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bradley axmith author

Alyssa A.
Writer
Creating experiences, one adventure at a time

PRODUCT REVIEW

Stubble & Co The Roll Top

Roll top backpacks are trendy these days, especially among commuters and cyclists. They are an ideal alternative to conventional backpacks with zippers.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

5

Reasons to buy

  • A stylish, minimalist take on the roll top
  • Side pockets are elastic and big
  • Wider main compartment for easier storage and access
  • Proven water resistance against rain
  • Sealed seams and zippers
  • Side open laptop sleeve makes for quick access
  • Sustainable materials and packaging

Reasons NOT to buy

  • Laptop is not suspended enough in sleeve
  • Roll top could use harder material for better closing

Overview

The Roll Top from Stubble & Co is an eco-friendly and lightweight backpack that represents one of the more stylish takes on this urban type of pack. Its main strengths are its minimalism and functional compartments.

This bag, much like Stubble’s other bags, has an aesthetically pleasing quality that seems somewhere between a Jack Wolfskin and Rains profile.

Weighing only 0.9 kg, this backpack is ideal for everyday use. This lightweight feature also makes it appealing to walking and light hiking.

messenger bag stubble and co backpack

But the functionality of its compartments also makes it a good carry-on bag. For the same reason that organization and ease-of-access is important for commuting–not to mention keeping your items safe–this roll top bag does a good job.

It has a cushioned back panel with air-wicking mesh and matching shoulder straps with padding that we see on most backpacks these days.

Made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Stubble’s Roll Top has a rugged, waterproof exterior.

This backpack also comes with reflective trim and on the lettering. These design elements are nice, but in practice, the reflective area is quite small. Still, it provides added safety.

Moreover, Stubble & Co The Roll Top features a 16” laptop compartment separate from the main compartment. There is ample padding surrounding the computer here but, sadly, there’s no suspension keeping a laptop protected from the ground when the bag is dropped or set down roughly.

On each side, you will find a tight pocket that can store a water bottle or even a tripod. A compression strap on the side does double-duty for longer items placed in these elastic pockets.

Let’s dive in to learn more about the features we like the most about Stubble’s Roll Top.!

Cyclist wearing Stubble & Co The Roll Top urban backpack

Stubble & Co The Roll Top: Key Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 30 cm x 44 cm x 15 cm
  • Product Weight: 0.9 kg
  • Materials: 600D Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), 200D Recycled PET Lining, 3D Poly Air Mesh, Recycled PET Webbing, Tarpaulin, YKK Aquaguard Zips
  • Roll Top Closure With G Clip
  • 16” Side Access Laptop Sleeve
  • 2 Side Pockets
  • Reflective Trim, Base, and Branding
  • Seamed Zippers
  • Quick access outer pocket
  • Inner Zip Pocket
  • 2 Internal Mesh Pockets
  • Top Grab Handle

Messenger Bag with Plenty of Features

This Roll Top is an intuitive combination of functionality and minimalism. With a boxy structure, it looks bulky at a glance. However, it only weighs 0.9 kg. It is pretty lightweight yet has a lot to offer.

This backpack is designed to meet the needs of cyclists and commuters in mind. Made of robust recycled materials, it can handle Pacific Northwest rains as well as Canadian winters.

It’s an ideal compromise between sustainability and durability. Stubble & Co made sure that all recycled materials have passed rigorous performance tests.

The main compartment and linings are made of recycled PET, ostensibly water bottles. Stubble & Co is pursuing the eco-friendly yet rugged profile, seen similarly with their Adventurer travel backpack.

This backpack is ideal for everyday use, with a capacity of 20L that seems bigger on account of the width and opening of the bag.

Stubble & Co The Roll Top has a zip sleeve pocket separate from the main compartment. This compartment can fit a 16” laptop. This pocket’s seamed zip closure at the side gives you added peace of mind, with anti-theft placement.

On the other hand, there’s no suspension or padding, protecting laptops from unlucky impacts with the ground when the bag is put down on hard surfaces. Tiled flooring at an airport or bus stop for example.

The main compartment of this backpack has two mesh pockets. In these pockets, you can store small items, such as smartphone accessories and chargers.

On each side of Stubble & Co The Roll Top, you will find a compartment designed to fit a bottle and an umbrella. A bike lock fits in any of these pockets, too. Each of these side pockets has a piece of elasticated fabric that keeps your valuables in place and snaps it back so it doesn’t stick out when not in use.

All pockets are designed with a bright orange liner fabric. It seems like a basic design element but when you think about it, the bright color offers a nice contrast against your valuables. It makes the things inside your backpack easy to find.

Further, The Roll Top has air wicking ergonomic straps. The back panel is cushioned too, so hard, sharp objects won’t hurt your back. The cushioning offers the same breathable mesh  design, too.

Another unique design element is the reflective logo on the bottom. It is an added safety feature for cycling. As you move, the bottom part of your backpack tends to meet the line of sight of those behind you.

