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mai5464826wrote a review of on October 9, 2018

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wanted to love this bag, but I ended up liking it. I bought it to use going back and forth to school. I was using an Oakley Hardshell backpack for years. I tried 9 Northface, Oakley, and Osprey bags before deciding to keep this one in Black and an Oakley Mechanism Backpack. The criteria was ability to fit my notebooks a Lenovo Ideapad Y500 and Lenovo Yoga 900 at the same time with 20Kg of textbooks. Fitting the Y500 eliminated most of the backpacks. Despite saying they fit 15" notebooks in the "notebook compartment," with the Y500 that turned out to not be true.

All the backpacks I tried were really hard to differentiate. They all seemed to be made by the same factory in Vietnam. Nothing really stood out in make or quality wise from one to the other. All used the same cheap feeling plastic zippers and plastic hardware. The Oakley Mechanism has some cheap metal hardware (but not zippers), nothing to write home about.

On to this bag... A lot of the "features" seem great in theory, but are more marketing than real benefit. The bag is comfortable to wear, in fact it is the best "riding" pack I tried. The weight here, the best among the group, does distribute over your shoulders and renal-pelvic area. I can see no particular benefit from the double shoulder strap adjustment over a single. I don't notice the netting to separate the back of the back from the wearer's back doing much, but the shoulder straps themselves are very warm. The kickstand feature looks great in the videos, but it very much depends on straightening out the bag when trying to stand it up, and also depends on what you have inside. My bag has fallen over many times, and I often lean it up against a wall instead of playing with it.

The distribution of the sections is a bit unusual for me. Instead of one large compartment, the bag has separate compartments.

The first compartment (closest to the wearer's back) is the most functional. It has a "notebook compartment" which is a padded pocket that doesn't reach the ground. This was good for my Y500. Problem is, this is the only compartment with a passthrough for a hydration system. I installed a Ultimate Source M.C. 3L Hydration bladder and it fits perfectly and the tube secures perfectly on the shoulder strap, but it takes the main notebook compartment. There is more room in the same compartment in front of the padded pocket which would also fit the notebook, but then it is not secured. I can't see the wisdom of keeping your notebook together with your water bladder. My main compartment carries only the water bladder.

One oddity for the computer compartment is that this whole bag has these dopey half zippers with only attached cords to open and close rather than a tab. I cannot use the small pad locks that I used with my old bag to secure the contents in this bag.. 2 compartments have double zippers where I can lock the cords to each other (which can be cut) but this leaves some play. The computer compartment inexplicably only has one zipper and no way to secure it closed.

The second compartment has a double zipper and ends up being my main compartment. There is a pocket (I guess for a tablet) which fits my Yoga 900 well - I use it for that. In front there is plenty of room for books or whatever.

Next compartment is topside only, padded and seems pretty big, though the padding feels cheap.

Next compartment is the pocketed one. The pockets are made from a cheap feeling elastic webbing. None of the sizes are well suited for the various pens, power adapters, cables, and computer stuff I carry. They are all too small except for the one zipper pocket. Oakley does their pockets much better with sizing and non bungee material pockets having a velcro cover flap. There is more room in compartment to just dump stuff in.

The last compartment is superficial and insecure. Maybe for keeping store receipts or cables, but not passports. I can't figure what to do with it.

Overall the bag wears well, organization is strange