When I saw the Faraday Defense booth at the 2022 SHOT Show, I was intrigued. As a police officer, I spent a bit of time in our county police’s Faraday cage (it houses all electronics seized during an arrest or after serving a search warrant), and I always found it intriguing. Since that time, I’ve actually looked for a quality Faraday bag to utilize while traveling. Until now, I hadn’t found a reputable one that I felt comfortable purchasing. Enter Faraday Defense.
For those who don’t know what a Faraday cage is, it is simply an enclosure of some sort that blocks electromagnetic fields. In the case of the police department, I visited on occasion, that “cage” is an entire room. In the Faraday Defense bags I tested, the “cage” is a sleeve inside a backpack. It may sound hard to believe that a “simple” sleeve inside a backpack can block signals from penetrating the material, but that “sleeve” is jam-packed with technology. One thing I can say with certainty after using Faraday Defense products for the last few weeks; THEY WORK.
Now, admittedly I’m not a tech genius. I’m not a tech savant. Heck, I’m barely a tech halfwit. But that said, I know when my devices have signal and when they don’t, and when I put my electronics in the Faraday Defense bags and sleeves, they were as good as invisible. They were not only physically invisible—which would be a relatively low bar for a review—they were also invisible to my cellular service provider and my Wi-Fi.
Unpacking and First Reaction
For product testing for this article, I received the Faraday backpack, the Faraday Dry Bag with the NX3 kit, the Faraday Phone Jacket, and the Faraday Cordura Jacket. Upon arrival, the items were still neatly stacked inside the cardboard box, and each item was sealed inside plastic wrap… the items all arrived in one piece. That’s always a plus!
I removed the items and eagerly began to check and see how everything looked and felt up-close. The first impression I got was, “Man, this company likes black styling as much as I do!” Literally, I order everything in black. T-shirts, cars, trucks, shoes, computer cases, you name it… all black. In fact, my current vehicle wasn’t black enough, so I had a 3M matte black wrap put on the entire car! So, seeing a sea of black in the box was great for me. That said, if you’re partial to hot pink, you just may be out of luck.
The one thing I was really curious about, though, was whether the backpack was actually comfortable to wear. A backpack that looks clean and stylish is great and all, but no one will use a wearable product that isn’t comfortable. Designer shoes that are unwearable become paperweights, and backpacks that dig into your shoulders or don’t hold more than a laptop and a small folder aren’t worth the effort.
I am happy to report, though, that the Faraday Defense backpack is the most comfortable backpack I own. I own a great TUMI bag that has traveled to a dozen countries with me. I thought I liked the comfort and function of it. The Faraday Defense backpack is, without a doubt, more comfortable on my back than my TUMI. Couple that with the fact that it can protect my electronics and passport from prying digital eyes, and you start to have the makings of a truly great travel backpack.
If I had to give one suggestion on how to make the backpack the perfect travel backpack, then I’d tell the company to consider adding an option for soft armor inside a hidden panel within the wearable bags. As of now, I’ll probably bounce between my TUMI that has armor (I repurposed my old bulletproof vest) and the Faraday Defense backpack. If they add the option for armor (even through a 3rd-party partner, perhaps), then they’ll have made the PERFECT travel bag (it is true that I personally could repurpose my old body armor and put it in the Faraday Defense bag, but it would be cool for them to offer that option at purchase for the vast majority of people that don’t have an extra vest just laying around).
Products, Features, and Materials
Faraday Defense Backpack
According to its website, the Faraday Defense Backpack is made from durable black canvas and is lined with 2 layers of copper-nickel fabric. Additionally, the inner pockets of the bag block radiation and prevent signal impregnation.
For the people reading this who are far smarter than me who wish to know the protection specifics, the Faraday Defense website says the “Faraday Backpack offers 85 dB (400 MHz-4 GHz) attenuation, anti-tracking & anti-spying capabilities and is used for the following applications: Cell signal, GPS, RFID, and Wi-Fi signal blocking.”
What that means to any layman reading this article is that the designated pockets within the bag block signals both to and from the outside of the bag. I currently own a 13″ MacBook Air, and it easily fits into the designated laptop sleeve. When my laptop is in the sleeve, it is no longer responsive to Airdrop and doesn’t receive cellular calls. It is, for all intents and purposes, invisible. There are also sleeves in alternate pockets around the bag for cell phones, passports, and iPads/tablets. Honestly, the more you look through the bag, the more protective pockets you end up finding.
To date, I’ve carried this backpack to work every day without fail, and thus far, I literally have not one complaint with it. I dare say that I actually enjoy putting it on my back to walk from my car to my office. Weird, right!?
