I fell under the spell of the brand Inside Line Equipment some time ago already, and when I received my first bag Default I wasn’t disappointed, far from it… Having to choose between a 18 L and a 25 L wasn’t easy, but that guy with a cap on, on a photo I had seen on Internet, was so great to me, and, as I always take a lot of things along when I move, I chose the 25 L version.
It is like a matchbox in shape, which evoked the main function of a backpack to me : to hold something. I liked its mainly functional aspect.
I also had to choose between the version Cordura® 1000D and the version X-PACTM, the difference of price being relatively substantial. But, since the difference of weight is substantial too (more than 200 grams) I decided to choose the version X-PACTM. In order to understand what is characteristic of those two materials, I invite you to click here 😉 . Whether your bag is in Cordura® 1000D or in X-PACTM, your belongings will be protected from the rain thanks to the material inside the bag which is totally waterproof.
That bag offers the possibility of perfectly organizing one’s belongings : with 6 pockets (among which 2 are zipped and two lateral) I can easily sort my things out. Put a bottle on one side, for example, small items in the pocket at the bottom (cables, a loader, a small case), an A4 notepad in the front pocket (also equipped with a waterproof zip) and pencils, earphones, food, a book and a lock in the front pockets.
What is useful, is that I can reach all these pockets without having to open my bag completely. And, when I want to put away something bigger that I will need less quickly (such as clothes, for example), I can use the main compartment. The fastening of the bag in roll-top is lined with press studs and safety velcros. That system gives an opportunity to keep my things in a dry place, and it takes less time to open it than the classical zip opening. Inside, there aren’t any separate pockets in the main compartment : I can put my things haphazardly inside it.
As I often go cycling, I much appreciate the adjustable sternal strap, the belt, as well as the compression straps : I can feel the bag sticking to the movements of my body instead of moving on my back. Besides, the retro-reflective stripes are excessively efficient when I ride at night. I find this functionality well integrated to the bag, unlike what I can generally see.
The back is composed of quite thick foam rubber and of material mesh so as to let the air circulate freely between my back and the bag. By the way, the back of the the bag is quite straight, which is good when I use it for several hours : my center of gravity doesn’t deviate too much, so I don’t make any effort to counterbalance the volume of the bag. You can possibly fix objects on the shoulder straps thanks to the plastic buckles placed on them. As for me, I use them to fix my keys.
As you can see on my photos, there are several seams in bartak in different places of the bag. Those ”zigzag” seams (when the pieces of material are perfectly sewn together) are very durable. They are sometimes decorative, but often functional, as it is the case here. They contribute to strengthen the bag at some key places, often much requested.
When I choose a bag, I always wonder where the accessories come from. It may have a lot to say about the manufacturers and how they see things. Here, the plastic buckles and clips used are Us-Molding, manufactured by Duraflex in the USA and the zips come from the brand YKK. Duraflex and YKK are the two biggest accessory manufacturers and only make reliable products. Of course, the bag is more expensive, but I’m certain that not only my zip pocket won’t break, but also that the waterproof quality of my bag is real and long-lasting.
Another very important point to me : the straps. On a rucksack, the straps may be numerous : they are used for adjusting the position of the bag on the shoulders, the sternum and the waist, the various handles, the compression of the bag, and so on… On this bag, they are also used as a structure. Obviously a good strap must be resistant, but also very supple. In other words, in polyester or in polyamide rather than in prolypopylene (not easy to make the difference, you may say ! But this will be the subject of another article).
I also check whether the manufacturer has used bias bindings or not (in this case he has). The binding is a kind of strap, that allows two pieces of material to be sewn together. Here for example, between the external X-PACTM material, and the inside X-PACTM, or between the external polyester of the shoulder straps and the mesh inside. The importance of a bias binding is double : as I said, pieces of material are assembled and, at the same time, the extremities of the bag and the most exposed parts of it are protected from wearing out.
I have been using this bag almost every day for several months now and I must say it hasn’t budged an inch ! I am really pleased with it, its durability as much as its functionality. The only comment I would make to the manufacturer would be to plan to have a compartment devoted to a laptop, even if I can easily carry my own 15” laptop in it 😉 .
If you are interested, you will find a very interesting interview of the creator of ILE, Eric Fisher, directed by Carryology. He tells us about what objectives he created the brand with and what ”strategic” choices he gave priority to. Find the Default 25l in our shop any time, as well as his little brother the Default 18l and other photos on our Instagram account.
Here is my grading (more information about how we score).