I use my EMS Four Wheel Jive Daypack as a book bag, but it’s also big enough to carry all of my electronics and a few days worth of clothes. It’s got a sick amount of storage and tons and tons of pockets, which I find really useful for schlepping around my electronics and “stuff” to my remote office at Starbucks. If it has one flaw, it’s the lack of an external bottle holder. I don’t like to use a water reservoir and there’s no convenient place to put a bottle on the outside of the pack. That removes it from consideration as a hiking backpack because I don’t like to put water bottles inside a pack for fear of them opening..
If you like pockets or need more pockets, I’d recommend this pack. It’s a panel loader so you can open any of the 3 main pockets and see everything inside of them without having to stick your hand down the top and rummage around blind. The 3 pockets are stacked one on top of the other and have built-in organizers.
The last and largest pocket can fit up to a 15 inch laptop or be used to store a hydration reservoir. There’s a strap to hold the laptop in close to the back of the pack, which is handy. However, while there is a hydration port to run a hose down a shoulder strap, there is no internal hook to hang it from. That’s not optimal and should be changed.
There are also 2 more pockets on the front panel: a tiny change pocket for bus fare and loose change and a zippered external front pocket which is large enough to store hats or winter gloves.
Finally, there are 2 more zippered pockets on the left and right bottom corners of the pack. These are also glove sized and would have been the logical place to put bottle pockets.
Attachment Points and Compression
If you still need to carry more gear, there are adjustable loops running under the bottom of the pack for securing long slim items like a sleeping pad. There is an ice axe loop at the base of the pack and dual shock cord straps to secure it, as well as, a heavy duty haul loop at the top of the pack for carrying heavy loads
For oversize loads, there are two unusually long compression straps on the sides of the pack which are useful for shrinking it if you are carrying clothes, say on a plane, and have limited overhead storage space to stow your pack.
Straps and Padding
One thing I really like about this pack is the hip belt and the fact that there is one. It’s not padded, but it doesn’t really need to be with a pack this small (2100 cubic inches.) The fact that it’s even there, means you can snap it around your waist and carry heavy loads of books on your hips and not your shoulders. If you think using the hip belt makes you look like a dork or if you don’t need it, there are tiny pockets along the bottom of the pack that let you tuck away the hip belt and hide it. Viola! Very nice.
The Four Wheel Jive has pre-curved shoulder pads that make it unisex, and there is a removable sternum strap if you prefer not to wear one. The backs of the pads and the back of the pack have thickly padded mesh to help dry sweat more quickly and provide comfort for heavy loads.
The Four Wheel Drive is built for durability and can take serious punishment. The bottom is made using 1220 denier Cordura polyester, which is a seriously thick amount of fabric. Cordura is a very tough, but relatively lightweight fabric used in making travel luggage. The exterior of the pack is also made with 610 denier Cordura and 420 denier Boncheck nylon. You find thicknesses like this on expedition backpacks, not book bags. Total weight is 2 pounds 6 ounces and this pack fits my 18.5 inch torso.
I’ve been using the Four Wheeled Jive for over 3 weeks as my go-to daypack and it’s proven to be a very flexible and rugged companion for hauling my gear around town and on overnight trips. The elaborate pockets and storage system are perfect for organizing all of my electronics and I like having a panel loader because it means I can find what I need quickly. The lack of external bottle pockets doesn’t make this a good hiking daypack, but it’s a great book bag or briefcase for school and work.
Disclosure: EMS provided sectionhiker.com with a EMS Four Wheel Jive Dayback to review.
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