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I'm looking for a good everyday backpack that is durable and has quite a bit of room. Currently I'm using this backpack that I received as a gift: http://www.mastodonrocks.com/files/merch/preview/detail_backpack.jpg

It's a great backpack in that it has the features I want- rucksack style loading, two small front pouches (about the size of a deck of cards) and one larger front pouch (about the size of a graphing calculator) but it's not very durable (it is just band merch, after all). It has almost no structure at all, and while I don't want something with an actual internal frame, I'd like something a bit more rigid.

I use the backpack mostly for taking my laptop to class and for weekend trips- the top flap is great for throwing a sleeping bag under.

asked Jul 27 '11 at 12:58

wilbus's gravatar image


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The RUSH 72, by 5.11 Tactical

alt text

As solid goes, 5.11 Tactical is about as good as it gets. Tested by Viking Tactics for the manifold stresses of modern warfare (no, not the game), the RUSH 72 will hold up to just about anything you can throw at it, water included. I wouldn't submerge it, of course—there are drain points in bottom of the hydration compartment as well as the main compartment—but in rain, there's very little risk of damage if you've closed the zippers fully.

The reason I recommend the 72 variant instead of the 24 is simple: there's more space if you need it, and if you don't need it, then you don't have to use it. The compression straps pull tourniquet-tight in a few seconds, and you can loop them into the attached MOLLE webbing to keep them that way. Though the 72 is a bit wider than its smaller cousin, it's not nearly as noticeable as it seems in the pictures, even when packed. I use my 72 as a Bug-Out-Bag, with the two side pockets functioning as compartments for items that might draw a few questions if packed in more accessible areas. And despite the considerable amount of gear I've managed to fit, it's still about the same as my old SwissGear pack. That is to say, fairly mid-sized, as backpacks go.

The 72 is also perfect because it's multipurpose, and fulfills various roles without needing any pouches tacked on (although I did find a MOLLE-compatible organizer for pens, an external hard drive, and other such tools). It has sternum straps and hip pads that take the load significantly off your shoulders, and also features an aluminum hard-plate in the back both for support and so any pointy items in the pack won't dig into your spine.

Oh. And did I mention pockets? Because there are a lot of those. It doesn't look like it from the picture above, but there are tons of pockets--a sunglasses pocket, an organizer pocket, a main compartment, a water bladder compartment, two side compartments, and additional mesh and closed-nylon pockets within nearly every one of those.

I won't lie, it's pretty expensive as everyday packs go, especially if you aren't used to paying for them. I was lucky enough to receive mine as a gift from those who knew which pack I wanted, so I was ecstatic. But every other pack I've owned (a lot of SwissGear) has suffered from ripped handles, zippers that catch and come apart, torn outer shells, and other flaws which significantly reduced the quality of the product. The 72 has every indication of being as battle-ready as Viking Tactics claims, and even with the heavy loads I've carried on a daily basis, it has held up superbly.

~ Nathaniel Gage

P.S: If you're not the kind of person to use a hydration bladder, you can consider using the hydration pocket as laptop storage. It fits my 15" Macbook Pro just fine with space to spare, so if you've got something like a gaming computer, then it will probably fit. The aluminum hard-plate doubles as extra protection.

P.P.S: And if you're used to being able to stuff a sleeping bag in the main pocket, the 72 has you covered there too. The recent design update now features underside attachment points, so a rolled sleeping bag can be carried under the pack with the aid of a bit of twine or paracord. Of course, you could also just stuff it into the compression pocket.


answered Aug 01 '11 at 18:13

Nathaniel%20Gage's gravatar image

Nathaniel Gage

edited Aug 04 '11 at 19:12

Apple laptop and iPad users are quite fond of Tom Bihn bags. The primary focus is the secure storage and transport of computers. The secondary focus is functional bags for all sorts of activity. The Synapse backpack sounds like a pretty good fit for your requirements. I use the somewhat-larger Smart Alec pack. The even-larger Brain Bag was reviewed here in 2003 (although I'm sure the design has been updated a bunch of times since then). Their Ristretto bags are well-liked by folk for carrying tablets and Air-class laptop computers.


answered Jul 30 '11 at 08:43

floatingbones's gravatar image


Well, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Maxpedition-made rucks and/or slingers. I am a big fan of Kodiak slinger. alt text

What I like about Kodiak is that it fits up to 15" notebooks and can quickly be pulled up front so you can retrieve your stuff from pouches while still on the go. This allows you to sit down without removing the slinger as well as pull it up front for security reasons if you're in the crowded spaces where you don't want to keep your valuables behind your back where you can't keep an eye on them. They also have smaller slingers and a line of fanny-pack replacing Versipacks.

