The Hunt Utility Backpack is the latest offering from Faire Leather, and it is positioned as both a travel backpack as well as an everyday office backpack. Is it any good though? Let’s find out.
Faire Leather Co. – the Brand
Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack – Review
I’m genuinely really impressed with both the build quality as well as the design of the Hunt Utility Backpack.
The exterior of the Hunt Utility Backpack uses what Faire Leather calls “high density nylon”. The result is a fabric that is strong and robust, able to withstand the trials and tribulations of your travels or everyday commutes to the office. Whilst not as beautiful as a leather exterior, the nylon exterior of the Hunt Utility Backpack definitely requires less care and is able to withstand more abuse. It also has the added advantage of being waterproof, which would definitely come in handy if you’re travelling to countries such as England or get caught up in the monsoon season of Singapore.
Faire Leather uses YKK zips in the Hunt Utility backpack, which results in generally smooth zipping action. In my month or so of using the backpack, I have not encountered any issues with the zippers getting stuck, etc. There also seems to be a waterproof lining applied over the teeth of the zippers in order to prevent any liquid from seeping in. Lastly, the backpack also features a front magnetic snap zipper, which would make it harder for pickpockets to open the front compartment. In addition, the stitching is done rather nicely too, with no loose or fraying threads visible.
The build quality on the handle (one of the main stress areas of a bag) is top notch as well. On the Hunt Utility Backpack, the handle is bolted on, which makes it much more durable that the stitched-on handle one often sees on lower quality backpacks. The leather handle feels nice to the touch and provides good grip as well!
In my review of the Bond Slim Briefcase, I wrote that while I enjoyed the briefcase, I found the lack of support for a water bottle and umbrella (essentials I usually carry out) to be a spot of bother. I’m glad to say that’s no longer the case with the Hunt Utility Backpack! In fact, Faire’s Leather website specified that the front compartment of the backpack is engineered to store water bottles, umbrellas, and other miscellaneous items. The front compartment is rather deep as well, being able to accomodate my 1L water bottle with ease.
The backpack also features a side zip compartment that can comfortably fit A4 sized documents. Be it files, papers, or (in my case) a magazine, the compartment is able to accommodate quite a bit of stuff! To provide reference, I was able to fit 3/4 magazines in the compartment – I personally never felt a need for more document space, though that might be because I do most of my things on my laptop rather than on hard copy documents. If you’re the sort to lug logs of documents around, or if you’re a student who has mountains of notes, the Hunt Utility Backpack might not be the right fit for you. For most of the modern professionals however, I think the document space is more than adequate!
Like the Bond Slim Briefcase, the interior of the Hunt Utility Backpack is made from microfibre leather, a form of synthetic leather. It’s not to be confused with PU leather though – microfibre leather often feels premium to the touch, and mimics the characteristics of real leather. However, due to its synthetic nature, it does not degrade as quickly as real leather, and is more durable. I’m fine with the usage of microfibre leather on the inners of the backpack – it looks good, feels great, and comes in a nice burgundy colour. As aforementioned, it’s going to be more robust than real leather, and thus it fits the “utility” vibe of the backpack well too. Furthermore, there’s also two zippers at the sides – when unzipped, it allows the backpack to fully open up, which would be a very handy feature to have when encountering the TSA.
In typical Faire Leather style, the compartments of the Hunt Utility Backpack is designed to help you organise your items and for easy access. The backpack features a ton of handy compartments that I found really useful. Firstly, there are two medium tab organisers (with detachable key rings) at the top, which I used to store my Android Type-C cable and my Apple Lightning cable, though other items such as earphones or keys can be stored as well. Secondly, there’s a business card compartment that can be used to store 20-25 name cards. Personally, I didn’t use the compartment to store my own name card – I tend to store them in my wallet instead, for easy access – but instead used the compartment to store the multitudes of business cards I get from shop associates, people I meet in events, etc. Thirdly, there’s a large tab organiser which fits eyewear (comes in use as I don’t wear my spectacles when I’m at the gym) and 3 pen compartments. Next, there’s also a zip pocket that can be used to stow away more precious items (such as your phone), as well as a slip pocket behind it that can be used to store tech accessories such as a mouse, thumbdrive, etc.
