I’ve had it Mild obsession with bags since elementary school. I really wanted a Jansport backpack. What I got was a generic version on sale at my local sporting goods store, and it’s almost the Jansport brand, but not quite. It wasn’t about the label, and I didn’t care who made the bag. It was build quality. Cloud crashes in the public version. The back pocket was not large.

I’ve been obsessed with quality bags and backpacks ever since, and it was worth it. A good rucksack or rucksack is an investment. My Lowe Alpine backpack has lasted over 20 years. My Belstaff shoulder bag was on its second decade when I sold it for more than I originally paid for it.

This rare category of expensive bags worth owning is currently in my book, held by GoRuck, Mystery Ranch, Mountainsmith, and the newest entrant: Evergoods. The Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L Backpack was my only carry-on during a series of trips this spring.

Jurock’s legacy

Let’s say you love the solid manufacturing, heavy-duty construction and waistband-free design of the GoRuck GR1 (7/10, Wired review), but you’re less sold on the “tactical” design and slack strap? This is where Evergoods comes from. Founded by the former head of product at GoRuck and a former designer at Patagonia R&D, the Evergoods are exactly what those two pedigrees suggest: military-inspired, heavy-duty construction and durability, combined with a more rider-friendly aesthetic. Keep in mind that it is made in the USA (Bozeman, Montana) and used Environmentally friendly dyeing process For its black fabric, you have a bag worthy of attention.

The Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L has a very clean and simple design on the outside. This belies the vast amount of organizational options available, some of which are so well hidden that I didn’t discover them until I went to write this review (I never noticed the pen loops in the front panel pocket). I kind of like this, I don’t like bags that have dozens of zippers and endless pockets embellished everywhere.

Front and back view of a black backpack showing the thick padded straps

Photo: Scott Gilbertson

As the name suggests, this is a 24 liter bag. It weighs 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg), which is heavy for a bag this size (18 x 7 x 11.5 inches). This weight comes from Evergood’s heavy-duty 840d ballistic nylon, which is water repellent (although it’s worth noting that it’s not completely waterproof), and aluminum remains. All of this speaks volumes about a technical bag: it’s well made, but on the heavy side. The only problem is that you may want to carry some sort of rain cover if you live in the Pacific Northwest or another humid area.

One of the most interesting aspects of the CPL24 is that it is designed to function as both a backpack (what I would call vertical) and sideboard mode, or as I think of it, briefcase mode. There are handles on the top and side, so you can carry it any way you want. The side handle was great in airports. What’s remarkable about the design is that it works well no matter how you hold it.

Organizational genius

My favorite part of the Civic Panel Loader 24 — hereafter referred to as the CPL24 — is the massive main compartment that unzips completely on three sides (with zippered counter pull tabs at each end). The design allows you to load and unload the CPL24 as if it were a suitcase. The interior is lined with light gray 420d HT nylon, making it easy to see the contents.

Fully open backpack lays flat with the main lid open to reveal the full compartment and beige interior

Photo: Scott Gilbertson

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