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This rucksack is my primary bag for university and travel. It is not a particularly attractive bag, but in terms of function it is unmatched in my opinion. It is solid, sturdy and strong: no matter what you put in it, it isn't going to break or tear (though your back might ache...).
It is made by Wenger/Swissgear, the makers of the Swiss army knife, and it is apparent that they are masters in spatial design. There is no wasted space and there are a few useful additions making this a multi-functional bag, it can be filled to capacity for travel/school or made smaller for lighter use by lifting up the base of the largest compartment and tightening the elastic cords at the sides of the bag.
*STRAPS AND BACK*
The back straps are padded and adjustable in the same way as any other backpack. The plastic adjusters are sturdy enough that they are not going to break without considerable effort, and the excess tape is virtually untearable. On the top of the bag is a strap with a rubber handle to carry or move the bag in hand instead of on your back. On the back of the bag are two cushions either side behind the back straps with a dual purpose of comfort and creating an air passage to stop your back sweating. The straps are comfortable and don't rub bare arms and chest in the summer. The inner surface of the straps and the cushions of the bag are covered in a soft, perforated material. The back panel of the bag is reinforced with a stiff material to prevent bag mis-shaping and to protect the laptop compartment.
The laptop compartment is the furthest back, placing the laptop right next to your back when carried. It is thin and has an inner protected pocket to keep your laptop in place slightly above the base of the bag to prevent damage. It opens to 3/4 way down on both sides. So far I have carried laptops safely and without damage, despite dropping the bag on occasion.
The main compartment is large, I can fit 4 full ring binders in here with room to spare for paper pads, or 3 pairs of jeans and 5 t-shirts plus underwear for a week. This is the bulk of the space in the bag. The padded base of this compartment is what lifts to make the bag smaller for lighter use. It opens with a zip that goes to the bottom on both sides-very useful when packing clothes.
On the top of the bag, between the laptop and main compartments is a small compartment for MP3 players with a hole leading into the main compartment to reach a hole to the outside of the bag for your earphones. This is very handy when cycling so you can keep the wires behind you and not in your pocket getting tangled in the handlebars. It has a small pocket which can hold MP3 players up 2 x i-pod nano in size. For larger MP3 players, the compartment itself is more than adequate in size, or it can be used to store batteries as I do.
The front of the bag has a medium sized pocket with another pocket on that. With in it is yet another pocket and an organiser for pens/calculators/mobile phone etc. I love having multiple pockets in a bag, saves having a pencil case or phone cover. On either side of the bag is a mesh pocket which I use for bottles of water, but these are not usable if you've made the bag smaller.
*PRICE AND SPECS*
This is not a cheap bag, it currently retails at around £30, but I see it as an investment. This bag will last forever if treated well, and still many years if used and abused. The cost has been well spent on materials which are strong and durable and also comfortable. There are no flimsy panels between compartments or exposed stitching.
It would be great to use as hand baggage when flying.
(DxWxH): 23 x 34.3 x 44 cm. Fits up to 15.4" laptop.