A little background: I probably own close to a dozen backpacks of all makes and sizes. The brands I own range from Camelbak to GoRuck. You can say I'm very fickle when it comes to backpacks.
This one has been in constant use since I got it back in July. I purposely waited a few months to allow time to really evaluate this bag and give my honest impressions. I've been using it as my bike commuter bag for work which is about 16 miles round trip. I use this bag while bike commuting (only in good weather) about 3 times a week and use it when I'm commuting by car.
I am amazed at how comfortable this pack is on my back loaded with my work essentials and bike EDC. I keep a pair of chinos in the unexpanded compartment that I change into when I arrive at work. I love that I can keep a few items and pants in the luggage compartment without having to expand it.
To be honest, I wasn't in love with the triangular shaped admin pocket but I have adapted and love it for one reason. I can clip a round blinking amber bike light at the apex of the flap. Then I can tuck it in such a way that about 30% of the light is under the flap that houses the zippers when fully closed. The resulting tension holds the bike light in place quite securely when the flap is closed all the way with the zippers under the flap. I can even squeeze on the KK logo to press the power button to turn on my light! (I wish I could post a pic of what I am talking about!!! It's one of those things that just works out amazingly!) It means I can use my rear bike safety light without having a Molle loop or any kind of loop for that matter.
Some additional points:
I ordered a factory 2nd example and for the life of me, I cannot find anything wrong with it!
The bag is deceptively small but it's really not. I love the sleekness of it as well as it's simple yet clever and innovative design. It offers so many carry solutions for my items without being overly complicated (like some tactical style packs). I usually favor a full clamshell style main compartment but I've ended up loving the gusseted flap on the main compartment. It prevents accidental spillage and I feel provides more security without really sacrificing accessibility.
It's light weight (especially compared to a GR1) but feels stout and ready for heavy loads (which it is). Even fully loaded with a laptop AND an ebike battery in the main compartment, the pack is still comfortable.
On the surface the bag looks simple yet is as comfortable if not more than some packs that "look" comfortable (packs with a bunch of adjustment straps).
My only honest and hopefully constructive criticisms are as follows:
I feel like the number of business card pockets in the admin section is excessive. That being said, I've used some of this pockets for holding single Fig Bars or Clif Bars. It would be nice to see a pen sleeve or 2. Maybe even a pocket for a small flashlight. I would also like to see the key keeper relocated to the admin section.
For me, the key keeper in the main compartment gets in the way of the zipper pull of the internal mesh pocket on the back panel. Because of this, I keep that mesh pocket open mostly. What would be cool is to include another tab in the exterior admin pocket to which you can hook the removable key keeper to. I think that would offer really nice flexibility.
I would like to maybe see some gussets for the internal mesh pockets to give them more usable volume especially when the pack is full.
Another nice to have would be to have some degree of padding on the floor of the main compartment to help cushion the contents of the external bottom compartment that is used for electronics and what not.
Lastly, I wish Knack went with a regular side release buckle on the sternum strap. My muscle memory keeps wanting to squeeze a buckle rather than clumsily trying to unhook it from the webbing on the shoulder strap. When in a hurry I feel like a side release buckle is just easier and faster.
All in all, I still give this pack 5 stars. I love it that much. The simple looks of the exterior are deceiving. This pack is bigger than it is and more comfortable than it looks. It's a refreshing option for those looking for their next backpack. Well done Knackbags!