As you probably know, we’re big Eastpak fans here at Rushfaster. We love their no-nonsense functionality, minimal styling, and their authenticity – this is a brand that has been around for more than half a century. So we were just as interested as Rushfaster customer Ben Harrison to see the evolution of the brand through the introduction of some new, contemporary styles that sit alongside their classic range of backpacks.
A big thanks to Ben for his in-depth look at the Navy Cottown Klosser Laptop Backpack – we couldn’t have written it better ourselves! – The Rushfaster Team
Reviewing a backpack should be about as simple as reviewing a hammer. It’s a tool, so therefore it will either be suitable for a job or not. It will be made to last, or it won’t be.
But now as brands like Herschel, Crumpler and JanSport become more and more popular, the backpack has changed. If designer collaborations and limited editions haven’t quite turned backpacks into the new sneakers, they’re definitely trying.
This change has made brands like Eastpak, who are probably known to most as the people who made your schoolbag, sit back and take notice. They’ve launched a series of new styles as an attempt to get back some of the attention they originally won for functionality and durability.
One of the first examples of this new direction is the Eastpak Cottown Klosser. Under the front flap, it’s a duffel style affair with a two large front pockets and a laptop sleeve inside. You can see how it’s trying to be a bit more grown up and sophisticated with its ribbed straps, leather accents and metal buckles.
The slightly naff white logo of the old schoolbags has been replaced with a more subtle stamped leather rectangle and the straps and polyester have been kept the same colour for a more minimal look.
My day to day backpack is an Eastpak; a Returnity Killington, which is a bit of an overwrought thing that maybe only crampon and trekking pole owners could truly appreciate. I cut half the straps off the front of that bag and removed the logo, so I can definitely appreciate the minimalism on hand here.
I tend to pack that backpack with all manner of objects for my work designing digital content. On a given day I’ll be packing a camera, an ipad, a laptop, a board filled with all manner of connecting cables and accessories, a bicycle lock, sunglasses, gym gear and towel and various other bits and pieces. Depending on the time of day, that gym gear may be carrying about an additional half litre of sweat.
That means I have a fairly specific need for pockets. I found that the large front pockets on the Klosser (or do I call it the Cottown?) could fit most of the smaller parts of my carry, with the board, ipad and laptop in the laptop pocket and the camera and gym gear in the larger area. Sunglasses went in the front pocket, then keys and pens in the remaining one. You could probably fit a small book in there too if you’re still into the whole paper thing. All that still left this rather capacious bag with a fair bit of leftover space. However one of the nice things about the Cottown is you can tighten the duffel cord and shrink the bag down, so you don’t look like a European tourist as you trek into work. In spite of how much you can fit in the bag, it looks pretty compact when it’s on.
The first thing I did when I opened the Klosser is undo one of the purposeful looking buckles on the front. That was a mistake; concealed under the buckles are two magnetic studs that are meant to do the real opening and closing job here. That meant two small negatives for me, make of them what you will. Firstly it means you can’t use the buckles to jam the bag closed if you’ve filled it beyond the point of pulling the drawstring.
Secondly, it reminded me of a schoolbag my mum gave to me when I was a kid that had a similar fake buckle with a magnetic clip underneath. Everything worked as fine then as it does now, I just figured for some strange reason at the time I’d get hassled for having a girl’s bag. Of course later on, like any muffin-eating inner city type, I realised the truth: that real buckles are just a pain in the ass and it’s hard to have patience for anything more than zips or studs.
That aside, there are some definite factors standing in the Cottown’s favour. All the accents are real leather which means they’ll improve with age. Eastpaks come with a ridiculously long 30 year warranty, which effectively means that if your future child rips it falling off their hoverboard, they could still get it fixed for nada.
Above all, this bag will fit an absolute tonne of stuff, never look bulky or cumbersome and last a lifetime. For a price that’s the equivalent of a smaller Hershel, that’s a pretty good deal.
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