A while back, Poler Stuff sent over this beautiful bag dubbed the “Drifter Pack.”

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Something you should know about me before we get into the review: I LOVE backpacks. I have about six right now that go in and out of rotation depending on the activity or the season (favorite all-time b-packs: Mhm Incline and the Muji organic cotton backpack). So when Zoe and Annie passed this pack to me for testing out, I was elated.

Let’s open the zipper and get into the nitty gritty of the Drifter.

Pros

It can hold a lot of stuff!

I’ve fit two-weeks worth of groceries plus a down jacket in this pack. Everything fit snuggly and the weight was dispersed comfortably across my back on the bike ride to my house.

Padded laptop sleeve is a big plus

I’m a sucker for a good laptop sleeve. It automatically makes this pack better for commuting to work and traveling. I also used it for my bike lock and coil.

Would you look at those colors and big zippers!

Great choice of color contrast. It made me (and Annie) so much easier to find in crowds and concerts. And big zippers make it easy to open and close in the dark and on the go.

Annie sporting the Drifter Pack

Your stuff will be protected from the elements

The exterior of the bag is made from really thick Campdura fabric then lined with nylon. I used this bag during #rainpocolypse in San Francisco and my stuff stayed dry despite a 15 minute bike ride during a deluge.

You can put a skateboard in the back

This feature wasn’t super useful for me (I can only skateboard sitting down on the board). But I could imagine it being a big plus for skaters or those who want to carry a skateboard around. I used this feature once to sit down on wet grass at Dolores Park before I even knew the flap was designed to hold skateboards. It’s also great for carrying trekking poles.

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The padding provides good structure

Don’t worry about that bottle of eggnog poking you in the back while you ride to that holiday party–the padding provides structure and comfort.

Cons

Shoulder straps are uncomfortably wide

This is the number one con for me and Annie. The straps are so wide that they can chafe your arms if you’re in a sleeveless tank hiking up the Dipsea trail.

Not the best handiwork with the stitching

After three months, the interior stitching of the front pocket is ripped. Maybe in that way the pack is true to its name: my pens and earbuds can drift between compartments.

No water bottle sleeves!

I’ve used a carabiner to strap my water bottle to the outside but it’s just not the same… After a bad water bottle spill involving a computer in an former bag, I’ve never been able to fully commit to a pack without water bottle sleeves.

Front pocket not incredibly accessible

If you’re frequently reaching for stuff in the front pocket, it can get difficult to slip your hand in there, especially when the bag is full. I just don’t like going in there.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is…it’s a tad too big to be my main squeeze

For tooling around the city by public transit and bike, this bag constantly feels a few litres too big. People on the bus give me that look and it’s pretty bulky to bike commute with. The only time I truly need and appreciate its girth is when I need to transport a lot of stuff (hey–Poler Stuff!).

Bottom line?

If you’re an avid longboarder looking for a hip bag to commute to work with, then the Drifter is the bag for you!

But if you’re looking for an all-around backpack sized for everyday use and comfortable to commute to work with via public transit or cycling, then I hope you really love the colors.

Guest Contributor

Orig­i­nally from the Coastal Empire, Laura Zul­liger set­tled some­where in the sand dunes of the Bay Area after get­ting lost in rural China for 2 years. She loves the ocean and bub­ble tea.