Quality and durability is top-notch, Maxpedition products will live thru abuse and neglect no problems. For most of the products they now have an option for bright (not military-looking) colours but even regular black/tan/foliage work very well for day to day use.


answered Aug 01 '11 at 15:25

stangri's gravatar image


For simple style, you can't beat the Jandd Tozi Kletter. Simple looks, burly cordura construction, attachment points, comfortable straps and well made. It has a traditional klettersack style, which means one main pocket and a top flap/pocket. alt text I did a review on my site here: http://robonza.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-jandd-tozi-kletter-backpack.html

For a combination of more business looks and more doo-dads. I have been carrying a Osprey Flapjack. It has a padded area for a laptop, dressier looks and more pockets for office life. I have been using this one for over a year and really like it. alt text More photos and a detailed review here: http://robonza.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-osprey-flap-jack.html



answered Aug 01 '11 at 12:20

xjoex's gravatar image


edited Aug 01 '11 at 12:21

How does the Osprey Flap Jack fare in the rain?

3 years, 4 months ago
oliver's gravatar image oliver

As System/Network Administrator I second 5.11 Rush 24. Awesome backpack. Versatile and roomy.


answered Aug 01 '11 at 15:50

rmrf's gravatar image


I'm a (female) middle school teacher who has used this backpack to shlep a ton of books, papers, etc, with all required gear (iPad, iPhone, pens, folders, notebooks, thin jacket, small umbrella) for years. I was so enthusiastic about it that I bought one for son (sophomore in high school)--in a different color, natch! It'll hold up to 15" laptop. It's comfortable, roomy, has great, easy access: The Timbuk2 Computer Backpack. It's stylish, roomy, padded but not overly bulky. It looks different (easy to spot). Love all the compartments, secret pocket. It's great for organization freaks, but also has a very roomy main pocket, You can keep things simple, but it allows you to compartmentalize, too. Here's the video presentation on Zappos: http://www.zappos.com/multiview/7722847/264622


answered Aug 01 '11 at 16:11

lisa's gravatar image


LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack is by far the best SIMPLE backpack there is. Keyword here is SIMPLE. Lots of room and compression straps make it easy to pack a lot of stuff. MOLLE straps are a bonus for those who want to expand the use of the pack. Several colors to choose from and a price that is LESS than $30 make this a no brainer. I have used this bag on a daily basis for over a year now and it has done everything that I have asked it to. I had reservations with the pack prior to purchase because of the low price. I figured that it was cheap and not well made. That is the farthest thing from what I got. Well made pack, lots of space, quality materials, and nothing fancy. I am very hard on gear given the nature of my line of work, Tactical SWAT Medic, but this bag has been worth every penny!

LA Police Gear 3 Day Backpack


answered Aug 01 '11 at 12:21

Leviathan's gravatar image


edited Aug 01 '11 at 12:22

LL Bean's Deluxe Book Pack is as simple and solid as they come. It's got some pockets without having too many. I've had more than a few during the past 20 years, often carrying many heavy books and laptops. And not one of them has showed any signs of wear (including the straps, zippers and seams).


answered Aug 01 '11 at 12:28

GotMigs's gravatar image


I have a type of bag I get. Anything with a laptop comparment, a second laege compartment for books and third small compartment for spare pens, leatherman, flashlight, EDC gear. And A pocket for a water bottle. I am a backpack junky. Currently I have a Wenger. http://www.amazon.com/SYNERGY-SwissGear-Wenger-Computer-Backpack/dp/tags-on-product/B000NONHYY I love the layout, but I am finding that the lower back pad is wearing out due to friction.


answered Aug 01 '11 at 12:31

mpechner's gravatar image


I have a type of bag I get. Anything with a laptop comparment, a second laege compartment for books and third small compartment for spare pens, leatherman, flashlight, EDC gear. And A pocket for a water bottle. I am a backpack junky. Currently I have a Wenger. http://www.amazon.com/SYNERGY-SwissGear-Wenger-Computer-Backpack/dp/tags-on-product/B000NONHYY I love the layout, but I am finding that the lower back pad is wearing out due to friction.


answered Aug 01 '11 at 12:32

mpechner's gravatar image


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Asked: Jul 27 '11 at 12:58

Seen: 17,855 times

Last updated: Sep 08 '11 at 16:01

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