Flanders is made of Cordura® 1000 D nylon and X-Pac ™ lining. Even if it is not designed to be 100% waterproof like a nautical bag (the fabrics are not welded, but sewn), the fact that it is composed of two fabrics (including a waterproof one) makes it resistant to any heavy rain. The selected Cordura® has a coarse, matte look, which brings out the bright waterproof zips.
As you know, Cordura® is a very abrasion-resistant fabric, while the X-Pac ™ is very tear-resistant. So, this bag is a good mix. The main compartment opens and closes in roll-top, it is very wide and very accessible. The lining being light gray, I find my things very easily. Once the fabric is rolled, the bag closes with a 50mm plastic buckle.
The strap used is simply a piece of seat belt … which makes it indestructible.
The side pockets are deep enough to slide bottles (+ 22cm high), but not very extensible : the maximum diameter is a little over 8 cm. My Decathlon bottle of 0,75L in photo opposite returns there perfectly.
FYI, I never fill my bottle completely : in a simple walk, water points are usually easy to find, it is useless to wear too much. In addition, if I do not fill the other side pocket, I feel my bag leaning in my back.
As I said before, zips on the front pockets are waterproof and, very important to me, you can easily catch them. Their size is # 10, and a small braided zipper makes opening and closing easier.
It may seem like a detail for you, but waterproof zips are often more difficult to drag than traditional zips. These zippers are therefore welcome 😉 .
I did not cut the bag to check, but I feel that a rigid foam is built into the back. Thus, the bag stays upright and the weight of the bag remains pressed against me when I wear it. On the other hand, this bag has 4 compression straps. For a 32L it’s, in my opinion, essential.
Their loop system is clever because it allows the straps not to drag anywhere. This is a detail but when I ride a bike with a bag in the back, I like that its volume remains compact.
Moreover, if you look at the profile bag, you will see that its swoosh shape has been studied to be as close as possible to the body. The sternal strap moves easily on the shoulder straps and, like the compression straps, can be adjusted very easily.
North St. has found the right compromise between the plastic buckles and the straps used, making their grip easy and their adjustment fluid.
Despite the fact that the back is straight, it is composed of a thick foam and a mesh that allows a certain breathability. To understand the importance of back shape, compression straps and sternal strap, take a look at this article 😉 .
The lifting handle is composed of a strap sewn on foam a few centimeters thick. His touch is very soft, almost mellow (which will appeal to the most fetishists of you ^^).
Inside are female scratch strips in 50 mm. North St. offers additional pockets to attach to these bands. Personally, I’m not a great fan of modular bags. I prefer to have a solution imposed on me. But, if you wish, you can even customize the interior and enjoy those bands to fix what you want.
Against the back is a computer compartment, in which I slide easily my 15 inches (with its cover). The elastic strap is nice because it clings your computer against the back and it’s easier to use a strap with a scratch.
What I like about this bag is its ability. I can use it to go to work as well as for a 3-days weekend. The pockets on the front allow me to isolate small equipment like my kit, a book, my glasses, my keys, my cellphone or my wallets. The top pocket is approximately 18 x 20 cm and the bottom pocket is approximately 15 x 22 cm. (As a reminder, a notebook in A5 format measures 14.8 x 21 cm).
The plastic buckles used are Duraflex and the zips are manufactured by Lenzip. I know Duraflex’s excellent reputation well, but I did not know Lenzip, so I went to find out 😉 . Apparently, the majority of the components they use are made in the US and all the zips are assembled there. In addition, they manufacture a lot for the military and guarantee all their zips for life, (which is not the case of YKK).
Also note that you can attach a small bike light to a 20mm strap (located on the front of the bag), which is very convenient. I’m fixing a B’Twin lamp from Decathlon.
Finally, a small detail that is important and that contributes positively to the sustainability of the bag : the construction of shoulders straps. In addition to their ergonomic shape, their stitches are reinforced by a binding and several bartaks.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Personally, I would have added a small strap next to the waterproof zips : to join what I said before, it would have made their opening even simpler. And finally, I would have liked also a small pocket inside (sewn of office and not optional). Again, on a trip, it’s always more reassuring to put things inside the bag.
North St. is a small American company run by Curtis Williams, which manufactures only to order. So, the time to obtain a bag is a little longer than usual, but as announced by the brand, we know what to expect so it’s not embarrassing. At Keus we are very proud to be the only ones selling this brand in Europe 🙂 and also very happy to participate in the development of brands that are developing. Feel free to check out North St.’s Instagram account and their website.
Last but not least, all North St. bags are made in Portland, Oregon and they are all guaranteed for life. We do not have everything in stock in our shop, but can order any model, of any color for you. Do not hesitate to send us a mail at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I let you my grading opposite and, if you want to have more information on this bag, you can consult this article written by a tester of Carryology, the Bible 😉 and to watch this video realized by the very good Sylvain Paley, concerning the little brother of the Flanders, the Davis.
More informations about how we score.