Review: Crumpler Mantra Backpack

Crumpler has turned itself into a household name because of its functional, long-lasting, and sturdy bags for all kinds of activities, from going to school to backpacking across the country. This Australian company has launched an array of bags, including the Crumpler Mantra.

The Mantra is a flawless combination of style, functionality, reliability and comfort. While it may look like a fashionable city bag, the Mantra was built for the road. Spacious and heavy-duty, this weatherproof backpack is enough to fit everything you could possibly need.


The Mantra can carry as much as 30 liters, which is more than enough for a laptop, tablet, charger, water bottle, and anything else you want to haul along. It has two main compartments on the front and in the middle. The front compartment can securely store your phone, pens, and other small items like loose change. It features a removable cable organizer to keep all of your chargers and wires from tangling with one another. The front compartment is like a tiny, portable office!
The larger (expandable!) main compartment is where the real business happens. It features zippered mesh pockets to easily organize your belongings. You can also carry your work wherever you want with the 15-inch padded laptop compartment that can be accessed through the side. The backpack has eight storage zones in total, but our favorites include the elastic power bank pocket, padded phone pocket, and iPad sleeves.

The main compartment uses a smart compression system that ensures everything stays in place. If you’ve ever placed your backpack on the overhead bin on a plane, only to retrieve it hours later to find all of your stuff in a mess, that won’t happen with the Crumpler Mantra. You can toss your backpack around as much as you’d like — your stuff will stay locked in place no matter what.

Carrying 30L isn’t an easy task, unless you’re using the Mantra. The bag has padded straps on the back, base, shoulder and top handle. Adjustable straps on the shoulders and chest make carrying a 30L bag a breeze. If that is not enough, the Mantra also features a concealable waist strap for added support.

Take the Mantra out in the sun or in the rain, this bag will never let you down. The Mantra is made of a heavy-duty 650D neoprene base panel, making it extremely sturdy and weatherproof. Its zippers open and close smoothly each time, so you can finally say goodbye to annoying fabric snagging.
Because of this bag’s workmanship, you’ll be using it for years.

Things we Loved

We decided to put the Mantra to the test by taking it with us on a three-day trip. We got the bags in Night Sky, which is a deep blue, and Black. Night Sky had subtle beige details on the front zipper and the back straps, which made it look more casual. Mantra in Black was completely covered in black, making it look clean and minimalist.

The bags provided more than enough room for clothes, a laptop, chargers, a phone, water, some books, and even a whole can of Pringles, Immediately, the feature that made the most difference was the concealable waist strap. We were each carrying 30L, but we were able to do it comfortably thanks to the added support. The waist strap balanced out the weight while helping us maintain our posture, Going through security was stress-free. We didn’t have to face the embarrassment of holding up the line while we emptied our bags of gadgets and electronics. The 15” side-zippered compartment made it easy to access the laptop and place it on the tray.

We loved that the Mantra felt like a travel bag, but didn’t look like one. Looking around the airport, we saw travelers heaving massive and ugly backpacks filled with so much stuff. Compared to them, we just looked like we were on our way to get some work done at Starbucks. Little did they know that we had packed so much inside of our Crumpler Mantras.

The Mantra is advertised as a versatile bag, which means you can use it for many things like work and travel. But, when we took this bag with us on a trip, it kept sliding off of our roller bag. One thing we would’ve wanted was a strap to attach it to the handle of our luggage. We had to tie the backpack straps together just to hold it in place.

Another missing feature that travelers would find handy is an outside pocket to securely store your passport. It also would have been useful if the Mantra had a side pocket for a water bottle. It just wasn’t convenient to have to unzip the backpack every time we had to take a sip.

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Final Thoughts

Crumpler’s Mantra backpack is a well-built bag that can be used for any kind of activity, whether that’s just going to work or taking a hike. Weatherproof and lightweight, it can withstand almost any situation. Its adjustable straps and concealable waist strap make it comfortable for you to haul as much as 30 L on your back. With plenty of storage, it can carry all of your necessities without cramping everything in. While it’s missing some features that would be incredibly useful in travel, the Mantra makes up for it with its eight storage zones and accessibility. The Mantra is ideal for everyday life, but we think it would be best enjoyed by travelers.

The Mantra comes in six colors: Black, Slate Grey, Night Sky, Grey Marble, Crust Red, and Otter. It is priced at $249

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