I'd been looking for the right travel backpack off and on for ages - something a bit more than your usual school/work daypack, but smaller than a full on backpacking bag, such that it'll fit under most airplane seats (since overhead space is a rare commodity nowadays). Once I saw this bag, I had a hunch I'd finally found something to fit the bill. As long as you don't stuff it completely full, it fits perfectly, leaving easy access to your small knickknacks stored in the top compartments without having to pull out the entire bag.
On the plus side, it doesn't have a dozen niche-use pockets just for the sake of having pockets (and corresponding zippers). The main compartment interior has sleeve pockets on all four sides - perfect for papers/magazines, laptop power bricks, shoes/sandals, etc. If you don't happen to need them, they take up no space. External side zip access to the laptop makes nice easy access at airport security and elsewhere. Ample padding on the shoulder straps. Plenty of usable storage volume (often not the case with other much larger volume packs I've tried). The ninja black and modest-sized logo make for a nice nondescript bag from a distance as well.
On the down side, I don't know why the external side pockets aren't elastic. They won't hold short/small things well, so make sure you secure them down well with the straps (which goes against them being easy access for things like a water bottle). Even stuffing a rain cover in there, I was a bit concerned it may fall out.
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