Bellroy was founded in 2010 on the mythical surf spot of Bells Beach in Australia by a small team of designers and engineers who set out to reinvent the portfolio. Their first product, the Slim Sleeve, became iconic after spectacular success around the world. The founders have always been passionate about the art of carry and are also the creators of the essential Carryology. The term carry, which means to carry in English, is used to describe everything that we carry on a daily basis: backpacks, wallets, watches, knives... It was therefore natural for this fine team to embark on the creation in 2017 of backpacks. The brand's approach is minimalist, functional and ethical. Buying a Bellroy product is synonymous with quality, the warranty is at least 3 years and the customer service that I had the opportunity to try is at the top! You really can buy Bellroy with your eyes closed. For product marketing fans, the brand is also recognized for having a very own artistic direction that takes up the codes of lifestyle and luxury. In terms of social and environmental responsibilities, Bellroy is committed and makes a lot of effort. They have been B Corp certified since 2015 and do their best to use recycled fabrics and the most responsible leather possible.
The Apex is Bellroy's most premium backpack, embodying the brand's excellence and craftsmanship. Its Designer, Andy Fallshaw, presents it as the culmination of 10 years of learning design. I confess that with such a presentation I was eager to test it!
Who says top of the range often says high price. Hang on tight, its price is €470, which is really expensive, especially for Bellroy, which is not used to selling products at these prices. Such an amount reinforces the premium positioning and makes it immediately inaccessible – the Apex becomes an external symbol of wealth. In short, I will not expand further on the positioning of the product, but keep this information in mind for the rest of the review. In terms of specifications, it is announced for 26L with a weight of 1.4kg.
The Apex offers a refined and minimalist design completely in tune with the times. With its elegant and sober silhouette, I find it timeless and unisex. It is clearly a bag that I see myself wearing in all circumstances and for many years. The exterior is made of Baida nylon (a category of nylon that I didn't know) which is of very good quality, it's really tough! I have been using it actively for 2 months and it has not moved, it is like new! This summer 2021 being very rainy, the weather allowed me to test its water resistance successfully: after a good twenty minutes in the rain everything was dry inside. Small detail on the flap, part that takes most of the rain, Bellroy has used heat-sealed seams to avoid perforating the nylon with a classic seam. This is clearly a good idea to improve water resistance! On each side of the bag, there is a small discreet pocket with a waterproof YKK zip. They are really well thought out and practical for holding keys or a wallet. As a bonus, in the right pocket there is an aluminum keyclip – great feature that every bag should have. I really appreciate the red lining of the pockets which reinforces the premium side.
One of the strengths of this Apex is the flap system which, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, allows you to vary the volume of the main compartment from more or less 5 liters to adapt to your needs. It is really very convenient for urban use. You leave the house in the morning to go to the office and hop in the evening when you come home your bag adapts to add the shopping you had not planned to do. The closing buckle is in aluminum and the notches are in thick leather of very good quality. Small point of attention on the notches: it's beautiful, but I hope they will age well, it is in my opinion the most fragile part of the bag. For fans of satisfying things, the experience of opening and closing is really pleasant. You could almost make an ASMR video out of it.
The inside of the bag is full of surprises! To access it, the front of the Apex is composed of a flap and an opening system with two independent vertical zips which allows easy access to the entire compartment. It reminds me of the 3-zip system invented by Mystery Ranch which is notably available on the iconic Urban Assault 21. In addition, these zips allow quick and ambidextrous access to your belongings when you slide the bag over your shoulder . It's really great! Once opened, we discover a light lining with a creamy white color that conveys a refined atmosphere. Another small detail that highlights the premium side of this Apex. I particularly appreciate the light linings, it is in my opinion an essential point that all bags should offer – there is nothing more unbearable than looking for a dark object in a bag with a dark lining! In terms of organization, it has everything to please! It offers a good balance that allows you to organize your belongings without falling into exaggeration. It is composed of an essential dedicated compartment to protect a laptop computer (my MacBook Pro 13' fits without problem) and five pockets:
• two side mesh pockets for long items such as water bottles, pencil cases or glasses boxes
• a small flat pocket at the bottom, very practical for storing a notebook or an e-reader
• two front pockets, one zipped and the other magnetic for quick access to small items such as a knife or hydroalcoholic gel
Aesthetically, I really appreciate the style of this Apex! I find that it offers a balance between discretion and sophistication thanks to its beautiful silhouette, its color and its leather finishes.
The packing experience is a real treat ! Once the bag is open I have the impression of seeing a tool kit: everything is visible and easily accessible. If you like backpacks with a clamshell opening (suitcase style), you'll love it!
The Apex is truly a standout bag! We feel that it was designed with a lot of intelligence and passion. Nothing is left to chance: everything is done to bring you pleasure of use and aesthetic refinement. Other than it being a little too big for me, I don't have much to complain about. I could blame it for its price, but is it really relevant for an extraordinary product like this? You have all the cards in hand to decide. Finally, what if this Apex was the ultimate representation of the art of carry?
The quality of manufacture and the finishes are at the top!
• The aesthetic is timeless and refined, you can wear it in any circumstance for many years.
• The warranty is 10 years and you can count on Bellroy's excellent customer service in the event of a problem.
• The packing experience in toolbox mode is formidable.
• The materials are recycled (nylon) and responsible (leather).
• It is a little tall for people who are under 175cm tall. A size system as seen in other brands would be interesting.
• A bit heavy for my taste, but still quite acceptable. Order the Bellroy Apex Backpack.