Heimplanet Commuter Pack
After buying a Dsptch Ridgepack for my latest trip to Japan, I returned a bit disappointed. Comfort is up there with function for me with all my bags, and the straps of the Ridgepack didn’t fit my body, and tended to twist when taking it on and off which made the whole thing less than pleasant. Additionally, buying this bag was a test of whether one big compartment would work for me instead of maintaining a separation between a cable area and a general packing zone, but everything tended to float around and the top flap overhang meant getting my laptop or iPad out of it easily was hard. Great bag for some people, but not one for me. I gave it to a friend who I think will enjoy it much more.
Heimplanet is an intriguing brand. I’ve had a small pouch from this company for a few years, but always hesitated to buy more, due to price and weight. For some time now I’ve wanted sub-800g/1.5lb bags with just the right set of features. This single-minded desire led to some compromise on size, features, and pockets, but meant I always had very little weight on my shoulders for walks and hikes. The Heimplanet Commuter Pack is what I went with after a lot of searching and thought. It’s slightly heavier than I typically look for, but still a mere 850g. Further, it solves a very difficult challenge for changeable weather by having a floating pocket that a jacket can be draped-over and through in order to carry externally—saving space, or letting it dry. With my other bags, I often had to pack my bag quite tautly when not wearing my jacket, or drape it precariously on my bag straps. Now I have much more optionality for my gear, and a better set of storage generally.
The Commuter Pack is a roll-top bag with a single strap in the middle that secures the magnetic closure top opening. The roll and magnets mean the bag can be overloaded if necessary, while still packing down when less space is needed. Inside the main compartment there is a false-bottom laptop sleeve and nothing else. There is a zipper on the side near a side-handle that allows for access to the main compartment without needing to unroll the top, and another small zipper that accommodates a small amount of money, AirPods, or a few cards. The front floating pocket has a satisfying zipper with two small elastic pockets inside of a larger pocket with separate dimensionality due to its floating nature.1
Using the bag
I’ve made a couple small trips with this bag, and it’s very, very good. The bag materials feel high-quality and provide confidence that this will last as I travel. The zippers are easy to use, and the pulls feel nice in my hands. The backpack straps and handles are comfortable without being unwieldy, and overall even when loaded, feel excellent. There are small horizontal loops on the backpack strap I can attach a key ring to, and a flashlight, or even a chest strap if I want, and none of it manages to evoke a mall ninja vibe, thankfully. The roll-top secures with a metal hook closure that isn’t always the fastest to hook and unhook one-handed, and ideally could be Fidlock instead.
I bought Heimplanet packing bags to go inside the backpack, and they take up around a third of the main bag compartment, leaving plenty of space for my MacBook, or other gear and toiletries. With the side-zip access to this area, I can get a bottle or iPad out during travel, and the roll-top clip and magnetic closure provide confidence the rest of my gear won’t just spill out while I’m trying to move things around. My only complaint is the small side pocket isn’t large enough to stash my phone and wallet at TSA, so it needs to go in the main area, floating pocket, or a jacket pocket instead. This is extremely minor, since as that last sentence illustrated, I’ve got plenty of options for quick storage even without a medium side-pocket. The reflective logo gives the bag less of a stealth look than I like, but it’s minimal enough to not be a bother. Ideally it would be a black logo that is reflective, but oh well.
The size of the bag means it not only easily fits in an overhead compartment, but at my feet on a plane. The bag feels secure on my back when cycling too.
The Heimplanet Commuter Pack is comfortable, versatile, and cool-looking. I have a bad habit of always looking for “one more bag” that might solve everything in all travel cases, but this should be an excellent bag for many years to come for commuting and flying. I look forward to using this bag in Japan or Europe this year and really getting to stress-test it. If you love ultralight travel packing, or even just need a nice daypack, this is a great one.
A floating pocket is attached on two out of four sides, with no attachment on the side touching the bag. This allows for items to be stored behind the pocket, and for it to expand more independently of the main compartment without taking up main backpack area or being squeezed to the point of uselessness due to packing gear into the main area. ↩︎