Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack – One Heck Of A Pack

The black ember citadel minimal backpack is among the black ember citadel collections and was actually one of the most anticipated backpacks during the year it was first released.

An adult wearing a black ember citadel minimal backpack

Its sleek design, top-notch materials, and amazing features makes this a favorite for a lot of backpack users. But is this bag actually worth your investment?

In this post, we explain the features of the black ember citadel minimal backpack and pinpoint some drawbacks we were able to identify. Note that to some people these might just be minor drawbacks while to some others it might be a major bummer.

Depending on your needs you decide on whether this is the right backpack for you.

Product Name: Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack

A Good Place To Buy: Amazon

Capacity: 25L

Guarantee: Lifetime Guarantee Applies To Original Owner covers defects in materials and/or workmanship

My Rating: 9 out of 10

An image of black ember citadel minimal backpack


The black ember citadel actually comes in two versions which are the minimal and the modular versions. This is actually the minimal version and it is 25L in capacity. It was made with 800-Denier-3- layer micro-hex performance textile and the textile inside the backpack is a bright inner 400denier silver coated ripstop lining.

The backpack has a sleek urban look and was designed to reduce reflection and keep you stealthy. It was designed with laser-cut hypalon which has a high waterproof rating.

For the best quality zippers, laser-cut bonded ykk pu-coated aquaguard zippers were used for the backpack and this means that water has no access into the pack through the zipper lines.

The pack has a clamshell opening which means that the zippers to accessing the main compartment opens up to the bottom of the bag making it easier when stuffing your items or belongings into the bag.

Convertible Backpack

The black ember citadel pack can be converted from a two strapped backpack to either a one strap backpack or a strapless pack.

Briefcase carry style of black ember citadel minimal backpack

There is a small opening close to both shoulder straps of the bag that the straps can be tucked into if you intend not to make use of them thereby transforming the bag to either a one-strapped bag or a strapless bag.

If strapless, the bag can be carried in the form of a briefcase by making use of the separately sold side handle of the bag giving the bag a completely different carry style.

Suspended Laptop Compartment

The black ember citadel minimal backpack comes with a suspended laptop compartment that can be used to store your laptops. The laptop compartment can be accessed from both inside the bag and by making use of a dedicated zipper for this compartment at the top of the bag.

Suspended laptop compartment of black ember citadel minimal backpack

Personally, I think making use of the zipper at the top of the pack is much easier when trying to access your laptop compartment than if accessed from the main compartment of the bag.

The laptop compartment is very close to the back panel of the pack which is padded so this helps to protect the laptop in the compartment from getting damaged.

The bottom of the bag is not padded and this might have been a problem if the laptop sleeve was not suspended. Luckily it is suspended and so if the backpack should vertically fall on the ground, the laptop would not be affected by the fall because it is not touching the bottom of the bag.

Pretty good thinking by the designers of the black ember citadel backpack.

Hidden Document Compartment

What better way to secure your documents from the bad guys than with a hidden compartment big enough to contain your documents. The citadel minimal backpack comes with a zippered hidden compartment at the back of the pack that can be used to hide items away from prying eyes.

Hidden compartment of black ember citadel minimal-backpack

Carry your backpack with style and with the mind that your documents are safe. More ideal for documents of any kind which can be office documents or even travel documents.

I have reviewed quite a lot of bags and from all my reviews I don’t think I remember coming across a hidden compartment as big as the hidden compartment in the black ember citadel backpack.

Pretty impressive from the designers of this bag and this just adds to one of the reasons why this was considered one of the most anticipated backpacks during its first release.

Pockets and Organization

If you make use of a lot of gadgets then you would be pleased by the number of pockets included in the black ember citadel pack. A total of 8 internal organization pockets and 2 mesh pockets are located inside the bag for the organization of your items.


There is also a pocket at the front of the bag that can also be used in storing some of your items. The black ember citadel minimal backpack does not have a water bottle pocket for storing a water bottle but instead, a water bottle is stored in a way that is a bit different from how it is done on other backpacks.

Instead of making use of a pocket the citadel designers decided to instead make use of straps to firmly hold the water bottle. This is actually creative and you would not find this being done on a lot of backpacks.