Faraday Dry Bag
I also received the Stealth Black Faraday Dry Bag – Gear Backpack. This dry bag boasts a resilient tarpaulin exterior and is puncture-resistant and water-repellant. Additionally, strong, reinforced seams give this bag endurance and durability.
For me, the purpose of this bag is less about using it as a daily-use bag and more about using it for activity-specific performance. According to the Faraday Defense website, “The Faraday Dry Bag is designed for travel and storage of laptops, tablets, radios and more. This backpack will keep your gear dry and secure with its watertight seal and signal blocking design.” If you are into hunting, kayaking, or you just like traveling in dreary London or rainy Seattle, then this bag is for you. Like the backpack, this bag has comfortable straps that don’t cause any “hot spots” when carrying it under load.
This bag would also be a great choice if you are planning a quick weekend getaway and you’d like a spacious bag that can keep both your electronics and your unmentionables secure, clean, and dry.
According to the Faraday Defense website, “Triple layers of CYBER NC (Nickel/Copper) line the interior, provide EMP protection, RF/EMF shielding and location blocking as well. Along with the interior, two mesh pockets are on either side of the back for holding drinks or smaller gear.”
This bag not only protects the integrity of your electronic equipment by blocking RF/EMF and EMP’s, but it also maintains a dry environment for your items for the times when keeping gear dry isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Overall, this is a well-designed bag that I will no doubt use on many adventures to come.
In my mind, the NX3 bags could be described as the white in the proverbial Oreo of a Faraday Defense backpack. The NX3 bags are made with a double layer of CYBER fabric and are—according to their website—one of the highest-rated bags of their type on the market today. The NX3 bags block Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cell signals (incl. 5G networks), GPS, and RFID. The bags also dissipate signals from both exterior and interior sources, and they effectively block the communication of signals to and from your device.
A feature I like about the NX3 bags is that I have the choice to use them in an existing bag or briefcase if I prefer it and thus can continue to protect my electronic items while still carrying my bag of personal preference. Additionally, women can choose to use the NX3 bags inside their purse or other handbag and get much of the same protection the backpack provides.
Faraday Phone Jacket
The Faraday Phone Jacket provides much of the same protection as the other items we’ve discussed thus far. Much like the NX3 bags, these phone jackets are made with a triple layer of metal-plated CYBER fabric lining, and they block Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cell signals (incl. 5G networks), GPS, and RFID. The phone jacket is in a way akin to a miniature backpack Faraday sleeve. Unlike the NX3 bags, these bags are good for use independently of an external bag. The covering – or jacket – on these bags adds the protection needed to help keep your sensitive electronics safer from bumps, scratches, or drops.
Faraday Cordura Jacket
The Faraday Cordura Jacket is made from a durable CORDURA® outer layer and is abrasive, puncture, and heat resistant. The jacket is lined with triple layers of high-quality blocking material and quality precision stitching and includes cell signal, GPS, RFID, and Wi-Fi signal blocking. According to their site, the bags are conveniently sized to fit many types of devices, including key fobs, cell phones, external hard drives, tablets, and standard laptops. Additionally, the bag meets military standards.
This jacket, in particular, stands out for its superb toughness. As each of the other bags does, this bag protects devices from prying eyes, but it does so with durability. This Cordura jacket boasts:
- Fabric weave: 1000 x 1000 Denier textured Nylon
- 3/4-1 oz/sq yd clear Polyurethane coating on fabric back
- Durable water-repellent finish on fabric
- Excellent resistance to fading, abrasion, rot, and mildew
- Grab Tensile strength – 528 x 472 lb
In other words, this thing is built to withstand. The first thought I had for the Cordura Jacket was, “I’m definitely putting my Passport in here when I travel. This thing is stout.”
Throughout this article, I’ve highlighted a handful of products that Faraday Defense carries, but I haven’t even really scratched the surface. A quick browse through their website reveals items such as a $25,000 Modular Faraday Structure, Blackout CYBER Faraday Fabric RF/EMF Shielding Curtains, and even the Faraday Duffel XL. I haven’t tried any of those products, but if they are of the same quality and boast the same attention to detail as the products I reviewed, then I fully expect them to also be great.
Of the products I have yet to review, one that stood out to me immediately as useful was the Faraday Duffel XL. For one, it’s a great-looking duffel; as I said above, nobody cares about the features of any product if it is unwearable or embarrassing to carry. I could easily see this duffel being used daily to haul gym clothes back and forth, and I think it offers a great secondary option for protecting your electronic devices when you don’t feel safe leaving them in the car for fear of theft.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Faraday Defense products I tested. I never expected to even consider changing out my TUMI travel backpack for another, but the quality and function of the Faraday backpack have made a compelling argument for me to consider.
Well done, Faraday Defense, on creating important, high-quality products. Keep it up!
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