Backpacks are a dime a dozen normally. You can find one by walking into any department store, but generally cheaper backpacks don’t last long. A backpack’s quality can make or break the experience you have with it. Cheap backpacks are never comfortable, fall apart easily, and never fit enough stuff without breaking. The Citadel Collection from Black Ember aims to change that. With modern styling, 3D shoulder straps that have extra padding, and the IPX6 waterproof rating, this backpack could truly become my next purchase.

Apple Smart Keyboard

The Citadel Collection starts at $155 on Kickstarter. This kit includes the modular backpack, a side handle, and the ability to add on your own mods to make the backpack your own.

Even the handle is modular on the Citadel. You can place it on the top or the side, depending on how you want to carry it. Everything on the Citadel is laser cut for precision, as well. Most of the fasteners are made from aircraft-grade aluminum for strength and durability, too.

The matte finish looks beautiful, and holds up very well, according to Black Ember. The Citadel Collection backpack features IPX6 waterproof rating. What’s this mean for a backpack, you ask? Well, Black Ember decided to spray the Citadel containing a MacBook with a 1,000 PSI pressure washer. The result? As you can see in the video below, the MacBook is perfectly dry.

There are many ways to access the internals of the Citadel Collection. The easiest way is through the top, which provides easy access to your laptop, keys, phone, wallet, and whatever else you store in the main compartment. This bag also opens up to lay flat, giving you an easy way to see everything in your bag.

There’s a front storage pocket that’s easy to access and can store things like your laptop charger, external battery, and more. Behind the bag, facing your back when being carried, is a “secret pocket” that’s perfect to store your passport, plane ticket, maps, and more.

The multiple mount points on Citadel make it super modular. Black Ember sells several different “mods” so you can really build the bag of your dreams here. The base Citadel is already awesome by itself, but the modularity of it is what really makes it unique.

Balck Ember’s Citadel Collection is available on Kickstarter right now and is already over 300% funded, with over $90,000 raised of the $25,000 goal. Starting at $155, the Citadel is more affordable than most higher-end backpacks like my current bag, the Peak Design Everyday Backpack. Shipping is slated for May 2018.

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Patrick Campanale's favorite gear