Rated 5 out of 5áby mjgiro Excellent for commuters
This bag complements my messenger bag, which started to wear on the shoulder during occasional travels to Boston. This bag gives me no pain.
It's not for books. The main compartment is rounded and better suited for a change of clothes. It also has a padded laptop sleeve and a thin sleeve for tablets/Kindles. The laptop sleeve happily accommodates my work Ultrabook, but very snugly fits my 14.9"x10"x0.9" home laptop. Anything bigger simply will not fit.
All other pockets are found in several side compartments. The pocket in the top flap has soft lining, good for glasses or fragile items. One side compartment (as pictured) zips completely open and has several sleeves for business cards and office accessories. The other side compartment has a mesh pocket, zips 80% of the way and is better suited for a large water bottle or a/c adapter. Lastly, there is a front compartment with a vertical zipper, which I find best for folded paper and small cables.
There are two shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a hip belt. It sits comfortably on my back, even on five mile walks. The oval form factor is not bulky, perfect for subway travel, and it looks presentable in the office. I love the easy access to every compartment, and especially like being able to open it up without exposing all contents to coworkers.
As other reviews note, the side compartments protrude into the main compartment. This could be a disadvantage if you stuff the main compartment to the brim. But I really like that they do not "puff out" and the bag retains its shape for the commute. I can still fit a full change of clothes (jeans/shirt/socks/gloves/hat/thin sweatshirt), shoes, and laptop without affecting the side pockets.
Cons: The main compartment zipper requires two hands to close. The main compartment does not have any small internal pockets, e.g. for your wallet or work badge. I get anxious leaving those items in the side pockets while on the subway, and so they get lost in the bag. All of the zippers are "sticky" which (subjectively) I've long associated with poor quality teeth, so we'll see how they hold up.
Having had good luck with two other LL Bean bags, one nearly 20 years old and still kicking, I expect this one will be with me for a while.
February 3, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5áby TNGator Sleek and full of space
This backpack is awesome! It is much slimmer and lighter than most laptop backpacks yet it fits tons of stuff in it. I am able to fit everything that was in my previous large messenger bag with room to spare.
January 29, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5áby Peppers389 Excellent commuter bag
Very good bag for commuting to work.
I can fit my salad container / Pyrex, a Lenovo T440 computer, charger, along with the numerous other items I keep there for daily use (multiple chargers, extra battery packs, etc.).
Strap placement / overall comfortableness is excellent too. Often backpacks will have uncomfortable straps, etc. This one seems quite fine when wearing my heavy winter coat, lighter winter coat, or just a t shirt (granted haven't gone outside yet with it).
I don't have to take public transit at the moment, but it's definitely compact enough to not budge into other people on a subway or bus or anything.
As a warning, the side pouches do no expand outward but rather inward. This means if you decide storing medium stones in the pouches is fun, it'll cut into internal storage space. I don't have a problem, but I'm not putting super large items in the sides. Laptop pouch fits my 14" PC fine, but not sure how a larger PC would fare (15.4" might struggle, 17" is out of the question).
Definitely recommend as a commuter bag.
January 27, 2016
Rated 2 out of 5áby noname27 not right for me
I wanted a light backpack for travel
This was too long ( I am 5'3"), too heavy.
Very sturdy, so good for commuters.
January 20, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5áby Zoltan Great backpack
Bought this for my son-in-law. Stylish with lots of compartments to store things. Doesn't look like a school bookbag.
December 30, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5áby Moonshallow Good for airline travel
The reason I bought this bag was to use it when I travel on a plane (I traveled over 100,000 miles this year). The pockets on the side are better than the traditional backpack where the pockets are in the front. It makes it easier to slide under an airplane seat since it does not bulge. It easily holds a water bottle on the side. My prior backpack would always slip off my shoulders since the straps were too wide for me (I'm 5'6"). The straps here are perfectly aligned with my shoulders.
2 reasons why I knocked off 1 star: The main opening needs to be at least a 1/2 inch wider. It can be difficult to slide a folder in and out of the bag and I don't like the clip on the straps keeps flapping if not used...there should be a way to tack it down to the strap if not using it.
December 30, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5áby PhilMarch Commuter Bag
Bought this to be my commuter bag into and out of the city every day and it hasn't disappointed, perfect size it fits everything I need without being bulky, makes the tight squeeze onto packed subways cars with ease, happy I made the purchase!
December 30, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5áby vanzandtj Streamlined
Pros: No awkward bulges or loops to get caught on things (only the mesh drink pocket expands outward). No internal divider to restrict how you load your backpack. The top compartment is perfect for sunglasses and earphones.
Facts of life: The side pockets don't bulge outward, so if you pack much in there (tripod, umbrella), they take up space inside.
A 15" MacBook Pro should fit in laptop pocket easily, so it's considerably bigger than necessary for my 13" MacBook Pro. It means the whole backpack could be some 3" shorter, and would fit under an airline seat better.
The shoulder straps could have more padding and the waist belt could be wider, but I think the current design is adequate for a backpack this size (26 l, by my estimate).
This backpack does not open flat to go through an X-ray machine, but it's easy to pull your laptop out and put it in a bin. The open flat design requires a much longer zipper (likely slower to access) and an extra panel, which takes up some space.
Cons: When I tug on the zipper to close up the main compartment, the side has a tendency to bulge and keep the zipper from moving. You can't push on anything to prevent this, and the zipper doesn't have a tab you could hold onto. You can instead take hold of the shoulder strap, which isn't in quite the right place but close enough.
December 19, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5áby xina11 a perfect fit!
I've been using this backpack for a week now and I'm very happy with it. I actually wish I had listened to my office mate (she has one as well) and purchased it much sooner! I own my own business and commute 2 hours a day. It fits my mac laptop and pretty much everything else I need for transporting my "office" between work and home. I'm also happy with all the little pockets that help me organize things. And I still have extra space for when I may need to pack a change of clothes or throw in a few other things. I keep thinking I'm forgetting something on my way to work because I have so many less bags to load into my car! And it's sits comfortably on my back as well when I carry it. I'm very pleased with this purchase and would definitely recommend it.
November 12, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5áby Stan19 I love it
Such a useful well-made bag. I am a teacher and it has only been a month but I am in love with this bag. All the pockets have been well thought out and there is adequate space for the laptop, iPad and phone as well as an ample open space in the center for shoes or lunch. More slim silhouette feels more professional than my old bookbag. Still new so I can't say anything about durability except that it feels well made and it is sold by LL Bean.
October 28, 2015