Like the bag itself, the lettered logo is minimal, but every bit helps.

Closer look to Stubble & Co The Roll Top features

What we like

A roll top design is one of the latest trends today, and it is exactly one of the things we like the most about Stubble & Co The Roll Top. Mechanically, design is far simpler than a conventional zip design. It is less prone to failures than the latter.

A metal G-hook is used to fasten the roll top mechanism of this backpack. This closure system contributes to its heavy-duty and rigid construction by keeping it secure. Also, this hook fastens quickly.

It would have been nice to be able to keep the extreme ends of the openings more firmly closed, but we didn’t notice any water getting in and this design decision seems to have made getting into the bag a high priority.

In fact, of  all the roll top backpacks we’ve looked at so far, this one by Stubble is the easiest to open to get at your gear.

Boasting an all-weather performance, the main body of this backpack, with its 600D material, is waterproof. Meanwhile, the seams have been sealed properly for long-lasting durability.

We also like the laptop compartment of Stubble & Co The Roll Top. It can fit a 16” laptop snugly. Its independence from the main compartment guarantees added security for your laptop, keeping it safe and in place without sharing space with other valuables.

Finding your things is also a lot easier, thanks to the bright orange liner fabric in each pocket. In most backpacks, it is quite difficult to find something when contrasted against a dark fabric.

Further, it is worth noting that sustainability is vital for Stubble & Co. It has endeavored to build a rugged backpack out of recycled materials, helping protect the planet. Stubble & Co The Roll Top also comes in sustainable packaging, contributing to zero-waste efforts. Of course, we find so much value in efforts to protect the environment.

Closer look to the upper part of Stubble & Co Roll Top

Only Two Drawbacks

As noted, we would have liked to have seen the laptop compartment suspended or with additional padding on the bottom.

You may also be a little disappointed with the lack of a convenient helmet attachment feature. If you are biking every day, this backpack would be a lot more valuable to you if it came with a helmet holder like the Seibertron TKSB Helmet Holder.

Stubble & Co The Roll Top standing on a bycicle handle

Summary

For a cycling backpack, Stubble & Co The Roll Top seems expensive. Surely, there are many cheaper waterproof roll top backpacks than this one.

But this bag is much more than a cycling backpack. Like Milican and Osprey–to name a couple–roll top styles are trendy because they have great utility mainly for commuting but also for travel and some outdoor activities.

The versatility, long-lasting durability, and eco-friendly materials quite justify the price tag. The attention to detail that came into making this backpack is arguably worth the investment.

The different pockets allow you to organize your things and keep them secure. And you’ll look good doing it too.

If you have the means, we recommend that you consider getting one.

What We Like

  • A stylish, minimalist take on the roll top
  • Side pockets are elastic and big
  • Wider main compartment for easier storage and access
  • Proven water resistance against rain
  • Sealed seams and zippers
  • Side open laptop sleeve makes for quick access
  • Sustainable materials and packaging
  • Padding and protection in almost all the right places
  • Zipper pocket in main compartment so nice for valuables

What We Don’t Like

  • Laptop is not suspended enough in sleeve
  • Roll top could use harder material for better closing

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Stubble & Co The Roll Top

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is the best cycling backpack from Stubble & Co?

    Stubble & Co The Roll Top is one of the best cycling backpacks today. It has a durable, roll top design that is easy to use. With a rigid construction, it does not flip over or sideways through the twists and turns of the road.

    This backpack is ideally built for the commute. Find out more about what we like about it in this in-depth review.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is a roll top bag?

    A roll top bag, as the name implies, is a bag with a roll top closure. By design, it looks like a dry bag. Most of the time, these bags are waterproof.

    Our current favorite roll top bag is Stubble & Co The Roll Top. Learn more about its features in this guide.

     
  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    How do you close a roll top backpack?

    A roll top backpack closes by folding the top part. In most cases, this part needs to be folded at least three times.

    Make sure that the main compartment is only ¾ full. Filling it completely would prevent you from sealing the top part. When you are ready to fold, get rid of the excess air and pinch the top blades together. Fold the top part as tightly as possible and clip the buckle or hook.

    Sometimes, the closure system in roll top backpacks varies. Stubble & Co The Roll Top, for example, has a metal G-hook. Check out our guide here to know how it works.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Are roll top backpacks good?

    Roll top backpacks have many advantages. Particularly, they are suitable for you if you are a commuter or cyclist.

    One of the things we like the most about roll top backpacks is the lack of unnecessary zippers. Essentially, they have a minimalist yet functional design. Zippers also tend to break, and that is a problem unlikely to trouble you with a roll top backpack.

    Many roll top backpacks also have different compartments. They have plenty of storage space for your valuables. For example, Stubble & Co The Roll Top has a main compartment and several pockets for small items. It even has a separate laptop compartment. Check out our in-depth review here to find out more about this backpack.

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