J - 10 months ago, Verified purchaser
I spent weeks looking for the perfect backpack to be my "personal item" for flying, and I found it.
This pack is exactly the right size to qualify as a "personal item" (not my "carry-on"-- I have a different rolling bag for that) on all the major airlines. It maximizes the under-the-seat space. But more than that, it is so well designed and organized. It holds a ton-- I've easily packed for several-day trips in this bag alone-- and it keeps everything well organized in thoughtful compartments:
1) the main compartment-- roomy, and the zippers open all the way down, so you can reach things at the bottom without needing to pull everything out of the top. Also has an inner sleeve for iPad/tablet, though I don't use it.
2) laptop sleeve-- completely separate compartment, closest to your back for maximum protection, padded.
3) side pockets-- one for pens, another on padded, great for sunglasses or cell phone
4) water bottle sleeves-- a bit narrow (you won't be able to get a wide water bottle in there) but insulated to keep your drinks cold and keep them from sweating
5) front sleeves -- MY FAVORITE PART. These side zipper pockets (hard to see from the photos) are on both sides. They're flat and meant for magazines and reading materials, but also great for things you need really quick access to, like your quart size bag of liquids or any snacks you need to take out while going through TSA
6) top pocket-- the flap that goes over the top of the pack also has a pocket, which is great for cell phones or other things you need easy access to. The top pocket has a metal hook to adjust the height, which is a nice touch and I like it better than a clunky buckle that could be prone to breaking
7) strap pocket-- another really nice feature for traveling, this is a zipper pocket on the strap of the pack itself, which allows you to access things like a wallet or a phone (although my iPhone 6 Plus wouldn't fit) without having to take the whole pack off.
Other nice features include: high quality fabric and zippers, front loops good for attaching other gear, nice solid base (stands up on its own), sternum strap, sleek look with interesting but neutral colors that's not as boring as the sea of grey backpacks. It is worth noting that on the website it shows the zippers are black, but the one I received has tan colored zippers (like the color of the bottom). It doesn't bother me at all.
I would highly recommend this pack to anyone looking for a good traveling backpack. In all my research I haven't come across any others that have nearly as many convenient and well-designed features. And it's not nearly as expensive as some of the others, either.