[The Showcase] The Explorer Backpack In The Eyes Of A Designer - Its.Leandroo

  1. Its.Leandroo
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Nov 29, 2018

    Its.Leandroo , Nov 29, 2018 :

    Please keep in mind that my review is based on my personal experience. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in my review, please feel free to ask away.

    All pictures are taken on a OnePlus 6 using the Google Camera with Night Sight.

    Hi there!

    It's time to talk about the Explorer Backpack. I have used the Explorer Backpack extensively for over a week now, and I will say it did get a lot of attention. I won't spoil anything else yet, just sit back and keep reading :)

    As many people have a different life-style, I will kick things off with a few details about my life to help you understand why I may look different at things compared to other people.

    Over the past ten years, I have tried many different professions. From making music to creating small replications of real life objects, also called modeling. During those years I discovered the things I want to keep doing; programming, photography and UI/UX design. This means that I carry a lot of gear along on a daily basis. As I mentioned in my entry for The Showcase, the most important thing is my laptop. My backpack also contains other gear, like chargers, external drives, cases, cables and a sketchbook.

    Some of you might be familiar with how it is being a programmer/designer, or even a photographer. You'll often spot the small little details that need some attention. That's how I will look at the Explorer Backpack too, with attention to detail.

    Now that I gave away a bit about myself, this is how this review is "chapterized":

    • First Impressions
    • Material & Design
    • Usability & Features
    • Final Judgement
    In this review, I'll also compare the Explorer Backpack with the Travel Backpack, to see what exactly the differences are. Don't forget that a few years have passed since they released the Travel Backpack.

    I hope you have an insight of how this review is being done. To say it in short, I'll focus on the user-experience, design and features.

    First Impressions

    During holidays, I love going out in the woods and nature. Taking pictures, playing around with composition and just enjoying the fresh air. As the nature can be rough and walks can be long, the first thing that comes in mind when hearing "Explorer Backpack" is being durable and big enough to carry important gear.

    That said, I immediately got skeptical when unpacking the backpack. It looked very small. How will I ever be able to fit everything in it?? Well, I was wrong. The size is very comparable to the Travel Backpack, except having a different style.


    As I said before, I've used the backpack as my daily driver for the past two weeks, and it was a very interesting period. So far the backpack has hold up perfectly fine with my usage.

    However, using the backpack needed some getting used to, because of the way you have to open it due to the Fidlock. The placement of the zippers is also different, so that's another reason that I wanted to open it like the Travel Backpack during the first week.

    It's not all different, though. The colors are inevitably close, given that both use the same Cordura fabric and red accent color. They are both very sturdy, although the Explorer Backpack seems to bend over a bit when it's not filled up.

    Both are pleasant to use, but I'd say the straps of the Explorer Backpack feel softer thus more comfortable. I've had no problems taking it places, but there's one big catch that I noticed with the Travel Backpack too. Smudges.

    It's really easy to get it a bit smudged up. I have no idea how I manage to do that, though. I think it's easier to see because of the dark color in combination with the structure of the fabric.

    Material & Design

    Let's talk about something you all are curious about. For $100, do I get quality materials? Yes, you do.

    Aside from the fact that it gets smudged up fairly easily, you can really feel the quality of materials used here. Compared to the Travel Backpack, the inside feels softer and thicker, almost like velvet. For me it's important to have that feel of trust when I take it out in the wild. I've always been very careful on everything I own, but you simply can't go around the fact that being in the wild isn't like putting your phone on a rubber pad.

    Looking closely at the stitching and the way the material is weaved, reveals where a lot of effort has been put in to. I've seen many backpacks where every compartment is separated by just a thin layer of fabric. It all feels sturdy and durable, which is a must, considering they are advertising exactly that.


    Not all of it is a glorious story, however. I feel there are some aspects that could have been paid more attention to. For example, the zippers have a matte-rubberish coating, but it does wear off at the point they are connected to the bag. It's a small detail, but it's still there. The Travel Backpack on the other hand had glossy zippers, so that doesn't have the same characteristics.

    The second thing I'm not fully pleased about it the way the endings of the straps are made. It looks a bit on the cheap side, even though it's durable. Comparing this to the Travel Backpack, it's definitely a downgrade in terms of design.

