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Black Diamond Creek Mandate 28L Backpack Review

An everyday pack made with reinforced materials to stand up to outdoor use in a variety of conditions.

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Black Diamond Creek Mandate 28L Backpack


Volume: 28 Liters

Weight: 2.65 Pounds

Materials: Nylon 840D, Poly 1200D TPU-Coated 

Where To Get It:

Price: $139.95  -  Black Diamond | Backcountry | Amazon  

Our Experience:

The Creek Mandate 28L Backpack by Black Diamond takes the brand's durable haul bags and incorporates those features onto a bag that fits well as an everyday commuter. Or maybe it takes the features of a commuter and blends them with onto a haul bag... Regardless, at 28 liters in capacity with multiple compartments, pockets and zips, and waterproof outer material, the Creek Mandate is a rugged bag that serves well whether it is a laptop and important paperwork, or climbing shoes and snacks being transported.

Black Diamond has a reputation for producing quality gear and clothing meant to stand up to a variety of uses and conditions. Over the years I've owned a number of their jackets, headlamps, tents and climbing shoes and usually found their products to be well-constructed, durable, and built with active lifestyles and activities in mind. Additionally, I like my backpacks and bags loaded with compartments so I know exactly where everything is.

Black Diamond's Creek Mandate bag took me a few wears to get the hang of, being that there are pockets on pockets on this bag! The Creek Mandate has five total compartments, with some of them containing smaller sleeves and zip pouches. With a combination of easily-accessible  outer pockets - a small top-zip pouch with a larger side-zip compartment - the bag reserves its largest compartment and padded laptop sleeve for rear-zip access. The largest compartment unzips and opens like a suitcase, containing two smaller sleeves inside. On top of the padded laptop compartment is a smaller secure area that could fit things like memory cards, passports, keys or a phone.

Weighing in at 2.65 lbs, the bag has a solid mid-weight construction with a highly water-resistant nylon exterior, waterproof rear panel, and seam-sealed zippers. Straps are a thick and padded, and removable webbing buckles across the chest and hips for additional support. The padded back combines with the straps to increase comfort if carrying a heavier load around, or wearing the pack for an extended period, however the biggest problem I had with the pack is also a result of the padded back, which lacks breathability and can get downright sweaty when worn on a hike or riding a bike around while wearing the pack. However the tradeoff is that the padding around the laptop panel means that those carrying electronics while cycling don't have to worry about sweat affecting your gear.

At 28 liters, the Creek Mandate is ideally sized as a day pack. With top and side handles, as well as the wide suitcase-style opening, the bag makes a great travel bag. The mesh zip pockets inside the large compartment make seeing what's inside them easy. 

Overall, the Creek Mandate 28L is easy to handle, has a nylon highly water resistant exterior with plenty of compartments of varying sizes, has protective padding to help make wearing it for prolonged windows of time more comfortable, as well as providing protection for a laptop or tablet, and seems to have been made with comfort and durability at the forefront of the design process. Although the rear-entry compartments require getting used to working around the placement of the straps, after I wore this bag a few times, it all became second nature. It's stood up to repeated outdoor use, and I most like that the 5 different compartments allow for easy separation of what I'm carrying with me, while the side-entry pockets make grabbing a water bottle while wearing the pack simple enough.

I've tended to be pretty satisfied with the Black Diamond gear that I've owned, as most of it is made for active lifestyles and has seemed to hold up pretty well for my uses, and the Creek Mandate 28L has been no exception. It makes a great midweight everyday and outdoor backpack for those looking for durability combined with a functionally well-rounded bag.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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