The Slicks Travel System, a modular backpack designed to adapt to users’ changing needs, has been something of a Kickstarter success story, raising five times its target of 80,000 Swiss francs long before its deadline of 4 March 2016.
We’ve been sent out the 'yellow' version of the Slicks – the yellow actually refers to the Slicks logo stripe at the bottom of the bag with additional reflective detailing, a nice touch if your primary intended purpose is – like mine – commuting on the bike.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that this bag doesn’t have the top zip style of many other rucksacks. The suitcase style opening fully gives away what this bag is meant for – organised travelling.
The additional reflective detailing on the yellow version is a must-have if you’re commuting on the bike
Via its Kickstarter, the Slicks has been available in a number of options. The basic pledge (£132 / $189) gets you just the backpack, which will retail for £160 / $229. Next tier up, the Slicks Suit (£160 / $229 on Kickstarter; £195 / $279 retail) features – yes you guessed it – a foldable suit cover. We went for the next option (£188 / $269 on Kickstarter; £230 / $329 retail) is the Slicks TRIP – a must have to get the most of out the system, in my opinion. (There's also a BIZ option combining the SUIT and TRIP.)
The TRIP includes within it the Tripcover, which Slicks describes as a ’clever and compact double-sided mobile wardrobe for organising your clothes and toiletries’. This includes a wash bag that fits neatly into the smaller, lower compartment, a laundry bag for any soiled clothing and a shirt cover with a collar protector - an accessory apparently forged by one of Slicks’ founders’ inability to fold a dress shirt.
Since the majority of my use has been through daily commutes, I’ve used the ‘wash bag’ to store a notebook, pen and other easy to lose items as I found the small pockets in there more convenient than the single, big inside pocket within the main bag.
The Tripcover fits neatly into the main compartment with buckles to secure it into place
It’s clear to see just how much attention to detail has gone into Slicks once you start using it on a regular basis. Zipper pulls that can be tucked away for additional security, a dedicated shoe compartment, low profile zippers, a reflective water-resistant rain cover, and adjustable and removable hip and shoulder straps, allowing for a loads of different ways to carry your kit, are just the start.
Comfortable at capacity
One of my biggest gripes with bags is rigidity when they’re at maximum capacity. There’s nothing worse than a bulging annoyance sticking into your back or the uncomfortably hard case of a laptop trying to bend its way around your spine as you’re riding along, but thankfully Slicks has this covered with a generously padded back protector that conforms to your back position. Even fully loaded, the Slicks never felt really uncomfortable with the weight feeling evenly distributed through the chest and hip straps.
I would however have liked a slightly more pronounced top handle as the current style feels just a tad too recessed behind the back protector to be used without a slight fumble.
Even at its Kickstarter pricing this is, let’s face it, still a pretty premium offering, but I figure this bag is aimed at two types of people – bag fiends who have more luggage than they can justify (I know I’m firmly in this camp) or those looking to invest in a do-it-all short trip travel bag. To me, neither of those types would shy away from a slightly higher price tag for the convenience of modular storage.
Despite being initially overwhelmed with all the accessories and my indecision of where to pack things, I’ve been mightily impressed with how versatile the Slicks Travel System is. It’s a tricky decision to invest in Kickstarter campaigns, which can be hit and miss, but this one certainly looks to have a bright future.
The campaign ends on 4 March 2016. Sadly, with all Kickstarter products there is a bit of a wait if you’re willing to stump up the cash – the current estimated worldwide delivery is September 2016 – or otherwise you could opt to stump up a little more when these hit the shelves properly.
Visit the Slicks Travel System Kickstarter page for more info.