I’ve been banging my pads and helmet into skate backpacks for a while now, so the Oakley Freshman Skate Backpack, I purchased, really looked like it was a good deal. Here’s my review, so you know what you’re actually buying and whether it’s the best skate backpack for you.
Oakley Freshman Skate Backpack Overview
I cant exactly put a better overview of the backpack than what Oakely did on their website, so here it is without all the fancy sales words.
“Tough water resistant fabric, mesh-moulded back panel, with several secure pockets and a sun glass stow away for your shades” – Yep, I took a huge paragraph and turned it into 4 small facts. It’s a backpack with a few pockets and it’s water resistant. It’s also red. Honest truth it looks nice, but it’s quite small at 20l.
Build Quality and Durability
The Freshman Skate Backpack is actually made from really good quality materials and it looks like it’s been put together very well, for example the stitching looks very strong and the materials dont look like they will rip easily. I’m hoping that this means it wont fall apart too quick. Now this is important, because I’ve noticed lots of skaters get to a park and just throw their bags in the corner, on the top of a pipe or beside lockers. I’m no different, but it means skate backpacks need to be tough. This Freshman Skate Backpack feels and looks tough. Fingers crossed it will survive for a while.
What’s the backpacks options? Well firstly, it’s a skateboard backpack, it has straps for carrying your board (rarely will this be used because I love to be on the board). They hold the board well, using Velcro to keep the straps closed and provide plenty of space for my 8.25 deck. There’s also a laptop section, but that will never be used by me, and there’s two pockets (1 main pocket and 1 front pocket). The front pocket is smaller than I expected. It’s possible this is what Oakley refer to as the sunglasses pouch.
Comfort and Ergonomics
What I really like in backpacks and this is a personal thing, is straps across the front of your body, and this has one chest strap that is really functional. The reason for this, is because as you skate it helps prevent the backpack from sliding off your shoulders. Thank you Oakley for adding this.
With this in mind, I tend to wear backpacks on two shoulders all the time to spread the weight. I’ve found that I can have the Freshman Skate Backpack on my back for quite a while and still be quite comfortable which is great. I hate when you get sore shoulders or neck from a badly designed backpack and thankfully I’ve yet to experience that with this one.
Design and Style
Looking at the style and design of the backpack, I quite like it. It’s got the Oakley brand wrote on the front but it’s a good size, not huge or too small. I’m a fan of this in the red colour, which is what I’ve acquired, and this will make it easier to spot in the park. More importantly it’s not a modern design, its more classic and reminds me a bit of the Eastpak skateboard backpacks that have been around for quite some time.
Portability and Size
This is the big thing, how much can I get into the Oakley backpack and I’m going to say to enough, but extra room would be appreciated. At 20L, it’s small. Never the less in the main section of the backpack, I can get a 2L bottle of water, a jumper and a spare set of trainers. Alternatively, it’s tight but I can get my helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads in. As for the front section, the smaller pouch, I can get a small 500ml bottle of water and a tshirt/small jumper. If you need more, I’d go for a bigger size backpack, and even from Oakley (The quality is excellent).
Could you use this backpack as a daily backpack for school or work, yes probably. It feels like it would with stand the portability of being used for daily commute really well.
Value for Money
When I consider value for money, I am really checking against the price I paid which was 50% off when it was on sale. At £60/$75 I honestly dont think the Freshman Skate Backpack is worth it’s value, but when that price tag is dropped to £30/$35 then yes, it’s a great backpack for the price. The sale price is good quality for money, the full retail price is good quality with an expensive price tag considering the size of the backpack.
I guess the question at the end of the day, is would I buy this backpack now that I have tested it? I think if you’re looking for a small comfortable backpack then yeah, it’s got a great design and it’s excellent quality, but you’d need to to be willing to spend the money on it. If however it’s on sale, then that decision becomes a quick yes. I like it, I will use it and I will likely replace this when a need for a bigger skate backpack comes along.