Here's another backpack with more pockets than a snooker hall. The rear compartment features a suspended space for laptops that feels super protected, with soft lining. Meanwhile, the main compartment has heaps of slots for the ultra-organised, including a nylex-lined slot for tablets. A couple of quick-access front panels complete the concept, with space for any additional gadgets you may need, as well as a pocket on one shoulder strap for phones.
Considering the capacity you get, the Jets are surprisingly compact, with a version for 17in lappies large, but not nearly as bulky as some rivals in the same class. It's a bit of a plain design, but if I had a lot of stuff to lug around, it's definitely one I could see myself using daily.
Next up is the company's hippy schoolpack, the STM Ranger, which has one large compartment, closed with a drawstring and covered by a flap.
This comes with its own laptop sleeve for added protection and sits in the rear-most tech pocket. A felt-lined slot can be found on the front wall of this with space for large tablets, while there's a decent capacity for anything in the rest of the pocket. The front-most section unzips to reveal smaller slots and another zip pouch, presumably for smartphones.
There isn't much to it, but considering some of the backpacks here are more rucksack in size, the Ranger is a refreshing option for those with less stuff to carry, particularly the 13in version. It is slightly pricey for what you get, though.
Reg Rating 85%
Price £65 (Jet), £75 (Ranger)
More info STM
Wenger Swissgear Synergy
There's a lot of hype around Wenger backpacks and after getting my hands on one of its models, I can certainly see why. The Swiss Army knife maker packs its bags full of pockets for tech, with more than enough space for everyday needs and an extremely durable feel. There is a three year warranty too, if you had any doubts.
The Synergy features a padded rear section for up to 16in laptops, a spacious middle compartment for lunches or spare clothes and a pretty large front area for anything else. There's also a small, well padded front pocket, ideal for smaller kit and various other zip-protected areas, including a quick-access compartment on top with a hole to thread headphones through. Nice.
If that wasn't enough, you can extend the base of the main compartment for even greater depth. The shock-absorbing straps and back panel are lined with thick air-flow padding and no matter how much you cram in there, it's always comfortable to lug around.
While this particular version has no dedicated slot for a tablet, the company does offer a vast range of Swissgear backpacks that cater for all tech enthusiasts. Definitely worth considering, particularly at such competitive prices. ®
Reg Rating 95%
More info Wenger
Ten backpacks for tech-heads
I bought a Crumpler half-photo about a dozen years ago when going on a long trip. I wanted something that could take a fair amount of gear, some knocking about and was waterproof. The only thing I could find was a Crumpler and I haven't regretted it.
They are expensive but do come with a 30yr guarantee. Mine has been sailing trips to Far East, on safari, a round-the-world and Cape-to-Cairo. I've carried laptops, cameras, phones, ext HDDs and accompanying paraphernalia without one item getting damaged or wet. Even when I'm drenched, the insides stay dry.
I cycled for years in London in all weathers and went over the handlebars a few times without any damage or damp.
I was leery of the price when I bought it, but now it seems a bargain, particularly as it's barely marked, has retained its structure and still gets the job done.
No, I don't work for them - it's just nice to get what you pay for and then some...
...worth the money. Mine has been all over the world and is absolutely bulletproof. The Pakuma I had before it fell to pieces in about three months.
What about us bikers?
I've found the kriega ranga to be actually waterproof, as have done long journeys with their tail units (I have a US-20 plus the side attachy bits whatever the model is) in torrential downpours - you know the type that gets your goretex kit thouroughly soked, yet opening the bags I find 100% dry clothes and laptop.
My mate has their backpack jobby and his kit was also dry. Would any of the listed bags be trustworthy in a similar downpour? i.e.: is water resistant the same as actually rain proof?
Re: No Timbuk2?
I'm still rocking a 10+yo Dee Dawg messenger bag. None of your fancy padded backs or a gazillion little pockets to search through when you can't remember which one has your change/notepad/pen/commuter pass. Just a big honkin' waterproof bag with a proper strap. No mesh, no elastic, no apologies and no prisoners. I have a sleeve for my laptop and a pencil case for fiddly bits. My power brick has its own rubbery band thing, and any other cables just get coiled up and tossed in. Works a treat, and since I'm only about twenty years from retirement I don't imagine I'll ever have to replace it.
I see the Swiss pack a lot but personally I use an older Timbuk2 Swig backpack. This is a fairly basic hauler which meets my needs of being big enough to haul an HP 8530W and small enough to fit in a BMW motorcycle saddle bag. Mine was out of date and thus cheap, the newer ones have a nicer back panel and a sternum strap.
Their especial dos and tres are also well regarded.