The Able Carry Max Backpack Review
The Able Carry Max is a great choice for shorter one-bag trips or as a supplemental pack for those of you who travel with checked luggage.
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The Able Carry Max is a top-of-the-line travel backpack. Measuring in at 30 liters of capacity, the Max Backpack is a great choice for shorter one-bag trips or as a supplemental pack for those of you who travel with checked luggage. The Max backpack is loaded with all sorts of features; most work really well, while some could be improved upon.
|Water-resistant||Exterior pockets take up interior space|
|Slim design||Not ideal for one-bag travel|
|17” Laptop capacity|
|Loads of pockets for organization|
- Weight: 1.7kg / 3.8lbs
- Capacity: 30L Total (25L Main Compartment)
- Height: 20.5 in (52 cm)
- Width: 12.5 in (32 cm)
- Depth: 8 in (30 cm)
- Surface: X-Pac VX21, Cordura 1000D
- Lining: 420D Ripstop Nylon
- YKK Zippers
- Up to 17" devices or up to H 16.1” x W 11” x D 1.5” (H 41cm x W 28cm x D 4cm)
About Able Carry
Able Carry launched their first pack in 2018. The Daily, their first product, was intended to serve commuters. As the company grew, they have released new packs to serve the needs of its growing customer base. Able Carry now has four unique pack offerings and a host of accessories. Able Carry does offer a lifetime warranty on all their items against manufacturer’s defects, which is in line with most pack manufacturers at this price point. Able Carry’s design studio is located in Hong Kong, and manufacturing is handled in China. Don’t be weary, though, this pack is built well, and we see no reason for it not to last you many years.
The Able Carry Max Backpack
My initial impressions upon unboxing this new pack are the sleek lines and robust outer shell material. The X-Pac VX21 material on the front of the pack leads to its sleek look and weather resistance. The back of the bag is constructed from Cordura 1000D, which lends itself to both durability and flexibility. Both of these materials come together with generous stitching, thick webbing, and industry-leading YKK zippers.
Only a few compartments are noticeable at first glance, but the more you examine the bag, the more thoughtful touches in the design that you notice. At the front of the pack, you’ll just barely notice an off-center fold in the fabric. Behind, you will find a medium-sized pocket with a few smaller sewn-in organizer pockets. This storage is great for items you might want quick access to but don’t need much protection.
As you look at the pack on the left side, you can find the water bottle pouch. Unlike some bags where the top half of the water bottle is exposed, the Able Carry Max has a fully enclosed pocket. You can even fit a 750ml bottle of Champagne in that pocket if you feel so inclined. The one issue I see with this pocket is that it takes up space from the main compartment if there is a bottle in there.
In a bag that is only 30L, space is a premium, and I would have liked to have seen the water bottle pocket on the outside of the pack where it wouldn’t impede on the interior volume. However, a bulging water bottle pocket on the outside would certainly diminish the sleek look of the pack.
On the front of the pack, you will find another small zippered compartment that would be a good spot to store your keys and other small items. The final exterior pocket is located just behind the grab handle at the top of the bag. This is another conveniently located pocket that I have used to store my sunglasses and earbuds. Items there are easily accessed and well protected from damage.
Let’s take a second to review the rest of the exterior of the Able Carry Max backpack before we dive into the interior compartments. As mentioned, the pack is well constructed. The stitching and webbing on the exterior is robust. All throughout the exterior, there are small loops of webbing that would be great for attaching additional items to the bag via carabiners; not entirely necessary, but it’s nice to have options. The shoulder straps are well padded but lack the load carriers found in similar-priced packs. Though, being 30L, load carriers may not be necessary.
The back padding is also sufficient for a pack this size and does include a channel for airflow. Within the airflow channel, there is more webbing that will allow an upright suitcase handle to slip through it for ease of transport. This is a great feature, in my opinion, because I see this backpack as a great carry-on addition to your rolling suitcase.
The Max Backpack has a wonderful laptop storage compartment. At the rear of the pack, against your back, is where you will find the laptop compartment. I like the location here because it offers the best protection and keeps the weight closer to your body. In some backpacks, the laptop sleeve is in the outermost storage compartment, where it's unprotected and creates more weight further from your center of gravity.
The compartment on the Able Carry Max is protected with a weather-resistant YKK zipper. Opening up the compartment you will find the laptop sleeve, which can fit a 17” laptop, and two smaller sleeves. These two smaller sleeves can fit some pens in one and a small tablet or notebook in the other. I have found that the base of the laptop compartment is a good spot to store the laptop charger. Within the laptop compartment, you will find two zippered pockets, both at the top of the pack opposite one another.
When you open the zipper on the back side, you will see the foam cushioning between your back and the laptop. On closer inspection, there is actually a small hidden pocket. This would be a great spot for your passport, money, or other important documents. In the zippered pouch opposite, there are four small pockets that would be great for your mouse, external hard drive, camera batteries, and cords.
The main compartment of the Max Backpack is 25L, and as mentioned, might be reduced if you’re carrying a water bottle. The main compartment zipper opens up about three-quarters of the way down the bag, and I would have liked to see the zippers extend to the bottom of the bag so it could be fully opened like a clamshell. It is still functional, however. The main compartment can fit one large packing cube, one small packing cube, a toiletry case, and maybe a pair of flip-flops stored behind it all. The main compartment also has two pockets attached to the top flap. One of the pockets is made of mesh material for items needing breathability. There is an additional non-zippered pouch on the side of the main compartments for more organization.
Overall the Max Backpack has tons of thoughtful storage throughout the pack. The build quality is impeccable. Super thick webbing and stitching mean this bag will last you a long time. The fabrics seem to be of the highest quality, and with a lifetime warranty, what more could you ask for? At 30L, is it going to be your perfect one-bag travel solution? I think not, at least not for extended trips through multiple seasons, but that’s not what this bag is intended for.
However, it would be a perfect standalone bag for shorter trips lasting a long weekend or a perfect supplemental bag to your upright suitcase for extended trips. The Able Carry Max backpack comes in three colors: Tarmac Black, Ocean Blue, and Earth Green.
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