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Commuting on a train means you’ll probably never get a seat and you’ll always need your hands to hold on while you’re whizzing through the tunnels and streets. I’ve always commuted with a backpack because of this (and a rather cute one I admit). The issue is that my backpack can’t fit my gym clothes and shoes, so I end up having to drag two bags with me most days.
Finding a backpack that’s both professional looking and practical is a challenge, which is why I was excited to test out Lo & Sons’ new Rowledge backpack ($375).
Collectively, the Insider Picks team has tested several Lo & Sons bags, including the Hanover Deluxe backpack, the Edgemont Convertible Backpack Tote, the O.G. Overnight Bag, and more. We’ve liked every bag we’ve tried so far, and the new Rowledge backpack is no exception.
It’s the brand’s latest bag, and in our view, it’s Lo & Sons’ most stylish backpack to date. The Rowledge is designed to have both style and functionality so you can carry one bag with you no matter where you’re going.
When it arrived, it seemed like the perfect commuter backpack: It was professional looking and looked like it could hold everything I would need throughout the day. So, off to work I went. Here’s how the bag fared in my testing.
Design and dimensions
The outside of the Rowledge has two expandable side pockets for a water bottle or wet umbrella, a quick stash pocket for your phone and valuables, and a front pocket for everything else. Like most Lo & Sons bags, the front pocket of the Rowledge has a key leash and several zippered and non-zippered compartments to house items like keys, pens, a wallet, headphones, etc.
The interior of the bag comes with the classic Lo & Sons removable organization sleeve. This sleeve has several pockets and compartments to keep all your work needs separate. There are two slots for a water bottle or dry umbrella, a couple of slots for pens, a separate area for folders or notepads, and plenty of other room for chargers and other supplies you’ll need throughout the day.
The Rowledge also has a separate zippered laptop pocket at the back of the backpack that is designed to fit 13-inch laptops (and some 14-inch laptops).
Like many Lo & Sons bags, this backpack is versatile and can be carried three different ways. First and foremost, the Rowledge can be worn as a backpack. When in weekend mode, its straps can be attached to two rings, located towards the base of the bag, for a hands free-wear.
Secondly, when in travel mode, the backpack can be attached to your rolling suitcase via the zippered travel sleeve located on the back of the bag.
Lastly, when in work mode, the backpack straps can be slipped into the travel sleeve and carried by the handbag handles.
The shell of the Rowledge is made of a premium nylon material that makes the bag lightweight and water resistant. For an added touch of sophistication, the outer pocket, side pockets, zipper pulls, and handbag handles are crafted with natural grain Nappa leather.
The backpack straps are made from Lo & Sons’ classic memory foam material that molds to your shoulders for the utmost level of comfort. Additionally, the fabric is stitched in a diamond-shaped pattern to help prevent the straps from annoyingly sliding off your shoulder.
For the final touch, the interior of the backpack is lined with a fabric in Lo & Sons’ signature hummingbird print.
What it can hold
I decided to pre-pack my backpack the night before so that I could take the time to arrange, rearrange, and rearrange my stuff again, but I found that the strategically placed pockets and compartments made it easy to organize all my gear.
I stored my water bottle and umbrella in the respective expandable side pockets, then placed my phone, transit card, and work ID in the secure stash pocket. The front pocket held my wallet, keys, chapstick, inhaler, portable charger, and sunglasses — basically everything I had in my normal commuter backpack.
I used the inner compartment to hold all of my gym clothes and necessities. I placed my shoes at the bottom of the bag, which doesn’t obstruct any of the other pockets and compartments. Then I slipped my shower flip flops in the notebook sleeve and dropped my gym lock in one of the side mesh pockets. My clothes lay folded on top of my sneakers, and even after all of that, I still had room to add my makeup bag, which held about 10+ items in itself.
After all of that, thanks to the specially designed laptop sleeve, I easily slid in my work laptop without using any elbow grease.
I was successfully able to fit two bags worth of stuff into the Rowledge, and its convertible style came in handy on a crowded train. As more and more people filed in, I had to remove my bag from my back and hold it by my side. I was able to secure the backpack straps within the travel sleeve and firmly grip my bag via the handbag handles. The conversion was so easy that I didn’t even realize I walked onto the train with a backpack and exited with a handbag.
The Bottom Line
The Lo & Sons Rowledge backpack marries both style and functionality to make a versatile travel bag. It does have a hefty price tag at $375, but given all the features this bag offers, it’s worth it for people who commute long distances or travel frequently.
Each pocket is specifically designed to house and help organize the most common items you’d expect to find in a commuter’s backpack: a laptop, keys, cards, pens, a water bottle, and an umbrella. Many other stylish backpacks fail to include these organizational features and end up being impractical for daily use.
For the price of one bag, you’re actually getting three. Whether you’re in travel mode, work mode, or weekend mode, the Rowledge can fulfill all of your packing needs. You can spend the time and money searching for three separate bags that all function for one purpose only, or you can splurge on one bag that serves every aspect of your lifestyle.