As readers can see, I have been trying out different backpacks in search of the most comfortable and efficient options for various uses. While the Ameribag Healthy Back Bag, reviewed here earlier, is perfect for city use, there are times when I need a full-sized backpack that holds everything in one place. Happily, I have found it.
The Urban 30L by Beckmann of Norway pack means business, but itís stylish enough to travel first class. Its trim sleek lines and rectangle shape make it compact, and zippered side pockets are built into the design, so they donít bulge. Even when the bag is fully packed it retains its smooth lines and classic shape.
Both the straps and rigid aluminum support frame are ergonomically designed for comfort, and the padding on the back panel is contoured to protect shoulder blades and lower back. Very well padded straps with articulated shoulders to prevent creasing make carrying comfortable even with light clothing.
In addition to its ergonomic comfort, what sets this pack apart is its waterproof hood. This lightweight cover folds out of a pocket and covers the whole pack Ė even the bottom in case it has to be set down on a wet surface. Along with being waterproof, it is florescent yellow for visibility, with added reflective strips.
But itís whatís inside the pack that counts -- or for me, whatís not inside. The Beckman interior is roomy with a laptop pocket next to the back for the best weight distribution and protection. In the partition, a large flat pocket of firm transparent mesh holds small computer accessories so they are accessible and visible. No more lost memory sticks and pigtails.
The rest of the interior is a single rectangle, unencumbered by pockets or separators, so I can easily pack shoes, folded clothing or packing containers. The draw cord at the top opens and closes easily with a toggle that locks as it tightens and loosens.
The top opening is completely covered by a flap, whose elastic sides expand when the pack is full or stay trip and slim when not. The top flap conceals the rain hood , and the compartment itself is waterproof so the wet cover can be packed into it without leaking into the contents of the pack. An unintended (I assume) benefit is that his compartment can double as a safe place to stash a not-quite-dry bathing suit while traveling.
Its dark blue and black colors and smart leather trim are as classic as the packís trim lines. TheBeckmann Urban Back Pack is one I can wear anywhere, on the trail, in the airport, on the subway or to work.