On the other side of the backpack, there are 3 main compartments (each bigger than the previous) for one to store their tech devices. The smallest – a slip pocket – can be used to store hard drives, mobile phones, notebooks etc, though I personally used it to store my power bank. Above it, the tablet compartment is more than wide enough to accommodate my Ipad, with most tablets (except the 12.9 inch Ipad Pro) able to fit in the compartment. Lastly, my 14 inch laptop fits easily in the laptop compartment, with the compartment engineered to fit 14 and 15.6 inch laptops with ease. If you’re a heavy duty tech user, the compartments of the Hunt Utility Backpack has got you covered!
Last but not least, there’s also a slip pocket at the back! In my opinion, it is best used for items that you don’t want to be stolen – wallet, passport, etc. I’ve personally known friends who had their passport, wallet and phone (with their cash and IC inside) pickpocketed while overseas, and it is an absolutely terrible experience to be left in a foreign country without any money and communication devices. In my opinion, the back slip pocket is a great anti-theft feature, and more backpacks should incorporate it! Lastly, there’s also a travel friendly slot that, when unzipped, fits perfectly on one’s carry on luggage.
When carried, the Hunt Utility Backpack wears well. I love how easy it was to adjust the straps to the desired length, with the straps not loosening up over time. I like the look too – it’s sleek but subtle, and looks perfectly at home with office attire. Sometimes, carrying backpacks when in work clothes can makes one look like a student intern – a look no one wants – but the Hunt Utility Backpack avoids that pitfall with its minimalist look. That being said, I would love to see some more colour options such as Navy, Brown or Grey introduced!
Shootout: Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack vs Tumi Webster Backpack
Tumi is probably one of the biggest brands in the world of travel storage, and unsurprisingly they do offer their own line of travel backpacks aimed at the jet setting professional. Currently on sale, the Tumi Webster Backpack costs pretty much the same as the Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack, and thus shall be the comparison product for today!
From a build quality perspective, I would say that the Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack definitely edges out the Tumi Webster Backpack. While both uses nylon for the exterior material, the Webster backpack uses polyester lining on the inside, which for the price is quite disappointing. In contrast, the Hunt Utility Backpack uses microfibre leather which feels and looks much more premium.
From a functionality standpoint, the Hunt Utility Backpack simply trumps the Webster Backpack. While the Tumi Backpack can also store a 15 inch laptop and is luggage compatible, the Faire Leather Backpack provides much more utility due to its organiser design. With the Hunt Utility Backpack, one can easily access anything they require, be it cables, umbrellas, documents, passports, or your tablet. Furthermore, I like the smart anti-theft design of the Hunt Utility Backpack as well, particularly the hidden slip pocket at the back of the bag and the magnetic zip closure at the front.
Given that both backpacks are priced similarly, I have to declare the Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack as the winner in this shootout due to its superior build quality and better functionality.
Conclusion – so the Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack “shiok” or not?
The Faire Leather Hunt Utility Backpack is probably the best backpack I’ve ever used. It’s well built, and incredibly functional – every inch of space in the backpack is utilised, chock-full of various compartments for all your storage needs. I absolutely loved how I was able to not only store a bunch of items in the bag, but also access them easily. My only knock is the price. At ~S$400 (after the promo code below) it’s not overpriced per se – unlike the aforementioned Tumi backpack – but I certainly won’t classify it as a steal. If Faire Leather could bring down the price point a tad, I think the Hunt Utility Backpack would be a very compelling proposition.
For those interested, Faire Leather has kindly provided readers with a 10% discount – simply use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from Faire Leather! After the discount, the Hunt Utility Backpack can be had for S$404. That’s still a significant sum, but you’re paying for quality and great design. If you’re a jet-setting modern professional, I honestly don’t think there’s a better travel backpack out there for you!
View the Faire Leather’s full range of products here.
Hunt Utility Backpack Features:
2 Medium pen holders
1 Large pen holder
3 Medium tab organisers
1 Large tab Organisers
1 Business card compartment
2 Slip pocket
1 Zip pocket
1 Laptop compartment
1 Tablet compartment
2 Mobile/power bank compartments
1 Detachable keyring with leash
Back slip pocket with hidden magnetic closure – convertible to trolley slot strap
Front magnetic snap zipper puller compartment
Back slip pocket (RFID block)
Front side zip compartments
Hunt Utility Backpack Specifications:
Exterior: High Density Nylon trimmed with US Top grain cowhide
Inner Lining: T72D x 200D Twist Nylon
100% Filament Polyester Thread
Hardware: Matte Gunmetal
L31 H43 W16 cm
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!