Thanks to the wonderful world of Reddit and u/manybaggers, I was recently introduced to a company called Mixed Works out of Poland. Mixed Works produces bags individually, by hand. They specialize in technical backpacks and messenger bags with a focus on usability for cyclists and other active pursuits.
Though there were only a few scattered positive reviews, the packs looked interested and well made. So, I decided to try the Falcon S (small). The small version comes in at 20 liters and the medium version at 30 liters. Doing a daily haul a 30-liter bag seemed a bit much, so I went with the 20-liter option. The Falcon has been my EDC bag for a while now so it’s review time!
Look and Feel
The look of the Falcon is clean and compact with a fairly low profile. The outer fabric is a Cordura 1000D shell with a nice contracting light grey X-Pac internal lining. One item to note, the outer fabric collects dirt and hair a bit more than other packs, something worth noting for pet owners or folks like me that live on a dirt road, with a constant layer of dust on vehicles and outer surfaces.
As to build quality, this pack is stellar. The stitching and seams are rock solid and the bag has yet to show any signs of wear. The zippers are YKK and feel smooth and easy to operate.
Mixed Works offers a Cobra buckle upgrade to the traditional buckle on the top opening flap, which I opted for. The buckle adds a nice contrast to the technical appearance and is also easy to operate one-handed, a nice surprise.
The Falcon comes equipped with a set of built-in compression straps. While a bit unnecessary on a 20-liter pack, they pull down the profile of the bag nicely. This pack also has a solid suspension system with load lifters that do not slip once adjusted. The convertible front flap turned roll-top closure is very easy to adjust, synching down for tightening the load and releasing for a fully packed out bag.
Accessibility on the Falcon is respectable. The pack provides a nicely padded right-side grab handle that is very comfortable in hand. I was a bit disappointed that the top grab handle wasn’t similarly designed. Rather than a nicely wrapped handle, the top provides a simple webbing loop. While the loop is sewn in very well, it gets uncomfortable for all but the shortest of top-down carry.
The bag provides a side zipper that accesses the main compartment, which is handy. Rather than having to unroll the top, quick access to items within the bag, given a bit of thoughtful arrangement, can be had through the side opening.
There isn’t an external water bottle pocket on the Falcon, which could be a bummer for some folks. I find that if I position my 25 oz Camel Back Chute near the side access zipper, I can access my water bottle whenever I need it and stow it away when I don’t.
Due to the size and slightly tapered profiled shape of the Falcon, it fits my frame very nicely. The straps are wide and padded with, a not too soft but not too hard, foam and are extremely comfortable for extended wear. In addition, the load lifters allow me to pull the bag up so that it rides high on my back (my preferred method of carrying).
The mesh pack panel has beefy airflow channels that have worked well to keep me cool with the bag fully loaded. A padded hip belt is available as an add on. However, I did not see the need for a hip belt on a 20-liter pack.
The Falcon is light on pockets for organization. There is a front quick-access pocket, a small side access pocket and one extra slot on the front of the laptop compartment, for something like an iPad. I can fit a small lint roller and a medium-sized flat pencil case into the front access pocket and a wallet-sized pouch into the side access pocket.
While the external pockets are functional, they can become tight when the interior of the bag is fully packed out. I carry my smaller tech items in a series of pouches for moving between bags, but the lack of additional pockets might be a concern for some folks.
The Falcon does not come “out of the box” with a laptop compartment but it is a customization option when ordering the bag. The pouch is nicely padded and is suspended off the bottom of the bag. It fits my 15 inch MacBook Pro with a bit of room to spare, even with an iPad Pro in the pocket that sits on the front of the laptop compartment.
The Mixed Works Falcon S is a very well designed bag. I dig the materials and choices that have gone into making this pack. It is extremely comfortable and has been a joy to use. Unfortunately, this bag turned out to be just a hair small for my EDC, as I had to remove a few extras when I was using it. Is that a bad thing? I’m not sure but I am also not sure if this will be a long term EDC carry or one I rock now and again. The bag itself is a keeper though.
I had a few nits, but for anyone that is looking for an extremely comfortable and well made EDC pack coming in around 20 liters, the Falcon is a great choice.