HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack Review – Lets You Carry Your Gear in Style

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A few weeks ago we looked at the HEX Cabana Messenger Bag. (Read the review.) It offered an unusual pocket for accessing your iPad on the go, and it mixed purposeful gear transportation with casual style. It was a nice bag that, while not my style, I could see many others enjoy using. (Keep an eye out for our upcoming “bag-a-day giveaway”; the HEX Cabana Messenger Bag will be one of the bags we offer up!) This time out, we are looking at another member of the HEX Cabana Collection. The HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack is a light, casual backpack that means business. That sound like a contradiction? Read on to find out what I mean.

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The HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack is made from water-resistant, waxed canvas. The material alone is enough to make the backpack qualify as a casual backpack. It has the look and feel of a day at the beach. That impression is made all the more clear when you pick up the bag and realized that, when empty, it is exceptionally light.

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A grab handle at the top lets you quickly and easily take hold of the bag when you need to get moving. I love backpacks with a grab handle, and I get rather frustrated when companies don’t include one. It is a simple, practical feature that comes in handy time and time again. (Apologies for the pun.) This particular grab handle is made from “surplus grade web”.

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The main portion of each shoulder strap on the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack is made from the same material as the bag itself. The water-resistant, waxed canvas is backed with a solid material that, together, creates two soft straps that sit comfortably on your shoulders.

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Surplus grade webbing emerges from the bottom of the shoulder straps and connects to the bag itself. Plastic adjustment loops let you tighten or loosen the shoulder straps to find the right level of comfort. Unfortunately, the shoulder straps have minimal padding. This won’t be an issue if you have a light load to carry, but on those occasions when you take your 15″ or 17″ MacBook Pro on the go you’ll wish there was more padding.

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The HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack has a number of pockets to organize and carry your gear on the go. Two zippered compartments sit on the back of the pack. Each has a leather zipper pull and leather trim accents covering the zippers these offer a nice decorative detail but are also practical and help keep the zipper, and the gear behind it, dry.

The lower of the two pockets opens to reveal a small storage area perfect for a few keys, cables or headphones.

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The upper pocket is much larger and is sized perfectly for those looking to carry their iPad. This is great since it means you’ll have quick access to your tablet on the go. Unfortunately, the material has only the most minimal amount of padding to protect your iPad. That isn’t a bad thing as it keeps the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack light, but it does mean you can’t throw your bag around.

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The first interior pocket opens to reveal a large area that is perfect for holding thin items. Two organizer areas toward the top let you keep small items on hand. One of them has a card organizer while the other is an open pocket with a solid front. The second, sitting in front of it is open and made from mesh.

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The second large zippered compartments is a much larger area that holds the bulk of your gear. Toward the back is an interior padded and fleece-lined area for carrying a laptop as large as a 17″ MacBook Pro. That’s good and well but the lack of real padding on the straps will quickly become apparent if you are carrying a 15″ or 17″ laptop.

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The black custom logo lining offers added style to the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack and adds to its unique look and feel. Here is a gallery of HEX’s “official” pictures.

In all my reaction to the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack is rather similar to the one I had when reviewing the HEX Cabana Messenger Bag: the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack looks great, offers nice style and achieves what the company appears to have set out to accomplish. It offers a stylish way to carry as much, or as little, gear as you want. All of that noted the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack isn’t the backpack for me; it is just a matter of personal taste and individual needs. In my case I like something that has a bit less style but offers more protection for my gear and more padding for my shoulders. If I am going to use a backpack as my gear bag, then I want something that will be as comfortable as possible when I load it up and set out for a full day of work and play. That is by no means a knock on the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack, and I can see many people loving this bag. (And one of them will get the chance since this bag is going to be part of our “Bag a Day Giveaway” beginning March 25th! Check back for details.)

You can learn more about the HEX Cabana Sonic Backpack here on its product page.

MSRP: $99.95

What I Like: Nice style; Plenty of room to organize and store gear; Holds up to a 17″ laptop; Two easy-access external pockets; Real leather trim; Water resistant; Under $100

What Needs Improvement: Minimal padding on shoulder straps; Minimal padded protection for your laptop and tablet

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him.

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