If you haven’t checked out some of my previous reviews in the Tech section, I’ll just come out and admit that I’m a fan of backpacks. From Mobile Edge to Solo, I love trying out different styles from multiple companies to suit my everyday hauling needs for when I walk or bike daily. The latest one I got for review just might be the handiest one ever from Catalyst and their Catalyst Waterproof 20L Backpack. If you’re looking for a light, strong, and nice sized pack that you can fold up and tuck in your pocket, this is the one for you.
I’ll be honest, when I first got this backpack, I didn’t think much of it as it looks extremely thin and cheap upon first glance. I really have to give Catalyst their props on this product, as it really is deceptively strong and tough to carry some heavy loads while still having some sweet features. First off, I love that it can fold into such a small size and tuck away into its own carrying pouch. Any true backpacker out there is sure to know about some places that frown upon bringing backpacks into their stores for fear of shoplifting. So it’s nice that I can tuck this one away in my pocket, buy what I need from the store, leave, then whip out this pack and place everything in it. It also comes in handy as an airplane carry-on bag for pre-planned or last minute flights.
That alone is what sold me on this bag, but the nice features of it are just icing on an already delicious cake. It’s hard to believe that this pack weighs 170 grams (less than half a pound) but can support up to 30kg (66lbs) of a load. It also features waterproof seams and material, allowing this pack to withstand up to 10,000 mm of water or anything else nature can throw at you, from sand and dirt, to torrential downpours. The mesh shoulder straps are strong, nice and breathable while also quick drying in case they get wet from rain or sweat. It also has two, 9” deep side pockets for small or large water bottles that’s always a plus in my book.
It took some getting used to, but this pack has a large, roll top closure that makes it easy to get all sorts of goodies into it, as well as a front zip pocket for small items such as keys, a cell phone, etc. I like the chest strap for when you have a heavy load, and the strap has a neat bonus in the form of an emergency whistle you can blow on should incoming danger or a misadventure happens.
Those looking for a simple yet deceptively powerful backpack for their daily use can’t go wrong with the Catalyst Waterproof 20L Backpack. It has everything you could want or need in a pack, plus all sorts of sweet features, namely the ability to fold it away into your pocket. The only downside I can come up with is that it is a bit on the pricey side ($119.99), but once you use this backpack, you’ll be hard pressed to go back to your old packs.