Wandering around the many exhibitors of the Berlin Travel Festival last March, I found something that caught my attention: a Sustainable Travel Backpack made only by recycled materials. Wow, super cool. But where is the trick? Back then the product was only a prototype, so I just take note of this as the innovation to check in future. A couple of months later, at the beginning of October I got the big new, the WAYKS Backpack was ready to launch on Kickstart/Indiegogo. Now, after almost two months of travelling with it as my only carry-on bag here is the WAYKS ONE Travel Backpack full review.
The WAYKS ONE Backpack Review
I personally used the WAYKS ONE as my main travel backpack in all my last trips:
- Rainy weekend in Morrocco at the end of October: I wasn’t expecting to find so much rain in Morocco but the backpack kept my electronics equipment pretty safe despite of the heavy rain.
- The Sustainable Flemish Tour: a 3 days tour in 3 different countries Luxembourg, Netherlands and Belgium. Where I used the backpack as the only bag (without the camera cube) and I had with me my camera, lenses and the drone plus a few clothing. The Flemish Tour was pretty intense, and I had to walk a lot with the backpack on but I should say that I never felt uncomfortable. Of course, after 5-6 hours of walk, you will start to feel the backpack weight.
- 20 days in Cyprus: I have been able to fit in the bag (thanks to the rolling top) all the clothes to survive in Cyprus in November so not only t-shirts, I had with me my rain jacket and some hoodies. Plus, I’ve been able to fit it my little drone without problems.
- 3 Days in Sweden: crazy cold and snow but again the WAYKS ONE was pretty handy and useful thanks to the many external pockets really helpful to fastly reach the umbrella and the hat/gloves. As I went to Sweden for work I’ve been able to bring with me all the “office essentials” thanks to the great internal pocket division and organizer.
As you can see, this WAYKS ONE review is based on a good number of trips, in a wide range of situation, countries and weather conditions. That is why I feel pretty confident in writing my final sensation about this backpack, even if the one I am currently testing is a pre-production unit and few changes will be made to the final version (hopefully improvements only).
Just one word: SUSTAINABLE. The WAYKS ONE modular travel backpack is basically made of only recycled water bottles and sustainable materials. Moreover, WAYKS selected a specific factory for the production of the final product, a factory that is meeting a series of strict standards on the work quality condition focusing on a sustainable production that helps the development of the country in which the bag is produced. I admire this, it should become a standard for the producer.
All the zips of the backpack are weather sealed so you won’t have to worry about water leaking into your clothes or your laptop. One of the few negative aspects I did find was the weakness of some of the zips, but hopefully, this will be fixed in the final version of the product.
Divisions and Compartments 4.5/5
The WAYKS ONE is a modular travel backpack made up by two main different sections and 11 modular and removable parts, the two main parts are the backpack that can be used standalone and a “cube” with a waistbelt that could be detached and attached to the bag.
Main Pack or Day Pack
The principal section of the WAYS ONE features a huge variety of pockets and a super useful “clamshell opening” that will allow you to use it as a suitcase. In addition to the main compartment (that can fit up to 37L), there are also two side pockets both with another mesh pocket inside that can be closed, perfect for a small tripod, water bottle or some snacks (I am using one for the GorillaPod and one for a Water Bottle). The main compartment could be expanded as it has a roll-up. There is also a superior closing zip so the main compartment could be both accessed from the top or from the clamshell opening. Behind the main compartment, it is located the laptop pocket with a dedicated zip to fastly extract the laptop (it can fit laptops up to 15,6″). That is not all, in fact, there are two smaller pockets, one with a soft lining on the top perfect for keys, glasses or passport and one in the backside, that I presume it was meant to be for documents or passport but I am using it to store my kindle in order to reach it fastly.
Plus, at the bottom, there is another pocket perfect to store towels or shoes or even dirty clothes as they are separated from the rest of the main compartment.
*Updated* The Main Section of the backpack, when not completely full, fits perfectly as “small bag” in the main European Low-Cost Carriers.
The bottom pocket is the place where it could be attached the removable cube that expands the capacity of the backpack and can convert it in a “full dimensions” travel backpack adding also a really comfortable waistbelt.
The “cube” could be used in many different ways. The first, or the one I used it for, is as a camera bag. Thanks to the modular separators and the handy shoulder bag that will allow you to carry around the cube without problems. Not only camera, in fact, the “cube” is also thermally insulated so you could even use it to carry with you some beers or warm food etc…Moreover, it is really sturdy, so it is perfect to keep safe all your fragile gears.
Comfort and Usability 4.5/5
It is possible to remove the back panel to transform the daily bag in a more compact and lightweight bag, so you can leave all the “heavy” components of the backpack in the hotel and walk around the cities freely. But, as I am carrying always with me at least my camera and my laptop I had a better feeling to walk with the full back panel on rather than the minimal. In the long run, you will indeed appreciate the paddings.
I must say that I am really satisfied with the comfort and the overall usability of this WAYKS ONE Travel Backpack, so far it is one of the best I had the opportunity to try during my trips.
The rigid frame is perfect to walk around of for backpackers, the 2 big side pockets are pretty useful in all the environments and the clamshell opening makes the packing – unpacking fast.
As this WAYKS ONE Backpack Review is coming to a conclusion let’s talk about the price. The WAYKS ONE is currently in pre-order on WAYKS for 269€ (for the full set of accessories) or 189€ for the Main Pack only. It comes in two colours: Black and Sandstone. Delivery will start in March 2019.
The price is high or in the average of the high-end products of this category. I assume the high price is due to the great materials and the all rounded sustainability (environmental and social). I would include also all the R&D expenses as we are talking of a startup, so their economy of scale is not great and that may lead the price to be higher. Hopefully, there will be cheaper models in the future. But the combination of these great materials and incredible R&D did not only increased the prices but it did help to create a great product, with one of the highest quality/price ratio based on the features and on the materials.
Conclusions: The Best Modular Sustainable Pack!
I am seriously considering to make this WAYKS ONE Backpack my new main travel backpack. As I said before, it is one of the best I had the change to try in the last months. What I do like the most is the comfort in everyday use, thanks to the padding and to the great internal division of the compartments. You can clearly see it is a backpack for backpackers or digital travelers created from digital travelers. All the features are perfectly developed to make your life easier. While on a plane or a train it will help you to enjoy your trips without any sacrifice. No sacrifice also to the environmental protection, as it is one of the few backpacks produced with really high standards on sustainability.
There are still some problems that could be fixed as the not too competitive price, but it is a newborn company so I hope they will smooth things over with the aim to create the best overall sustainable travel backpack. So far I can say it’s the best Sustainable Modular Bag I had the chance to try.
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