These straps, unfortunately, does not come with the backpack and would have to be bought separately.

Well Padded Backpanel

For comfort and good airflow at the back of the bag, a well contoured and padded back panel was used which keeps your back dry while the bag is on your back.


This is a pretty useful feature especially for those that carry their backpacks during sunny weather. Because of the material used in designing the back of the bag, there would be proper airflow between your back and the back of the backpack keeping your back dry even in a sunny weather.

Well Padded and Adjustable Shoulder Straps

Had enough of the black ember citadel? Well buckle your seat belt because there are some more awesome features that are meant to make the backpack more comfortable just for you.

For more comfort while carrying the pack, the citadel designers decided to make use of well padded and adjustable shoulder straps.

The shoulder straps have lots of padding and were made so the padding is not too much and the reduced contact patch helps a lot to reduce sweating during the summer

For the padding, you would be able to carry the pack for a long time without your shoulders feeling fatigued and for adjusting you would very much be able to adjust the straps so the pack can properly sit on your back and properly fit on your body.

According to the words of some users, the adjustable shoulder straps feels like a life jacket because it makes the bag to hug you tight while still being very comfortable.

Straps-of-black ember-citade-backpack

Magnetic Sternum Straps

Not a lot of backpacks do this I can assure you that. The non-removable sternum straps of the citadel minimal backpack are magnetic which means that they can auto lock without you actually locking it yourself. A pretty cool feature for a backpack.

There are also straps at the bottom of the front of the bag that can be used to hold items you probably don’t want inside the pack. For example, a wet jacket or an umbrella can easily hold on the straps at the bottom of the bag.

Heck, you can even fit a tripod in there instead of being worried that it cannot fit inside your bag.

Some Drawbacks Found on the Black Ember Citadel Pack

A pretty awesome pack but just like everything else nothing is perfect and definitely has some shortcomings. Below we list some drawbacks found on the black ember citadel pack.

1. Bottom of the pack not padded

This can be a huge bummer depending on what you put into the bag. You would have to be careful when you drop the bag on the ground especially if carry gadgets in the bag on a regular basis because the bottom of the pack is not padded.

Lucky for the users the laptop compartment is suspended and would not be affected by this. If you intend to use the other compartments for your laptop you might be putting your laptop at risk because if the bag should fall vertically it might damage the laptop.

2. Accessing the laptop compartment

It was pretty smart from citadel designers to make the laptop compartment suspended but it can be pretty difficult gaining access to this compartment from inside the pack.

It is therefore advisable that if you are to make use of the laptop compartment to access it using the laptop dedicated zippers from outside the backpack.

3. Separately sold parts

Citadel gives you the option to customize this backpack by attaching or removing some straps on the pack or the top and side handles based on your needs but the problem with this is that most of these parts are sold separately.

The top handle that comes with the pack is not really useful because it is thin and is not padded. To get the really comfortable handles you are going to have to purchase these separately.

The same thing goes with the side and compression straps of the bag.

Some other minor drawbacks are on the inner pockets of the bag as they are not as flexible as one might hope. Also, the mesh pockets can be pretty tight and would have been much better if they were a little more flexible.

A Pretty Awesome Pack

The black ember citadel minimal pack definitely lives up to its hype with its well-thought-out design, layout and top-notch fabric that makes the pack to be highly weatherproof. Its magnetic sternum straps, suspended laptop compartment, hidden file compartment, and well contoured and padded back panel are just some of its features that makes it one hell of a backpack.

Water bottle straps of the black ember citadel minimal backpack

Some of its other amazing features are its padded and adjustable shoulder straps, the convertible feature from a two strapped backpack to either a one strap bag or a briefcase style bag, customizable configuration, the use of ykk aquaguard zippers, laser-cut hypalon, 8 internal pockets, and 2 mesh internal pockets.

Trust me when I tell you that you are going to be using this pack for a pretty long time and although it has some minor drawbacks they should not have a huge impact on your use of the bag on a day to day basis.

I definitely highly recommend this bag for anyone looking for a backpack meant for the modern man.

Black ember citadel backpack

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