I want to introduce you to something that has gone with me across the globe and has proven itself as an aid in my quest for organization; The Wayu Backpack from Ethnotek. Ethnotek is an amazing brand that I discovered about two years ago. Their mission is to be crafters of bags that are socially responsible—meaning, they ethically source all their fabrics from local artisans across the world and operate on a model of keeping culture alive and sustaining employment in these villages. When I first learned about this, I was immediately obsessed. Then I looked at the bags, and I was sold. They have a number of different styles and the most fun part is that you can choose your fabric, called “threads.” When it’s delivered you are given the name and story of the person who made that fabric, whether they’re from Ghana or Guatemala.
I’ve really fallen in love with Ethnotek’s mission, but I wanted to put their bags to the real test for you. One of the most important, and arguably the most fun, parts of leading an organized lifestyle is having products that cater to organization and that work with you through every part of your day. Does the Wayu backpack accomplish this? Let’s find out.
Number of exterior organizational pockets: Three
First, the exterior. As previously mentioned, one of the most fun parts of Ethnotek bags is choosing your fabric. For my Wayu backpack, I opted for the monochromatic India thread, which is just black and white but has a really cool pattern. This thread comes with a zipper pocket that runs from bottom to top of the thread, creating a pretty big pocket for the exterior. It can be difficult to organize this pocket as there are no inside organizational pockets. However, it’s convenient for storing things that you don’t want on the inside of your backpack.
If you flip the bag around, you’ll see that there are two small zipper pockets on either side near the bottom of the bag. They’re quite secretive and very easy to access while the bag is actually on your back. I tend to use these for my phone, my documents, or anything that I need quick access to but would rather have in a safer location. These are definitely a big plus for anyone who travels and is looking for a bag that has ease, safety and security in mind.
That’s it for the exterior. Now let’s move on to the interior.
Number of interior organization pockets: Four
The interior main compartment is the star of the show. It has four organizational pockets, one of which is a padded laptop pocket. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is for me to slip my laptop into a pocket that is soft (they use a fleece-like fabric), cushiony, and protective. It’s like tucking it into bed. Then there are two sleeve pockets that are great for holding passports, phones, makeup, etc., as well as two pen pockets. Finally, there’s a really cool mesh zipper pouch that is surprisingly deep and has held so many things, including contact solution, makeup, headphones, ipods, and more whilst I am traveling. The main pocket itself is structured along the bottom and the sides, so that it keeps its shape and holds everything in place. I found this to be really helpful when stuffing it with notebooks, travel gear, or anything else. It also makes the bag feel more rigid and protective of everything inside. The backpack is wide and deep which allows it to fit lots of stuff while still holding its shape without ever looking too bulky.
Overall, the Wayu backpack is really amazing in that the company has an excellent mission and they create bags that are very, very good quality. However, retailing at $170 a piece makes it a bit steep for most of us. I got mine on sale, so if you like the bag, I highly recommend waiting for a sale to purchase it. Nevertheless, is it really worth the full (or even sale) price? Let me break down the numbers:
Overall score for Ethnotek Wayu Backpack: 8/10
Great for: School, travel, or commuting
Retail price: $170
Is it worth the money? Yes! When you know you’re supporting local artisans and you have a bag that keeps you organized and is of excellent quality, I think it’s worth the money.
Have you heard of this backpack before? Are you planning on purchasing it? What do you like or not like about it? Let me know in the comments below!