I look at commuter backpacks and urban bags with a skeptical eye. They often promise a lot, and usually fail to deliver. So, when I heard about Just Porter’s Streeter Commuter Bag (about a year ago and then I bought one), I was hesitant in what to expect.
After using the Streeter, it made my top pick for Best Commuter Backpack for 2018. But there’s more to the story…
I spent 6 weeks commuting with the newest version of the Streeter commuter pack – I can say they made improvements to an already solid bag.
Let’s get to the details.
Who Should Look at Buying This Commuter Backpack?
- If you need a “mobile office” or work backpack anywhere.
- You want to carry your work plus some workout clothes.
- Small 2 day traveling.
- You commute daily and need to carry a bit more sometimes.
- If you’re a student and carry heavy books.
If you need a tiny bag, this isn’t for you (i.e. Fjallraven). If you are looking for a mid-size backpack, this is in your realm.
In my testing, the Streeter is a solid bag that’s suitable for the everyday commuter. Whether you walk, bike or commute by car, it functions really well in multiple environments.
In brief, the Streeter delivers a sharp combination of open space and internal organization. Both the laptop area and organization on the inside of the bag allow you to carry a lot without it being obstructive.
A Commuter Backpack with Compartments That You Can Pack
With the Streeter commuter bag, you get ample storage space of about 19L. As a bonus, you can expand the bag to approximately 23L with the rolltop.
The main compartment space can hold virtually anything from a 6 pack of beer and some groceries to books, laptop and documents.
As a graduate student, I use it to carry groceries, books, computer, and clothes.
I also used the bag as a carry-on backpack for a few trips with about 2 days of clothes and tolietries. Tip: It can fit below the seat on an airplane.
How Good are the Streeter’s Materials, Construction?
The Streeter Commuter Backpack uses military grade tarpaulin material, this backpack is not only durable, but also weatherproof. You can feel the weight instantly.
If you’re looking for a backpack that is lightweight commuter backpack- this bag is not for you. If you want something that is quality driven (like something made in the 1950’s), you hit the jackpot. When I first received the bag, I could feel the bag’s overall quality within a few seconds.
Additionally, the Streeter uses straps are weighty. They are strong. I have seen straps like the Streeter uses, but not at Just Porter’s price point. These types of straps are used on backpacks that cost more than $250. The straps feel better than bags from Chrome Industries, Mission Workshop and Timbuk2.
What about the bag construction on the inside?
Upon reviewing the construction, the Streeter has a triple-stitched seam. Tarpaulin exterior, seam tape, and ripstop lining seal the deal.
It has very good components for the interior.
The internal design is minimalist and delivers a place for money, cords, pens, charging battery and a place to hold your phone. Its organization panel has a 4 pocket construction and works really well. I never felt like I needed more.
While it’s footprint appears compact from the outside, its interior laptop padded compartment is sizeable. It is large enough to accommodate a standard 15 to 16 inch laptop comfortably. No gaming computers. All macbooks will fit including the old school 17 inch Macbook Pro.
Note: The Streeter uses a floating laptop pocket. This is a huge bonus since most backpacks neglect the padding in the laptop area, but the Streeter does it very well.
If the internal storage isn’t enough, it also includes an exterior quick access storage pocket (under the flap). The under the flap area can accommodate standard accessories such as laptop cords and tablets. Again, a good amount of space for daily use but not too large.
If I’m not carrying my laptop, I’m happy to use the laptop pocket as storage space. I use the laptop area to hold papers, notebooks. Basically anything less than 1 ½” in depth. Think: Books, Papers, etc…
What Can the Streeter Backpack Hold / Carry? Laptop, Books and More
Space inside the backpack is a leading factor that drives someone to buy one backpack over another.
Because it’s a true commuter roll-top bag, there’s enough space to carry shoes, books, pens, paper, and gym-clothes. When choosing a bag, I have to decide between a smaller bag or a large bag to fit my needs.
But, the nice medium size of the Streeter Commuter hits the spot for an everyday carry (EDC) backpack.
When I carry less, I simply tug on the side compression straps to make it smaller. If I needed more than normal space, I was able to extend the backpack’s height by opening the top a bit more. It’s nice to have that flexibility depending on what I am carrying.
As a commuter, space and ease of portability are the key factors that dictate people’s purchasing decision. Fortunately, Just Porter have considered both these aspects and designed a solid fit backpack with the relevant features and qualities to ensure not just your comfort, but also your convenience.
What about the Rolltop Backpack’s Flap and Magnetic Buckles?
The Streeter Commuter also features a TPU flap that secures the roll-top. The flap is held down by two magnetic buckles that make access to the main compartment nothing but prompt and effortless.
Now the flap buckles were a totally, “Wow, that’s awesome” feature. It’s nice that they included the same buckles for the chest strap as well.
The bag also uses a Cordura 1680d on the sides of the roll-top. That’s a great feature for helping to close the top easily.
Is this a Comfortable Roll-Top Commuter Bag?
A functional design can only take a backpack so far. The ultimate test comes in the form of backpack comfort. It’s like shoes. They can look great, but if your feet hurt you’ll never wear them.
The Streeter’s comfort comes courtesy of its padded shoulder straps and extra wide straps.
Their ergonomic design conforms to your entire shoulder and front body frame. A great feature was the wider strap width. It made carrying the bag easier and made the load easier on my back. Plus, the shoulder straps were separated a little more than the backpacks I have seen.
