You’ve seen me talking about my new ABLE Alem backpack for a while now. And today, I’m deep-diving into a full blog post review! As the world is opening up again, it’s time to think about BAGS for the first time in a long time–and it feels so good!!
Many of us are starting to book travel, are heading back to the office or to work from coffee shops, having pandemic babies, or, perhaps like yours truly–all of the above! What do all those things have in common? They all require a really great all-purpose, do-it-all bag. And luckily, I found one that checks ALL the boxes!
FYI, before we jump in, as with all ABLE purchases, want to make sure you know you can get 25% off when entering JESSKEYS25 at checkout–which saves over $60 and brings the price down to $187! (Thank you for the generous discount code, ABLE!)
Full disclosure: this post is not sponsored by ABLE. But I do work with them sometimes, which is how I have such a great discount code!
Let’s jump into why this backpack is so great, yes!?
Why I love ABLE’s Alem Backpack:
It’s aesthetically beautiful:
It’s made of the prettiest leather that is also durable. And the kind that only gets better with time and wear. Think of your favorite leather jacket and how it looks even better the more you beat it up. That’s how this bag is too–the leather is sturdy. It’s not too buttery soft so you have to worry about it tearing easily, or getting damaged. I love the minimalist design so it goes with everything. Is cute enough for outside of work, yet still looks professional to wear to the office!
The color I have is the cognac color. But it also comes in a dark whiskey brown, or black leather!
Holds a LOT of stuff + has lots of compartments:
There are two different roomy interior compartments (including a laptop sleeve big enough for a 15″ laptop–one reviewer even said she fits TWO laptops in it!) two side pockets (large enough to fit my 32 oz hydro flask!) and one front-zip pocket. It has plenty of room for my giant DSLR camera, changes of clothes for me and baby, you name it. Whatever you need it for–it’s awesome!
How I plan to use it as a diaper bag:
I have been searching for months, but every “diaper bag” bag I found really just didn’t feel like *me*. And I’m so glad I found this backpack when I did–because it’s EXACTLY everything I was envisioning for a diaper bag, without actually BEING a diaper bag!
I actually purchased this backpack insert on Amazon, which has even more compartments and little pockets to keep me organized! It fits in the backpack perfectly and is great for holding smaller items like diapers, wipes, bottles, pacis, burp cloths, etc. I also like that it makes it really easy to lift the “diaper bag essentials” out. So when I’m using it for work or travel, it makes it a seamless transition!
Between the organizer insert fitting in the first compartment, and how roomy the second compartment is, it has MORE than enough space for everything I need and then some. While not feeling SO bulky and cumbersome like a lot of other diaper bags do. It even has enough room for me to slip my laptop and a notebook inside. So I have it with me if I’m say, dropping her off at daycare, and then heading to a coffee shop after! I really love that it functions as both.
Side pockets can fit my 32 oz hydro flask. Tip: Put the hydroflask in FIRST. If you wait until the bag is full, it will be too tight of a squeeze!
Ethically made + supports women all over the world:
If you’ve been following here for a while, you have likely heard me talk about ABLE and why I’m so drawn to the mission of the brand.
Long story short, the brand was founded by a husband and wife team who were living in Ethiopia and met women coming out of the sex industry–for these women, this was the best means to put food on the table for their families, but they were hoping for new opportunities to make ends meet. They decided to form a company to teach these women how to make scarves to sell back home to Americans, and it worked–and in the past ten years, the brand has grown into a lifestyle brand selling ethically-made accessories as well as clothing, with the goal of providing women around the world with better opportunities and as a solution to end poverty. The founders know that when you give women opportunities, their entire communities benefit, and thrive.
So when you buy this backpack, you aren’t just getting a pretty, versatile backpack. You’re helping women in the process. And to me, that’s always worth spending a little bit more for!
The adjustable straps are padded and wide, meaning they never dig into your shoulders or hurt your back! I think this is easier to travel with than a tote for that reason–you’ll never have aching shoulders or red marks from where the straps dig into you!
Straps are padded for a super comfortable fit, even when it’s super heavy and loaded with stuff!
Anything I wish were different about the backpack?
I truly think this backpack is what dreams are made of. But if I had to change anything, I wish it had double zippers on both sides of each zipper–I.E. there is only one zipper pull. And sometimes backpacks have two zipper pulls at each side, so you can grab whichever side is closest to you to zip. And have the zippers meet in the middle. This is not remotely a deal breaker, but I’m lazy and impatient. And it’s one of those really nit-picky things. And if that’s a deal-breaker for you, something to be aware of. Another small thing is that I wish it had a sleeve in the back so you could fit it over your carry-on handle. You know, if I’m LOOKING for something to improve, those would be my ideas–but again, I think this bag is pretty perfect, and every day I love it more!