Luggage Review: ENERGI PRO Power Backpack by TYLT
Between phones, laptops, tablets and the spare external batteries needed to charge them all, the average traveler today is lugging around an inordinate amount of electronic, well, stuff. So the concept of having a bag to not only tote everything — but charge it all at the same time — is worth exploring.
Enter the ENERGI PRO Power Backpack by TYLT. TYLT, a lifestyle brand based out of Southern California, designs products to keep customers charged and connected without interruption. One of their tag lines is: “your devices should adapt to your lifestyle, not the other way around” and that speaks to the products they create — including a charging backpack.
The ENERGI PRO Power Backpack is their second-generation model. TYLT crowdfunded production through Indiegogo, not just for financing, but also to gain community input on the features and design aspects that were most important for improving upon their first-generation bag. The retail price is $150.
Made of durable water-resistant polyester, the ENERGI PRO comes in a conservative grey and blue color scheme. Zippers are stainless steel and the laptop pocket has a Pylow Protection guard.
The main draw (the battery pack) derives from a rechargeable 20,100 mAh lithium ion battery. The bag has three USB outputs to allow for simultaneous charging. If you’re device is enabled with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, charging speed increases by 4x. And if your laptop has the latest USB-C technology, it can connect to this battery, too.
Extras include two micro-USB charging cables, (3.3ft & 6ft), one USB-C charging cable (3.3 ft), a zippered accessory bag and user guide.
The bag comes in one size, one color and has a one-year warranty. With the battery nestled inside, the pack weighs 4.2 pounds.
Size and Space
The backpack measures 17.5” H x 14” W x 9” D. The laptop compartment fits up to a 15” device. Another secure, zippered pocket opposite of the laptop sleeve can fit a tablet; laptop access is TSA-compliant.
Because the bag is compartmentalized, it won’t seem spacious to other folks who, like me, typically stuff sweatshirts, books, DSLR camera/lenses, shoes and other items into one large bay. In other words, don’t expect to take it to work and hit the gym afterwards unless your running shoes are small and light. It’s built for business functionality, techies, nomadic freelancers and travelers who store bulky items in a separate carry-on bag. Even a student with a few thick textbooks would have trouble using this as a day-to-day bag. Only one deep bay, loaded from the front, can hold larger items. And when it’s full, the bag becomes front-heavy, toppling easily.
Otherwise, 12 total pockets, including a mesh bottle holder, will please the highly-organized — or those aspiring to be. Easily accessed zippered side pockets are great for stashing keys or a phone, while a lined sunglass well on the top protects fragile items. For the less organized, all those pockets might mean a frustrating few minutes of sticking your hand into multiple spaces to find your stuff.
The exterior fabric of the bag feels durable, the gel padding on the straps thick and comfortable. A few Amazon reviewers reported broken zippers and torn shoulder straps, although in a few weeks of use, it’s held up well.
Given how rapidly technology evolves, it’s great that the included battery should continue to charge the newest USB and USB Type-C devices at the fastest speeds possible. I found the charging fast, as promised. Seamless routing channels let me run charging cables to 11 of the pockets while keeping wires discreetly tucked away, although I usually keep the battery and wire in the side pocket to easily charge my phone.
I appreciated the adjustable sternum strap for added stability, although it can easily be removed. I found the air channels and mesh fabric gave extra breathability when riding a bike or rushing to catch the subway. The trolley pocket allowed me to easily slip the bag on a suitcase handle.
Finally, for those worried about RFID credit card skimmers, there’s a large NFC resistant pouch on the top.
As a 5’3” woman, I found the width a touch too broad, the torso a hair too long. This played out to its most exaggerated effect when the backpack was heavy and fully packed; a hip strap would have helped with weight distribution. The chest strap didn’t provide enough stability, alas. If TYLT debuts a slimmer model, I’d happily add the bag into my rotation. Catch it on sale for $105 and it’s an attractive deal.
Regarding recent airline bans of smart luggage:
In case you missed our coverage of the recent effort by multiple carriers to ban smart bags with immoveable batteries as checked or carry-on luggage, the airlines’ concern for safety has prompted this move. So far, AA, Delta and Alaska have new policies that will take effect on January 15, 2018; Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia just introduced similar bans. Not all airlines have bans in place (yet) and rules may differ; given this is an evolving story, always check with your carrier for updates before flying.
How does this development relate to the TYLT bag? Considering it's a backpack with an external battery that you’ll likely carry onto a plane, it probably won’t. But in the event you wish to check the bag, depending on your carrier, you may have to remove the lithium-ion battery power bank and bring it into the cabin. For now, the carry-on ban imposed by several airlines doesn’t apply since the bag’s battery is removable.