SLAPPA’s new custom build backpacks offer freedom without sacrificing quality

I’ve been a big supporter of SLAPPA ever since I reviewed my first backpack from them in 2006, and though it might seem like we’ve done nothing but blindly promote their products since then, the praise has been well deserved. In the four years since receiving the Velocity SPYDER Pro for review, the bag hasn’t exactly been treated with tender loving care. And yet, despite being jammed to capacity (and beyond) and dragged through airport security more times than I’d care to count, it still looks brand new. In other words, it definitely held up its end of the bargain in terms of quality.

Nevertheless, when SLAPPA offered to send over their new M.A.S.K. custom build backpack for review, I jumped at the opportunity – not because I needed a replacement, but because it offered something that their other bags (and to my knowledge, no other bag on the market) didn’t: customizability. With the M.A.S.K., you build your bag from the ground up, like choosing the color of your inner lining and selecting removable faces that offer different looks and functions. For instance, the KOA features three pockets perfect for a camera, some extra lenses, and a few other accessories, while the High Five is a more traditional, all-purpose front pocket. Better yet, they’re a breeze to take off, so if you need to switch faces on the fly, it’s as easy as zipping up a jacket.

To make each bag even more unique, you can also personalize the inside with a wide variety of removable inserts (15 in total with a promise of more to come in the future) ranging from SLAPPA-themed prints to original artwork. And since they’re attached with Velcro, they’re easily interchangeable, especially if you remove the face of the bag beforehand. In addition, the M.A.S.K. boasts the ability to go straight through airport scanners, although I wasn’t able to test if it really works. Then again, the chances that a TSA agent will actually let you go through without removing your laptop are pretty slim, so I’m not too sure how helpful this feature will be to those looking to cut a few seconds off their travel time. You’re willing to try, however, because if SLAPPA says that it works, then I’m inclined to believe them.

After all, this is the same company that swears by the quality of its products, and they haven’t disappointed yet. The M.A.S.K. is water resistant, puncture proof, and nearly indestructible (I was tempted to light it on fire but was afraid I’d burn down my apartment in the process), and it features more room than most people know what to do with. If there’s anything negative to say about the bag, it’s that it’s a little on the bulky side, making it a questionable carry-on item depending on just how much stuff you’ve managed to cram inside it. That’s hardly a bad problem to have, especially when you consider that the SLAPPA M.A.S.K. will not only endure years of abuse, but can change along with your individual needs as well. And with that kind of value, it’s easy to see why we’ve become such loyal supporters.


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