Able Carry is a Hong Kong based company who originally launched their Daily Backpack on Kickstarter a in 2018. As Hong Kong is a massive urban sprawl many of their bags reflect more of a lightweight build, and layout for day-to-day use. Their official website reads as “we’ve been on a relentless mission to make the best tools for today’s citizens, so they can carry better with gear, in comfort and style.” The company also holds their products to three specific goals, being Geared for Access, Engineered for Comfort, and finally, Built to Last.
I tested the Able Carry Daybreaker backpack every day for two months, as work bag for going to and from the office and as a hiking bag for shorter single-day outings into the mountains. The bag was not tested on any longer travels or vacations.
Primary Materials: VX21 X-Pac
Note: The Daybreaker is also available in 1000d Cordura, which weighs 580g/1.28lb
Quality and Comfort
My version of the Daybreaker is the Castlerock Grey in VX21 X-Pac. Given the price point that this bag comes in at, I think the quality is very good. Getting a high quality X-Pac bag for just a hair over $100 seams like a steal to me, even though the bag is assembled in China. The daybreaker is a minimalistic style of bag, coming in at an incredibly light 560g and with just the essentials in terms of features.
One of the standout features on the Daybreaker is the patented A-Frame strap system on the bottom of the pack. Able Carry claims that this system allows the bottom of the pack to always keep its shape, while also creating additional anchoring points for smaller items or an easy way to route cables and hoses. While that’s a lot to promise from such a small feature, in my opinion the claims hold true. The bag always kept its shape on the bottom and the straps helped me secure additional items like an ice axe or ropes with relative ease.
While being a shell-only backpack, the Daybreaker breaks away from its ultralight peers by providing a few comfort upgrades. The shoulder straps are padded and wide enough to provide a good amount of support for heavier loads, which the pack can handle despite being minimalist in design. I found the straps to be very comfortable for myself and across all the outings the Daybreaker accompanied me on, I didn’t feel the strain of a heavy load cutting into my shoulders.
The shoulder straps are attached to the bag via two triangle stitching points. I have to say this is the first time I have ever seen a stitching pattern like this implemented on any backpack. It’s both unique and serves as an incredibly strong shape for securing the straps to the pack.
The same line of webbing that sits across the bottom of the Daybreaker (creating that A-frame previously mentioned) runs up the main straps, to hold the sternum strap in place. I’m a big fan of this system because it’s light, simple and the method of adjustment is strong. The sternum strap is adjustable via webbing loops and thus removable. It utilizes plastic hardware to stay wedged in the loop, but they feel pretty robust and are securely affixed. I do not imagine these accidentally falling out compared to other bags that use a similar attachment mechanism.
The top of the bag has a grab handle made out of the same strap material used on the rest of the Daybreaker, fixed to the bag via that same triangle stitching. Also there are two more grab handles on the sides of the pack. I love these for times I needed to pick up your bag and top of it is not facing me, for example whenever I’m reaching in the back of my car for any of my bags. Zippers are YKK so that’s great, and feel good.
Overall the quality is not top tier but it really can’t be at this price point. With that being said, its definitely a very well thought out shell with thoughtful touches and high value materials.
As previously mentioned, the Daybreaker is very minimal, which means the organization takes a hit. The main compartment of the bag is spacious, and will home 95% of the contents. Able Carry does offer a few places for the user to place smaller or more specific items though.
Inside the main compartment, Able Carry have included a sleeve to hold a laptop (they say it holds most 15″ devices) or hydration bladder. I personally have mixed feelings on this part of the bag. As a bladder retention system it works as well as expected, with the sleeve having a little bit of expansion capability to accommodate larger bladders. There is even a small strap to hang bladder from, which is a nice touch. The back of the pack is reinforced with a 5mm thick foam pad that provides good padding while acting as a heat insulation layer so that the wearer’s body does not heat up the water in the bladder too quickly. The flip side of this sleeve is that is does not work as great for laptops or tablets.
Carrying my laptop in the sleeve with a mostly empty bag, the gusset (that accommodates the bladder) will sag, letting the laptop shift inside the sleeve and thus not be very secure. This is exacerbated once when walking and the laptop begins to bounce against the back like a racquetball. Filling out the bottom of the pack with enough jackets or socks or apple pies would probably stop this as the laptop or tablet will be snug against the back but it’s still kind-of an issue in my opinion.
The opening of the main compartment is what I would call adequate. There’s no full clamshell design here but users will be able to reach most space in the bag from this zippered opening. On the inside top of the Daybreaker is a fairly large mesh pocket. The mesh is high quality and has a bit of a stretch to it to accommodate multiple sets of gloves or a fleece hat. I like the idea of this pocket as its a great place to put smaller, high use items. Unfortunately the zippered opening to to this pocket is really small. I would say I have pretty average to smaller sized hands but I can barely fit my hand in this pocket. This makes getting something like a set of keys or chapstick a real challenge.
I have the same problem with the side mesh pocket that Able Carry attached a key lanyard to. It’s a nice pocket but I can hardly get my items out of it with any semblance of ease. The key lanyard is nice though. In my opinion a simple fix would be to just make the zippered openings the same length as the pockets.
The Daybreaker does have one more pocket and its a secret one! I’m personally a big fan of hidden or secret pockets on packs, as long as I can remember what I put in them and where they are. The pocket is located inside the zippered section of the pack that holds the aforementioned foam back pad. The pocket is very discrete but also very small but big enough fit a passport, a set of keys or your favorite chocolate bar.
The Able Carry Daybreaker also has plenty of external loops for attaching additional items like ropes, ice axes or anything you can hook a carabiner to. Last but certainly not least is the expandable water bottle pocket. The pocket sits snug to the pack when not in use via an elastic band. The pocket will expand to fit a 32 oz Nalgene bottle but it’s a very tight fit. I would recommend using a bottle with a smaller diameter and I found my 20 oz Hydroflask to fill the pocket pretty well. The pocket also has a laser-cut drain hole in case any bottle manages to spring a leak.
- Price: at $108 the Daybreaker comes in at a very competitive price given the quality of its design and components.
- This bag weighs almost nothing for its size, and its impressive how comfortable it still is.
- The external loops for attaching additional gear are a great touch and one I personally appreciated.
- The Laptop/bladder thing needs to decide what it wants to be. If it’s not designed for laptops then Able Carry should not market it as one.
- Make those damn internal pocket zipper opening larger. I’m not asking a lot here.
- Water bottle pocket, while well thought out, I wish it was just a little bit larger.
Given my experience with other backpacks, this one comes as a pleasant surprise. The design is so simple, and it doesn’t try to do too much.
The lightweight and versatile designs are winners for me. On the other hand, the Daybreaker is not without its dealbreakers.
Disclaimer: The Daybreaker backpack was provided by Able Carry for use in this review. The content of the review was not shared with Able Carry prior to publication. Our reviews are impartial and never altered to keep a brand happy.