While most spaces are constantly being treated to novel products and revised takes on existing offerings, there are some items that stand the test of time, gaining a coveted cult status within their respective segment. One such product is the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L — an ultra-rugged and highly versatile pack that’s become a bonafide classic since its release a decade ago. Having already gotten our hands on the majority of today’s leading EDC and work packs, we set out to determine how the Civic Panel Loader 24L — or CPL24 — stacked up against the competition, and whether or not the pack is truly worthy of the attention and reputation that it’s garnered since its release in 2012.
Video Review: Evergoods CPL24 Backpack
Want an even more in-depth look at this feature-laden pack? Then be sure to head over to our hands-on 4K video review of Evergoods’ CPL24 for a detailed breakdown.
Unlike some of the larger, more over-engineered everyday carry-specific packs on the market, the Civic Panel Loader 24L boasts a remarkably clean and minimalistic appearance, with just two primary zipper tracks supplemented by a single zippered front pocket. This is particularly interesting as the bag manages to be quite feature-laden despite its unassuming and uncluttered exterior appearance. This includes several features hiding in plain sight, such as the bag’s bias-cut panels which up its abrasion resistance and stretch properties. The CPL24’s 2.8lb weight also leaves very little doubt as to the pack’s degree of durability.
The CPL24L’s Materials & Constructions
Carrying over its construction from the first-generation CPL24L, the V2 is crafted from a 500-denier high-tenacity Nylon ATY 6.6. Spun from the same ultra-rugged yarn used in CORDURA, this outer shell material features an air-textured surface and a clean-looking matte finish. What’s more, the team at Evergoods has opted to further fortify this already hardwearing shell construction with both water-repellant and PU coatings.
Despite its unassuming appearance, the second-gen CPL24L’s exterior is actually brimming with features. In addition to now boasting a new two-layer construction of 3D spacer mesh and an abrasion-resistant woven 50-denier monofilament for its back panel, the bag has also received low profile bladder points at both shoulders, and YKK Racquet coil zippers backed by a DWR finish — the latter of which is a signature trait used across Evergood’s entire product range. Additional versatility is also afforded through the use of top and side grab handles present on the pack’s exterior.
Equipped with a removable, adjustable sternum strap, the CPL24L’s shoulder straps — which are differentially cut for a more natural curve and fit — also now boast EVA foam made using a special Nitrogen gas-enabled, high-pressure manufacturing process, thereby offering not only extremely even density but also incredibly long-lasting compression resistance. These new constructions and cuts, coupled with the bag’s integrated harness collectively make for an extraordinarily comfortable and supportive pack — another stellar yet subtle feature hiding in plain sight. Additionally, Evergoods has also outfitted its CPL24L with 7075 aluminum side stays — another discreet but noteworthy feature.
Unloading The 24-Liter Pannel Loader
Internal Storage & Features
Measuring 18” H x 7” D x 11.5” W, the second-gen CPL24L boasts 24 liters of internal storage space — all of which is lined with a contrasting polyurethane-coated 420-denier high-tenacity nylon lining that ups both the pack’s visibility and durability. Beneath its RC zipper tracks, the Civic Panel Loader 24 has been treated to a double-layer foam-padded laptop pocket that fits devices of up to 17” (and MacBook Pros of up to 15”) and features an asymmetrical design that better hugs the wearer’s back and generally makes the pack more comfortable to wear while carrying a notebook.
Inside, the backpack also sports a series of pockets and organizers, including an internal stretch pocket for folders or books, several internal zippered pockets, and a key leash. The inside of the backpack also comes outfitted with two vertical rows of webbing at the top of its main compartment that allows MOLLE-compatible items to be secured to the inside of the back panel. Capable of being used and accessed in both vertical and horizontal positions, the Civic Panel Loader 24L also sports internal pockets and organizers that were designed to accommodate everyday carry and office essentials, rather than being randomly sized or shaped.
What We Liked
A Cult Classic For A Reason
Some of the pack’s coolest features aren’t visible to the naked eye — one of which is the dying process used to color the bag. The CPL24L’s shell has been solution-dyed at the polymer stage of production, mitigating the amount of water and electricity needed to dye the pack, while also affording the color with superior fade resistance. Blurring the lines between everyday and outdoor use, Evergoods’ CPL24L also has the added bonus of looking much more like a traditional JanSport-style bag, cleanly blending into its surroundings and not announcing itself as being a premium pack — despite being one through and through.
We also thoroughly appreciate that the team at Evergoods opted to pair the pack’s heavily weather-resistant shell construction with equally weatherproof DWR-coated zippers — practically guaranteeing the contents of the pack stay dry no matter how much the sky opens up. The presence of both top and side grab handles also afford the bag a myriad of different carrying options. Another aspect of the CPL24L that we were fond of, is how easy it is to access the pack’s contents, even when the thing is being worn by simply slipping off a shoulder strap and reorientating the backpack — another rugged feature unique to this Evergoods item. This is also one of the most comfortable and form-fitting packs we’ve ever tested. Lastly, and while it’s a matter of personal opinion, the exterior’s blacked-out appearance very much resonated with us.
The CPL24L’s Shortcomings
Downsides To An Otherwise Stellar Pack
While we truly believe the CPL24L is deserving of its revered reputation, the pack isn’t without a few minor issues — granted almost all of these are fairly subjective. Though the bag is made for daily use, we would have liked to see Evergoods bestow it with a removable hip belt, after all, the pack is meant to blur the line between urban and outdoor use. We’d also have liked to see Evergoods equip the pack with a magnetic-coupling sternum strap, and we also wouldn’t mind seeing this bag be offered in more color options. And, as comfortable and beefy as the shoulder straps are on the CPL24L, they could really benefit from some keepers or carabiner loops for externally attaching additional items or gear. It is worth mentioning that none of these problems impact the bag’s utility — or its ability to serve day-in-and-day-out as a remarkable everyday carry bag.
Verdict & Final Thoughts
A Well-Earned Reputation
While Evergoods had already delivered a great backpack with the first-gen CPL24L, in 2019 the company set out to tweak and improve the bag, specifically bolstering its breathability and durability, while also delivering an overall more sustainably-made product. And after a few weeks of testing the pack, we have to say that Evergoods has absolutely nailed all three of these objectives.
It really is monumentally difficult for a fledgling company to go toe-to-toe with the bigger, more established companies in their space, but Evergoods has managed to do exactly that with its CPL24L. In addition to harnessing the power (and funding) of online crowdfunding, Evergoods’ co-founders Jack Barley and Kevin Dee — the former of which also co-founded GORUCK while the latter previously headed up Patagonia’s advanced R&D division — have applied their collective decades of knowledge, experience, and expertise to produce a pack that’s truly deserving of its cult status.
Between its cleverly-designed layout, supportive and ergonomic architecture, slew of organizational features, and custom-developed shell construction, the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24L really does stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. It may not feature quite as many amenities as some of the other premium EDC packs on the market, however, it’s been pared down to the essentials needed for commuting to and from work — nothing more and nothing less. If you’re looking for a quality everyday carry and/or work-specific backpack that’s heavy on performance and utility without being over-engineered, the Evergoods Civic Panel Loader 24 is truly a tremendous option. And, for those in need of a bit more storage space, Evergoods also produces a larger 28-liter version of the CPL — known as the CPL28L.
The 25 Best Everyday Carry Backpacks
While the CPL24 has earned a reputation as one of the best EDC packs on the market, it isn’t the only stellar option in this space. With our finger on the pulse of the segment, we’ve hand-selected an array of fantastic daily-use carry solutions in our guide to the best everyday carry backpacks.