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Harber London TotePack Review: Capacity Meets Style


Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Does not work
  • 2 - Barely functional
  • 3 - Severely lacking in most areas
  • 4 - Functions, but has numerous issues
  • 5 - Fine yet leaves a lot to be desired
  • 6 - Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 - Great and worth purchasing
  • 8 - Fantastic, approaching best-in-class
  • 9 - Best-in-class
  • 10 - Borderline perfection
Price: $281
Harber London TotePack on a person's back
Justin Duino / LifeSavvy

There never seems to be enough room in a backpack, yet few of us would consider upgrading in size. The fear of looking like a pack mule has haunted us since we overstuffed our bags in middle school. Now, we worry no longer! The Harber London TotePack keeps a slim profile while carrying all you need.

Here's What We Like

  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Has a large interior capacity
  • Clean overall aesthetic
  • Easy to travel with
  • Slim profile, even when full

And What We Don't

  • Laptop sleeve needs more padding
  • Strap hardware occasionally digs into arms

LifeSavvy's expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Materials, Sustainability, and Style

Close up of Harber London TotePack's carrying handles
Justin Duino / LifeSavvy

  • Capacity: 22L
  • Dimensions: 21.25 x 11.81 x 5.51in (53.98 x 29.99 x 13.99 cm)
  • Color Options: Black, Mocha, and Olive
  • Materials: Full Grain Leather and Fabric From Recycled Plastic Bottles

This handmade bag is constructed from black full-grain leather and fabric made from recycled plastic. The merge of quality and sustainability will always be my favorite aspect of Harber London products. I praised them in my Harber London Desk Mat Review, and I will praise them again.  Creating products with sustainably sourced and durable materials is a win-win. You get a durable product that you can feel good about and the planet is a bit better off than if you purchased an alternative option.

You can tell the quality of materials by simply looking at this bag. I’ve been stopped and told “nice backpack!” multiple times while testing this bag. It fits in a variety of environments. As a commuting pack, it allows for self-expression through style while not looking out of place in an office setting. It simply looks like a respectable bag.

The color selection gives three different feels. On the black bag, the difference in materials is the least noticeable. It feels intricate since the materials have different textures and sheens, yet have the same color.

Our review unit is the olive option. The contrast of textures and colors is most apparent here. That contrast combined with the boxy shape and clean lines gives this option a bit of a streetwear style that still fits in almost any setting.

The mocha bag is right in the middle. The materials are more noticeable than the black bag but more subtle than the green.

After a few weeks of use, there did start to become a bit of pilling where the handles rubbed against the fabric, but it’s minor and easy to remove.

Capacity and Compartments

Internal capacity of the Harber London TotePack
Justin Duino / LifeSavvy

There is no denying that this is a big bag. With 22 liters of volume, the TotePack has a truly spacious interior. The height of the bag combined with the minimal number of compartments makes it feel like it can fit anything you could possibly need.

Inside the bag, there are two padded compartments. One is designed to hold up to a 16-inch laptop and the other a 13-inch tablet. I comfortably fit my 16-inch laptop, tablet, notebook (or two), lunch boxwater bottle, sweater, and still had a little room to spare.

I question the integrity of the laptop sleeve, though. I cracked a computer screen while using a different bag with a similar laptop pocket, so I’m quite cautious when it comes to protecting my laptop during travel.

There is a bit of space between the bottom of the computer pocket and the bottom of the bag to keep your laptop or tablet raised from the floor. This is a nice feature and a definite improvement over having your laptop resting on the bottom of the bag, but I wouldn’t say it’s as protective as it could be.

Additionally, there is padding on the front and bottom of the sleeve, but not the back. I strongly feel that the back should be padded and the bottom should be reinforced. I ultimately either used the front sleeve for my laptop or put an additional laptop sleeve within the larger embedded pocket.

Organization

What makes the TotePack so successful is its interior capacity. Unfortunately, though, this comes at the cost of additional pockets.

The lack of internal compartments works well for larger items such as your lunch bag, notebooks, and water bottle, but you may be digging around for a while if you throw tons of chargers, pens, headphones, and miscellaneous snacks into your bag. If you’re one to dump everything into your backpack, you may struggle using the TotePack.

