On the hunt for some new hand luggage? I put the Hugger 30L and Backpack Pro from DB Bags to the test to see if they’re worth the cash!
Thinking about buying a DB Bags as hand luggage for your next adventure?
Well I tested out the DB Hugger, DB Backpack Pro and CIA Camera insert to see if they live up to the hype and are cut out for life on the road…
REVIEW: DB Bags – My New Go To Hand Luggage?
The first thing you’ll instantly notice when unpacking any of the DB Bags is the quality of their build. Not only do they look really refined and sleek, but the feel and finish is solid and oozes quality.
From the stitching through to the use of metal buckles, every little details of the DB bag range feel premium and well built.
And if the last 10 years of travelling around the world have taught me anything – it’s that when it comes to your luggage those are 2 things that you need for a long lasting, useful backpack. And trust me, I’ve been through a few!
And even though I’ve only been using them for a few months, it’s pretty easy to tell that they’re going to last the distance and have easily handled everything I’ve thrown their way so far.
DB Hook-Up System
One of my biggest draws to the DB bag range was their innovative “hook-up” system. Basically it means all your luggage can attach to each other using clips for ease of transportation. As someone who travels with a good chunk of camera gear and also a surfboard this is an epic way to negociate airports!
DB Rib Cage Technology
This lightweight ribs along the key parts of the bag give the contents a little bit of extra protection and also help the bag keep its shaped even when not fully packed.
Separate Laptop Pocket
A must for any hand luggage these days – the Hugger 30L laptop sleeve can even accomodate Apples beast of a 16″ Macbook Pro!
Fully Openable Main Compartment
Another key feature for me. Being able to lay the bag flat and open it up, suitcase style, just makes everything that much easier to organise and access
Range Of Colours
The whole DB range is available in a variety of colours too, so you can tailor it to your own style. For me the classic Black was the go to – but if you fancy lipstick red, white or even snow camo they do a range of limited colour releases too!
Easy Access Top Compartments
Both hand luggage options I tested out also had easy access top compartment – designed for those items you’ll need to be able to grab easily on the go. Think passports, power cables, power banks and headphones.
Hugger 30L Backpack
The first of 2 DB Bags I tested out – the Hugger 30L was the one I was initially drawn too.
It’s sleek design and generous sizing gave me plenty of room for all my camera gear (neatly packed in the CIA Pro Camera Insert, which I run through below) as well as ample extra space for a small packing cube of clothes and extras too!
One of my favourite features of this bag though is the top compartment – which is ideal for storing items you want quick access too, such as headphones, vlogging camera, passport or charging cables.
The big takeaways from my experience using the Hugger 30L (and all the DB Bags I’ve tested out) is the fact they’re extremely well design, built and comfortable. All key features for any long lasting hand luggage that you’ll be reaching for on your next adventure.
- Height: 55 cm
- Width: 32 cm
- Depth: 22 cm
- Volume: 30 litres
- Weight = 1.2kg
The Backpack Pro
The second of the DB Bags I tested out was the Backpack Pro – which my girlfriend Charlie opted for. It’s smaller and more compact than the Hugger 30L, but she has much less camera equipment in tow and her hand luggage certainly resembles more of how the average traveller would pack!
On paper this difference in volume is only 4 litres, but the DB Backpack Pro certainly feels a lot more compact in terms of what you can practically fit into it.
The initial impression of the Backpack Pro was actually slightly negative as it felt pretty heavy, even when empty. In fact despite it’s smaller size, it’s slightly heavier than the Hugger, weighing in at 1.6kg.
However once she fully packed it out she was still within her hand luggage limit and fit all the needed gear for a weekend away.
A couple of the other handy features of the Backpack Pro that are worth pointing out is the side water bottle pouch (something the Hugger lacked), detachable hip straps and also the Backpack Pro has a few more internal organisational pockets – which are great for cables, documents or any other bits and pieces that you usually loose in the depths of your backpack!
Much like the Hugger 30L the Backpack Pro is solidly built – with metal clasps (again part of their hook-up eco system) and if you travel light or are looking for and everyday backpack then the Backpack Pro is well worth the investment.
- Height: 47 cm
- Width: 29.5 cm
- Depth: 17 cm
- Volume: 26 litres
- Weight: 1.6kg
CIA Pro Camera Insert
As well as having customisable inserts (I routinely switch between surf photography gear and then light weight vlogging gear alongside my Mavic Air 2 Drone) the CIA Pro Camera Insert can also be a stand alone sling bag too – which is great for chucking in the car for day trips, or storing your kit safely at home.
The CIA Pro Camera Insert fits into both the Hugger 30L and Backpack Pro – although the Hugger 30L does then have extra space both above the camera bag and in front of it for clothes, chargers ect.
It’s not the most robust and rugged camera insert out there, but it does offer a handy storage solution and is a great addition to either of the 2 hand luggage options I tested out.
When it comes to pricing the DB Bags range certainly land in the premium price bracket:
- Hugger 30L = US$179 / £159 / AU$275 (CLICK HERE TO BUY)
- Backpack Pro = US$209 / £179 / AU$399 (CLICK HERE TO BUY)
- CIA Pro Camera Insert = US$109 / £99 / AU$169 (CLICK HERE TO BUY)
You can also buy both the Hugger and the Backpack Pro alongside in the camera insert in a discounted package deal too, which works out solid value.
But with premium pricing you’re also getting a solidly built, well thought out, premium product. So if you’re on the hunt for a quality piece of gear that’s going to handle everything you can throw at it, and is comfortable to carry around even when fully loaded up, then the DB Bags range is worth the investment.
Would I Recommend Them?
So would I recommend the DB Bags?
Despite a few initial reservations about the weight and sizing they’re both incredible bags to travel with.
Well built, sleek and most importantly comfortable – and comfort is one of the key takeaways with my DB Bags experience.
I would potentially like a few extra pockets and organisation – but again this can easily be fixed and tailored to your own needs with the addition of the camera insert or some packing cubes. After all everyone organises and packs differently!
Whether it was my mini surf trip down to URBNSURF in Melbourne for a long weekend or a week long tropical escape up to Cairns for some scuba diving – both DB Bags handles everything we chucked at them with ease.
The bottom line is, the DB Bags are no my go to for hand luggage and will no doubt last me a long while!
…and yes there will be a full review of the DB Shelter Board bag and Bunker Board Bag coming soon!
Have you travelled with any of the DB Bags?
Which is your preferred option?