I had a bit of a dilemma when the press release for this little bag came in. It’s not really ‘outdoor gear’ in the technical, designed-for-activity kind of way that we’re used to in the UK. But then I caught a glimpse of the battered old Eastpak bag which The Wife uses every single day to transport stuff too and from work, and as a go-to bag on her motorbike and I realised that to overlook the Caribee Adriatic would be a mistake. School bags and daypacks aimed at students get more intense wear than pretty much any other bit of outdoor gear, and perhaps the sheer simplicity of the Adriatic was the key to its design.
27 Litres is a pretty good size for a student’s bag. It will fit an A4 book or folder with ease and leave room for a smelly gym kit alongside. The main zippered section comprises the whole size of the bag and opens up nice and wide so you can fish out those rogue compasses and pencils from the bottom of the bag easily.
The main section has a zippered pocket which would be big enough for a generous pencil case, iPod, phone, dirty socks and doodles professing love for Jenny in year 11.
It also has four pen pockets (I don’t think I had four pens through the entirety of high school!) and a couple of slots for handheld items, chocolate bars or things you want to hide from your mum unsuccessfully.
Outside, the Adriatic is constructed from a pretty damn tough PVC (?) coated polyester material which will be super hard-wearing and will shed most of the water and dirt when used as a goalpost in the playground. The zipper isn’t waterproof and the seams aren’t sealed so, although the material is impermeable, it isn’t classed as a waterproof bag.
The entire back section is padded with a generous foam which is surprisingly comfortable. I have a theory that the simpler a bag’s design is, the more comfy it will be, and the Caribee Adriatic is indeed very snug and comfy on your back. The shoulderstraps are nothing fancy, but they’re strong and padded, so hefting around the kind of weight that the average student is forced to carry in books shouldn’t be too much of a pain.
Caribee is an Aussie company, and their choice of colours for the Adriatic shows their southern Hemisphere heritage. The sample bag we have has been made from Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and would be impossible to lose anywhere except for a clown convention.
The bag is finished with two external pockets. One is a zippered, rainflapped pocket which students will no doubt fill with crisps and wads of paper from long-forgotten lessons. And the other is a small mesh bottle pocket which is sized for a can of Coke or something like that.
And lastly, Caribee have fitted the Adriatic with a strong webbing grab handle which lets it be hung from a hook or hurled like a pendulum with confidence.
SUMMARY: The Caribee Adriatic is a simple carrying daypack with very rugged materials and manufacturing. It’s a simple design for simple use, and should be sufficient for everyday ferrying of books and homework without any problem. At £30 it’s priced well for a bag of this quality construction and comes with a 3-year warranty.
More: Caribee (UK)