When it comes to bags for EDC or day/overnight use, I've often encountered difficulty finding options that strike a good balance of versatility, quality, and price. If you find yourself in the same boat, read on to discover if the SOG Ninja Day Pack might be right for you.
First, let's get the factory listed specs out of the way;
Dimensions - 43.6cm x 28.4cm x 15.7cm / 17.1" x 11.1" x 6.1"
Capacity - 1475 CU IN / 24.2 liters
Warranty - Lifetime
(The official info says nothing on the material, but I would estimate it to be 600D ballistic nylon.)
Price - < $35
Now let's take a look at the pack itself (my example is black, but the lighting made it appear brownish in some photos. Also I've been using this pack daily for three months, so pardon the dirt);
Left side -
Right side -
The nicely padded back, with yoke style adjustable straps and unpadded sternum strap -
The pack is reasonably lightweight for its size. There's no frame or inserts to stiffen it up, so it's moderately floppy. Overall I find it comfortable to carry even with a moderately heavy load, thanks to the shape and padding of the straps.
Looking at the left side in more detail we can see the MOLLE webbing;
Note that despite having four rows of webbing, the outer rows are actually undersized and cannot accept standard clips or straps used with MOLLE gear, making this side unsuitable for mounting larger pouches.
On the right side we can see more webbing and the integrated bottle holder;
Again we have four rows of webbing with only two truly functional. Though this is just as well, since all but the most compact pouches are likely to get in the way when using the bottle holder. Said bottle holder features an elastic opening, and a light lining that helps to keep your beverage cold for a bit longer, though not as efficiently as a more overbuilt holder might. It is of sufficient size to accommodate most bottles up to 1ltr, including a wide mouth Nalgene. Also note there is no drainage grommet present.
Moving on to the front we can see more MOLLE webbing, six rows, nearly all of which are functional, excepting the outer most two on the very top, which are cut off at an angle where the admin area ends, reducing the usable rows there to four. There are also two loop fields here, a plain one in the middle of the webbing, and another above the admin area with SOG's skull logo burned in;
On the bottom we have two drainage grommets for the main compartment, and four webbing loops for attaching a sleeping bag or other gear;
Here we see the side compression straps and inside the admin area. There are two key leashes, which feel quite flimsy, though I've yet to break one, and several slip pockets inside. The slip pockets on the flap are the perfect size for accommodating a hard glasses case or other item too big to slide out when the compartment is closed. The inner slip pockets offer little retention, and items placed there have a tendency to come loose and float around the compartment. The zipper pocket in the very back is at least secure. The material printed with the SOG logo here is quite thin and probably wouldn't stand up well to pointy or overly rough items;
Above the Admin compartment we have a zippered pocket that is big enough to hold a hard glasses case with room to spare, or other items you might desire to keep within easy reach;
On the very top we have the fairly sturdy grab handle, and a zippered pocket with soft lining that can accommodate sunglasses or cell phones up to a pretty good size. I've made extensive use of this to pack my BlackBerry Priv (in a hard case) around town safely. It will likely not fit a tablet of any kind. It also extends into the main compartment, so care must be taken to avoid allowing heavy or sharp items to bounce around inside lest they damage it through the pocket;
Moving into the main compartment, we can see the zippers open asymmetrically, halting at the mouth of the bottle holder on the right side and traveling all the way to the bottom of the compartment on the left. This doesn't allow as much access as a lay-flat type opening, but I've found it to still be pretty useful for digging out items from the depths of the pack. Here we can also see the two medium sized zippered mesh pockets. Again, these are not well suited for sharp items, but offer a modicum of organizational options for small to medium items.I would have liked to see more organizational options here, or at least heavier duty compartments than the mesh offers. In the very back is a pocket that can hold a hydration bladder. I would guess 2-3ltr maximum, but I haven't personally used this feature. Above that the outside of the electronics pocket is visible;
Behind that pocket is a velcro looped strap for securing your bladder's tube;
And there are velcro ports to either side of the handle allowing for ambidextrous placement of the tube;
I think that about covers the features, but for one more detail- the zipper pulls;
I'm not a fan of those. The big blocky tabs are easy to grasp, but the strings come much too long. I looped them through themselves an extra time and they still sometimes flop into the openings of the main and admin compartment and have to be fished out.
Some notes on the construction- The pack overall feels well built enough to withstand some use, and indeed I've put it through its paces in (mostly) urban environments for the past three months. I'm not gentle with my packs, and I feel a poorly made one wouldn't have held up so well. That said, the all-but-useless admin compartment slip pockets really let me down, and I did go over the seams with a lighter early on to seal off threads they left hanging from the factory, of which there were quite a few.
My final thoughts on this pack would be that it's a pretty nice budget option for a bag in this size and offers enough just enough versatility to suit various types of users. However, be aware it doesn't have the overbuilt construction or deep attention to detail of higher end options.
Comfort of carry
Versatility of storage options
Poor attention to detail
Some parts underbuilt, with less durable materials than outer shell
Main compartment lacking in organizational options