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Bellroy Duo Totepack review

14 Nov 2017
Verdict:

A useful, well made bag that can be used as a backpack or carried as a tote, but it comes at a premium price

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£259
For 
Stylish, versatile, quality construction, comfortable on and off the bike
Against 
A slightly larger size could be beneficial. The price might deter some

The Bellroy Duo Totepack isn't the first product from the Australian brand that I've had the pleasure of using, so when I received it my expectations were already very high. Happily, after a couple of months of use I am glad to report that it has indeed lived up to what I had hoped and expected.

The 'Duo' part of the product name refers to the fact that it can be used as both a backpack and a tote bag, with comfortable shoulder straps and leather wrapped handles on the top.

The shoulder straps, although thin and stiff-feeling, remain comfortable and stay in place when cycling with the bag on, making it an excellent choice for short commutes especially on a folding bike or hire cycle when decked out in normal clothing.

Bellroy's core products are typically smaller than this – in the shape of wallets, coin holders and phone pockets. Now scaled up to bags – the Duo Totepack is the lead in a range of six – that same quality of construction has been carried over.

Similar to other products in the range, the backpack is said to be 'water resistant' rather than 'waterproof'. This is the same as the All Conditions Phone Pocket, a product that has kept my iPhone dry in torrential Belgian rain and kept out record levels of sweat as I dragged myself around the alps.

So far, the Bellroy Duo Totepack has kept out light rain showers but it hasn't yet been exposed to the worst of a British winter.

Water beads off the bag's outer material, ensuring laptops and valuables are kept safe and dry inside. The matt finish of the outer layer does point to the possibility of there being a maximum saturation point at which the heaviest rain could make its way through, but I haven't been out in poor weather long enough to reach it as yet.

Inside, the key feature is a padded centre sleave that can hold laptops up to 15 inches in size, with space for other items in front and behind.

Internally, there are a further three pockets, two of them zipped. The front of the bag contains a zipped compartment with two sub-compartments, while the back of the bag has a popper-fastended large pocket and smaller top-loaded zipped section.

Although there are ample pockets and plenty of room for a standard urban 'everyday carry' (the non-gun variety), it would be a struggle to get a second pair of shoes and a change of clothes in as well if you wanted to do a longer commute with the bag on.

This is unlikely to be the target audience of the Bellroy Duo Totepack but is something I found slightly frustrating when I wanted to use the bag for more than just short rides to Tube stations.

Although, of course, beefing up the holding capacity could hinder the comfort and look of the backpack, which are two of its strongest features.

The final thing to note is the price. For anyone not familiar with Bellroy and its excellent range of products, £259 is going to seem like a steep price tag for a laptop and accessories carrier.

However, the product takes huge strides towards justifying that price tag with its quality of construction, comfort and stylish design and as soon as I started using the Duo it became my go-to backpack. Except when I need a change of clothes, of course.

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