Rated 5 out of 5áby LLBInMSP Excellent Urban Daypack
I have a 15-year old LL Bean pack that was finally showing some wear in the bottom (which wasn't reinforced, so that was ultimately going to happen). Having neck, back and hip injuries, my Physical Therapist likes me to use a backpack for day-to-day use, so back to LL Bean I went.
I've always preferred a top-loading pack for the ease of use, and I was initially planning on getting one of the Field Canvas Day Packs, as my day-to-day loads aren't large. However, my store was out of stock, and I had really wanted to get a feel for my new bag before buying it. Since I was in the store, I decided to look around at what was available. I fell in love with the Traverse pack the second I slid it onto my shoulders.
First, it's a top-loader, which is much easier for day-to-day use, and for dealing with larger items since the mouth opens quite wide. The zipper on this is incredibly sturdy - easy to use, but also once you zip it into place, it isn't moving. If you're worried about security, a small backpack combo lock would fit through the pulls quite easily and you're all set.
The padded back and straps are absolutely wonderful. Very comfortable, and there's plenty of room to expand the straps over winter coats. The strap that hangs over your left shoulder also has a small - but deep - mesh pocket. Perfect place for a small item you might want to get to without removing the bag. (I keep my small pillbox with Advil there, but it would also be a great place for an iPod.)
Inside, the laptop sleeve and shorter velcro-closure-sleeve on the outside of the divider are both very deep and roomy. I don't use the laptop sleeve for my laptop, but my iPad occasionally comes with me, and it slides in perfectly. And with the nice back padding, I barely feel it at all. Otherwise, though, it's a good place for my more traditional leather planner - away from the main part of the bag and I can just reach in and grab it without looking for it. I also slide in a portable organization sleeve - the one sewn into the front wall of the bag is perfectly nice, but this is just one I take from bag to bag, and it's nice to have a place to tuck it away. The velcro-closure sleeve is a great place for a Kindle or smaller tablet - they disappear in there and it is hard for them to slide out.
That organization sleeve is nice, as it also uses the same very strong velcro to close one of the pockets. If anything falls out of these pockets - both because of the velcro and the wonderful depth - it must mean you've turned the bag completely upside down and shaken it for a few minutes. Normal commuting activities, however, keep everything in place.
The key strap is located on the organizational sleeve, and feels quite sturdily attached to the bag. You can tuck the keys themselves into the pocket of the panel, so they are thoroughly secured away from the contents of your bag. When I'm using just my building keys when walking around the neighborhood, it is a really convenient place to put them, and the strap is long enough that I can pull the key out and hold the fob up to the entry security panel.
There is the small zippered "security" pouch attached to the top back of the bag. I don't find myself using it for much, but like the rest of the pack, it is well made and generously sized.
The small front zip pocket on the front of the bag is a mini-black hole. It is surprisingly roomy - I can keep my smartphone in there along with my chunky sunglasses, tissues, and an iPod Touch. There is no way you could tell from the outside I have these things in that pocket, since the material is nice and thick.
The material is also great - and I say that after I've been walking around in some wet weather. I don't know that I'd subject this to a pouring rain - just on principle - but light rain and snow don't seep through to the interior of the bag.
The water bottle mesh pockets on the sides are very large. I keep my foldable reusable shopping bags in there. I could probably wedge 4 in each one, but I keep it to two on each side, and there's still plenty of room to tuck small items in there as well.
If you're like me and are a pedestrian after dark, there are plenty of places to attach a bike light for visibility. Either on the front - I personally use the bottom handle since it's the easiest place to reach around to turn the light off and on - or there are some small cross-bands high up on the straps that would also suffice.
A few small negatives:
As others have noted, the black interior fabric makes it easy to lose things. A brighter colored interior may show dirt more easily, but it will also show you the contents of your bag more easily.
I'm not sure that I'm not sure the "tuck away" waist strap is necessary. But then again, I don't carry heavy enough loads far enough that I think a waist strap would make much difference. I think as another reviewer noted, a sternum strap might be a good addition to the bag, mostly to keep the bag stable and forward on your shoulders, and it's easier to use when commuting.
I also wish the bag came in some other colors. I got the blue, but LL Bean packs come in so many great colors, I'm not sure why it's just limited to gray, blue, and the red-orange color.
All in all, though? I love my new backpack. It's attractive, functional, and as with all LL Bean items, exceptionally sturdy and well-made. I look forward to using it for a long time!
December 18, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby NorthStar81 Great Backpack
I have been very pleased with this backpack, which I purchased in the blue color to use mostly for weekend trips. This is the first top-loading backpack I've owned and the design works really well for maximizing the space in the bag. The overall design is pretty simple -- one main large compartment and one smaller zippered pouch on the outside -- but there are many extra pockets and a laptop sleeve concealed within the main compartment. I am very pleased with my purchase and highly recommend it.
