If there is something we like at The Travel Tester, it has to be bags. While we have about a million of them at home, the search for the perfect bag never seems to end as there is always another occasion for which we need just a slightly different type of bag.
At the moment, Nick is looking for a new day pack that he can take to work and on short breaks, so when the people over at Blacks asked us to review a bag from their collection, of course we were more than happy to!
We tested the bag on our most recent trip to Brighton in the South of England and in this review, we put it through our 5-senses test. Keep reading to see what we thought of it:
The Blacks Story
In 1861, Thomas Black set up his own sail making business on the Clyde River. Using the same materials and expertise he had developed equipping boats and ships, he turned his hand to crafting tents and shelters of high quality.
These days, Blacks is one of Britain’s leading outdoor experts. They say themselves that they “live and breathe the outdoors, from simple walks and technical hikes, to arduous expeditions and intrepid exploration”. Their mission is to make the outdoors as accessible as possible to everybody, ensuring that they have the right clothing and equipment for wherever their adventure takes them. Through their #EverydayLifeOutdoors campaign, they encourage your to explore the outdoors and share your experiences with others!
The Jack Wolfskin Story
On the 1st of October in 1993, the first Jack Wolfskin store opened in Heidelberg, Germany. Nowadays, there are more than 900 stores worldwide, of which 238 in Europe alone.
On their own website, they say that they are fully committed to functionality and that their products are designed to protect, keep you warm and dry, whilst being comfortable and reliable and lasting for many years. No detail is too small for them to improve upon!
Jack Wolfskin Royal Oak Day Pack Review – The Travel Tester in Action
1. What does it SOUND like?
The Jack Wolfskin Royal Oak Day Pack is, according to the Blacks website, a classic top-loader pack with a large main compartment with draw cord closure. It has a zipped pocket on the front flap for small items and a side pocket.
This all sounds pretty straightforward, and that is exactly why we picked this bag. Often, there are just so many flaps and pockets on a bag, while all you really use is the main compartment and perhaps one or two side/top pockets.
2. What does it LOOK like?
At the time of ordering our backpack, The Royal Oak type came in two colours on the Blacks website: Stone (Beige) and Night Blue (Navy). We picked the last one, because it looked super classy and because I have a coat similar to the other colour, I thought it might not look great to wear beige on beige, so I went for the darker one instead. It was also Nick’s favourite colour.
I saw online that this backpack is also made in the colours Dark Red, Woodland Green and Black.
3. What does it TASTE like?
While we loved the simplicity of this bag, the way the bag closes on the top made us want to taste a bit more…
When you lift the flap on the top of the bag, you will probably agree with us that the system used for closing the main compartment is a bit complicated. While it looks like a normal pull-string closure, instead of squeezing in the plastic part to let the string through (like on most of these systems), you have to actually pull the string itself, which doesn’t run smoothly at all and takes a while to open and close.
We found this closing very inconvenient and also because the back of this pack is solid and the string runs right against it, rather than with a seam to give it some space, when you close the bag you actually lose a lot of space as the bag now pulls flat instead of ’round’ like on other bags.
This bag is supposed to be 18 liters, but because of the closing, it feels a lot smaller as you just can’t fit in a lot of items. Nick was looking for a bag big enough to fit his sport shoes in, but this bag isn’t big enough for that.
Inside, there is also a detachable snap-buckle key ring
4. What does it FEEL like?
We like how this backpack feels super robust and has padded shoulder straps and base. Nick and I did have a very different experience when carrying the bag as we both are a bit different in size and have a different taste in what we like in a bag.
Because of its so-called ‘Snuggle Up’ back system, this backpack has extra wide straps to displace and spread heavier loads across your back. This also means that the bag is very close to your back, so air isn’t really flowing through. Nick didn’t like this, as he always wants to have space between his back and the backpack to prevent sweating. He also has a taller torso than me, so the fact that this bag was quite short and broad made that he didn’t feel comfortable wearing it.
For my body type, with a shorter upper body and fairly broad shoulders, I actually liked the bag being close to my back and a bit broader and shorter than usual. So I can recommend trying the bag on and see if it fits your body type, because you might have a different experience!
The dimensions of the bag are: 42 x 31 x 20 centimeter. The bag weighs 550 grams.
Nick found the straps too broad for his taste
5. What does it SMELL like?
A mix of cotton and synthetic leather.
The fabric used for the main compartment and the straps is called ‘Full Dull 600D’, and it’s a hard-wearing fabric with recycled material and cotton-like texture. The bottom of the bag is made from ‘micro suede’, which is a synthetic leather with velvety feel and suede-like appearance.
After our 5-senses test, we’re ready to answer our final (and perhaps most important) question in our Jack Wolfskin Royal Oak Review:
Does this product make us happy?
Yes and No. While we really like the look and the simplicity of this bag, Nick didn’t like how the bag fit him (while I did) and we both thought it was a bit too small for the purpose we had for a day pack. I will definitely use this bag at home when I’m working in the city and need to bring just a laptop and diary, etc. (and look a bit smart at the same time), but for travelling or longer trips, I’ll keep looking to find another day bag that suits us a bit better.
Do you have any Jack Wolfskin Backpacks? What is your experience with them? Thanks for letting us know!
Jack Wolfskin Royal Oak Day Pack in Navy.
At time of writing this review, this backpack was £ 45.00.
You can get the backpack (and backpacks from many other brands) at Blacks.co.uk
Blacks offers FREE click & collect on this backpack when ordering within the UK. There is also FREE Standard delivery within 5 working days within the UK and international delivery to over 200 countries worldwide from £ 4.99. Some restrictions apply.
We worked in partnership with Blacks to do this Jack Wolfskin Royal Oak Backpack Review. All photos and opinions are 100% our own.
No Nick’s were hurt during the making of this article.
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