April 11, 2021
Cote et Ciel is a French design studio that has been producing some unique products since they launched back in 2008. What puts them apart from the competition is their minimalist design mantra, as well as their emphasis on fabric throughout their product line.
I’ve been using your typical run of the mill backpack and my beloved Whipping Post Messenger Bag for years, but have been running into space issues lately while going to the gym after work. My typical carry fits in neither, and looks something like this:
I started digging around online and discovered the Cote&Ciel Isar rucksack. When it comes to this bag, the first thing you’ll notice is the unique design. The front of the bag is entirely bare, and it protrudes vertically almost like a shark fin.
The Isar rucksack comes in a ton of fabric options, from Denim, Eco Yarn, MemoryTech, black leather, and what I chose—Coated Canvas. Other than offering a fantastic texture and color, the coated canvas also offers a little bit more water protection compared to some of the different fabric.
The Isar has two main compartments, and one smaller one on the side. The main compartment has a large zipper that runs along the entirety of the bag, which connects to 2 large straps that allow you to expand the size of the compartment significantly. Think of it almost like a duffle bag attached to a regular backpack – it fits my shoes, towel and a set of clothes no problem.
The Isar also comes in 2 sizes, medium and large. I’m a fairly big guy at 6’2″, and the medium is an ideal size. I can’t see a need for the large version of the bag for the majority of the population after seeing how much the medium can hold. If you’re looking for more of an in-depth size comparison, Thomas Wong wrote a detailed article which you can find here.
The design of the zipper system is one of my favorite things on the Isar. I can’t tell you how many times the zipper got caught in my previous backpack, and I’ve yet to have an issue with this one since I bought it in 2017.
The rest of the hardware looks great on the backpack as well. You can see these large, thick plastic straps with some subtle Cote&Ciel branding.
There is also an easy to access small side pocket on the Isar that’s perfect for something like a phone. When riding my bicycle or motorcycle, I can unzip it and reach in without taking the backpack off – very handy.
The inside compartment has a perfectly sized padded laptop section for my 15″ Macbook, as well as some small netting, and a zipper pouch for some smaller items.
I love some of the small details on this backpack, like the little flaps where the straps meet the bottom of the bag.
The handle and backstraps on the Isar also have a great mix of material as well. The straps are canvas, but each has a single leather strip going up throughout each.
I’ve never been a fan of loud branding on clothing, which is another reason why I appreciate the design of this backpack so much. The most prominent logo on the bag is a subtle one near the bottom of the bag.
I’m glad I chose the coated canvas Isar rucksack out of the others available. It sticks out immediately in the market due to its clean lines and futuristic, alien shape, and its massive carrying capacity is perfect when I need to haul a lot around town.
I’m reaching here, but the only negative thing I can find on the bag is that I do prefer how the bag looks when it’s a bit more full – I find the shape feels a bit flat when it’s empty or doesn’t have much in it. I hope this Cote & Ciel Isar Backpack review was helpful in helping you decide on the purchase; I would recommend it.