The Bellroy Shift is a stunning example of style and substance. It is a backpack that is beautiful enough for the corner office, but ruggedly built to last for ages with minimal maintenance. Bellroy is among a new breed of everyday carry and luggage manufacturers making a smaller run of more “considered” items that eschew conventional design. The result of this new breed is a noticeably better product that costs only a bit more than the upper range of a mass produced product, but still less than an established luxury product. In the case of Bellroy, the result is usually better than what you get by paying more for Tumi or other luxury brands.
Bellroy is an Australian company, started in 2009 to build better slim-profile leather wallets. They have joined forces with B Corporation, which is an international non-profit that maintains standards for social and environmental business practices. Bellroy is among the companies that have received B Corp Certification by meeting these standards, which must be recertified every three years. Bellroy clearly sees the value of creating a halo effect by making ethical considerations part of their public persona.
Which brings us to the beautiful Shift backpack. While it suffers from a somewhat unimaginative name, that is pretty much the last criticism one can make about this bag. Here are the basics: this is a 22 liter, roll-top backpack that includes a suspended sleeve that can accommodate a 15” laptop. Exterior design is clean. The roll-top hides and protects the main opening. There is a discreet side zipper to allow access to the main pocket, and there is also a small quick access pocket on the bag’s opposite side.
The main pocket is kept close by a bespoke slide-hook that is secure and reliable. This is a great example of the different thinking that makes Bellroy and this new breed of bag makers special. The hook is a custom piece that slides into a heavy nylon belt loop that has just enough room for the hook. The hook itself is curved in just the right way to keep the hook in place no matter what happens to the bag. It also has no moving parts, so there is nothing (not even a zipper!) that can break or fail. It looks beautiful, simple and clean.
The entire bag is comprised of a textured, water-resistant polyester with tasteful leather accents. In order to maintain the clean look, the water bottle holder is inside. Although this cuts down a bit on interior space, the 22L capacity still leaves room for your modular inserts containing cords, dongles, adapters, etc. All materials inside and out are smart looking and have a great tactile feel.
If you are ready to up your bag game to bring beautiful style and design to outstanding utility and durability, the Bellroy Shift is an outstanding choice.