So just like me you’ve most likely seen Jon Olsson gallivanting around the world showcasing the ultimate lifestyle, all whilst being accompanied by his trusty companion, The Douchebag luggage set (and Marcus).
Heading up the Douchebag brand team, Jon Olsson’s aim is simple, create the most effective and useful travel luggage products on the market, all whilst never comprising on style.
So I’m here to give you my thoughts and experience with the Douchebag 30l Hugger to give you the most effective tools before making your purchase. Retailing at around $120 when I purchased, for me it’s a premium price that should be reflected in the product itself. This review comes after several trips to Europe and also an everyday Gym and business backpack.
A subjective topic for sure, for me though the aesthetics of the Douchebag are perfect, one of the reasons I went through with the purchase and a huge part in anyone’s purchase of a travel bag lets be honest The stealth feel and subtle flex’s of the bag which you see on the website translate exactly into the bag when you see it in person.
Ergonomically when you wear it, it fits snug to your back looking sturdy and sleek, never looking bulky or boxy. Leading on to comfort, the Douchebag is extremely comfortable even when full and holding 20kg ready for your trip, ‘hugging’ your back with its sturdy sponge back plate, you’ll forget your laptop is even in the sleeve compartment.
Solid zips, which I’ve no problem with. The extended zip grips with the Douchebag detailing are extremely useful when in a rush or when you have your ski gloves on. The only zip without the extra lease is the laptop compartment, obviously though for security reasons, not wanting to draw any unnecessary attention to the compartment, the regular zip works fine.
The leases haven’t had any signs of loosening and I use them all everyday, no complaints there.
Compartments & pockets
A huge plus point of the Douchebag Hugger is the compartments and pockets; I can’t begin to explain how useful these have been throughout travelling.
The main advantage being the main luggage compartment, opening through the full face, which enables you to access the whole contents of your bag at once. I’m sure people will agree, it’s a game changer in design for whatever travel backpack you use. Need that charger or GoPro at the bottom of you’re bag? No problem. It takes out all the hassle of taking contents out to reach others, saving time and a lot of mess.
Inside the main compartment are two mesh pockets that run the full length of the bag’s walls. A huge surprise for me was just how large these were. Usually these compartments get thrown in with not much thought, however the Douchebag’s mesh lined pockets are integrated really well. The top portion runs about 2 inches, ensuring a sturdier feel and being slightly further away from the main opening adding to security. Primarily for my electronics these packets have no sign of wear or splits, a solid mesh which feels miles away from the cheap mesh options you see in bags that inevitably end up with holes in and looking tired.
The top compartment is also extremely generous in terms of size, you have a decent area to house important and easy to hand possessions without having to squash them all in. Running approximately 3.5 inches deep, 10 inches in length and 5 inches wide. Power banks, chargers, travel documents and wallet fit in no problem at all, a really nice size for the modern day traveller. On the compartment’s lid you have an integrated mesh lined pocket, extremely useful for loose items you need on hand, a nice touch.
The laptop sleeve compartment is also extremely generous. There’s nothing too crazy in this department, no fleece lining such on Herschel bag or elastic supports for a smaller laptop. It’s runs the same material as the outer sides and is protected by the hard sponge back plate which is substantial enough to where you feel your laptop is safe. Just a run of the mill laptop sleeve compartment in all honesty.
This is unfortunately where the Douchebag is let down, for the premium price tag you’ll be paying, the quality is simply not up to scratch. After trips to Barcelona and Vienna, the Douchebag started to show signs of wear and tear. I’m not talking about scratches or loose threads either.
The whole top pocket split from the inside, leaving a gaping hole and leaving the top compartment no use. Having never placed anything heavier than a wallet and bottle of water in this compartment, I was shocked and slightly amazed that a bag which ‘redefines travel’ couldn’t hold a small 300ml bottle of water.
Such an important compartment when travelling for convenience now suddenly useless resulting in pure frustration. Having to find new places for items on the move is just a headache you don’t need when rushing through an airport trying to get the last bus out of there. When travelling alone, your backpack becomes your most important companion and I’m sure people can relate in this feeling when gear lets you down. My Patagonia Duffel bag doesn’t claim to ‘redefine travel’ but it hasn’t let me down in over 2 years of intense use, not once. I had to purchase a make shift sewing kit and sew the compartment back up as a temporary fix until I got home, just absurd.
The handle of the Douchebag at first looks fantastic, with the faux leather and suede accents accompanying the embossed Douchebag logo oozing class. However, after using it on one trip, the shortcuts in quality again show up. The handle begins to ‘warp’ in a sense, the suede backing starts to wrap over the top and simply looks terrible, what at first looks classy starts to look cheap.
Was it a case of “we need a handle on there” forgetting that it’s probably one of the most used aspects, loading it into Ubers, taking it from the overhead compartments or airport carousels. If it can’t handle these simple travel situations holding 20kg it should never have been part of the design, it really begs the question: ‘Are these bags tested by actual travellers or just people carrying a DSLR and brand ambassadors?’
Such simple quality aspects let this product down immensely. A bag at its simplest form is to be carried right? And the handle on the Douchebag is struggling, need I say more.
I wanted to love the Douchbag Hugger so much and in areas I still do, I love what the brands stands for in terms of aiming for pure efficiency in travel luggage and design. It looks fantastic, comfortable and before my quality issues arouse was probably my favorite bag I’ve purchased.
However when you’re a student or young traveller where $120 is fair chunk of money, you really expect a level of quality. Especially in this modern day, where brands like Patagonia and Northface excel. It took me a lot to be persuaded away from my loyalty to other brands it really did, and at first look I loved the Douchebag. But when after such a short amount of time you see quality flaws in such obvious areas it really does leave a sour taste in your mouth.
It could be down to an overlook in quality management for my batch of bags or a one-off, I really don’t know. Although what I do know, is that a bag in which I have to self-repair after two trips is extremely poor, especially after all the claims it makes.
If you really need a reliable backpack for travel and carry-ons that will be handled like a travel bag should, maybe avoid.
If you’re after a day-to-day backpack that sits in your bedroom and holds a light amount of weight for daily excursions, maybe it’s a good pick up.