The Henty Wingman Backpack brings together some really well thought out ideas into one well made package. If used correctly it also keeps everything crease-free on a long commute, which is a huge bonus.
One of the things that stops many people commuting by bike is that they need to wear a suit or smart clothes at work, which need to not be a crumpled mess. Assuming you can't or don't want to wear such clothes to cycle in, this is where the Henty Wingman comes in, giving you the ability to carry clothes on their bike without them crumpling up.
The basic design is a suit bag that sits horizontally and can be Velcroed and clipped shut to keep everything in place. This is then rolled into a cylinder shape, which theoretically means no creases are created and the suit/shirt/dress should come out in the same condition it went in.
Generally speaking this works pretty well when some thought is put into the packing of said suit/shirt, and the included hanger certainly helps in this regard. I found it was more difficult if I tried to take a week's worth of kit in at once – although Henty says that it's designed for three shirts, it is still possible to carry five, it just requires some additional thought into making sure it all fits properly and lies flat.
The suit element of the bag has a large padded suit compartment with taped zips across three sides. This large opening makes it easy to pack a suit and shirt without needing to force anything, meaning fewer potential creases. Outside of this there is also a large pocket, which is useful for storing flat but bendable things such as papers and travel documents.
In addition to the suit section, the Wingman Backpack includes an 18L waterproof 'inner tube', which the suit section wraps around. It's useful for packing shoes, lunch, and anything else you might need for work, and the more you can pack into it the better, because the larger the circumference that the suit bag has to wrap around, the fewer the creases created.
The Wingman also comes with a small documents wallet that can be slipped into any part of the bag to keep smaller items together.
There's a Messenger version of the Wingman with a single shoulder strap and 14L inner tube (for £135), but this Backpack model includes, naturally, two shoulder straps. These sit on the shoulders comfortably, and this 'segment' of the backpack also includes a laptop sleeve for anything up to a 15-inch laptop, which sits behind the padding on the backpack, in addition to a smaller pocket at the base of the back, which is useful for items like hardcover notebooks or tablets.
It's not a cycling-specific backpack, and can be used on motorbikes and just generally, and this does show slightly in the breathability when carrying it. It isn't like having a radiator on your back, but could do with a little more ventilation for comfort, especially when you have the laptop case in use. It isn't really an issue for shorter commutes that don't require too much climbing, but on a couple of hotter days it was noticeable.
The straps are comfortable on the shoulders despite not being the most padded, and there is also a chest and waist strap to keep everything in place while riding. It certainly feels secure and because of the cylindrical nature and well considered material choices, I think it also looks good while being worn.
One of the biggest selling points of the Wingman is that it is weatherproof, and it seemed to be the case, standing up to wind and rain during the testing period, although the weather wasn't particularly severe. It certainly kept out light and medium rain and seems like it would survive considerably worse.
As for value, at £155 it's expensive, but I think the innovative features and high quality design go a long way to justifying it.
Overall, the Wingman performed very well throughout the testing period. It was great for transporting everything to and from work, has all the features you'd want from a commuting bag, and keeps out the weather. It would be nice to see a little more ventilation across the back, but aside from that there is little not to like.
A well made, innovatively designed bag that keeps your smart clothes dry and uncrumpled
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Henty Wingman Backpack
Size tested: DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT WINGMAN BACKPACK – REGULAR – 1.7kgs (3.7lbs) Rolled – 56 x 22 x 25cm (22 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches) Unrolled – 56 x 101cm (22 x 39.7 inches) Inner Tube 0.4Kgs (0.9lbs) 52 x 20cm cylinder; 18 litres
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It is a commuting bag that you can use for everything including suits and shirts.
Henty says: 'The Wingman Backpack is a multi-purpose suit and garment bag that enables easy and versatile all weather commuting and travel.'
This is pretty accurate: it is simple to use and well designed.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
WINGMAN BACKPACK – REGULAR – 1.7kgs (3.7lbs)
Rolled – 56 x 22 x 25cm (22 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches)
Unrolled – 56 x 101cm (22 x 39.7 inches)
Inner Tube 0.4Kgs (0.9lbs)
52 x 20cm cylinder; 18 litres
**** Backpack Straps
Wingman Backpack (suit and garment compartment):
1 x suit (jacket and pants/skirt) +2 x shirt/blouse or
3 x shirts/blouses
18L Dry Bag (gym/utility bag):
a pair of shoes, gym gear, towel, toiletries, phone, wallet, keys, lunch and banana.
SIZING: Full shoulder 47 – 56cm
Really well made with a tough material that is unlikely to rip, with well-thought-out elements like the drybag, and it's also waterproof.
Did everything it needed to: kept clothes dry and uncreased, kept the water out, and carried things in several useful pockets.
Seems pretty durable, with a decent material choice and strong zips used throughout.
Comfortable on the shoulders, although could perhaps do with a little more ventilation across the back.
About where I would expect a bag of this quality to sit in terms of pricing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well, transporting suits and shirts largely without creasing, though it's very dependent on how careful you are when packing. The waterproofing is a definite plus too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The basic design, wrapping suits/shirts around the central bag, is a really innovative idea.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Back could do with a little more ventilation for warmer or longer commutes.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Does everything it needs to well, keeping suits/shirts uncrumpled, and with enough space to fit in pretty much everything you need.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.