- Asus 11.6" laptop & charger
- Dell 8" tablet
- MicroUSB wall charger
- 10,000 MaH battery pack
- Olympus OM-D EM-5
- Camera battery chargers
- Camera Flash
- 3 Lenses (45mm f1.8, 12-55mm EZ, 40-150 f4)
- Small tripod
I took about an hour on the website going over the specs of each bag. I think there was extra pressure because I felt if I did this right I was finally going to have the perfect bag. After laboring over the choices, I decided to go with the SLIM Backpack for laptops up to 15.6". I placed my order and fell asleep quicker knowing happiness was on the horizon.
The first thing I noticed: it looks like a backpack. That's a good thing; subtlety is ideal. The next thing I noticed was how well it was put together. In my search I've bought Timbuk2 bags, but I've also purchased cheap bags because they have a pile of pockets and that's what I want. This is much more of a high-end offering than you'll find casually browsing Target or an office supply store. I was also happy to see it has waterproof zippers. I don't spend much time in the rain, but when I do, it's never the time I've decided to bring an umbrella. Between the zippers and the waterproof fabric, I feel my gear is protected from the elements.
Another thing - this backpack is THIN. Really, extremely thin. The 15" laptops I brought to college would fill this sucker up (though, by today's weight standards and thickness, that was more of a desktop than a laptop - we're talking inches thick and weight in pounds over 5). Honestly, it made me nervous. Nothing I have to go into the bag is extremely thick, but when stacked, I wasn't sure how it was going to work. I left the tag on, just in case.
Finally, I had to stick my fingers in the mesh. It was awesome! Sure, I'm 12-years-old, and I bet you'll do the same thing.
But the show must go on! I started with the exciting stuff. The elastic bands have rubber ridges and as I slid things like my camera, lenses, and slick battery pack into the grid, I became more and more confident that things weren't going to come loose and fall to the bottom of the pack. In fact, I think this bag works best at its fullest. The more items you have, the less they will jostle and the better it will hold things in place. That being said, I don't think I could have added much more to the top of the bag. As I zipped it up, it was pretty clear that there isn't more room for gear in that pocket.
I moved to the back main pouch to put my computer and tablet there, along with the tripod and an HDMI cable and I was greeted with a benefit of having the Grid-It® system built into the bag. Even though all my gear in the front of the bag is lumpy and has all sorts of things poking into the next compartment, the system requires a rigid surface behind the grid to work, so when I slid my laptop into the sleeve against the front of the pouch it was like there was nothing in the pouch in front of it. It comforts me a bit to know that my laptop will have pressure dispersed if something presses against the front of the bag instead of having a single point of force against it. The tablet worked as well as a tablet does. The small tripod and HDMI cable were not a problem at all.
And all of a sudden I had a table with only a full backpack on it. I was pretty dumbfounded. It worked exactly how I had dreamed!
After using it for a while, the only major let down of this bag is that the straps feel like they are not up to par with the rest of the pouch. When you put them on, the foam is a little thin and flimsy, and it shifts around inside it's area. There's also no chest strap (as much as you made fun of that guy in high school, it really does help if you're walking or on a bike). I feel they are connected well to the pack. It's not that I'm worried they'll come off, just that they could be a whole lot better, especially considering the quality of the rest of the pack.
If you're in the market for a bag to organize and carry your gear, I highly recommend checking these bags out!