Brenthaven Velo BackpackIf you commute by bicycle, and carry along electronics, then the Brenthaven Velo Backpack is for you! Rugged yet sleek, the Velo’s water resistant exterior protects against all but the heaviest rain, while a waterproof interior pocket guarded by two sets of sealed zippers will keep laptops with screen sizes as large as 16” snug and dry. This interior compartment is also cleverly designed to suspend a laptop in the center of the pack so that it is not touching any of the exterior walls.

Aside from waterproofing, the Velo is extremely well designed; the twin pockets on the back are spacious enough to accommodate a mouse, external hard drive and power cable in one, with perhaps a paperback novel in the other with room to spare. The upper pocket also includes a karabiner, so that (for example) you might keep your keys securely attached. The lid is designed to act as a further shield against rain and includes a pocket of similarly spacious proportions to those on the back. A fifth and final pocket sits between the interior compartment and the wearers back and is wide, but thin-suitable for magazines, documents or perhaps even a few items of clothing. For extra room, the interior pocket is expandable by 3 inches. There is also a cellphone pocket affixed to the left front strap, though this is not waterproof. At the base of the pack is a thick leather pad that helps to soften the blow if the pack is dropped or handled roughly. One thing to note: the first several times I opened and closed the zippers, they were extremely stiff, but after using each several times they became easy and smooth to pull.

Brenthaven Velo Backpack

Overall, the design is unassuming but impressive, so as not to attract undue attention while maintaining a professional appearance. Though mainly black, it features several bold, reflective stripes so that the wearer is visible to vehicles if traveling after dark or in dim conditions. A spherical, red LED light is affixed to the lower half of the pack and provides added visibility.

Brenthaven Velo Backpack

The Velo is extremely comfortable, with generous padding and a curved, form-fitting shape.
I never experienced any discomfort while wearing it. It has a chest strap for added stability, but since it seems to be meant more for biking than hiking, it does not have a hip strap. Brenthaven Velo BackpackI tested it on daily bike rides as well as several short hikes, and never had a problem with it.

In testing, the Velo proved very durable, and nothing I carried inside it was ever damaged (though the outer pockets are not padded). However, when I tested it’s waterproofing I came up with less than perfect results. In rain showers, every pocket remained completely free of water, but when completely submerged in water for ten minutes, even the deep interior laptop compartment was quickly filled. The flaw appears to be at the seams and the ends of the zippers, so while you will be safe from rainstorms and spilt drinks, I don’t recommend taking your laptop swimming in this! It might be worth the trouble to add some seam sealer to the seams if you are anticipating being out in heavy rains with it.

Conclusion:

Though the Velo is not as waterproof as advertised, it is nonetheless capable of repelling all but the heaviest dowsings. The build quality is stellar, the design stylish, and the addition of many thoughtful features make this the perfect pack for anyone who commutes by bike or on foot. The expandable interior and spacious exterior pockets also allow for it to be used for day hiking, though it is obviously aimed at cycling commuters.

Brenthaven Velo Backpack

Specs:
Price: $149.95
Model: #6104
Material: 1000D Nylon fabric
Weight: 3.8 lb.
External Dimensions: 13.5” W x 20” H x 5” D. Depth is 8” when expanded.
Fits laptops up to 16”

Brenthaven Velo Backpack

$149.95
Brenthaven Velo Backpack
9

Durability

10/10

    Waterproofing

    8/10

      Comfort

      9/10

        Weight

        8/10

          Fit

          10/10

            Pros

            • Highly water resistant
            • Rugged build protects electronics
            • Lots of pack room
            • Comfortable
            • Attractive design

            Cons

            • Interior laptop compartment is not entirely waterproof
            • Zippers are somewhat stiff when first used
            • Back padding takes a long time to dry
            • Straps are overly long, and the flapping of the loose ends is somewhat annoying.
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