Anna Dodson

Software Engineer

Buying a practical and stylish backpack was a lot harder than I thought it would be

Buying a backpack - how hard can it be?

I use a backpack everyday for work and at lots of different events and conferences. My normal one was lacking in the features department so I’d planned for a post Christmas upgrade.

I thought this would be a simple, easy and a fun thing to do. I ended up spending hours looking at bags online, reading reviews, watching promo videos on youtube (which is an awesome resource if you’re buying something online btw). In total I ordered 7 backpacks before finding the one.

Lots of people helped me along my journey of backpack buying so I thought I’d document what I found and maybe save someone hours of amazon trawling and doing returns.

Use case

Going to work, travelling to and attending awesome tech events where I need to take my laptop and a load of other stuff.

Requirements

Separate laptop compartment - if your bag’s full of stuff and you need to get your laptop out, this can be a pain and awkward when all your stuff falls out all over the floor.

Decent size - not giant, I don’t want to look like an armadillo.

Rain resistant - I’m not going camping in Antarctica but if it rains, the last thing I want is a soggy laptop.

Looks cool - I gotta look good!

User research

I checked out backpacks at the tech meetups I go to. If I knew the person I asked them but sometimes I just made notes from afar. If you saw me avidly staring at your stuff in January - I wasn’t planning to mug you, I was admiring your backpack.

I asked friends for recommendations, Carol, Helen, Jess, Nina - you all have great backpacks! One friend recommended the brand Dakine which was a great help. Carol also helpfully pointed out that she loves her yellow backpack but it gets dirty on the bottom easily.

Spiking out different options

Kroser Backpack

£29 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Separate laptop section
  • Phone charger
  • Water resistant
  • Loads of good storage pockets
  • Nice light lining
  • Crafty hidden pocket on the back
  • MASSIVE - looked like an armadillo. Unisex means fits a mans frame better

Norsens Lightweight Backpack

£30 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Slimline design
  • Separate laptop section
  • Padded laptop compartment which had a buffer between the bottom of the bag and your laptop to protect it
  • Water resistant
  • Good storage pockets
  • Light lining
  • Crafty hidden pocket on the back
  • Pretty big and very boxy

Matein Backpack

£29 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Good size - fits 15" laptop
  • Separate laptop section
  • USB phone charger port
  • Water resistant
  • Good storage pockets
  • Crafty hidden pocket on the back
  • Black lining makes it difficult to see anything in the bag

Kroser square Backpack

£30 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Nice 'leather' trims
  • Separate laptop section
  • USB phone charger port
  • Water resistant
  • Good storage pockets
  • Nice light lining
  • Really boxy and a bit too big for me

Dakine Garden Backpack

£40 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Highly rated brand
  • Perfect size
  • Gorgeous design
  • Water resistant
  • Good storage pockets
  • Nice lining
  • Not enough pockets and no separate laptop pocket

Dakine Frankie Backpack

£64 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Highly rated brand
  • Separate Laptop pocket
  • Nice design and colour
  • Water resistant
  • Good storage pockets
  • Nice lining
  • Just too big

And the winner is…

After all those I narrowed down what I wanted to most: separate laptop section, cool lining ideally but definitely a light colour so I can see into the bag, a good every day size - not massive. None of the above met all of the perfectly reasonable and achievable demands.

Ogio Soho Backpack

£56 see it on Amazon

Picture of
  • Seperate laptop pocket
  • Nice design and colour
  • Water resistant
  • Cool lining
  • Good storage pockets
  • Three compartments
  • Good size for me and my stuff
  • Really cool pocket design for laptop charger

Bag on the Ogio website