to use this design for the top handle. Some have questioned whether this design will hold under load. I tested it with 30 pounds worth of weights in the bag and the handle did hold up fine. Your mileage may vary.
The optional EXT302 waistbelt is very well made and design. Like the shoulder straps, it’s beefy and comfortable. I find that it is not really needed on this specific bag, especially since this bag is short and smaller. It seems it is more for attaching additional MODs to the pack rather than for load bearing. This may be different on some of Orbit’s larger bags.
Organization and Access
The back laptop pocket has a single pull waterproof zipper opening that runs just over half the height of the pack. Inside there is a fleece lined laptop pocket that is suspended at least 1.5 inches from the bottom. Given that the back panel also has a framesheet as well as a lot of padding, your laptop should be very well protected in that space. Note the oversized internal rain flap along the entire opening of the pocket as well, to make sure no water will hit the laptop. My older generation 15 inch MacBook Pro fits in that pocket easily.
The laptop pocket however has no additional organization. Though there is space for my notebook that is half an inch thick.
The main compartment opens clamshell style with a double zipper. This compartment has one of my favorite organizational designs: two side elastic pockets that can store water bottles or small tripods.
The front wall has two pockets. The top pocket uses the ORBITGear signature semi-clear. The bottom pocket is made of the regular lining material, but it has pleats in the bottom to give it some volume. Because the bottom of the bag is at an angle, there is a natural pocket at the bottom of the clamshell opening. Things placed at the bottom are much less likely to fall out.
The back wall has three rows of PALS for additional organization. ORBITGear is all about systems. They offer a wide (maybe too wide) selection of pouches and pockets that can be hooked onto their bags using 25mm slotted clips. These clips are easy to attach and detach. They are not as strong or as stable as threading a full piece of webbing into the PALS, but for normal use they are good enough. The quick setup is more important for EDC use.
Speaking of attaching pouches, or MODS, they can be attached to the sides as well as the front. One of my favorite ORBITGear admin pouch, the MOD-01 “THE CUBE”, can also be attached to the front of the pack. This configuration lets me get to my smaller EDC items quickly without opening the bag at all.
Finally here is a small pocket in the front of the bag with a vertical zipper. It does not have it’s own volume, but the zipper is 5.5 inches long. I find that I can fit my Sony ZV1 with a small cage in it in a pinch. I normally put my mask in there.
There is one last secret pocket on the back panel. The bottom attachment point of the shoulder strap does interfere with the opening slightly.
- The interior organization of the main compartment is my favorite, with water bottle pockets, front wall pockets with volume and more
- The MOD system works with this bag – because I already have a large collection of pouches from ORBITGear, I find myself setting the bag up exactly the way I want to use it
- It is subjective, but I really like the look of the bag – it is understated but functional, it fits inside an office environment, but is also a techwear bag
- The new back panel system works well and the pack is comfortable to wear. I am usually not a fan of luggage pass through nor waist belt, but those options are well hidden away when not in use
- I have relatively few complains about this bag. I do wish there are some additional organization in the laptop compartment
- While after testing, I found it is not a real issue, I still do not understand why the top handle isn’t just sewn in on both sides
- As noted earlier, the shoulder straps bottom attachment point interfere with the opening of the secret pocket in the back. But that is a minor annoyance that once I got used to it, I could get around it easily
- The straps may be a touch too wide, but that is a personal preference
I have used many different packs from ORBITGear. I find that they have a general collection of features that they mix and match on their products. Sometimes a bag is packed full of features that just do not work for me. This R102 backpack is different, and it is probably my favorite ORBITGear bag at this time. It has all of the features that I like, with few that I don’t. The versatility and configurability of this bag makes it one of the most useful bags in my collection.
The ORBITGear R102 is available in multiple styles, fabrics, and colors, starting at $228 for this specific version.
Editor’s Note: R102 was provided by Orbit Gear as a sample for review purposes. The content of this review was not shared with Orbit Gear before publishing. Our reviews are unbiased and never modified to keep a brand happy.