- Price $275 on paktbags.com
- Dimensions 20″ (w) x 11″ (h) x 10″ (d) / 508mm (w) x 279mm (h) x 254mm (d)
- Weight 3.25 lbs / 1.47kg
- Volume 35 liter capacity
If you haven’t heard of The Minimalist, they are a high-profile duo that’s most minimalists’ gateway to minimalism. In 2016, they produced the a documentary called “Minimalism”. In it, the Getaway bag by industrial designer Malcolm Fontier was featured as the bag of choice of The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
To the dismay of most who watched the show and wanted the bag, the bag has been out of production for several years. After hundreds of request to bring it back, Malcolm, the designer, and The Minimalists decided to work together on an upgraded version of the bag.
It started out as a crowdfunding campaign that turned out to be wildly successful and the rest was history. This was how the cult travel bag was resurrected.
As anyone from the onebag community can attest to, duffle bags are out of the question for most serious onebaggers. Even for me, I simply cannot imagine traveling with a duffle bag, since all the weight (usually about 12kg for me) would be on one shoulder.
But given that this bag has such a cult status, I was excited to give it a try.
Since I only wear black, the Black/Black colorway was the obvious choice for me. They also have a Grey/Pewter and Navy/Bronze version. The black, grey and navy refers to the color of the main fabric of the bag while the black, pewter and bronze is the color of the zips and hardware.
In Japan, duffle bags are synonymous with tennis players and the typical sweaty salarymen. But I’ve found the size of the bag and the black color helps make it much more stylish.
Unlike some bags that are all black which hardware has a slightly different tint or color, the black Pakt One looks very consistent in the tone of black throughout the entire bag.
Apart from that, style-wise, it looks like a pretty standard-looking duffle bag.
For duffle bags, I usually find that it looks much better when sling off one shoulder for a more laidback look. But this puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder and you would have to take special attention to prevent it from slipping off by constantly having your shoulder in a shrugged position
Slinging it across your chest is much more secure and allows you to be completely hands-free, but it gives a much more sporty, tennis player look.
As expected, there is completely no branding on the external of the bag. There is a small tag on the inside of the bag.
The bag is made of 420D Nylon dobby fabric. While 420D (D for denier) sounds like a low denier count compared to bags like Goruck GR2 with 1000D Cordura, but you want to note that a higher denier count does not necessarily translate to higher quality. Denier simply refers to the thickness of individual threads or filaments used.
As with most bags I review, the market standard, crème de la crème YKK zippers are used.
The external zippers uses the water resistant zippers, and while it’s not specified, they look to be YKK Aquaguard zippers.
This is something a lot of brands have trouble getting right, making sure the hardware matches the fabric. The Pakt One has taken the pains to ensure the hardware is also black to match the rest of the bag for a truly minimalist look.
The interior uses a lower denier, 150D polyester. Since you wouldn’t normally experience a lot of abrasion on the interior of the bag, using a lower denier fabric would reduce the weight of the bag. While I usually like black interiors for black bags (I’m a purist), I can appreciate that the interiors is grey as it makes it a lot easier find my things, especially in shared hostel rooms after lights out.
While there isn’t anything special about the materials used in The Pakt One, what really makes it stands out and the favorites of The Minimalists is the organization.
I’ll admit, while I’m happy when brands are onboard the nature train and do their best to help the environment, it doesn’t really affect my buying decisions as a product centric person.
For those who do care, you’ll be glad to know that Pakt Bags is one of the “good guys”. Every step of their supply chain is been optimized to reduce environmental impact.
While the materials are top-of-the-line durable, they managed to source for 100% animal-friendly materials as part of their mindful approach to the creation of this cult bag.
The bag comes with no plastic packaging; no bubble wrap, no plastic bags, no air pillows, no Styrofoam or any of the stuff that isn’t easily biodegradable. To do this, they are supported by SeaHive, a program that helps companies replace the use of plastic with earth-friendly materials, so that poor baby turtles don’t get tangled in the plastic in our oceans.
