Business, sporty, whatever you want: XD Design Flex Gym Bag review

It was 2021 and XD Design continues to reinvent the backpack. The creators of the legendary anti-theft Bobby presented the Flex Gym Bag. By day, Flex is a business laptop accessory that will highlight your professionalism in the office. And in the evening, a handy gym bag.

In fact, there are many other interesting things you can put in a backpack. But we decided to check how it copes with the declared functionality.

Flexible approach to form

Until now, the main feature of all XD Design backpacks has been anti-theft protection. We talked a lot about the Bobby series – unopened backpacks that conceived as an antidote for pickpockets… The original Bobby hit Kickstarter back in 2016. And last fall, the brand returned to crowdfunding platform with the Flex seriesthat prioritizes flexibility. Hence the name.

The campaign was an advertising campaign and was used to announce a new product, which is common practice for XD Design. How is the 16L Flex Gym Bag different? The general idea is this: a bag that adapts to the wearer’s lifestyle. Flex goes from a business backpack to a sporty one – and vice versa. It is an accessory for the professional and the sportsman. Or just a person who does not limit himself to one style.

In theory, it works like this: on the front of the Flex Gym Bag there is an inconspicuous foldable compartment with a zipper. Unfold it, you get another 8 liters of space and a characteristic sporty look. Close – the strict features return to the backpack.

When folded, the compartment looks like a regular pocket, which makes the Flex Gym Bag feel like a minimalist business backpack.

When you unzip the pocket, the compartment unfolds to the full height of the backpack. Then you need to fix it with two buckles on the straps of the backpack. This distributes the weight to your shoulders so that the compartment will not come off if you load it too hard. Retainers cover the zipper of the main compartment – you need to unfasten it to access its contents. True, the backpack still opens only if you remove it from the shoulders (protection from pickpockets, more on that later), so there will not be much unnecessary movements.

It is suggested that sports equipment should be worn in the sports compartment: sneakers, change of clothes for the gym, deodorant, water bottle, protein bars. The volume of 8 liters may seem modest, but do not forget that this is not all the space in the backpack. The rest of the items – laptop, documents, gadgets – will go to the main department.

And for us to go to the gym, the compartment was more than enough. A pair of sneakers, a change of clothes, a towel, and a water bottle fit seamlessly.

How a backpack works

What makes us happy with the Flex Gym Bag, besides the folding compartment? For starters, protection from intruders who want to take your belongings out in the crowd. The main compartment has a special design – the zipper runs along the edge of the back, but from above it is covered by the fold of the fabric, the indent of the side of the backpack. That is, while the backpack is hanging on the wearer’s back, the zipper cannot be opened invisibly.

Actually, everything is like the good old Bobby.

The fold-out compartment remains outside and its zipper is not fixed in any way, so it is better not to carry anything of value there. Plus: since the zipper opens along the entire length, it is more convenient and faster to get sneakers and uniforms in the locker room.

The only external pocket is on the back. It is protected from RFID attacks and is designed for documents and cards. An elastic band is sewn over the pocket for attaching to the handle of the suitcase.

Inside on the back there is a compartment for a laptop with a diagonal of 15.6 inches. Unlike other Bobby models, the Flex Gym Bag does not have a rubber band to hold the laptop in place. The thin laptop holds on tightly and does not pop out, but keep in mind that the device does not insure anything, so you should not shake out or turn the backpack over.

The padded lining protects the laptop from shock and shock. The adjoining wall is also soft and adds extra cushioning. Our test MacBook felt comfortable lying in the Flex, and there were no complaints about rough handling.

An organizer panel for small items is sewn on top of the laptop pocket. On the opposite side of the backpack there is another one with a pair of zipped pockets, one of which is mesh. They can sort documents, wires, chargers, adapters, headphones and other small items so as not to lose them in the bowels of the backpack.

You can find many icons on the backpack: for example, the diagonal of the laptop (15.6) is indicated on the compartment for it. One of the organizer’s pockets is marked with a lightning bolt. It is intended for a power bank, which is eloquently confirmed by the USB cable sticking out above it. The wire ends with a port on the left strap of the backpack. The idea is simple: put the power bank in your backpack and connect it, then charge your smartphone from the strap without making unnecessary movements. By the way, the port is closed with something in between the pocket and the Velcro flap, where the coiled charging wire just fits.

On the right shoulder strap there is a loop for glasses or headphones. It’s a shame that they removed the travel pocket that was on all Bobby backpacks.

The backpack is made of special polyester fabric. It is made from recycled plastic bottles. According to the developers’ calculations, 52 bottles are used for each Flex. Good for the environment, pleasant for the user, because the fabric is water-repellent. Water resistance level: Medium, no need to get into the pouring rain and bathe Flex, it does not tolerate intense water treatments.

Who is the Flex Gym Bag for

True to its name, the Flex Gym Bag can actually be used for going to the gym. It fits a pair of sneakers up to size 48 inclusive. A long slot in the foldable compartment makes them easy to pull out and put back. The fabric of the compartment is dense, but not ventilated. That is, you can throw things there after training without fear of scaring away passengers on the subway around you. Or colleagues in open space when you work out in the gym before work.

It works both ways: don’t keep things in your backpack for too long.

In addition to shoes, it is convenient to wear a spare sweater for the office in Flex so as not to freeze under the air conditioner, as well as changeable clothes for walking. Or shopping from the store: stop by after work for a serving of healthy chicken breast. Or something less useful, depending on your mood.

In a “business” configuration, the backpack will not seem superfluous at an important interview or meeting. It has strict lines and a minimum of details, so it looks elegant, like a briefcase or business suitcase. Its serious advantage when used in this way is its low weight. Flex weighs a little more than a kilogram, and distributes the load on the shoulder girdle so as not to spoil your posture. However, like all XD Design models.

In the dry residue

Pros 🙂

  • Two-in-one, business and sports backpack

  • Pickpocket protection

  • Ideal volume for the city, 16-24 liters

  • Padded 15.6 “laptop compartment

Minuses 🙁

  • Lightweight, but no multi-layer cut protection like Bobby

  • Removed the card pocket from the shoulder strap

Issue price: RUB 11,990

You can purchase backpack Flex Gym Bag in our online store… For all readers, Habr works 15% discount with a promo code HABROFLEX

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