Also, the shoulder strap padding had a little more than most backpacks. It may not seem like a lot, but it made the bag super comfortable when carrying heavier loads.
The backpack also includes a channeled back panel complemented with 3 channel padding. When biking or walking, it the back of the bag provided the space necessary to keep my back cool.
Are there any Anti-Theft Backpack Features?
The Just Porter Commuter has a few anti theft tricks up its sleeve. You have to look at the bag in its entirety.
The tarpaulin exterior that would make cutting very difficult, then add the ripstop inside and your gear is really safe. The only access to your laptop comes through the top of the bag unless someone wanted to cut through ¾” of padding. It simply won’t happen. Your gear and contents are secure.
I was never in fear of having something stolen.
Lastly, Just Porter uses magnetic buckles on the exterior flap. These are not your normal backpack clips. Just Porter confirmed they contract with a German firm to make their buckles.
Does the Streeter Bag work as an Everyday Carry Backpack?
In short, yes. The Streeter works great as an everyday carry bag.
The Streeter includes an exterior vertical front pocket that allows quick and easy access to other smaller accessories such as your phone, wallet or even keys. And with the main compartment with the capacity to fit virtually anything you put inside, and an expandable characteristic that allows it to accommodate extra gear and clothes, you will never labor while using the Just Porter Streeter backpack.
Can I use the Streeter Backpack to Travel?
The Streeter is a wonderfully scaled-down backpack for individuals who are on their heels or only need the flexibility of operating from an airport, airplane, cafe. I used it to travel a few times, and I liked that it fit nicely under the seat in front of me.
The Streeter’s vertical pocket allowed me to get through the TSA line pretty fast. I was able to throw my phone, apple watch, wallet and keys in the vertical pocket and avoid fumbling for them in the x-ray tray.
Lastly, the bag’s construction allowed me to avoid concerns about weather conditions at my destination. This bag allows you to travel with your accessories to environments where the weather is pretty harsh.
Does the Streeter Backpack Have a Lifetime Guarantee?
Just Porter offers a lifetime guarantee against material defects and manufacturing. Like other companies, Just Porter doesn’t include a guarantee against, knicks scratches, cut, etc…
It’s a solid warranty.
What is the Size / Specifications of the Streeter Commuter Bag?
The Streeter Commuter is 19L and can expand to a larger 21 Liters if you unroll the rolltop a little.
It has a width of 13.25” and a depth of 6.5”. The height can vary for 18” expanding to 21”.
The Weight of the pack comes in at about 4 lbs. (1.8kgs). It’s heavier than most, but the shoulder straps make it feel lighter.
It’s comparable to a Mid-size Chrome Industries’ Hondo Backpack or the Mission Workshop Fraction backpack.
Is this a Men’s or Women’s Commuter Backpack?
The Streeter is a solid backpack for men or women.
However, Depending on your size, it may be a little big or small depending on your height.
I’d recommend that people should be between 5 and 6″3″ to enjoy this pack. It won’t seem too small nor large, and the straps will be an appropriate size.
Bonus: A Backpack that Gives Back Using Charity
Here’s a nice little bonus reason to love Just Porter. For each backpack bought, they give a backpack filled with school supplies to a child in need.
What Could Be Improved with this Bag?
For all simplicity, Streeter is an exceptional backpack. It’s nice that they’ve upgraded the bag to include a water bottle pocket. But they only added that on one side. Perhaps they should have included it on both sides? But that’s being a little too picky.
I never felt like there was a moment when I said, “This Bag needs _____.”
•Ample storage space: it has a 19L compartment that can be extended to 23L not to mention a laptop compartment that can accommodate a 16-inch laptop, and it is very well padded.
• Easy access: it comes with magnetic clips on the flap that unlatch and
Latch easier and quicker than other bags.
• A Great Weatherproof Backpack. Since it uses military quality tarpaulin material along with a roll-top, your contents stay dry. Avoid heavy downpours (tropical storm variety).
• Comes with a lifetime guarantee against defects and construction.
• Philanthropic it is the only backpack where with every purchase; they
subsequently work with a community to provide educational supplies and backpacks
• A few reviews have mentioned that its main compartment is too deep. I didn’t find that to be the case. It’s a straightforward rucksack.
If you want a lot of pockets (which I lose things in), this bag is not for you. Think minimalist, with just the right amount of pockets to stay organized.
• It is a medium size bag, so if you’re looking for a petite backpack, this is not your bag. It’s similar in size to a Herschel rucksack.
Should I Buy This Backpack, Chrome or Mission Workshop, Timbuk2?
If you are looking for comfort, security, and weather-proofing, then the Streeter is a great choice. I’ve owned Chrome Backpacks and Mission Workshop. This bag is just as good and better in some respects.
The Streeter walks the line. It’s a sleek minimalist backpack characterized by solid materials and water-proof exterior to keep your contents dry.
It is not a wet/dry bag since it’s sewn, but I’ve never had an issue with water problems, but if it’s pouring and you want to play weatherman in the rain, don’t.
Where Can I Buy the Streeter Backpack? Amazon? Store? Online? Kickstarter?
The Streeter is available online on, via JustPorter.org. They don’t sell at retail locations. Current Price $139.99
It’s one of the best backpacks out there, especially at this price point. It should easily retail for more. It would go into the exceptional value category. Give this backpack your attention.
Full disclosure: The Just Porter team supplied a revised design for me to evaluate. After my evaluation, I returned the bag to them, and I continue to use my original bag (that I bought with my money).