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The Black Ember Shadow Backpack - Technical, Sophisticated Yet Brilliantly Simple
The Black Ember Shadow Backpack comes in either a 22L or 26L size, presenting a highly technical, yet minimal, waterproof backpack that’s well equipped to handle the ebbs and flows of modern life. Balancing unique features with Black Ember’s proficiency at using premium materials, the Shadow Backpack is the ultimate carry solution for anyone who needs to carry a great range of cargo.
Black Ember is highly regarded for producing smart carry solutions that are exceptionally technical, with a sharp focus on waterproofing. The Shadow Backpack is different from many of the brand’s other backpacks in that it’s much softer with a more flexible structure, positioning it much closer to a traditional backpack. Although that’s not to say Black Ember doesn’t have its signatures all over this impressive offering, best realised with the company’s proprietary high-performance textile - a Microhex HTX, which is a fully waterproof, high tenacity, 3-layer material that’s durable and tactile.
Other design choices help the bag maintain a superior sense of protection, like Black Ember's bond stitch approach, which creates seams which are fully waterproof to help protect whatever is inside the bag. In conjunction with the YKK Aquaguard, this gives the backpack an easy IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning your essentials are always going to be kept dry and protected from the elements. Aluminium and woojin hardware are used across the bag to maintain that extra sense of ruggedness.
The slightly smaller 22L version of the Black Ember Shadow Backpack includes accessory straps around the exterior shell so you can attach other gear, adding to the already great amount of flexibility this backpack offers both the daily commuter and the modern adventurer. This is complemented by a variety of ways to carry the backpack, with three padded, low-profile haul handles, one on top and two on either side of the bag. There’s also a shoulder strap that can be stowed away in the butterfly back panel for briefcase carry.
Black Ember has put a lot of thought into designing the back panel for extra breathability and sweat wicking, to help keep the Shadow Backpack comfortable. With perforated EVA foam, this channel maintains easier, better airflow to manage on those longer haul days. Comfort is furthered by the magnetic and easy to use sternum strap that is very elastic and can contour to the movements of your body.
There are two compartments of note, starting with the quick-access compartment on the front face of the bag. The YKK zipper which protects this compartment can be easily fed into the seamless hypalon zipper-pull and locked together with a snap, deterring thieves and adding an extra layer of protection for your gear. Zip it open and you’ll find that, not only are you given a diverse range of mesh pockets and a magnetic key clip for essentials, but you can also use the bag's upper volume to store larger gear like a tote bag or an umbrella. Similar to other Black Ember products, the front compartment also has a clever passthrough for a cable you can feed through from the main compartment to charge a device in the front compartment.
The main compartment is where a lot of Black Ember’s knowhow comes together in one harmonious, incredibly clever way. The clamshell opening gives you full and unobstructed access to the main contents of the bag, which on one side offers an enormous space on top of 2 padded and suspended sleeves that are overlaid on the top of one another. One has a fleece lining, while the other - ideal for up to a 16-inch laptop - has a matte silver 200D ripstop lining and will keep your gear safe from any scratches or bumps. To add to this sense of protection, foam padding is located at the base of the compartment, helping reinforce all content from impact.
On the other side of the main compartment, Black Ember has 2 stretchy mesh pockets of different sizes. Again, these pockets overlaid on top of each other and can fit a variety of gear. Towards the top of this compartment is a fascinating implementation of Black Ember’s TKS (tech kit sling), borrowing from the product by including an accordian style pouch that can be compressed using a magnetic buckle. When released, the pouch unfolds in an origami style, offering 6 separate pockets for smaller devices.
Black Ember Shadow Backpack Review | Who Is It For?
The Black Ember Shadow Backpack is a meticulously designed, thoroughly impressive carry solution that once again reiterates the company’s proficiency at using high-quality, premium materials for everyday cargo. Enhanced by the subtle details and great variety of pockets, Black Ember presents something sleek and stylish that’s the perfect daily companion for anyone who needs an efficient way to organise their diverse cargo. It’s technical, sophisticated, and yet brilliantly simple.