Backpacks are a hot topic of conversation for us here at The Manual, inspiring plenty of semi-annual (even monthly) roundups of the best, cheapest, and swankiest options available. It’s no surprise as few bits of kit are as expressive of your travel personality as what you choose to carry your “stuff” in. While most backpack manufacturers look for new ways to rejigger traditional materials, Netherlands-based SOLID GRAY has taken a decidedly different tack.
Eschewing “ordinary” ingredients like Kevlar, ripstop nylon, and waxed canvas, the ALUMINUM backpack boasts a high-tech composite shell crafted almost entirely from (wait for it …) aluminum. The ultra-modern exterior features a hybrid aluminum-polymer composite with a hardened, scratch-resistant, high-gloss coating with all-aluminum rivets. It’s a stark, in-your-face design that recalls the hyper-modern future depicted in Ghost in the Shell. It’s the ideal choice for travelers who really, really want to stand out; those who appreciate the bold design stance of a product whose name requires all caps.
At first blush, it appears entirely impractical and, for that matter, uncomfortable. But, thanks to a few smart design features, it’s neither. At a hair over three pounds, it’s thin and lightweight, but surprisingly durable. Sturdy polypropene closures provide an audible “snap” to alert you when the bag has been securely sealed, and an external grab handle stows away automatically when not in use. The exterior of every limited edition ALUMINUM pack is also laser engraved with a unique serial number. Customization is limited to choosing the color of external straps you prefer (with options like Neon Grapefruit, Stealth Black, and Supreme Blue).
The 15-liter interior is designed to carry a maximum load of up to 22 pounds. A series of adjustable straps and durable EPDM foam lining ensure your laptop (up to 15.6”) stays secure and well-protected. A foam-padded, multi-use clip keeps documents and other thin essentials in place. Two additional inside compartments are smartly laid out to provide extra room for and easy access to smaller items like keys, a smartphone, and personal identification.
All this cutting edge style comes with a sky-high price tag — expect to pay around €680.00 (approximately USD $800). If that’s too rich for your blood, SOLID GRAY offers polymer construction alternatives of their iconic backpack for €199,00 (approximately USD $235).
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