December 1, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby Gryphon I am a convert
This is my first top load backpack, and I am fan. My three sets of glasses (regular, sun and reading) along with my wallet can fit in the front pocket. When the pocket is open, all of those things want to stay in the bottom of the pocket; they do not want to fall or jump out.
My water bottle is in its outside pocket so it doesn't sweat on anything inside. My laptop or ipad can fit in the inside sleeve. There is a small pocket at the top of the inside where I put my phone. Because of the top load design, nothing wants to fall out when I open any part of the pack and everything tends to stay securely where it is. In an urban setting this is a plus.
This is a good size for a full day hike or an overnight car trip. I have suggestions for moving forward.
1. The interior is black which I think will make this bag look clean longer, but it does make it harder to find things at the bottom. I am wondering if a dark gray interior might be better or even better still, black interior at the top with a gray interior at the bottom.
2. I would love to see this bag also offered in a slightly smaller size that had a shorter height. This bag is a tall 19.5 inches. For an every day carry, I think a shorter top load bag might appeal.
3. There is a key clip and there are three small "pockets/sleeves" at the front of the interior. I would add a dedicated pen/pencil holder like the schoolbag has and a space that is the perfect size for a graphing calculator. If you are hiking, substitute a chocolate bar for the calculator.
Overall, the huge sense that this bag will NOT just unzip and have everything spill out is a giant plus. I am interested in knowing what other reviewers think.
October 19, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby BriInMtl Excellent Pack
Very pleased with this pack. Perfect size for my travel use.
Fairly comfortable (see below). Good padding on the straps. The shape of the top opening makes it much wider and easier to access inside items. Loads of pockets. Having 2 exterior bottle holders is a big plus.
Only thing missing is a sternum strap which would help ease the strain on the shoulders after a while. I'll be buying a 3rd party strap to remedy this. Due to this, I would've preferred to give it 4.5 stars.
October 10, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby Daybreak01 Best Backpack Ever!
I have been using this bag since June, and it is the Best Backpack Ever. I have bought several LL Bean Backpacks over the years for myself, the kids, even the husband. We have always been very happy with our Backpacks, but this one takes the cake. I use it while traveling, used it for Biking Trips, just to hold everyday items. You will not be disappointed with this Purchase!
September 19, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby RecentGraduate Great for Anything
I love LL Bean backpacks and have used them from Elementary School through college. The Traverse backpack is my favorite one so far. The LL Bean backpack I had before the Traverse had 2 features that I did not like about it: 1) the zipper would come open if there were a lot of heavy items in my bag 2) rain would leak in. So far, the Traverse backpack has withstood both of these tests; the design of the big pocket is such that the zipper cannot easily be split open like your average backpack. Furthermore, the zippers and backpack material are sturdy and durable, and even just took a rain beating on my way home from work.
The other feature that is great about this backpack: the pockets. Other LL Bean bags have sooo many extra pockets and I would always lose things in them. Just inside the big pocket there are some easily accessible small pockets for pencils, small notebooks, etc. There are also two big compartments for a laptop and some notebooks. This backpack has the perfect balance between handy pockets and overdoing the number of compartments. The only downside to this backpack is that if you fill up the small pockets for pencils, notebooks, etc., it sometimes interferes with the bigger items in the main compartment. However, I have fit more than I thought I would be able to in this backpack overall. I have used it for work, traveling to Japan, and hikes, and it has been GREAT.
The small pocket on the outside, beneath the big pocket, is WONDERFUL. It is WAY more spacious than it looks. I can fit a bulky wallet, a glasses case, a sunglasses case, and keys in there no problem. Overall, I have used it for work, traveling to Japan, and hikes, and it has been GREAT. I highly recommend this bag.
August 18, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5áby laqu Best backpack ever!!! Get this!!
This backpack has a top zipper so you can actually find your stuff in it!
It can hold an ebags packing cube (medium) or two and stuff
Has a padded area for your laptop too.
My daughter had a top loader she got when she was in 2nd or 3rd grade and this is replacing that (she's a college sophomore now). She won't use any other style.
Everyone who sees her backpack wants this style - you won't understand the difference till you try it.
It fits under the seat when flying and hold a ton of stuff (she uses it when traveling to hold clothes, books, and a computer).
It also holds ton of books and because it's too loading you can easily get to the books you want without issue. She has a super heavy course load and Econ and math books are huge and heavy and this handles them no problem.
I'm not sure what the bottom loop thing is for - anyone know?
It's also much lighter then her old backpack - there is a little part of me that wants to steal it from her (she used her old one to travel for a week in France while I lugged 1/2 the stuff on a traditional backpack and had squished stuff hers was roomy and not squished). I expect this to be just as good (same roominess - we tested)
This backpack looks like it should last for years and years.
I wish it came in better colors - she really wanted pink!
August 18, 2014