Sometimes social media is a drag. But somethings it is useful in bringing people together, people that would never otherwise connect. Somewhere along the way, I spotted REHOSE on Instagram– his clean designs and modern materials piqued an interest. I gave him the follow. I’m not sure how long REHOSE has been popping up in my feed now, but I finally reached out to see if they were interested in working together to produce a review of their packs. They agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

REHOSE is a one-man company based in the Czech Republic. Martin is the man and the beard behind these sleek carry rigs. Previously a firefighter, Martin’s early designs featured up-cycled retired firehose that he made into belts and wallets. Today, his product line is more focused on customizable carry goods. Martin holds tight build tolerances and unique offerings as high priorities in his creationss. One of his current offerings is the BUDDY 22, an EDC focused pack.

Tech Specs

MetricImperial
Height50cm19.7 in.
Width 28cm11.0 in.
Depth 14cm5.5 in.
Weight0.992KG2.1lbs
Capacity22L1343 cu. in.
Metric dimensions taken from http://www.rehose.eu Weight recorded by author.

Quality and Comfort

When someone says they prioritize a precision build, they really should live up to that claim. This bag does. The lines are straight and the seams tidy. The construction is as good as I’ve seen any where. Martin is a skilled tailor. VX-42 is the main exterior fabric, with VX-07 used for the interior accents. YKK zippers are used throughout, including a heart-stopping #10 on the main compartment. The interior mesh is lightweight and the plastic hardware looks un-branded.

REHOSE Buddy 22 backpack review VX42 fabric loop velcro panel front view

Comfort on this pack is achieved though the use of wide, moderately padded shoulder straps and the carriage and transfer of weight through two aluminum stays. Martin was even thoughtful enough to include functioning load lifters at the top of the rear panel. There is a fairly standard sternum strap included, as well as a basic carry handle between the straps.

Rehose buddy 22 backpack review back panel and straps with load lifters view. colored zipper pulls vx42 fabric

Organization and Access

Looking at the BUDDY 22 from the front/side, it’s clear that it uses one of the trendy “horseshoe” zipper configurations. There is a large patch panel, a side access flat pocket and slick sides.

Atop the pack is a quick access lid pocket:

Rehose buddy 22 backpack review vx42 fabric vx07 lining top pocket view

Opening the bag reveals a plethora of pockets. There are two zippered mesh pockets (with billows built in for volume) on the front panel with a removable admin panel in between them. Each side panel features a zippered mesh pocket and open top drop pocket below.

Rehose buddy backpack review interior view organisation admin panel with blaze laptop sleeve

As is typical with these horseshoe packs, the user does not have to fully unzip the front panel to access the top half of the contents.

Rehose buddy 22 review horseshoe zipper opening high visibility interior blaze laptop sleeve elastic loops

At the rear I mounted REHOSE’s removable laptop sleeve, that Martin has dubbed “BLAZE.” It has no problem wolfing down a 15″ MBP, but I use it with a 13″ MBP and a light stack of folders. The metal G-hook is threaded with elastic webbing and is easy to articulate. The clips on the rear attache BLAZE firmly to the rear panel of the BUDDY 22. The BLAZE laptop sleeve weighs approximately 184g (6.5oz) and is available as an optional extra on REHOSE’s website.

What’s Perfect

  • Martin delivered on his claims of producing high quality bags. I’m really impressed with the construction.
  • Not only does this bag looks super slick from the outside, but it’s got those fun color pops on the zipper pulls and the interior fabric. Both of those touches are user-selectable at the time of ordering. How neat is that?
  • VX-42 and burly YKK zippers are pretty fantastic.
  • The BUDDY 22 passes my comfort tests really well. The wide, flat straps are so much better than over-padded, round ones. I’m really pleased with Martin’s decision making here. Beneath those, the aluminum stays do a really good job of keeping things upright and transferring some of the load to the lower back.
  • I love these horseshoe style openings. On an EDC pack, I see no good reason to produce anything else. The access is as good as it gets and is very versatile.
  • Martin’s paracord counter-pulls are cool. They work as I expected, except there is a bonus feature: they are sized so the zipper pulls can be tucked through them, effectively securing the zipper pull from accidentally getting pulled.

What’s Not

  • While I’m really happy with the foundational elements of BUDDY’s suspension, the material that was selected to line the straps and back panel is too slick. I found the pack a bit prone to sliding about on my back. I would prefer a more typical mesh here to keep things in place.
  • Speaking of mesh, the material used on the interior zipper pockets seems too lightweight and likely to rip if roughed up some. There are sturdier mesh materials available and I’d like to see one used here.
  • The unbranded hardware has me somewhat concerned. Perhaps I’ve gotten spoiled with too many packs that feature ITW, Duraflex or even WooJin buckles, but I just don’t trust much else. The pieces on the sternum strap feel particularly troubling. On a pack of this price, I’d like to see recognized, quality buckles used.
  • The BUDDY 22 suffers from “Floppy Bag Syndrome.” This happens when a pack has organizational pockets around the outside panels of the bag and a large, open volume in the center. If the bag is not stuffed mostly full, the weight of the smaller items will cause the outside panels to flop about. I realize compression straps are controversial regarding access and overall slickness, but they would help this. Or perhaps I’m just packing BUDDY incorrectly?
  • I’ve previously written that I saw no use for document sleeves, but I was wrong. They are useful. I think adding one to BLAZE would have been a simple, easy upgrade that would add some organizational flair to this bag.

Wrap Up

I genuinely seek to be thorough in my reviews. This usually leads me to a large list of issues I have with a bag, but don’t get me wrong, the BUDDY 22 is something special. Martin’s back-story, the handmade and customizable nature of the bag and features that are actually useful make this a really nifty option for your EDC needs. All this awesomeness does not come without cost, though. Martin’s current lead time is about 10 weeks and the bag runs €250 and BLAZE is an additional €60, but that all sounds very reasonable to me. Give Martin and his BUDDY 22 a look, I think you’ll be intrigued and satisfied if you jump on the REHOSE train.

Disclaimer: The Buddy 22 was supplied by REHOSE for use in this review, and has been featured elsewhere. Certain details of the review were shared with REHOSE prior to publication. Our reviews are impartial and never modified to keep a brand happy.