In concept, backpacks are simple. They’re just a bag to throw in things we want with us, then wrap it around our shoulders and on we go. But as the mobile gadget and accessory market expanded, so did our important inventories, of all shapes and sizes. I’m sure I’m not the only one has ran around the airport with a ridiculously-stuffed backpack, having to forcefully compress it with my feet to get it to fit under the aircraft seat (and sometimes having to throw it up into the overhead bin).
So a few travel bag companies have stepped in and attempted to “engineer” solutions that could cope with our disordered tendencies. One of the most compelling ones we’ve seen is the Professional Slim Laptop Backpack from eBags. Their goal of this bag is apparent, maintain slimness while maximizing its thoughtfully compartmentalized space. It also looks sophisticatedly constructed and styled. This Synopsis runs through what you should know.
The eBags Professional Slim Laptop backpack is a different kind of backpack. It’s specifically configured for two purposes: to keep the user organized and to efficiently use space so that a lean and clean figure is maintained. This means you won’t be throwing items in thoughtlessly, that is, if you want everything to fit. You’ll have to think about what’s better where. One may question why you’d want extra work, but the payoff is a considerably more manageable bag on your treks (and you won’t look like such an unruly traveler).
- Thick and sturdy construction
- Thought-out compartments, from head to toe
- Lots of pockets to keep you organized
- Maintains its slimness (will fit under airplane seat)
- Comfortable straps and substantial back padding
- Packing to capacity will take time and thought
- Bulkier items may cause bulge against your back
- May not fit everything a standard, similarly-sized backpack could
- Pricey for a backpack
What it’s like to use
- The backpack is labeled “Professional” but, to us, looks more contemporary and fashionable. This is further insinuated by the inner orange coloring (which is the same on both our Graphite and the Black models). The styling is fine for non-serious folk such as ourselves, but those in business may not get the understated but elegant aesthetic they may seek.
- The stitching has the high quality look and feel that we’d expect from a bag at this price. The exterior is soft fabric, not a hard shell that the form may imply. That said, the fabric is robustly weaved, thick, and firm. eBags calls it a “twisted poly fabric”, and it doesn’t just provide sturdiness but an attractive, tiled textured look.
- All the seams feel similarly brawny. You can feel extra stiffness (padding) about the seam lines, which is dual purpose: to reinforce the bag from splitting under stress and to enhance the bags strength (and protection of the contents within).
- There are two large compartments that you can fill for the span of the backpack (but not completely on the forward, secondary space because of a deep 4″ pocket on the bottom of the bag – more on this soon). Interestingly, these compartments can only be unzipped from the top and down only one of the sides. They’re simply bays, with only a pocket division (larger on the larger, rear compartment, where you’d place the laptop). There’s sufficient (but not extensive) padding on all sides.
- Between the two main spaces is a large top-zipped-only pocket (almost the width of the backpack) that goes about halfway down. Its fleece-lined on one side. eBags calls it a tablet pocket.
- On the front of the bag, you’ll see a large top compartment and a small bottom one. The top is just a flap that opens to reveal numerous differently-sized zipped-pockets, some that are transparent via mesh and some that are just inner pockets. There’s also one elastic pouch for a quick access item (perfect for a battery pack or two) and a slots for pens/pencils and cards.
- The bottom pocket is a different approach. Unzipping that flap reveals a deep space. It extends about half the thickness of the bag. It actually cuts into the bottom of the large, middle bay, creating a flat platform there not found in the larger one (hence, why you put the laptop in the other space). What’s interesting here is that eBags fit a separable tough shell within, to provide crush-resistance for more sensitive items. If you don’t care for this, you can remove the shell for a little extra space.
- You’ll see another zipped pocket on the bottom of the right side. It’s not very big; the only area you’ll get is as far as the flap can extend. eBags fit an elastic mesh pocket which makes it usable as a drink bottle holder.
- Lastly, somewhat hidden is an extra zipped pocket atop the large front flap. It’s a nice, easily accessible slot just for thinner items, like passports, tickets, etc.
- The straps are sturdy as the rest. The underside is lined with breathable “Airmesh” padding, so it’s comfortable. We could use a little more padding (for heavier loads), but it’s sufficient.
- Similar “Airmesh” padding is considerably lined throughout the backrest – two pads on either side and one across the bottom. These are much more padded than on the straps, which also makes for a breathable channel down the middle.
- The backpack has some resistance to expanding past its lean shape, forcing the user to keep their over-packing under control. This is by design. It can be frustrating if you’re used to stuffing a bag with freedom, but we can totally understand what eBags is trying to do here. It maintains the backpack’s slim profile and manageability.
- That said, if you’re adamant on stuffing it (like me), you could end up with a bulge about the center, which makes the pack lopsided on your back. What doesn’t help is that everything in the main, middle bays just falls to the bottom. Having some kind of spacer system would help distribute the contents and make sure they stay that way.
- Furthermore, there isn’t much depth to work with, so the inner compartments can fight for space (i.e. if you put a bulky item in one, it can cut into the neighboring compartment).
- The backpack’s relentless form makes it able to stand up on its own – a nice aspect for when you want to throw it on top of your carry-on (it fits perfectly atop). However, its balance can differ based on the weight distribution inside.
- I took the backpack on a trip to Europe stuffed to its gills. It held up under exceeding load, and returned unfazed. There are no signs of weak points where a failure may develop in the future. I also found the material to be resistant to grime. It looks as nice as on day one. Comfort was also not a concern. The only contention was the effort in trying to arrange everything so that it fit. A couple things had to get edited out, but I managed.
We were left impressed with the eBags Slim Backpack. It’s a design that strikes a perfect balance between space and form, and is constructed as sturdily as we’d want for its premium cost. Kudos to eBags for putting a lot of thought and quality into the making of this bag.
That said, its tight spaces and narrow depth makes us feel like it’s not for everyone. To stuff it for a big trip, items have to be puzzle-pieced into place, or you won’t fit everything. There are similarly-sized (and less expensive) backpacks that can hold more and are easier to pack. But we have to remind ourselves that the intent here is organization and manageability. Something has to be said for a backpack that can slip into any space as you’re to and fro on a trek.
Also Read: Ultrabooks with the smallest bezels