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The folks at TYLT have some cool mobile accessories and recently held a successful Kickstarter campaign for their new Energi+ backpack. I have been using it for a couple of weeks and think the 13 pockets, large internal storage compartment, and 10,400 mAh battery will appeal to the road warrior.
Just about everyone on my Sounder train has a backpack of some sort as they commute 10 to 60 miles into downtown Seattle. I also see the majority of people using smartphones and tablets so having a backpack that carries this gear and keeps it charged up is a great solution. I wish I would have known about the Kickstarter campaign held back in March and April since early bird backers, 200 people, were able to get this backpack and battery for just $99. The full retail price is $199.99 and comes with the 10,400 mAh battery.
TYLT designed the Energi+ backpack after hearing from people who purchased portable battery packs and carried them around in their backpacks. The Energi+ reminds me of my Scott eVest with pass through openings. On my eVest they are used for headphone cables and on the Energi+ they are used primarily for charging cables with one upper opening for your audio cable.
Let's take a closer look at the Energi+ starting from the outside face, located away from your back and the straps. The first pocket has a rubber-lined zipper and extends for most of the entire height of the bag. To the right and left of this pocket are two zippered pockets with outer padding to protect the contents. The right pocket contains a hydration pocket net that you can pull out and use to carry a water bottle. At the top of this first pocket is another zippered compartment with a single zipper. The pocket is not very deep and is lined in soft blue material.
The next compartment working towards the back of the backpack is the largest volume compartment accessed with two rugged zippers. The two zippers go all the way down to the bottom of the backpack with elastic flaps allowing easy access to the compartment. There are two pockets along the opening flap, the upper one as a white net material that lets you view the inside contents.
There are four compartments, with mesh material, along the back wall of the compartment and one large zippered compartment that runs the entire width of the backpack. There are pen compartments on the right side and another larger elastic compartment on the left side. You can find a couple of pass-through openings in the large compartment.
At the top of this large main compartment you can find where the Protect Pocket extends down into the main compartment. The right pass through open ins into a small side pocket with a single zipper. I actually found this handy for storing keys. There is no matching left side pocket.
The Protect Pocket has a rigid holder than can be removed from the pocket. The holder has a center wall to keep contents protected. This is a great place to store sunglasses and phones.
Behind the Protect Pocket is the tablet compartment that is similar to the front shallow compartment in that it is also lined with soft blue material. There is a pass-through up top so you can charge your tablet while it is stored in this compartment.
There are two large zippers for the laptop/battery compartment that let you work the zipper all the way down to the bottom on each side. This capability lets you use the zippers to open up the bag and lay it down on the X-ray machine as a checkpoint-friendly bag. I love that I don't have to remove my laptop to go through security. On the front wall of this compartment is where you will find the battery holder, elastic cable holders, and pass-through access ports. The pass-through openings are highlighted in blue so they are easy to find and use.
On the back side of this large compartment is where you will find the laptop pocket. You slide your laptop in the compartment and secure it with a large velcro strap. The compartment is lined with soft material on the front side.
Another pocket I missed at first, but now find very useful, is the headphone pocket on the left shoulder strap. The left shoulder strap also contains a NFC tag. I used NFC Task Launcher on my HTC One to have a top launch WiFi and Remember The Milk.
There are not other compartments in the backpack, but there is a trolley slot so you can slide the backpack on your roller bag and move easily around the airport. The Energi+ backpack also stands on its own with a durable soft gel top carry strap.
A simple zipper accessory bag is included with one side in white mesh so you can view the contents of the bag. There are two zippers used to open and close the bag. The TYLT brand is shown in blue on the bag.
The Energi+ backpack comes with the 10,400 mAh battery, two microUSB charging cables, and one microUSB cable with Apple 30-pin attachment head. The battery is covered in a soft touch coating and can be used outside of the backpack for charging up your devices. On one end of the battery you will find the three USB ports and the microUSB input port used to charge up the battery.
Indicator lights are found on the left side of the battery with a single press showing up to five blue lights for charging status and a single green light that shows when the battery is on. Press and hold the indicator button for three seconds to turn off the battery. It will automatically turn off after 10 minutes if nothing is charging. You can charge up to three devices at the same time.
As I described above in the features of the backpack, there are plenty of places to store all of your gear in the Energi+ backpack. The rechargeable battery was able to keep all of my phones and tablets powered up and I really liked that I could keep the devices in their own compartments and charge them with cables going through compartment openings.
There are some handy compartments that I have not had on other backpacks before that were particularly useful. These included the Protect Pocket for my sunglass that usually end up getting crushed in other standard pockets and the headphone pocket along the side of one should strap.
I did find that the should straps were pretty comfortable, but also oriented a bit too wide since the straps tended to rub my arms when I wore a short sleeve shirt. There is also no center securing mechanism that bridges the shoulder straps together on your chest, which is important for carrying heavy loads for long periods of time.
As a regular airline traveler, checkpoint-friendly bags are great for saving time and keeping your laptop safe and secure. The zippers are durable easy to use. As a fan of blue, I like the use of this color for various highlights on the bag.
Pros and Cons
To summarize the Energi+ bag features and my experiences, here are my pros and cons.
- Large capacity for carriage of all your gear
- Durable construction and attractive highlight colors
- Innovative charging system
- Well designed pocket system
- Checkpoint-friendly laptop compartment
- No chest strap tying shoulder straps together
- Shoulder strap may rub on arms
- Large size for some people
Pricing and availability
The TYLT Energi+ backpack is available now for $199.99 from the TYLT store.
There are a few backpacks with integrated batteries, such as the Powerbag and Voltaic OffGrid Solar backpack. These bags are priced about the same, but the TYLT Energi+ offers the largest capacity battery and storage capacity with the ability to pass through TSA security quite easily.
Specifications for both the battery and backpack include:
- 10,400 mAh lithium ion battery
- 7-8 hours of charge time
- Two 1 amp USB ports and one 2.1 amp USB port
- Battery input voltage (microUSB) of 5 volts at 2 amps
- Poly material with brushed metal zippers
- Laptop compartment for 15.5 x 10.5 x 1.5 inch laptop
- NFC tag in the shoulder strap
- 1,450 cubic inches of internal storage space
- 13 storage pockets
- 110 cubic inch accessory bag
- Total weight of backpack and battery of 4.5 pounds
The Energi+ backpack is an outstanding solution for people like me who carry lots of smartphones and tablets with a need to carry other items as well. I was able to pack along my lunch and lots of review gear while using the Energi+ backpack.
The pass-through system through seven compartments is an innovative design feature that lets you use the 10,400 mAh battery to its fullest. The Protect Pocket offers superior protection for items such as sunglasses and smartphones and will be appreciated by everyone.
I used the Energi+ backpack for about three weeks on a daily basis and other than the couple of times it rubbed my arm, it performed perfectly.
Contributor's rating: 9 out of 10
Energi+ backpack brochure