Inspired by the iconic novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker Space Capsule Backpack is the brand’s interpretation of the ultimate travel backpack. Limited to just 42 pieces (the answer to life, the universe and everything), the Hitchhiker backpack is one of Gnome & Bow’s most affordable bag offerings to date. Let’s see if it’s any good!
Gnome & Bow – the Brand
Founded in 2013, Gnome & Bow is a homegrown label that prides itself in offering storytelling bags and accessories. I actually covered its brand story in my review of the Kale Backpack, so do check out that article if you’re interested in the brand.
Gnome & Bow Hitchhiker Backpack – Review
Despite being the brand’s lowest-priced bag offering (by far), the Hitchhiker Space Capsule Backpack still packs a punch in its materials and construction.
For starters, the Hitchhiker backpack is made from water-resistant 500D Cordura nylon. This durable composite material is highly resistant to abrasions and tears, so you can lug the Hitchhiker backpack through all sorts of tough and rough terrains without worry.
On the inside, the Hitchhiker backpack features a bright orange ripstop nylon lining, which has a cross-hatch pattern. For the uninitiated, ripstop fabric is made using a unique reinforcing technique that greatly enhances the material’s resistance to wear and tear. The durable, easy-to-maintain nature of the ripstop nylon lining is very appropriate for a travel backpack, though aesthetically speaking I personally prefer the herringbone fabric of the Kale backpack.
Lastly, the straps of the Hitchhiker backpack are crafted out of nylon, and adorned with a herringbone texture. It’s pretty comfortable, and reassuringly sturdy to the touch.
Being billed as a travel backpack, the Hitchhiker backpack has several nifty storage features. The first is a front compartment, which has three interior pockets and two pen slots. As it’s located at the front of the bag, I found myself storing my “quick-access” items there, such as my power bank, perfume, hand sanitiser, mask, and other small items that I find myself reaching for on a regular basis.
There’s also quite a roomy main compartment. I actually brought the Hitchhiker backpack on one of my staycations (apt, I thought), and was able to fit all that I needed – a change of clothes, toiletries, water bottle, and a book – in the main compartment. Whether you’re going on a short staycation like I was, or looking at this as a daily backpack for school, the main compartment should be spacious enough for your needs. There’s also an additional zippered pocket and an interior slot for added compartmentalisation.
In addition, there are two anti-theft, quick-access zippered pockets located on the sides. In my daily usage, I found myself storing my valuables (phone, wallet, etc) in these side pockets. However, when travelling I assume that these pockets would be a convenient but also safe way to store and carry around one’s passport, boarding tickets, and other travel necessities. In addition, the zippers themselves are from SBS. Being one of the two zipper powerhouses (the other being YKK), the SBS zippers should be durable and reliable – I encountered no issues with them in my one month of usage. The zippers themselves also features an aged metal aesthetic, which complements the travel/adventure premise of the Hitchhiker backpack. Furthermore, there are also two discreet angled slots (one on each side of the backpack) that can be used to store one’s bottle and/or umbrella.
Most importantly, the Hitchhiker backpack has multiple slots for all sorts of tech devices. There’s a laptop slot (it fits my 15.6 inch Windows Surface), a tablet slot, and two smaller compartments for tech peripherals such as mouse, cable, charger, etc. The tablet and laptop slots are also cushioned for added protection. Lastly, Gnome & Bow also describes the backpack as “checkpoint-friendly” as it opens flat for airport security clearance, as shown in the picture above.
Above all, I find the Hitchhiker backpack to be good-looking. It has a classic “U-shape” that’s stylistically versatile. Whether as a daily backpack for school, or pairing it with formalwear (as seen in the above photo), the Hitchhiker backpack never looks out of place and complements most outfits. I like the navy colour too, which is thematically congruent with the literary inspiration where navy blue was a recurring palette as it represented the starry vastness of the cosmos. It’s a handsome bag that manages to be both casual and sophisticated, which is a tough balance to nail.
Conclusion – so the Gnome & Bow Hitchhiker Space Capsule Backpack “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. With a capacity of 18.9L, the Hitchhiker backpack is sufficiently large to carry everyday essentials, but still small enough to be manageable. It features practical storage slots, and is eminently striking aesthetically as well. However, the best aspect of the Hitchhiker backpack is undoubtedly its value. At just $178 (after the promo code below), the Hitchhiker backpack is almost half the price of the Kale backpack, and even cheaper than some of Gnome & Bow’s wallets. It’s comparatively priced to a mainstream Herschel backpack, but with niftier features and better quality components. As the icing on the cake, the Hitchhiker backpack is also limited to just 42 pieces, so its exclusivity is another pull factor. Overall, I really enjoyed the Hitchhiker backpack – in fact, it’s currently my go-to.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all Gnome & Bow products on their web-store. After the discount, the Hitchhiker backpack can be had for just $178, making it a terrific value proposition. It may be the brand’s most affordable bag offering to date, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it!
Photo Credits: TLGraphy
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.