The Lowdown on Ogio All Elements Backpack

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The Ogio All Elements Backpack is designed to protect your laptop and other gadgets from the elements at the expense of fewer pockets. Ogio

When you grew up just north of the equator, tropic thunder ain’t just a movie starring Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. It’s real life. I don’t even remember how many times I went to school during rainy season and forgot my umbrella for one reason or another.

Let’s just say there were many times when I went home not just with drenched socks but a soaked backpack to boot. This may not be as big an issue for simple stuff like notebooks and pencils. If you frequently carry water-averse electronics such as a laptop or tablet like many people do these days, however, then water protection is something that becomes a necessity if you tend to find yourself in a wet and wild situation.

Although many backpacks these days are available in material that boasts some level of water protection, zippers and seams still have a way of letting water in when your subjected to an extended torrential downpour. In that sense, you can say that Ogio’s All Elements Pack is engineered — over-engineered even — to keep water from seeping into its insides.

At first glance, the All Elements looks pretty smooth to the point of being plain for a backpack. You don’t get the plethora of pockets and compartments that come with the Ogio Gambit 17, for example, which happens to be one of my favorite backpacks for hauling gadgets alongside all sorts of other stuff. Even the ECBC Tomahawk messenger bag has more pockets.

Instead, the only obvious extra storage option is the “quick access,” zippered stash pocket in the front, which isn’t as conducive to all-out hoarding like the Gambit 17’s generous storage options but is more geared for small items like keys, cards or what have you. Otherwise, the backpack also comes with inner sleeves for holding a laptop or tablet, as well as a couple of pouches with zipper openings. Note that the sleeves also can be removed for easier handling when storing your items.

Then again, the All Elements’ minimalist design looks this way for a reason. Remember what I said about zippers and seams being the enablers of water intrusion for backpacks? It stands to reason then, that the All Elements’ design minimizes the number of potential openings that could invite water into its precious insides.

Even the top opening subscribes to a different design. Instead of the familiar zipper closure, the All Elements uses a folding top to further bolster its water-warding capabilities. It certainly works well for what it’s intended, especially if you live in rainy areas or like doing long rides on motorcycles even during inclement weather. It provides much better protection than, say, the pull top of the Slappa Stovepipe Chaos.

For extra support, the All Elements comes with adjustable front straps that go over your chest and waist for a snugger, more secure fit. To avoid dangling straps, Ogio also designed them so they can be rolled and fastened. The back, meanwhile, comes with the backpack maker’s familiar “Air Flow” design. This padded cushioning adds comfort when the backpack is resting against your back, especially during long excursions.

Although the All Elements does a great job in keeping water out, however, that improved water resistance comes with a price. One is the aforementioned issue with it having fewer extra pockets for gadget warriors such as myself. In addition to a laptop and tablet, for example, I also travel with several portable batteries, a multitude of adapters, plus a camera and the assorted gear that go with that.

For an overseas trip where I prioritize better storage flexibility and access, I lean more toward something like the Gambit 17 instead. You also don’t get a ton of cushioning for surviving a hard drop on a hard surface so shock protection with the All Elements won’t be up to par with its water worthiness. Still, if your priority is keeping your gadgets dry, then that’s when Ogio’s All Elements really shines.

Rating: 4 out of 5

For more reviews about backpacks geared toward gadgets, check out our Other Devices and Accessories hub.