Gadgets for humans

Minaal’s Daily backpack is an excellent (but expensive) carryall for gadget lovers

Time to ditch your drawstring satchel

I love me a handsome backpack, but I appreciate a versatile one even more. That’s why I was keen to try the Daily – from a Kickstarter darling called Minaal that was founded by a couple of gents from New Zealand – even though it’s been around for a couple of years now.

As the name suggests, it’s an everyday carry sort of affair, and it’s chock-full of thoughtful touches that make it great for trips to the office and back, as well as a weekend away from home. However, its $250 price tag puts it pegs it way above most other daily-use backpacks.

The Minaal Daily features a discreet design
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Minaal Daily features a discreet design

Here’s what you get for all that dough.

Design

I’ve learned over time that people have varied opinions on how backpacks should look: some folks like ‘em loud, others prefer them to be discreet. The Daily will only find fans in the latter camp, as it’s fairly nondescript when it could well have adopted a few more elements to make it stand out from the crowd. It’s available in grey and black, and it’s utilitarian from the overall shape to the zippers.

The Minaal Daily isn't exactly a looker, but aficionados will appreciate its thoughtful details
The Minaal Daily isn’t exactly a looker, but aficionados will appreciate its thoughtful details

This bag has a capacity of 21L, and can comfortably hold a 15-inch laptop, a tablet, several accessories, and a couple of changes of clothes. There are two full-size sections that open suitcase-style, i.e. down to the bottom so it’s easier to pack and access your stuff. There are plenty of pockets for organizing smaller items, as well as a zippered section on the front face.

You can comfortably carry the Daily like a duffel bag
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
You can comfortably carry the Daily like a duffel bag

The back features a rigid rear panel, with slots to stow away the shoulder straps entirely; that lets you carry the Daily kinda like a duffel bag, with a nicely padded side grab handle. I like this feature of the rear panel, but it’s not ventilated or comfortable on your back. It’s also missing an additional panel to slide carry-on luggage handles under for navigating airports more easily.

The Daily's rear panel has slots on top for stowing away the shoulder straps entirely; too bad it's not ventilated
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Daily’s rear panel has slots on top for stowing away the shoulder straps entirely; too bad it’s not ventilated

Features

While this bag may not look like it’s got much going on from the outside, there’s plenty to help store your gear inside. You’ll find netted sections with zippers inside to hold small items while letting you see them, a full-height organization panel with multiple pockets for gadgets and cables (like your hard drive, power bank, and mouse), and the aforementioned stowaway shoulder straps and side handle.

The Daily has plenty of pockets and sections to store gadgets of various sizes
The Daily has plenty of pockets and sections to store gadgets of various sizes

Plus, it has padded and elasticated shock-proof compartments for a 15-inch laptop and an 11-inch tablet. This section is nicely thought out: you can open it fully to reveal your gadgets at airport security checkpoints, and the devices stay put thanks to the compartments and their Velcro fasteners.

 

The Minaal Daily has two shock-proof sections for your laptop and tablet
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Minaal Daily has two shock-proof sections for your laptop and tablet

 

Minaal talked up the durability of its custom nylon fabric, which I’ve yet to test. But over the past few weeks, I haven’t found any sign of wear on it. It’s not waterproof on its own, but the Daily comes with a rain cover that fully protects the bag, and neatly tucks away into its own little zippered compartment at the bottom of the backpack.

Using the Daily

As someone who frequently lugs gadgets of different sizes around, I found the Daily to be a worthwhile companion for my commutes. I’m also a huge fan of the way the large sections unzip fully for easy packing and unpacking, and the organization features are great for safely stashing smaller items.

The Daily is great for commuting or short trips
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
The Daily is great for commuting or short trips

While it’s light enough on its own, the weight distribution isn’t great, and you can feel the entire load of whatever you’re carrying. I imagine this has to do with how the shoulder straps work. This is in contrast to the much larger Huru backpack I reviewed a while ago – it’s heavier on its own, but when you fill it up, you don’t feel like you’re carrying a lot.

Who’s this for?

If you carry a lot of gadgets on your commutes, or frequently make overnight trips for work, Minaal’s Daily is a good choice for hauling your gear on your back or in your hand. Backpack aficionados will appreciate the array of organization features, and the inclusion of a rain cover makes it suitable for harsh weather conditions.

I quite like this side handle
Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal
I quite like this side handle

That said, it’s on the expensive side of things at $250, which pits it against the likes of Peak Design and above nearly all of Timbuk2’s backpacks. It’s also roughly $100 more than most of The Wirecutter’s picks for laptop backpacks. So while you do get a quality product, you’re also paying top dollar for it, and you could probably sort yourself out with something a lot cheaper.

Find the Daily on Minaal’s site.

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Published August 27, 2019 — 12:30 UTC