So, a few months ago, I found this backpack on a blog, and I thought, hey, I would like to check it out. Now that some people are reading my reviews, and I am quite grateful for that, David Deioma of Mudroom Back reached out to my email.
David sent me the Quartable backpack, their largest and most popular backpack.
I used the backpack for the first time at the Drake Relays on April 29, 2023. For that event, I just took my laptop (I Book 15 inch), Ipad, Athletics 2022 book, my Meds, pens, jacket, and hat.
My day at a track meet consists of walking around the stadium, finding an area to sit down, so I can observe the meet (12 heats of boys 4x100m, 8 heats of girls 4x100m, Distance Medleys), and chatting with parents, grandparents, friends, and coaches. I like to get a feel for the meet.
These fans were prepared; it was about 55 degrees and sunny, but all had rain suits, too, because it was Iowa!
After chatting with real track fans, I headed up to the media area and prepared to cover the elite two hours of the meet. My girlfriend texted me, noting that the weather was looking ominous, with rain and cold to replace the sun and enjoyable spring weather.
I had the Mudroom backpack on my shoulders, and it was quite comfortable as I walked around the stadium, checking out the crowds, the athletes, the coaches enjoying the strangeness of spring weather in Des Moines, Iowa.
I spent two days in Des Moines, then my journey to the Middle East would begin.
On May 1, we drove six hours from Des Moines to Chicago and headed to Terminal 5 for Turkish Airlines. My flight to Istanbul was completely full, and I was in row 24, an exit row. My backpack fit well in the storage, and all of my lovely things, computer, meds, books, and jacket, were all there; ten hours and 32 minutes later, we landed in Istanbul, all was good. I spent five hours in the airport, then 4 hours to Doha. The total trip time was about 22 hours.
The attention to detail in the backpack? I love the running shoe pockets, which fit my large size 13 feet. I put my computer case, my Ibook, and my Laptop all in there, and I only had to worry about one bag.
So, for the past 20 years, I have traveled several times a year to Europe, Asia, and the middle east. I have taken up to two bags on planes with me, hoping for a bag to be made to handle my idiosyncrasies.
My backpack was easy to wear as I went through the laborious but swift Passport check in Doha, Qatar. It was perfect to move my global workspace from the Istanbul Turkish Air lounge to Dusit Hotel in Doha (awesome hotel), and media center in Pullman Center (quite nice), and then, finally, the Doha Diamond League meeting, where we worked for five hours, without wifi.
My return trip was just as easy as I could get around airports and carry my gifts from Duty-Free across several time zones. 24 hours to return from Doha to Istanbul to Chicago, and then two plus hours on country roads to my home in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
A good backpack is all about having your needs in one place, and it not being too darn heavy, and sitting nicely on your back; the Mudroom Backpack worked well.
The Mudroom BackPack does that (all of the details are below because David sent them to me). I think the Mudroom BackPack
Here is my review of the product:
The backpack is an original design born from organic experiences working, running and commuting. The pack is innovative for two primary reasons, which make the design and the pack stand out from all the other brands and packs out there:
Dedicated and separated footwear compartments with exterior and interior zippered access (Quartable and Intermodal)
Stowed rain cover housed inside of the carrying handle (Intermodal only)
Dedicated and Separated Footwear compartments
There are two vertically oriented siloed footwear compartments in the interior of the backpack. Each compartment has the capacity to hold up to a single US-sized men’s 15 shoes (EU size 50).
The pocket can also hold a pair of smaller shoes oriented like shoes are stored in a shoe box. This provides the opportunity to carry two pairs of shoes at a time inside of a single backpack. Each footwear compartment has exterior and interior zippered access for easy stowing and removing items. Mudroom has received patent protection for this feature.
Stowed rain cover housed inside of the carrying-handle
To the best of our knowledge, the Mudroom Intermodal backpack is the originator and only pack available that has a rain cover in the carrying handle. The Intermodal uses a tubular construction designed to house a rain-cover inside the handle. The housing inside of the handle is further designed to make removal and stowing of the rain cover easy and efficient, which was recently improved from the original handle design. Mudroom has applied for both US and PCT-International patent protection.
These two innovations help create a pack with a complimentary product feature set that is versatile and multi-use for people who are non-stop including commuters for everything from working to working out. The Intermodal pack is designed with product features to support three use-cases:
Commuting – by cycle, motorcycle, train, plane, bus or automobile
Travel – Destination event participants
Day-hikes with hydration compatibility
Mudroom backpacks make travel with an extra pair of shoes easy and efficient. Whether by cycle, motorcycle, train, plane, bus, or on foot. With the need to be efficient in our daily lives, from going to meetings and to working out or seamlessly transitioning to second jobs, having dedicated footwear compartments enables a person who “wears many hats” also to wear many shoes.