The front pocket doesn’t secure shut, but since it’s a narrow pocket, the leather prevents contents from sliding out. I wouldn’t leave valuables in there while roaming around the city for the day, but for a quick commute, it certainly gets the job done.

The success of organization mainly boils down to one consideration: Do you plan to use your bag to get you from point A to point B where you will accomplish all of your tasks for the day, or do you have to relocate numerous times throughout the day?

If you go from your car to your desk and spend the day there, this organization style is fantastic. You unpack when you get to your location, and that’s that. You leave whatever you regularly use at your desk and don’t have to bring it with you every day.

If you are a student hopping from class to class, you probably have plenty of small items to carry. Not having specific compartments for writing utensils, personal products, class supplies, or a water bottle may leave you either unpacking and repacking your entire bag multiple times a day, or digging around blindly.

Comfort and Fit

Harber London TotePack's side profile while being worn
Justin Duino / LifeSavvy

In terms of comfort, the TotePack does almost everything well. The profile of the bag is slim so it doesn’t stick far off your back. It is also wide on the shoulder-to-shoulder axis. These two dimensions combined keep you from feeling weighed backward. The proportions of this bag really just work.

The cushioning of the straps is quite nice. It’s padded enough to not dig into your shoulder, yet flexible enough to move as you do.

Harber London TotePack's straps
Justin Duino / LifeSavvy

If I could change one thing about this bag, I would put the adjustment hardware further down the straps. Where they currently sit, they occasionally rub against the inside of my arms as I walk. This isn’t an issue majority of the time; only when you wear short sleeves and walk more than a few blocks. If this is a scenario you find yourself in often, you may be bothered by this backpack.

Travel

The Harber London TotePack is a fantastic flight companion, especially if you normally travel with a suitcase and a carry-on. It fits the size restrictions for a carry-on bag, but check with your go-to airline to see if it’s too wide. Thankfully, most major airlines in the U.S.—such as American Airlines—allow for backpacks as wide as 14 inches.

Looking through the arm straps, this backpack has an integrated band that secures to the handle of your rolling luggage. This allows you to optimize what you carry since you won’t have a potentially bulky and heavy bag on your back.

In addition to the straps, there are also handles on the bag. This is always nice to have, but it is especially useful when traveling. The handles allow you to get the tote from overhead storage and not have to try to swing it onto your back in a tight, crowded space.

The large compartment can hold all of your travel essentials and more

Should you buy the Harber London TotePack?

The question of if the Harber London TotePack is worth purchasing mainly comes down to your view of three considerations: price, style, and organization habits.

What is your opinion of the value of quality materials? With hand construction and these high-quality materials, you have to accept a high price tag. There really isn’t any way to avoid this if you’re looking to purchase leather products.

This certainly is a nice bag, but the style isn’t for everyone. The minimalist aesthetic is great for fitting into many environments. It looks clean, yet is still a statement. The boxy shape adds to this distinct style, but it will deter some. This bag either fits your style or it doesn’t.

Overall, this bag is a perfect commuter companion.

If you arrive at your desk for the day and don’t frequently relocate, the interior organization structure is great. You can leave all of your large items in the bag and move your smaller items to your desk.

Since the organization is more geared towards a commuter or any person that has a “home base” workstation, I don’t think this bag would have worked for me in school. I was carrying a ton of supplies and tools which needed numerous small pockets. If you find yourself in a similar scenario, a school backpack would be ideal.

All in all, if you value quality materials, commute or travel regularly, and like the aesthetic, you should absolutely buy the Harber London TotePack.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $281

Here’s What We Like

  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Has a large interior capacity
  • Clean overall aesthetic
  • Easy to travel with
  • Slim profile, even when full

And What We Don't

  • Laptop sleeve needs more padding
  • Strap hardware occasionally digs into arms

Hannah Stryker Hannah Stryker
Hannah Stryker is the Product Tester and Reviews Coordinator for LifeSavvy Media.  She utilizes her background in product design to analyze products for LifeSavvy Media’s review sites. Her role is focused on standardizing testing procedures and streamlining the review processes. Read Full Bio »
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