Backpacks have been around for thousands of years so by now you’d imagine we’ve perfected the design of an accessory that holds a load on your back. Then enter players like USWE who think outside the box and introduce new concepts that challenge the status quo… Here’s the USWE Explorer 26L Backpack Review.

Spoiler alert: This bag is awful.

Capacity

USWE claims this bag carries 26L. We have tested so many damn bags between the 20 and 35L range; and even the 20L bags happen to fit more in their pockets. There is no way this bag carries 26L of gear. In fact, they tout this bag as an overnight daypack capable of carrying your camel, clothes, and tools. Bullshit. We could barely fit a bathing suit, suntan lotion, bug spray, 3 power bars, and the camel in this thing. Its lack of stretch and the stupid tapered design, you’ll be lucky to fit, and I’m not exaggerating, a gallon of milk in this thing.

Features

This bag offers a rain cover (zipped at the bottom), and it’s proprietary No Dancing Monkey strap system (which comprises two sternum straps), otherwise it’s a backpack like any other.

The NDM system is a gimmick at best and a failure in design at worst. There is nothing wrong with the traditional waist strap system that 99% of other backpacks use, so this “outside the box” thinking serves to only strain your back and make the bag unusable. Besides, this bag bounces around on your back like a dancing monkey. It doesn’t work.

Other Notes

The straps of the bag are wide (which lends to comfort), however when you enable the NDM system they bunch up. The material is also akin to sandpaper – so any design elements to assist in comfort are negated by this.

Conclusion

I hate this bag. Hate. It’s impractical, uncomfortable, and doesn’t serve its purpose in life as a carrying device. I’m sure the manufacturer is lying about its 26L capacity, that or it’s arbitrary. The bag couldn’t hold a gallon milk jug, is shoddily assembled, and its NDM system will leave your back screaming for mercy with anything over 5 pounds. It’s not a good bag for hiking or biking. Forget it, get something else.

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