Level8 Atlas Review Backpack With Zipped Side Pockets

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Carry the weight of the world on your shoulders with Level8's new Atlas - a 30 liter backpack with 6 external zippered compartments, dedicated laptop pocket and side pockets which are also zippered - perfect for storing small items securely.

The Atlas side pockets unzip via a single metal slider and integrate an inner mesh pocket which is big enough for storing a large water bottle. As well as side pockets, the Level8 Atlas backpack has a front facing compartment, a small top facing stash zipped pocket (20cm x 20cm), a middle compartment and a rear facing compartment
The rear compartment features a large open pocket (29cm x 25cm) and padded laptop sleeve (44cm x 27cm) big enough to store a 17 inch laptop. The rear facing compartment is fairly narrow so, it's only suitable for slim items such as A4 binder, tablet, laptop, graphics tablet, etc. The rear facing compartment can be unzipped all the way down the backpack, which provides a convenient clamshell style opening. 
The rear facing padded laptop sleeve has a semi-open (almost closed off) design, which provides all-around protection for the laptop from side and top impacts. 
The laptop sleeve also features a velcro closure to strap down the laptop, which is always ideal to prevent the laptop from falling outside accidentally. The orthopedic-like foam padding lining the laptop sleeve adds a nice premium touch.
The Level8 Atlas backpack main compartment is built-in to in the middle of the backpack and opens up half way, which is wide enough to pack and retrieve gear from the bottom of the backpack. The middle compartment is the roomiest, featuring an open pocket padded sleeve (20cm x 20cm) with a velcro strap closure, as well as an internal zip pocket (22cm x 22cm). The middle compartment runs all the way to the bottom of the backpack, which is thickly padded.
The Level8 Atlas backpack front facing compartment is lightly padded. It measures 35cm high and 23cm wide so, it is a large narrow compartment, which runs all the way down the bottom of the backpack. It features multiple organizational pockets, including two pen holders (non-elastic), a small fishing vest style velcro pocket, an open mesh pocket and an internal zip pocket (15cm x 19cm).
The Level8 Atlas back padding has a split design. It is made with EVA foam covered with breathable mesh fabric. The split padding design allows air to flow, making the backside less sweaty. The shoulder straps are also made of firm foam padding covered with breathable mesh fabric and feature daisy chain fabric loops (5 on each shoulder strap) for carrying gear externally. Above the shoulder straps, there is a secondary grab handle mad of webbing fabric. The thumb loops you see at the end of the shoulder straps are designed to help pull the straps down when adjusting.

On the back of the Level8 Atlas backpack, there is also a heavily padded passthrough trolley sleeve (17cm long) to slide the Level8 Atlas backpack over the handle bars of a rolling suitcase (e.g. Level8 Gibraltar aluminium case). Would have been neat if the trolley sleeve integrated a secret pocket big enough for a smartphone. The split padding on the Atlas backpack has been designed well with plenty of spacing between the padding to maximize the airflow potential.

The internal lining fabric is water resistant and has a printed pattern with Level8 branding. Would have been better if the lining was light colored (e.g. silver) as this makes gear stand out and easier to find. The bottom of the Level8  Atlas backpack has been reinforced with a thick layer of rubber material to prevent the base of the backpack from scratching and getting wet when putting the bag on a wet surface. 

The main grab handle on top measures 17cm long and, it's made of webbing reinforced with a metal cable and rubber grip. The zippers on the Level8 Atlas backpack have hidden coil teeth, which offer some water resistance but aren't waterproof. The zip sliders are metal and feature Level8 branding. They aren't YKK zippers but they have a buttery smooth opening.

The Level8 Atlas backpack weighs 1.3kg and measures 47cm high x 33cm wide x 10cm thick. The backpack can expand outwards up to 20cm and can be flattened down to about 10cm, which maybe a bit too bulky to store inside a suitcase to take for day trips.

Potential deal breakers
  • Non YKK zippers
  • Non-lockable zip sliders
  • Non-waterproof zippers
  • No rear facing secret pocket
  • A bit expensive

Selling points
  • Well made
  • Shock absorbing padding
  • Organizational pockets
  • Highly breathable back panel
  • Metal zip sliders
  • Split back padding
  • Metal cable reinforced grab handle
  • Trolley sleeve
  • Padded laptop sleeve compartment with velcro closure
  • Quick access zippered stash pocket
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Water/scratch resistant base
You can buy the Level8 Atlas backpack from Level8 and get 10% off using promo GadgetExplained10. You can also buy it from amazon

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