HEX Patrol Backpack review: Stylish and roomy functionality

While I love a good laptop messenger bag (like the Waterfield Executive Leather Messenger I reviewed), sometimes I just find backpacks to be easier to carry. That's because I can have the weight evenly distributed on my back, and not just all on one shoulder. I've been wanting a good, high-quality backpack for my laptop and tablet for a while, but I never really looked seriously into it.

Then the HEX Patrol Backpack just kind of showed up at my doorstep one day. I've honestly never heard of the brand before, so I looked it up and discovered the company was founded by two musicians living in Southern California, which is my neck of the woods. It's a local company, so I was intrigued. I decided to give this backpack a go.

It surprisingly does not disappoint.


  • 17.5L with plenty of space with organizational compartments
  • Galaxy Black color is highly reflective
  • Simple and sleek design
  • Soft and padded laptop and tablet compartments
  • Stands up straight
  • Padded shoulder straps


  • Not the cheapest backpack
  • Side water bottle pocket is very tight
  • Warranty only lasts one year from date of purchase

Again, I wasn't expecting the HEX Patrol Backpack at all, but it has become one of my favorite bags to carry my mobile office everywhere.

For all of your work, travel, or school needs

HEX Patrol Backpack: Features

HEX Patrol Backpack main compartment

When I use any bag for taking my work anywhere, I need space, and plenty of it for my wide assortment of necessities. I'm talking about a 13- or 15-inch laptop, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Nintendo Switch, cables, chargers, headphones, mouse and mousepad, spare battery packs, keys, wallet, etc. You name it, I need it.

I'm known to overpack even on short trips, but the HEX Patrol Backpack has been able to handle everything I stuffed into it without an issue. I took the HEX Patrol Backpack with me on my recent trip to Indiana for the Harry Potter Wizards Unite Fan Festival, and it was perfect as my carry-on for the flight.

While the HEX Patrol Backpack lists itself as only having a 17.5L capacity, it still has a ton of space to work with. Inside of the main compartment (closest to your back) is a large, padded compartment that will hold a laptop up to 17 inches in size. I currently use it with my 13-inch MacBook Air in a Waterfield VERO Sleeve, and it fits nice and snug in there with plenty of room to spare. A velcro strap helps keep your laptop safely in place, even when the bag is being moved around.

If you have a larger tablet, such as the monstrous 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it should fit in the nylon pocket right outside of the laptop compartment. Just keep in mind that this pocket is not padded, and there is no strap, but it still provides a nice, snug fit for your larger tablets. There are another two smaller pockets to hold small items, such as mice, battery packs, and other accessories.

HEX Patrol Backpack organizational pocket

Right behind the main zippered compartment is another zippered compartment, with some nylon pockets for more accessories. Both the primary and secondary compartments have plenty of space for you to stuff a change of clothes, books, lunch bag, or whatever else you need to take. Again, despite being 17.5L, it's quite spacious.

The front exterior, outermost zippered pocket will be the padded tablet compartment, but only for those on the smaller size, like the iPad mini 5 or a Kindle. The inside is lined with the same soft, plush material as the laptop compartment, so no worries about scratches or scuffs here. In front is a small pocket to easily slip in your smartphone, passport, receipts, and other small documents.

Behind that tablet compartment is a small zippered pocket with organizers for pens, keys, cards, and other small necessities. Above that pocket is another small zippered section that you can use for things like headphones and other accessories. On the side, there is a pocket for you to place a water bottle, but it is a relatively tight fit without much leeway since it does not stretch.

The nicest feature of the HEX Patrol Backpack is the fact that it stands upright when you set it down, regardless of whether or not stuff is in it. The bottom has an anti-slip rubber material and the entire pack doesn't slouch, which helps keep it propped up at all times.

Christine with her HEX Patrol Backpack

As far as carrying the Patrol backpack, it's quite comfy with the padded straps. They're also made from a mesh material that's breathable, so it doesn't bog you down too much after a long and hot day. The straps are adjustable, and there's a nylon grab handle at the top for easy pickup.

If you're a frequent traveler and like to have a carry-on suitcase with you, the HEX Patrol Backpack also has a slot on the back for you to slip over your wheeled-suitcase handle. This provides a nice break from carrying the backpack all day if need be.

My Patrol backpack was the Galaxy Black Reflective color. I actually like this, because during daylight it looks pretty nice with the black and gray speckled look — you wouldn't know it's even reflective. But when it is in low-light environments or nighttime excursions, the reflective pattern is very noticeable when light is shone on it. Safety first!

All of your essentials and then some

HEX Patrol Backpack: What I Like

HEX Patrol Backpack on top of carry-on luggage

I've been using this backpack several times each week to go work from a nearby coffee shop, and I also took it with me across the country to Indiana. It is holding up extremely well so far.

I love how spacious the backpack is on the whole. Honestly, I probably end up bringing way more than is necessary sometimes, but I feel like I could take even more with me in the Patrol backpack even after I got all of my necessities and essentials in there. This honestly would be a nice pack just to bring enough clothes for a weekend trip, even, though I prefer to use it just for all my tech gear. And the fact that everything can be so neatly organized is a bonus.

Another thing I love about it is that it stands up without needing to be propped up against a wall or chair. I can set it down and not worry about it falling over, while still having easy access to my stuff.

Usually, I get tired of carrying backpacks around after a while. The HEX Patrol is different. It's so comfy on, I barely notice it, especially with those padded straps. And even if I pack it full, it's doesn't feel too heavy, like other backpacks I've used.

No room for hydration

HEX Patrol Backpack: What I Don't Like

HEX Patrol Backpack with water bottle

I don't have many things I dislike about this backpack, except that the side pocket for a water bottle is a bit too tight for my liking. I would have preferred if it had a bit of a stretch to it, because most of my stainless steel water bottles will not fit in here. I could maybe see this fitting a smaller recyclable bottle, like the ones you buy in cases from the grocer.

The price is also quite reasonable in my eyes, but you can definitely find good backpacks for less if you're on a tight budget. Not a huge deal-breaker for me, but it may be for others.

A great everyday backpack

HEX Patrol Backpack: The Bottom Line

I'm truly enjoying the HEX Patrol as my everyday backpack. It has enough room for all of my stuff with room to spare, the backpack is comfy to wear, and it stands upright on its own. There's a lot to love about the bag, and I'm very happy to have discovered this gem of a brand. I just wish that the water bottle pocket could accommodate bigger water bottles in a future version.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.