This bag is an organizational monster. I’ve had experiences with some very well organized bags, like the Tortuga Outbreaker and Aer Travel Pack 2, but the Pakt One has some pretty innovative features.
On the front of the bag, there are two zippable quick access pockets.
There are some internal organization on the left pocket, a key clip, a pen slot and a larger slot designed for your passport and a mesh slot in front of that.
The right quick access pocket is designed for your electronics like a mobile charger or earpods, therefore doesn’t have any internal organization.
The main compartment of the duffle is really separated into three sections. Each section accessible from separate zips on top the bag.
From the quick access pockets, the first section (hereby referred to as section one) has a zipped pocket on one side and mesh slots on the two internal ends of the section.
A packable tote bag, similar to the Nanobag, came with the bag in this section.
I don’t know if it was intentional, but I was able to pack the tote into its pouch and store it perfectly into the side mesh slots of the section.
The next section (hereby referred to as section two), the middle of the three, can be accessed as well from the zipper across the bag.
In this section, opposite the mesh face that you access section one from, there is also a padded pocket for your laptop. It fitted my 15-inch MacBook Pro perfectly.
This section has the least depth of the three sections and is designed for your electronics. Since it’s in the middle of the three sections, the contents in the outer sections would provide that extra bit of protection.
Section one and two is separated by a mesh fabric, and section one can be accessed from section two (but section two can’t be accessed from section one).
From section two, you can also access the last of the three section by opening up the zip along the face that the laptop slot is in.
The last of the three section is basically a mirrored copy of section one, so it has the same zippable slot and mini mesh pockets at the two ends.
On the back side of the duffle, there is a zippable slot with a TSA-ready mesh pocket. What you do with the mesh pocket is that you put your pocket’s contents during airport security check and have it hang out to show.
This is perhaps one of the more unique design features of the Pakt One.
I brought the Pakt One on a few weekend trips. And I absolutely love the organization and style.
Unfortunately, not enough to overcome my phobia of duffel bags. As expected, at 10kg or so weight, the stress on my one shoulder is not feasible for long distance walking.
Even though the padding on the strap is much better than other duffles I’ve had experience with, it wasn’t enough to elevate the pressure felt on my shoulders. As a duffle, the bag swings slightly as you move, further increasing the stress on the shoulder.
Carrying it across the chest does help with better balance and a more even load, but it can’t compare to the good ol’ backpack. When just comparing apples with apples, the Pakt One has one of the best strap paddings I’ve seen in a duffle bag.
The handle, despite not having any special kind of padding, is easy to hold on to. They took the extra effort to stitch the handles into an easy-to-grab form.
The padded laptop pocket was a nice feature, but after unzipping and putting your laptop in, you have to fold the top part to cover the laptop to zip it up, which seems a little unnecessary, given that you just have to slot it in for most bags.
While I get the three zips on the top, I often forget which section I put which things, since the look is so consistent with the black colorway. My identity is my curse.
One thing I love about waterproof zips, apart from the fact they keep my stuff dry, is that they have taped seams for that extra stealthy look. However, given the zips are as long as the entire duffle bag, the zips are sometimes hard to open with one hand.
While I was happy the bag can be opened clamshell-style to lay flat, you need to unzip it down and around the corners to do so. The unzipping process is obviously less smooth when trying to get it down around the bottom corners.
I really like that the quick access in front are slightly “3D” pockets, unless the kind you find on bags like Goruck GR1 that is hard to access when the bag is packed full.
For some reason prefer duffle bags more than a backpack? The Pakt One is probably one of the best you can get. You’ll probably give it extra points for the attention to details, if you are a purist like me.
If you like the design of this duffle but still prefer a backpack after all, you’d be delighted to know that they are working on a backpack version of their Pakt One, something that I’m super excited about. There isn’t a set release date, but it looks like it would be released in the next couple of months.
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