I have written reviews for Nitecore’s flashlights, pens and knives and I have loved the quality and design of each and every one. I realised that they had a range of pouches and bags and I wondered if they would live up to my expectations. A couple of days later, a package containing the Nitecore BP20, NEB10 and NDP10 arrived on my doorstep. In this review, I will be focusing on the BP20, but expect reviews of the other two bags shortly!
The Nitecore BP20 didn’t actually come in its own box. It came in a simple plastic bag, which for me, is fine. In some cases, boxes are nice, but when it comes to bags or pouches, I don’t mind how they arrive. What arrived in the package is as follows:
- Set of 6 Velcro-backed reflective strips
- Waterproof rain cover
- Nitecore BP20
The BP20 is a very neat backpack, made from hard-wearing, water resistant 1000D nylon. Although it may not be suitable for long trips due to its smaller capacity, it is perfect for everyday usage. A few examples are: for commuting, cycling or day trips. A little on the tactical side (thanks to the MOLLE webbing), this bag may draw a few curious looks, but I found that for the most part, hardly anyone gave me a second glance.
A Closer Look at the BP20.
There are so many hidden pockets in this bag, a pickpocket will have their work cut out for them! One thing’s for sure: your belongings will be safe and secure in this bag. The Nitecore BP20 has a maximum capacity of 20 litres (hence the BP20), with two main compartments. One of these is designed to hold a laptop, while the other compartment (which is technically two) has an area to hold a hydration bladder. Behind this area is a strip of semi-rigid plastic when keeps the back of the BP20 in shape. Although there is no slit to pull the mouth tube through, the tube can still be pulled up and out through the zippered section. An example of this can be seen below:
As I said, there are many, many pockets. I’ll go over each of these later on in my review. For now, however, I’m going to be looking at the physical features. Something that I really like about this bag is the metal frame which can be easily removed. This allows the bag to nestle comfortably against your back, but it also allows air to circulate, so on hot days, you won’t have that awful feeling of a bag sticking to your back.
I still can’t get over just how big the holes are in the mesh, but don’t let those fool you! This material is tough!
Near the bottom of the bag, there is a well-padded area, which means that even if the BP20 is fully-loaded, it isn’t uncomfortable. It is also made up of this mesh material, which allows heat to disperse much more quickly.
The zips on this bag are heavy-duty and they can easily withstand day-to-day abuse. They have been well stitched and they don’t feel like they are about to tear away from the bag. The zip pulls are attached with thick cord and have an enlarged area, which means that using them while wearing gloves is simple.
The Buckles on the BP20.
This bag is coming down with various buckles and clasps. The longer straps have little Velcro ties which prevent the straps from dangling and flapping about in the wind. They are all robust and they have been placed in such a way that it is nearly impossible to match them up incorrectly.
There are a number of straps, ranging from sternum straps to load-lifting straps. Working from the top and moving downwards, there are:
- Load-lifting straps. These also keep one of two large compartments hidden.
- Arm straps. They are well-padded, made from heavy-duty nylon and have two large Velcro surfaces for you to attach the reflective strips or patches if you so desire.
- Sternum straps. These keep the BP20 secure against your back and they are adjustable. They can be moved up or down a length of approximately 5”.
- Waist straps. These are similar to the sternum straps and keep the backpack secure to your waist, which prevents unwanted movement.
The Laptop Section.
This is the section that is just behind the one closest to your back when wearing the BP20. Now, it is designed to hold a 13” laptop, however, it can comfortably hold my 14” HP laptop, so don’t let that put you off buying this backpack! Even when I store my laptop in this section, there is still plenty of space around the sides and the front for extra things, such as the charger or a wireless mouse.
The Small Compartment.
On the front of the BP20, there is another Velcro area. Inside here, you will find four elasticated bands which have been stitched onto the lining, which allows you to keep larger, bulkier items tidy, for example, a Leatherman multitool or the Kizer Sheepdog pictured below. There is also a little plastic clip that allows you to attach your keys, however this area isn’t the most secure, but the clip is quite stiff, so you would definitely notice if someone was trying to steal whatever you had attached.
The Pocket Behind the MOLLE Panel on the BP20.
So, behind the detachable MOLLE panel, there is an elasticated nylon netted section, which allows you to keep medium-sized objects such as a Kindle, a few notebooks or even a book. Thanks to its elasticity, it can stretch which means that you can really stuff this thing!
The MOLLE Panel.
When attached, this panel hides a pocket which I mentioned above. However, when it is unbuckled and allowed to hang freely, it serves a much different purpose. It is transformed into a rifle or shotgun scabbard, with the butt of the stock sitting in the pocket and the barrel poking through the loop shown below. This keeps the gun secure, which leaves both hands free if you need them. It is easy to remove, but I plan on keeping it attached, as I will be using it along with the Nitecore NDP10 Daily Pouch (review coming soon!).
Another Hidden Pocket!
I believe this is the last one and it serves a very important purpose. Remember the waterproof cover that comes included? Well, this pouch is the area where you can store this cover, as there is a little plastic clip which means that you will never lose it. However, even with the rain cover rolled up and packed inside the pocket, there is still space for a few small things, for example I was able to fit a rangefinder inside, so it is deceptively spacious.
Improvements and Suggestions.
Sturdy enough to withstand the torture of daily commutes and rugged enough to be used while exploring the great outdoors, this is an excellent choice. I have, of course, a few improvements and suggestions. A small slit would make using a hydration bladder much easier but that isn’t a big deal for me. One thing I did notice was the fact that sometimes when I went to zip up the laptop compartment, the zips would get caught on the “hood” that covers the zips. This, again, isn’t a big deal for me as it keeps the rain from getting in.
The sternum strap isn’t elasticated, which means that it can be slightly uncomfortable if it is pulled too tightly. However, as long as it is slightly loose, it is fine. Finally, the waist straps don’t have any padding, so on long walks these can cut into your hips, but only if they are pulled tightly and you are carrying a heavy load. One minor thing is that there is no designated bottle holder, but thanks to the modular MOLLE platform at the sides of the BP20, bottle holders can be easily attached.
Apart from that, I honestly think that the Nitecore BP20 is worth the money. I will more than likely end up buying one as a gift in the future.
Product sample provided by Nitecore in exchange for a detailed, unbiased review.
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