KNOMO Cromwell review: A large roll top backpack with tons of room

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TA-ratings-98Like laptops, smartphones, speakers, cases, and other tech, bags come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, a good bag or backpack is required for carrying your laptop or other devices from place to place. Our KNOMO Cromwell review takes a look at a slightly different backpack with a roll top closure, padded laptop pouch, and water-resistant polyurethane backing.


The KNOMO Cromwell backpack has the following features and specifications:

  • Padded laptop section: fits up to a 15-inch laptop. Designated section means your laptop is easy to grab on the go and kept separate from your other possessions
  • Water-resistant: backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane to give your possessions real protection from the elements
  • Roll-Top closure: with secure plastic clips; for near air-tight security and protection inside
  • Cushioned mesh back: for support and comfort wherever you are
  • Padded straps: to guarantee even more comfort
  • Detachable chest strap: for when you need the extra support
  • KNOMO ID: register your bag and if it’s lost, the founder can return it to you through our portal
  • Material: High-Frequency welded Nylon, backed with ultra water-resistant polyurethane
  • Dimensions: 24.4 x 12.9 x 6.1″ (HxWxD)
  • Weight: 2.2 lb
  • Capacity: 27.5L

What’s in the box

  • KNOMO Cromwell Roll Top Backpack


The first thing one will definitely notice about the KNOMO Cromwell Roll Top Backpack is its size. From the outside, it looks big, and it is at just over two feet in height, over a foot wide and half a foot deep. The exterior of the backpack is rather plain and has a smooth finish due to its Nylon material infused with water-resistant polyurethane.

The front of the KNOMO Cromwell backpack.

A single foot long, water-resistant, vertical zipper is located on the outside which opens to expose a thin, one foot by five-inch waterproof compartment for storing simple items like your phone. A small black square with the KNOMO logo is located on the lower right corner.

The front zipper accesses a thin, water proof pouch with extra storage.

The top of the bag features a roll top closure design. To open it, unclip the two side quick clip plastic straps, and unroll the top. The very top of the backpack has a thick nylon strip which attaches to the quick clip straps. The two quick clips are sewn onto the side of the bag, but a heat sealed patch on the inside of the bag ensures water-resistance. The inside of the KNOMO Cromwell offers ample storage space with its open container design. The inside is also a bit more plasticky feeling due to the polyurethane coating. The entire backpack is rather thin, but strong and the only thing missing from the construction that I would have liked to see is a padded bottom of some sort.

Instead of the standard zipper, the Cromwell has a roll top closure.

Located on the back of the inside is a padded pouch roughly 9 1/2″ wide and 14″ deep which supposedly stores up to 15-inch laptops. An 11-inch Chromebook inside a padded sleeve fit in this pouch nicely, and a 15.6″ Dell Latitude E7450 just barely fit, and was quite tight. That being said, it is slightly larger than KNOMO’s 15-inch recommendation and if you have a laptop that is 13- or 14-inches, you should be fine. At the top of this pouch is a small tag with a unique KNOMO ID number on it. Should your bag ever get lost, the person who finds it can go to the KNOMO website and KNOMO will collect the bag and send it back to you free of charge if you’ve registered your info on the site. In front of this is a flap with seven various sized pouches and two pen sized pouches for storing smaller items like tablets and phones.

The inside of the Cromwell has a pouch for laptops up to 15″ in size, as well as other devices.

As mentioned, the inside offers plenty of storage space and even though it doesn’t have a padded bottom, we were able to fit a 17″ Alienware laptop complete with the power brick and numerous items in it. Carrying this much weight was not uncomfortable and the straps held nicely without any sign of stress. That being said, if you are planning on carrying a laptop larger than can fit in the padded pouch, you’ll want to get a padded sleeve or case for it before slipping it into the open compartment area.

The roll top closure clips are stitched into the side, but the inside has a heat sealed patch to prevent water leakage.

The straps themselves are sewn into a padded panel on the back and smaller patches on the sides. Both the padded back panel and side patches are then heat sealed onto the backpack itself, removing the need for any stitching from going through the bag and thus providing a watertight exterior. The heat sealing looks to be well done and shows no signs of being easily separable. The padded back panel is nice, thick, and breathable, and the straps are thinly padded as well. About halfway down the straps is a thin reflective strip and below this is an adjustable chest strap which slides up and down some piping attached to the straps. The straps are adjustable as well, and an adjustable waist strap is attached to the bottom of the backpack as well.

The straps on the KNOMO Cromwell backpack.

Our review sample came in gray, the KNOMO Cromwell is also available in navy or white.


If you have a laptop smaller than 15″, the padded pouch inside will definitely keep it protected along with smaller devices like tablets and smartphones. Anything larger and the backpack has no padding or drop protection in the main compartment area.

The key level of protection the KNOMO Cromwell offers though is its ultra water-resistant polyurethane backing. When the back is shut and the clips secured, it’s obvious it forms a tight seal and keeps elements out as any air that is trapped inside doesn’t leak out when you squeeze the backpack. In fact, if you close the backpack while it is full of air, it actually doubles as a pretty comfy headrest in a pinch. That being said, it definitely is airtight when closed and our rain test in the shower proved to keep the inside of the backpack dry and without a drop of water. I probably wouldn’t trust it if it was submerged in a pool or stream, but it definitely keeps the rain out.

The back is nicely padded and the chest strap is adjustable.


With an MSRP of $99.99USD, the KNOMO Cromwell is fairly priced given its ample, open storage, water-resistant design.


If you have a smaller laptop and protection from the elements is a must, the KNOMO Cromwell offers ample storage and a water-resistant polyurethane finish.

*We were sent a sample of the KNOMO Cromwell backpack for the purposes of this review.

Last Updated on September 4, 2017.

KNOMO Cromwell backpack

$99.99 USD







Nailed it

  • Lightweight
  • Padded laptop pouch
  • Ample storage
  • Pockets for tablets, smartphones, and other devices
  • Water-resistant

Needs work

  • No padded bottom

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