[Review] Is Xcube Worth It?

Many people choose the pedestrian mode of transportation, either living in big cities where driving can be a pain, or trying to live a healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle.

But walking instead of driving often means that you need more space to carry your things, and many people opt for a backpack.

In this article, we will discuss the Xcube and its Kickstarter campaign. The Xcube is supposed to be a hard-shell backpack that’s lightweight, durable and spacious, with a sleek, minimalist aesthetic. By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to know to decide whether or not it really does live up to the hype. 

The Crowdfunding Campaign

One of the demographics that the creators chose to market the Xcube to is “travelers”. So, you would think it would fit in most any airplane storage position, right? It actually can’t be fit under the seat on an airplane. When collapsed, the X43 is L: 13.8’’, W: 7.1’’, H: 20.5’’. The length and width would be acceptable, but most airlines won’t accept an under-seat bag with a height of more than 17-18 inches, which makes this bag slightly inconvenient for travelers. 

Another reason it’s probably not going to be useful to all types of “travelers” is its “waterproof” claim.

Lots of travelers like to hike and explore, and they use backpacks for this purpose. The”100% waterproof” claim is probably really appealing for lots of hikers and mountain climbers, as well as gym goers and fans of water sports. They say that rain and snow won’t get through the zipper. The outer portion of the bag has a waterproof coating, as well. But it should really be labeled as “water resistant” or “water repellent”. Most things that are waterproof give you an estimate measurement in feet, ex: “waterproof up to 100 feet”. This campaign doesn’t provide any such estimate.

So, while your stuff may not get wet just because it rains, don’t expect it to be safe if you drop it in a lake, or even in a particularly deep puddle. 

Our Analysis and Review

One backer mentioned in the comments that there’s no sternum strap and asked that the creators consider one, a sentiment that’s being echoed all throughout the comments section by numerous backers. Without the strap, it really doesn’t matter how comfortable the creators say the straps are, or how much weight the bag is supposed to be able to hold, it’s pretty likely that heavy loads aren’t going to be comfortable.

Sternum straps redistribute weight evenly, and the tighter they are, the more evenly the weight is distributed. They keep your shoulders from hurting, and they keep the bag from sliding around, as well. So, it’s pretty easy to determine that without the sternum strap, this bag may not be comfortable to carry around. 

One backer found pretty much the exact same hard-shell backpack for sale at AliExpress and posted it in the comments. This is a bit of an issue for some backers. Part of the appeal of a Kickstarter campaign is exclusivity. You’re paying a good bit extra for the products on Kickstarter, both to support the creators and the product, and because you can’t really get the same thing elsewhere. Here is the link to the product the backer found. You’ll see, it looks nearly identical to the Xcube.

As far as anti-theft features are concerned, those featured on the Xcube are pretty standard. One backer wrote in the comments that the Xcube is basically copying the ClickPack X’s Kickstarter campaign. In fact, many of the features are pretty similar. The major difference is that the Xcube is a hard-shell backpack. 

The Potential Shortcomings

The creators are considering making a Kevlar edition of the Xcube, to be available on the post-campaign survey. That sounds awesome, but what it really means is that even if the pack is hard-shelled, it’s not slash-proof. All of its anti-theft features are pretty much a moot point if someone can just walk up, cut a hole in your bag and grab your stuff out of it. And even if they do use Kevlar, that may not be the best choice of materials if they’re going to market this bag towards photographers. Kevlar is pretty UV sensitive, and so is a lot of camera equipment. 

Lack of support board

The backpack will expand for further storage, which is a good thing. But, as one backer pointed out in the comments, there aren’t any support boards. It would seem that without these boards, even though the bag is hard-shelled, it becomes weak whenever it’s expanded. If you’re wondering what an expansion board is and how it would effect the expansion, here’s a picture for reference:

The creators have proposed a survey for a “Kickstarter Limited Edition” color. The standard colors are black and grey. So, of course the proposed special edition colors would be something fun, right? Not really. There are 4 other shades of grey, 2 other blacks and 5 browns. For some reason there’s one red option, while there’s 7 blue options and 4 options in the mauve to burgundy range. There’s not one single white option. It’s definitely an odd color palette choice, and they’ve definitely missed the mark when trying to create a fun survey full of fun color options for backers.

Wrap Up

So, does the Xcube measure up? I doubted. They are already stating that some of the backer’s suggestions may be utilized in the next campaign, so it’s likely that the Xcube 2.0 will be better, which means it’s probably worth waiting for the next campaign before backing. If you’re looking for a backpack with a ton of security features, check out the ClickPack via the white button below. Among other things, it’s got RFID blocking pockets, and it’s cut and rip-resistant.