Review: Db Hugger Backpack

Db Hugger 30L

The DB Hugger off to a meeting

At BlackSheep we’re on the road a lot. We do a lot of traveling and to do that technical packs aren’t always the best. One of the best packs we’ve found for business meetings and international travel is the DB Hugger. It’s a cavernous 30L pack that holds anything and everything you want it to.      


  • Material:
    • Outer: Polyester 600D
    • Lining: Polyester 200D/600D
  • Country of Origin: Vietnam
  • Size: Volume: 30L
  • Weight: 1.2 kg
  • Features:
    • Fully openable main compartment 
    • Roomy top pocket 
    • Inside mesh pockets 
    • Separate laptop pocket
    • Db hook-up compatible
Contrasting straps, strap keeper, and embossed logo on the back pad

Who is Db?

Db is the result of a chance meeting between über ski pro Jon Olsson and entrepreneur and engineering and aerospace aficionado Truls Brataas. Back in 2009, Jon Olsson had been traveling the globe skiing and inventing tricks and Truls had spent a year on the road and was fed up with lugging poorly designed traveling gear around.  A coincidental meet-up resulted in them spending the next three years designing bags based on their ideas and talking to fellow athletes, travelers, and baggage handlers. In 2012 DB was born. 

What does Db stand for? According to Db it can be whatever you want it to, Delicious-bagels, Deep-breathing or Dream-bigger. My dad thinks it’s his company, Dennis Buck. It’s much cooler than me owning my own HB pencil. Alas, the origin story is a little less PC. We’ll let you head on over to Db’s website to read more into that. 

What is The Hugger?

The Hugger is first and foremost a Travel Bag. It’s designed to fit into overhead cabin bins on a plane, carry darn near as much as possible, and be subtle enough that you can take it to a business meeting. 

How does it fit?

It fits like a normal 30L bag. Despite there being no frame the bag is somewhat stiff and holds its shape well, even when empty. This is likely thanks to Rib Cage construction. 

The yoke is appropriately wide and therefore does not rest on your neck. There are no load lifters, no waist belt nor chest strap so you’ll want to be careful when loading up. All of the weight will sit squarely on your shoulders. 

What is it made of?

There are several versions of The Db Hugger, and the one we tested is The Sage Green Edition. It is made of a 600 denier polyester fabric, which is 100% chemically recycled from post-consumer waste and GRS certified. What is GRS you ask? It’s the Global Recycle Standard. In a nutshell, it is an international standard that verifies that a recycled item has the advertised recycled content. For more info on GRS, head here: GRS

It has a PU back coating and C6 water repellent treatment which is a fluorinated treatment that imparts durable water and oil repellency to synthetic fibers and natural fibers. So, rest assured that if you spill some IPA on this bag at your layover it’s going to stay clean

The Massive haul handle on the Db Hugger


Top Pocket

The Db Hugger starts at the top with a large pocket. IT zips open on three sides to reveal a large rectangular pocket that easily swallows a compact camera, large sunglasses, wallet, and more. Not only that but the top panel has a mesh pocket to keep smaller documents organized like a passport or cell chords. 

Even the small top pocket is big

Main Compartment

The Main Compartment of the Hugger is quite literally, a giant black hole. It makes me

The Main compartment is HUGE

wonder if all my other bags were lying about their size or Db is being modest and this is truly a 40 liter pack. It’ll hold just about anything you can throw at it. I’ve even put in a Thermarest Z-Lite pad and had room for more. More, in that case, was 1.5L of Margherita. 

The compartment opens on three sides. This allows easy access to items on the bottom but also an easy way to pack the bag with awkwardly shaped items.  

On both sides of the bag are zippered mesh pockets. These are great for organizing cables, batteries, or other smaller documents. 

Laptop Pocket

Along the right side of the back panel is a zipper. This houses the laptop pocket. A single zip opens from top to bottom revealing the padded laptop sleeve. DB says it is designed for a 16” MacBook Pro. My 15” 2011 MBPro fits but has to be taken out carefully. Strangely, pulling from the bottom works best. Perhaps my MBP is a little thicker than today’s laptops. Regardless, it makes removing your laptop at airport security relatively easy.

My old 15 inch macbook peeking out from it’s sleeve

Rib Cage Construction

Strong ABS ribs line both sides of the pack and help keep its shape. They also provide protection for whatever you’ve put in your DB Hugger. DB refers to this as Rib Cage Construction and you can see why. It not only sits in layers but protects the innards and adds structure to the bag. 

Hook-Up System

All Db bags have the patented Hook-Up system and this is what drew our attention The Hook-Up system consists of two essentials. The Hook 2.0 and chain loops. The Hook 2.0 resides on the top of the bag and the loops, essentially a daisy chain, run down the front of the bag, as they do on all Db Bags. Smaller Db Bags can then be hooked onto larger DB Bags and basically get piggybacked. 

The Hook 2.0 on the top of the DB Hugger

Unfortunately, we do not have either of those bags to hook on to but are hoping to test out this feature this winter when we head out to Japan, Switzerland, and Russia this winter. 


The Hugger makes for a great travel backpack. It’s comfortable, Weather-resistant, and holds just about anything you can keep in it. The large opening makes it easy to pack and also find and remove everything. It’s quite handy to be able to open the front panel and be able to see everything in your pack. My wife has taken to using it for grocery store runs because of its ease to pack and carry.

I would love to have some straps on the inside of the bag to secure loads as there are no compression straps on the outside. Even if there were compression straps they wouldn’t work, the ribs do their job well in keeping the bag’s shape. Therefore, single items inside the bag are prone to moving around. 

Pros: A 30 liter pack that feels more like 40. Large inner side panels. Fits overhead compartments easily.

Cons: Lack of inner straps to hold down single items

If you are interested in checking out the Db Hugger head on over to their website and pick one up

Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free DB Hugger to test. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the jacket.