    Then there's the last small thing. The vent on the bottom corner. It just looks like a big button with holes in it. For example; with the borders of it had been smaller, it wouldn't have been any issue for me. I understand that this is done to ensure durability, but I think something different could have been better, too.

    Overall it feels like the backpack can survive day-today usage with ease, durability wise. If you use it like I do, not throwing it around and not putting it on a barbecue, there's nothing to worry about for the first 4/5 years.


    Going over from materials to design, we can clearly see the differences here. Both the front and back have got a complete overhaul, resulting in basically a complete different backpack. However, you can still notice the soul being the same. Both feature a compartment for a laptop (in my opinion even two), both have enough space for clothes, drinks and food, and they have separated compartments for chargers, wallets, your phone and more.

    If you look at the colors being used here, you would probably not see the differences right away. That is because they are very subtle. The way the fabric is weaved causes a slightly different tint compared to the Travel Backpack, and the back side is completely black instead of grey, something people who prefer stealth can appreciate.


    As mentioned above, many of the compartments have been carried over to the new backpack. The main similarities can be found on the front, being the zipper on the left side and the vented compartment. The one on the side is as deep as the full with of the backpack itself, so it will fit even the biggest wallets, for those preferring physical cash. The other one is just big enough for an umbrella, or you could store cables in it, your call.

    For those wondering what smartphone case fits best with the Explorer Backpack, I'd go for the Nylon Bumper Case. Having the same texture and feel makes it fit perfectly. Unless you smudge it up, of course.


    Usability & Features

    The primary reason to buy a backpack is to make carrying stuff around easier. What you'll need is a backpack that has enough features, but still keeps it usable. For example, a backpack with 20 zippers and then a cover on top of it is fun and all, but in reality it's a trade-off that slows you down.

    What I'm looking for in this backpack are not primarily it's features, but the usability in general. Having to use multiple hands is already a small downside for me. Say, you are in a forest and you want to grab your laptop for whatever reason. Getting it out of a backpack is easy enough, but opening the backpack while holding the laptop... not so easy, and you can't put it down either.

    Luckily enough this backpack passed that requirement mostly. Sometimes the zipper gets stuck, and I have to open it with two hands. I've had the same issue with the Travel Backpack too, but this is the case on many backpacks that I have used.

    Let's start with the outside of the backpack. As mentioned earlier, the amount of pockets are practically the same as the Travel Backpack, featuring pockets for you smartphone, wallet, umbrella and a drink. Advertised is the option to fit bigger bottles in it, but it took me a while to find out how. You'll have to stretch it open with your hands and put the bottle in it. It's not the most pleasant way to do it, but it keeps it from being a big hole when there's nothing in it.

    Also advertised is the Fidlock. Well, I have to say it's addictive. The number of times I just open and close it every day just for the sake of doing it, is insane. That being said, there are some things to note. If you just unpacked the backpack, you'll notice it doesn't close itself easily. This will continue to happen for the first week, but it went away after that. Unless it was empty, then it didn't close either.

    Another thing to note is that you will get a few marks on the locking mechanism itself after extensive usage. This isn't anything to worry about, however. As long as the mechanism itself doesn't wear that much, it's fine. I think it will hold up for 4 years, granted you don't play with it all day long.


    Next is the inside. there isn't a whole lot to say about it feature-wise, unless my eyes need to be checked. Design-wise however, I'm very pleased. It looks clean, the compartments are big enough for my gear, and we have another zipper. This one is one of the hardest to open, but you'll get used to it eventually.

    My laptop fits perfectly inside, although you might notice that I used a different compartment than you are supposed to. This is because my laptop is big, and doesn't fit in the official laptop compartment. Just like with the Travel Backpack, I decided to use one of the two main compartments for it. So far it has been a very good choice. For those wondering if your laptop can fit inside, mine is 38.5 x 26.5 x 2.4.


    One of the downsides of the zipper is that it touches the laptop, you'll hear it bounce sometimes. I'm glad it's coated with a soft material, otherwise it would have damaged my laptop.

    Final Judgement

    After weeks of usage, one thing has become clear to me; I can't choose. Both the Travel Backpack and the Explorer Backpack are made out of good materials, they are stylish, and more importantly: they are durable.

    Both are, in my opinion, made for two different people. You have the Travel Backpack which looks closer to a backpack for university, and then you have the Explorer Backpack which I would use when visiting businesses, as it looks more professional yet refreshing. It's not one of those old looking leather hand bags, fortunately.

