UPDATE: Some of these photos now appear in Evergoods Official Griffin in the Wild gallery!
Something pretty special today, the Evergoods x Carryology CPL 24 Griffin Edition.
I’ve only ever purchased one Carryology collab before, I didn’t love it, and wasn’t sure I’d ever take that kind of risk again.
The Griffin was announced, and initially I didn’t pay it much mind. Launch time came and went, a few hours later I checked in, saw the product photos, and they were beautiful. Even more shocking, there were still some available. I gave it some thought, and decided to pull the trigger. Four days and one international border later, it was in my hands in Canada. Fedex shipping is superb, but I had to pay fees through the nose. In cases like this, I don’t like to talk numbers…
Evergoods is a fairly small company out of Bozeman Montana, founded by two guys coming in from GoRuck and Patagonia. They focus on clean and usable design. Their bags tend to look and feel a little more urban office oriented, but “crossover” gear perfectly usable in the outdoors. This is my third Evergoods pack, I’ve owned the CHZ 22 (brilliant but didn’t love the aesthetic and sold it), and the latest iteration of the normal CPL 24 (which is now going to my son).
Dealing with them is a pleasure and I have absolute confidence in their products. I remember when I ordered my regular CPL, at the time it was their v2, and was due to be shipped in two months time. A couple days later I got an email saying they have a brand new version about to be announced, it’s ready, it features much better materials (v2 was a lint magnet), and a price increase. They honored v2 preoders at the original price and instead of waiting 2 months, I had a better product, at the old price, in my hands in a week. It was a great experience.
The Regular Civic Panel Loader 24
It needs to be made very clear, the Griffin is just a special edition of the standard Evergoods CPL 24, a legendary bag that’s been around for several years, and two major iterations in design, as well as a few runs in special colorways and materials. If you’re not feeling the $399 USD Griffin price tag, the regular version is available at $280, and it’s fantastic. (also available in a 28L version)
Evergoods bags are meant to be worn high on your back and are generally considered extremely comfortable. Some complain of digging into their lower back, I suspect this is because they’re wearing them too low, or some kind of height issue.
The CPL is loaded with features. Their later iterations added a top access pocket into the fabric that rolls over the top of your shoulders. I don’t love the look of this from the side, it’s a little thick, but the practicality benefits far outweigh this. It gives the bag a natural curve over your shoulders and offers a great stash spot for sunglasses or wallet/keys.
The front of the bag features another thin quick access with organization. You’ll notice this and several other places in the bag are oriented to be swung over your left shoulder, and accessed with the right hand, which is a great feature. There have been a few “mirror” editions for people who prefer to swing over the right shoulder, but these are rare and not typically available.
The separate laptop compartment runs along the back of the bag and is only accessible via a vertical side zipper. It’s got a divider for the laptop itself, leaving a space for something else flat or thin. (papers, tablet, etc) It’s suspended off the ground on all sides. It’s also the most comfortable and practical laptop carry I’ve seen because of how the bag contours over the shoulders, and the laptop compartment doesn’t interfere with that curvature like a Goruck GR1 does. Exceptional.
The main interior of the bag has an opaque pocket, a larger mesh pocket (almost like a built in packing cube), and then a big open clamshell space. Due to the implementation of the laptop compartment, you’ll find the depth here quite a bit less than something like a GR1.
All pockets are designed to have independent volume, so for the most part you can use any without sacrificing the others.
Around the outside you’ll find a great top grab handle, and also one on the side with an aluminum stay beneath it to enforce rigidity. This side handle is great both to carry with and to use getting the pack off.
The latest iteration of the regular CPL is in a pretty special 840d ballistic nylon, extremely durable, super easy to clean. Arguably this material is much more practical than the waxed canvas Griffin. Interior of the bag is in a light grey for visibility.
Overall aesthetic is great, sleek, minimal, and unassuming.
Nobody talks through the features of the CPL better than it’s designer.
Which Brings Us To The Griffin
What sets the Griffin apart? It’s nothing more than an exquisite version of the legendary CPL, built in beautiful materials, guaranteed to last a lifetime.
In the Carryology announcement above there are some details on the waxed canvas that was sourced, but essentially they went hunting for the best they could find, then asked them to make something better. The waxed canvas should patina nicely over time, I’m not sure how visible this will be on my black bag, I suspect the tan will be better in that regard, but we’ll see how that goes. The back panel and underside of the straps are the same canvas, just without the wax to prevent any transfer onto clothing.
There were ~25 avaiable in blood orange and olive which sold out in seconds, then a healthy amount of tan and black (which is the one I purchased). Amazingly, at the time of writing there are still several hundred available in black.
The materials feel great, but make no mistake, the waxed canvas is not as practical as the standard bag, and the astute reader may be wondering why anyone would pay more for less practicality. They have a point. None the less, I adore the Griffin. It feels terrific, it looks amazing. It’s a little prone to pickup dust and lint, as well as dirt when set down outside. Unlike the 840d where this brushes right off, the waxed canvas needs a damp rag or maybe a brush to clean. This is at most a small inconvenience but I will be a little more careful with this bag in the outdoors.
What can you say about a blaze orange interior? I love it. Every time you open it, it brightens your day just a little bit. (quite literally)
Another subtle difference I noticed, I always felt the shoulder straps on my regular CPL seemed a little too narrow. My particular example of the Griffin seems wider, and I think this is because I now see that the material around my regular CPL strap foam might have been wrapped a little too tight, you can feel a little space and pinching of the foam going on. The Griffin I have does not have this and thus the straps appear wider, which I like.
Other small details, the bag is a little more rigid and holds it’s shape better, noticable especially when carrying with the side handle.
I love it. I tend to buy and sell backpacks pretty often, but the Griffin feels like a forever bag. Amazingly still available, and I’d recommend to anyone who can appreciate it for what it is.