So first, let me come clean about my bleeding heart consumer past (er, present): definitely bought Tom's back in the day because I liked the idea of a little kid in Africa getting a pair of shoes; wore Warby Parker glasses until I finally got Lasik because somebody else got a pair for free too, and I might even eat at a sandwich shop here in SLC that donates a sandwich to a homeless shelter for every one you buy. You could say I'm a sucker for socially responsible businesses. So the United by Blue story totally gets me.
The first thing that struck me when I unpacked it is how nice a pack it is. It came in a little cloth drawstring bag—nice touch. Mine is lined with an army green fabric, not sure if they're all the same color interior.
All of the leather trim and stitching is immaculate—United by Blue must have phenomenal quality control, because there was literally not a single stitch loose, hanging, or out of place. The canvas is nice and thick, seems to be an extra layer of canvas on the bottom of the bag, as well as on the top flap, which makes them fairly stiff. My fear with cotton canvas is always that I’m going to wear holes in it, but not so worried about it with this pack. Not waterproof by a long shot, but its water resistance is easily increased with a good spritzing of Nikwax Cotton Proof Spray.
Cool features—there are button snaps for easy access in and out of the bag, as well as side snaps at the top of the bag to allow you to load all your stuff up, then snap down for less-bulky transport.
The shoulder straps are only *very* lightly padded (I mean LIGHT) but the straps are a bit wider than you might expect, which seems to keep them from cutting into your shoulders—I found it pretty comfortable, even with a load full of books.
There are a handful of pockets inside—the zippered pocket, which is ample, a water bottle pocket (fits a 32 oz Nalgene comfortably) and a couple more, too.
Overall, solid daypack for city life. And there's a pound less trash in the ocean too? Cool.