I admit it: I’m a backpack-aholic. That’s because backpacks aren’t just utilitarian: they also dip into the category of fashion. Like shoes or hats, backpacks are accessories that help define and show off personalities. But unlike other accessories, they help us accomplish something: hauling our stuff from Point A to Point B to Point C and back again. But I’ve never seen a backpack that was more useful on an everyday basis for a millennial guy like me than the Federal P Smartpack from CO.ALITION. Oh, and it looks DOPE!
The Federal P Smartpack doesn’t just store your gear: it charges it too. That’s thanks to the included Joey power pack that conveniently lives in a built-in compartment in the left-hand side of the main storage area of the backpack.
What’s cool about this setup is that the battery pack never needs to be removed. You can charge it from an outlet using the included cord and USB wall adapter which both tuck neatly back into their own zippered pouch. I love that I will never lose this cord or have to try to keep track of which one it is in the sea of cables I’m already drowning in.
Once your Joey is all charged up, using it to charge your USB devices is a cinch. Just plug them in to the USB port and go. For added awesomeness, you can thread the USB cable through to the tech compartment (more on that shortly).
There’s also a handy trio of lights on the Joey which let you know how much juice you’ve got left so you’ll never be left in the lurch.
The entire battery pack comes pre-stowed in such a way that you will never have to remove it — or even mess around with it. All you’ll ever need to do is keep it topped-off.
I am loving the storage options on this backpack. I say that as a person who has owned more backpacks than the keys on your keyboard. Too many backpacks either lack an appropriate amount of storage areas or make them too hard to get to. The Federal P Smartpack remedies both situations to offer what I would honestly consider the perfect amount of accessible, useful storage. Here’s what I mean.
There are three storage areas in this backpack: a smaller outer compartment (for storing things like phones, smaller Moleskine notebooks, pens, keys or any random items you want to bring with you), a larger main compartment (for storing general, non-tech items like books or a hoodie) and a slimmer, tech-specific back compartment specifically designed for laptops and tablets. The tech compartment is, of course, lined with softer material to keep your gear in tip-top shape. There’s also a zippered compartment on the inside of the main compartment which will let you segment smaller items that you might not want bumping around.
These storage options make this an excellent choice for students, office workers and people who like to work out of coffee shops or coworking spaces like WeWork and travelers. Basically, it’s a GREAT pack for commuters with computers.
What I really, really love about this pack is that it’s not a top-down loader/unloader. The compartments all zip down providing full access to the contents inside: it’s a major peeve of mine having to reach down and dig around inside a pack, blindly feeling around for something like a charger or hard drive. This pack is as accessible as they come.
The Federal P Smartpack is sexier and more svelte than the name implies. To me, it looks modern. I’m a big fan of the grey fabric with black accents. It’s better than all black and it literally looks good no matter what you’re wearing. It’s also understated which I like: it looks good when you notice it but it isn’t flashy.
I also really like CO.ALITION’s logo which is displayed on the front straps (on both sides). Normally I don’t really like to be a walking billboard, striding around advertising for companies (especially as a blogger/vlogger because it looks like such an endorsement). But in this case the logo looks really awesome (and most people will definitely not recognize it). Plus, being from Colorado, I like displaying the CO (stylized to form part of the logo) proudly.
Finally, I am partial to the zippers on this pack. They’re anything but ordinary with their smooth black cylindrical shapes. I hate metal zippers. They are super unoriginal and too expected. I like when companies re-think everyday objects to make them less mundane. It’s a nice detail that helps to give this backpack a little flair.
This pack seems really heavy duty to me: like it could easily last a decade being worn and used five days a week. The fabric and materials are thicker than many packs, the seams are tougher and the bottom is crazy-durable.
Speaking of the bottom of the pack, there’s a SICK feature you could almost miss if you weren’t looking hard enough: a built-in pocket that stores a rain cover! You can pop it out of it’s velcro-sealed pouch and get it equipped in about seven seconds. That means that if you’re walking or biking and get caught in a storm, you don’t have to take shelter on account of your backpack — you can forge ahead knowing all your gear is safe and dry inside.
The Federal P Smartpack is comfy to wear. I can’t say it’s more comfortable than other premium packs I’ve reviewed since there’s only so much a company can do to make a backpack comfortable (and they all pretty tick off the necessary/same checkboxes).
There is plenty of padding where your back meets the pack and the pre-requisite airflow channels to keep you from unnecessary sweating and heat. The straps are adjustable too. Not much else to say here.
Travel and Daily Use
Thanks to the built-in battery back, I can’t shake the notion that the Federal P Smartpack makes an ideal travel backpack. It’s absolutely going to fit as a carryon item for flights and you won’t need to bring a separate power source with you that can be easily lost. I actually do quite a bit of flying and I can’t think of any other backpack I’d rather fly with (again, having tested A LOT). As far as I’m concerned, this is the best backpack for frequent business travelers or nomads consumed with #wanderlust.
As a tech reviewer, I find myself working at a coffee shop on the weekly for a change of pace. This pack will afford me more flexibility as to where I can sit as I won’t need to sit by a wall outlet to keep the devices I’m using to produce content — or the devices I’m actually reviewing — charged up and operational.
While testing out the Federal P Smartpack it easily won a spot as my goto, favorite backpack for daily use. As a tech reviewer I live and breathe gadgets and this pack is an excellent way to bring them with me — along with the other necessary daily essentials. I love the design, I love the storage and I love the obvious care that was put into getting the details and features right. If this were just a “normal” backpack it would take the crown in my book as the best daily backpack for millennial guys. The fact that it can also charge my USB devices just knocks it that much further out of the ballpark.
This is an incredible backpack you should buy without hesitation.