LifeProof Goa backpack hands-on: Weather resistant pockets and water-repellent fabric make this a great commuter bag
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One of the first companies that comes to mind when looking to protect your smartphone from the elements is LifeProof. A few months ago we took the LifeProof Fre and Next for iPhone X out into the winter weather and came away unscathed. We are checking out its new Galaxy S9 product right now.
LifeProof recently announced four four new backpacks, ranging in price from $ 99.99 to $ 179.99, designed to meet various capacity and organization needs. They will be available starting on 23 May and you can sign up now to be notified when they are available.
I’ve been commuting by foot, train, and bike for the past couple of weeks with the new LifeProof Goa.
All of the bags are made with water-repellent Cordura body fabric so they are perfect for Washington State drizzle. They all also have 3L hydration reservoirs to help you stay hydrated with your favorite pack.
The LifeProof Goa backpack, available for $ 159.99, has a 22L capacity with eight main compartments/pockets to help you efficiently organize all of your gear. It comes in Rush color, which is an orange-red color with gray highlights. It is perfect for commuting on a bike as it aids in making you visible to traffic.
The two long straps and back of the Goa are extremely comfortable with foam padding inside uniquely shaped material to help with air flow and comfort. They are spaced perfectly and have easily adjustable straps so you can quickly tighten or loosen the two straps as your load changes. This same vented, custom-foam material covers the entire back too.
There is a chest strap with a slick system that lets you slide the attachment point up and down about six inches on each backpack strap. This helps make the Goa perfect for various body shapes and sizes. There is also a waist strap in case you are carrying heavy loads on a hike and need to lock the backpack down for additional support.
The first pocket we see as we move away from the straps is a zippered side compartment with a zipper that extends down the entire side of the backpack. Inside you will find a large main compartment and a smaller reinforced pocket for a tablet. This compartment contains fleece lining to protect your gear too. It is the perfect place for your laptop and tablet.
Adjacent to this side pocket is the large primary compartment, accessed via the top of the backpack. Two zippers extend down about half way, giving you options for easy access. There is one divider against the back and then a zippered pocket against the front. A pocket with a Velcro strap, looks good for a phone, is below the zippered pocket with two pen/stylus pockets and then one more easy access pocket that looks like a good place for business cards or your wallet.
There is a mesh expandable pocket next to the side pocket that works well for a water bottle. On the opposite side of the large side pocket you will find another zippered small side pocket. This works well for a thin wallet or passport.
My four favorite pockets are the fleece-lined weather-resistant ones on the front of the backpack. These have gray protected zippers and are perfect for carrying phones and other mobile devices. The two lower pockets have pass-through openings so you can run wires into the large main compartment. This can be useful for charging up phones with a battery pack stored in the main compartment.
In between these four tech pockets you will find a couple of straps that can be used to tie down gear, such as yoga mats, skateboards, and more.
The Quito backpack ($ 99.99) has an 18-liter capacity with a cinch-top hood flap and adjustable tie-down to lash on gear to the front. It has that same comfortable strap design with chest strap.
The Squamish ($ 139.99) has a 20-liter capacity while the Squamish XL ($ 179.99) lets you pack along just about everything with its 32-liter capacity. These two have a similar strap and carrying strap design to the Goa, but with a different compartment access design. Both also have dual water bottle pockets for those long hikes where you need to carry in some water.
The Squamish XL also has some additional straps on the main long straps to help lift the load. It also has a bottom compartment for additional storage, which I find useful on backpacks for carrying heavy battery packs.