    The real differences between the two are the placement of compartments, the material used inside the backpack, and having an dedicated pocket for your phone. It is not exactly easy to reach, but that differs based on the way you use your phone.

    As for the durability, I really don't want to put it to the test too much, as I really like using it. I wasn't able to test it out in the rain until now, please complain to the rain less weather in my country for the past three weeks.

    Having spent about an hour and a half waiting in the rain, I'm confident to say that it indeed doesn't have a problem with water. The rain cover does it's job, as the backpack was completely dry inside. The water doesn't go through the fabric, which is a good thing.


    In the end it all comes down to price, though. Do you want to spent $100 on a backpack, or do you prefer spending $70 on a Travel backpack for example? Both are up there, but the feature set will ultimately decide if it's worth the extra step. For me personally, it would be worth it. The overall integrity is better on the Explorer Backpack, and having a design that stands out is something I really like about it.

    I'll have a though job on deciding which one I'll use as my daily driver and which one as the backpack for when I go out in the wild. If you're looking for a new backpack and care about design and quality? I'd go for it. Assuming that you have an invite, of course.

    This is it for this time, and I'm very thankful for everyone who voted for me, without you I wouldn't have been selected. Of course thank you OnePlus for providing me with this product, and being able to freely write about it. For any questions, please be sure to ask me below.

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019

  2. YRJ
    The Lab - OnePlus 7T Reviewer; Community Hero 2020 Community Expert Writers' Club Nov 29, 2018

    YRJ , Nov 29, 2018 :
    wow! I'm hyped [e]1f60a[/e]
    was actually wondering why it's taking so long, thankfully you showed up!
    all the best [e]1f609[/e]

    buntycubal, xnutzii and Its.Leandroo like this.
  3. YRJ
    The Lab - OnePlus 7T Reviewer; Community Hero 2020 Community Expert Writers' Club Nov 29, 2018

    YRJ , Nov 29, 2018 :
    Time for the questions these remain same for all reviewers and the 6th one is the emotional Quotient let's see who surprises me here [e]1f609[/e]
    1.what do you think of the Fidlock?
    2. how long do you think that's gonna hold up against everyday usage?
    3.on a scale of 1-10 how much would you recommend this bag to another person?
    4. which bag do you think(apart from this one) is the immediate substitute in terms of price and quality?
    5.i would love to see the rain cover in action in the full review.
    6.would you part with your beloved current backpack and switch to this ? [Emotional Quotient]
    thanks [e]1f60a[/e]

    Its.Leandroo likes this.
  4. Its.Leandroo
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Nov 29, 2018

    Its.Leandroo , Nov 29, 2018 :
    Thank you for you questions! I'll answer them very soon. As for the rain, that's fully dependent on the weather here, and for the last two weeks, it hasn't been raining. Let's hope it will rain soon :D

    YRJ likes this.
  5. YRJ
    The Lab - OnePlus 7T Reviewer; Community Hero 2020 Community Expert Writers' Club Nov 29, 2018

    YRJ , Nov 29, 2018 :
    maybe we can hold the point 5 for some time now.
    Yash [e]1f60a[/e]

    Its.Leandroo likes this.
  6. Its.Leandroo
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Dec 1, 2018

    Its.Leandroo , Dec 1, 2018 :
    I hope I answered your question in today's addition!

  7. Deactivated User
    Dec 5, 2018

    Its.Leandroo likes this.
  8. NeVeR_SeTTLe
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Dec 5, 2018

    NeVeR_SeTTLe , Dec 5, 2018 :
    I couldn't expect anything less from Leandrooo :p Good coverage of all the topics ;)

    Its.Leandroo likes this.
  9. Its.Leandroo
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Dec 5, 2018

    Its.Leandroo , Dec 5, 2018 :
    Thanks a lot guys! I'm glad you liked it :D

  10. xRL
    Eclair Feb 2, 2019

    xRL , Feb 2, 2019 :
    Amazing review. I really want one now....does anyone have a spare code? Pleaase

  11. Its.Leandroo
    The Lab - OnePlus 6 Reviewer Feb 2, 2019

    Its.Leandroo , Feb 2, 2019 :
    Much appreciated! I'm sorry that I don't have a code for you :oops:

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