Lo & Sons Hakuba: two-minute review
With the Lo & Sons Hakuba, hitting the gym or the trails before, after, or even during work, is easier than ever – even if it isn't an absolutely perfect fit.
Due to the exceptional build quality – from its 600D recycled poly exterior material to its water-resistant zippers – and the absolutely enormous capacity, the versatile Hakuba scores a spot on our best backpack list. Its spacious main compartment is large enough for just about anything you can toss in there, but you should still be judicious about how you use that available space.
If there's a drawback to the Hakuba, it's that it maybe does too much, without doing any one thing especially well.
If you're looking for a gym bag, the Hakuba will do in a pinch. Its incredibly spacious main compartment will carry a whole lot of stuff, but reattach a removable compartment insert and you sacrifice some of that capacity for organization. The top pocket is great for essentials, but it's not the most easily accessible. The laptop pocket, meanwhile, can hold up to a 15-inch laptop. With the amount of space you get in the Hakuba, it should easily fit a 17-incher, but doesn't (at least not easily).
Still, the Hakuba is the kind of backpack that's perfectly suited for the unknown since the space is adjustable, making it usable in all types of situations. And its stylish, especially the black color option, with a classic elegance not often found among backpacks on the market today.
Assuming you can afford it, that is. The Hakuba doesn't come cheap, but it is hardly a cheap backpack. So, if you've got the money to spare, it should definitely be on your shortlist – especially if you're looking to travel, or need to keep things separated for one reason or another.
Lo & Sons Hakuba: price and availability
- How much does it cost? $275 (about £190/AU$385)
- When is it out? Available now
- Where can you get it? Only available in the US at this time
The Lo & Sons Hakuba backpack is available in the US for $275 (about £190/AU$385), but we've seen it go on sale occasionally in the past few months. If you are outside the US, unfortunately, you'll have to get creative since Lo & Sons doesn't ship internationally (though they do have suggestions for third-party shipping forwarders on their FAQ page (opens in new tab)).
Size (H x W x D): 21.5 x 13 x 7.75 ins | 546.1 x 330.2 x 196.85 mm
Weight: 2.4 lbs / 1.08 kg (w/o insert), 2.8 lbs / 1.27 kg (w/ insert)
Color options: Black, Navy Camo
Laptop size: Up to 15-inch laptop
Material: 600D Recycled Poly
Features: Separate shoe/gym wear compartment, removeable insert, huge capacity, comfortable fit, water-resistant materials
The Hakuba is an expensive backpack even though it's not a luxury item. But being pretty premium all-around, the cost definitely feels justified. If you're a gym rat, the price will seem reasonable just for that secondary, bottom compartment.
If you're just looking for a straight-up, commuter backpack, however, this is probably more than you need at too high a price. If you just need a basic backpack to get you to and from work in comfort and style, you should definitely check out our Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe 2 review.
Lo & Sons Hakuba: design
- High-quality construction
- Excellent water resistance
- Limited color options
Like the Hanover Deluxe 2, the Hakuba is made from high-quality 600D Recycled Poly, giving it a base level of water resistance that is only improved upon by its even more water resistant zippers.
Inside the main compartment, you have a detachable insert that helps organize an otherwise spacious capacity. It's important to note that this insert also takes up space, so the Hakuba's on-paper capacity of 35.5L will be less if you use the insert.
The insert is removable so if you need to squeeze in some extra stuff, popping out the insert is always an option at the cost of organization. But life is about tradeoffs, and the Hakuba does benefit from this versatility overall.
Beneath the main compartment is another separate compartment, accessible from the bottom of the bag, that can store gym shoes or sweaty gymwear — ideal if you're using the backpack for commuting as well as the gym. Again, the Hakuba isn't as good as a proper gym bag, but it's better than a less versatile bag where a stinky gym shirt might mix with important work documents.
In terms of comfort, we were able to carry a good bit of tech in the Hakuba without it becoming too heavy on our shoulders. The backpack was also comfortable when we wore it while hiking over some moderate trails recently.
The expandable side pockets can easily hold a water bottle and a travel mug without a problem, and the zipper pulls are both easy to use and stylish.
Speaking of style, the bag currently comes in two colors: black and navy camo, so if you were hoping for some more vibrant color options, you're out of luck. Still, the Lo & Sons Hakuba is much more about utility than anything else, and for the most part, it has you covered in that department.
Should I buy a Lo & Sons Hakuba?
Buy it if...
You want a high-capacity backpack
There's a lot you can do with 35.5L of space.
You want excellent water resistance
This is a backpack that can handle a spot of rain or snow, no problem; just don't drop it into a river or anything.
You go to the gym before, during, or after work
The separate bottom compartment on the Hakuba really comes in handy if you've got to carry around a pair of gym shoes.
Don't buy if...
You want vibrant colors
You can get the Hakuba in whatever color you want, so long as it's black or navy camo.
You need easily accessible pockets
This isn't the best backpack for half-slinging off your shoulder to pull something out of a pocket. You'll actually have to take the backpack off fully to reach just about anything.
You're on a budget
Lo & Sons products aren't cheap, in any sense of the word.
Hex Technical Backpack
If you want a backpack with more organization, then you really need the Hex Technical. It lives up to its name with more pockets than you'll ever know what to do with, but it only has about half the capacity of the Hakuba (though it's also half the price).
Read the full Hex Technical Backpack review
North St. Belmont
If you're looking for something more colorful, but still as well built as anything Lo & Sons puts out, then definitely give the North St. Belmont a look. It's not as spacious and has a fairly limited number of pockets, but it is comfortable, durable, and a good deal cheaper than the Hakuba.
Read the full North St. Belmont review
Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe 2
While not as spacious or versatile as the Hakuba, the Hanover Deluxe 2 is just as well-built, and brings a whole lot of classic style that will stay fashionable for a good long while. Which is good, because this backpack will see many years of use without issue.
Read the full Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe 2 review
- First reviewed April 2022