For cyclists, dedicated shoe compartments are great for holding cleats while at work. For motorcyclists, maybe using protective boots while riding and swapping out into shoes at work to give feet a rest. For professionals and students, dedicated footwear compartments are great for efficiently transitioning from work or school to working out and after-school activities. So the applications are many and diverse.
Travel – Destination events and races
A primary focus for Mudroom Backpacks is destination event participants such as marathoners. Runners realize the benefit of carrying shoes separately for both keeping dirt and road grime contained within a shoe compartment and separate from interior items and electronics. Many people who run in marathons and half marathons also have race day shoes which are important to them for getting over the finish line in the fastest time possible. Runners want to securely carry their footwear and within arms’ reach under an airline seat.
There is overlap with other destination activities like trail running, cross-fit, climbing or any events that use a pair of activity-specific footwear. Mudroom works with many organizations, including marathon companies, fitness, and rehab offices, running clubs, and travel tour companies. These groups realize the benefit and utility of having separate interior compartments for stowing a pair of footwear.
Mudroom Intermodal is also hydration compatible with a tube port opening built into the backpack’s back panel. Although a hydration bladder does not come with a Mudroom backpack, the laptop compartment doubles as a hydration sleeve for holding a water bladder. Remove the laptop and hang any 2L bladder on the reverse sewn hook to secure it. Why is the bladder hook reverse-sewn? So that when the compartment is used for hold a laptop, the laptop does not break the hook.
The packs are feature-rich, with a lot of thought spent on the overall design of the backpack. The features work in concert together to provide users with the widest range of uses possible, enabling people to carry one bag instead of multiple bags.
Additional product features:
Zippered handle compartment for stowed rain-cover in carrying handle with extra fabric layer inside for easy closure and to prevent zipper from jamming.
Front entry opening in the rain-cover compartment for easy removal and re-stowing of rain cover.
Quick-stow pocket in the bottom of the pack for a second stow option for a wet rain cover, or wallet, or phone.
Contoured overall exterior construction for airflow and minimizing drag (while on a bike or motorcycle)
Double-layered 420D ripstop-nylon construction for lightweight feel (1.8 lbs empty) and durability on frontside of the pack with grosgrain binding trim for finish and to prevent fabric fraying
Bottom padded and nylon construction for durability and additional electronics protection
Padded and floating 15.5 in. laptop sleeve for electronics protection
Floating laptop sleeve for easy stowing and removal of a backpack through the main compartment
Side-access to laptop compartment for an additional option for removing laptops when the main compartment is full, especially in airport security lines
Bar-tacked triple stitching in high-stress areas such as the shoulder straps and webbing
Shoe compartments with both exterior and interior zippered access for easy stowing
Padded shoe compartments with DWR fabric for protecting items on the inside.
Airflow back panel
Pen, phone, and key holders
Reverse sewn hydration hook
Adjustable chest straps
Nylon mesh pockets on the inside of footwear compartments
Stretch mesh pockets on the outside of footwear compartments for holding bottles
Covered hydration port
Bass-mouth wide opening to the main compartment for vertical storing and easy access. Interior compartment organization prevents items from falling to the bottom of the pack.
Fully packed, the pack fits under an airplane seat, making travel easy, efficient, and cost-effective, especially on discount airlines, while avoiding extra fees.
Mudroom is a small company that thinks big. Mudroom has filled a space for marathoners and travelers, which larger companies have ignored, missed or inadequately addressed. Mudroom backpacks are able to hold the largest shoes of any packs designed to hold shoes (https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a20866001/best-running-backpacks-run-commute/). Mudroom is also able to hold two pairs of shoes separately from the interior space while other packs can only hold one pair. And finally, no other backpack company has a rain cover in its carrying handle. In the highly competitive world of backpacks, product features, multi-use versatility, style, and durability are keys to success.
Mudroom has designed a solution around what to do with shoes for an event. Many people tie shoes to the back of packs. Where Mudroom has been limited is in getting the word out. Larger companies have big marketing budgets for advertising products that come up short for consumers. While Mudroom relies on word of mouth and customer recommendations.
In my final words on Mudroom BackPack, I would say this. Get the backpack for your team, get it for your family, and get it for your travels, because, the truth is, Mudroom has worried about everything you can think of in making this backpack, and I like having people that damn smart working on something that I do not really want to think about.
Thanks to David Deioma and his late father for making the amazing backpack.
The website for Mudroom Backpacks is https://mudroombackpacks.com/