Evergoods Panel Loader Classic 20L: Review

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More people are working flexibly, many work from home. I see the demand for smaller daily carry backpacks have increased and there are a lot more models coming onto the market. Evergoods has always been innovators with their bag designs. Does this new 20 liter Panel Loader Classic backpack fit that need?

Tech Specs

MetricImperial
Height45 cm17.75 in
Width28 cm11 in
Depth18 cm7.25 in
Weight1.1 kg2.5 lb
Capacity1220 cu. in20 liter

Quality and Comfort

Evergoods product quality has always been very good, and the PLC is no exception. This bag is made of 1680D ballistic nylon with a 420D interior lining. With the low key exterior design, the bag looks great and fits in any environment; one can take it to the local cafe, or to a formal meeting. There is the nice signature Evergoods carry handle at the top near the back of the pack, which makes grabbing the bag really easy. On both sides of the carry handle, there are two small cutouts that can be use a lashing points for carabiners and other items.

Evergoods spent a lot of effort designing the back panel and harness of the PLC. The back harness of the PLC is simple but effective. The straps on the PLC20 have a pronounced curve to them. My shoulders are not too broad and I prefer this style of fit where the straps go around my shoulder and run back tight under my arms. Because the underside of the straps also have the same monofilament backing, sliding the straps off is easy. While shoulder straps do not have load lifters, they still bear weight well. Additionally, The sternum strap is adjustable and removable.

The back panel has a new material design: the panel is covered with a monofilament material that is smooth and very breathable. This means it will not rub against whatever clothing you are wearing, while helping to keep sweat build up. The same material is also at the back of the straps. I really like this new material and Evergoods will be using this new design and material in their new bags. The PLC has also features a curved back panel. Personally, I find that curvy back panels don’t always work well for my back. This PLC however, fits my back much better. Of course your mileage will vary depending on the length and shape of your back.

Organization and Access

The CPL20 has a two compartment design with a reasonably sized front compartment. With a smaller bag, finding the right balance of volume in each of the two compartment affects how the bag is used. I like the ratio used in the CPL20. I can easily fit a jacket in the front, an Evergoods CAP1, or other similar sized pouches.

The main compartment can be opened almost completely like a clam shell. It is a conscious design decision by Evergoods to leave a little protective space at the bottom of the bag so that some items can be safely stored in the bottom of the bag with less fear of it falling out when the front is opened — I like that design a lot. A CAP2 fits nicely in there of course, but I put my AER cable kit there.

The front wall of the main compartment has two zippered pockets. The design is the same as the inside of the CAP1 — a top covered full width compartment followed by a meshed compartment that are divided in the inside with a 2 to 1 ratio. Personally I am not a fan of these unevenly divided spaces. Maybe I just do not have a lot of smaller items to store. If you are a fan of the CAP1 design you will love this front wall design.

The laptop pocket in the back wall of the main compartment is a new design. It has a flexible top lip that is quite large. The design makes flipping that pocket open to access the compartment very easy.

The bottom of that pocket is suspended and slightly opened. I like the look of it but I am not convinced there is a practical reason for the opening at the bottom, maybe to let accidentally dropped smaller items out?

There is a stretch pocket in the front of the laptop area, large enough for a kindle but too small for my iPad Pro 11 inch with a case. There is also a pen slot next to it. When I put a pen in that pen slot, the top of the pen stop the top flap from folding down, rendering the flap design useless. That pocket only works with pens with a clip that is completely flush at the top of the pen. I wished they would field tested the design with a common sharpie.

The CPL20 has a quick access pocket at the top of the bag. The pocket runs almost the full width of the bag. The pocket is not very deep. It is good for keys and pens, but too small for my iPhone XS.

What’s Perfect

  • The new back panel material is very nice — smooth with good ventilation.
  • I am a fan of the two compartment design. I can keep clothings or quick access items in a pouch separate and easy to get to without having to open the main compartment
  • The bag stands up on its own
  • While highly personal, I like the understated and versatile look of the bag; it’s great for the office, or school.

What’s Not

  • The shallow quick access pocket is a miss for me, often I want to quickly put my phone somewhere not on my person but the quick access pocket is too small for that.
  • The pen slot design that prevented the laptop compartment being useful is frustrating. And the other stretch pocket is too small for my iPad Pro. I have to not use either of those two otherwise nicely placed pockets.

Wrap Up

The PLC20 embodies much of the Evergoods design. If you are already a fan of their product, this is a must have smaller EDC pack. As a bag reviewer, when I see an almost perfect pack if not for the two misses mentioned above, it is frustrating. The new back panel design and new material is the best thing about this bag. If you are thinking about trying the brand out, this is an easy entry. The Evergoods PLC 20 can be bought directly from Evergoods for $179 USD here.

1 comments on “Evergoods Panel Loader Classic 20L: Review”

  1. Thanks for the review. The bag looks awesome – definitely on my list!

    I’m surprised you felt the QA pocket was too small. You really weren’t able to fit a iPhone XS into that pocket? It appears large enough to fit even some smaller pouches.

    Like

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