Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ebags TLS Professional Slim Backpack

Recently, I got a new backpack for work. I had been using a small custom Osprey Pixel that I got from the office. It wasn’t the ideal backpack. It was small and while the front flap offered protection from rain it also made access to items more inconvenient. For bringing my laptop and some daily accessories between home and work it was okay. Beyond my daily carry items, I couldn’t fit much more into it and even my normal load made the front pouch too tight to be usable. If I had to carry an extra item like a book it would be a very tight fit. I have also started to bring a Pixel C tablet to work since I’m often in meetings where my primary use for a computer is for note taking and looking up information. A 15” Macbook Pro is an overkill and heavy to be carrying and it required me to also bring its AC adapter along since most conference rooms don’t have USB Type-C chargers.
One thing that I did like a lot about the Osprey was that it had a seperate front bottom compartment. I would put AC adaptors/chargers there where they didn’t take up room in the main compartment. Unfortunately, it is not a padded compartment so I had to be careful putting the backpack down.
What ultimately pushed me to look for a new backpack was a 15” Macbook Pro with Touchbar that I got for work and how horrible its keyboard is. I have carpel tunnel in my wrist so a bad keyboard can lead to physical pain and that’s what happens when I type on the new MBP. To avoid typing on it, I brought an external keyboard for the times when I have to do a lot of typing, but Osprey did not have enough space for a keyboard.
I begin looking around for a new backpack to use as my daily work backpack. While there are many options now for the modern techie, I settled on the eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.
The key features of this backpack for me are:
  • Its AC adapter garage is exactly how I’ve been using the front compartment of my Osprey but it offers better protection.

  • It has a specific pocket for a tablet and isn’t just a sleeve in the laptop compartment.
  • The large compartment for the laptop allows me to put in my Grid-It Cocoon organizer and the MBP without taking up space from the main compartment.

  • The luggage handle pass-through is useful when traveling.
  • It can stand up on its own.

  • It maintains its slim profile even when full.
  • Its price (~$80 at the time of this writing).
The main compartment was empty after I moved all the items from my Osprey so I was able to put in a keyboard and wrist pad with room to spare. I can imagine carrying a day’s worth of clothes and my toiletries if I had to go on a over night business trip and not have to bring another carry-on.

I have some minor nitpicks if I had to travel with the Slim Profile:
  • It is not a light backpack due to its size and padding, but I’m not planning to carry this backpack on me all day long so it isn’t a show stopper for me.
  • It is not TSA friendly so it will require taking out the laptop and tablet when going through security.
  • It lacks a quick access pouch where I can throw in my phone and earbuds and retrieve quickly.
  • There is no place to run cables through such as a charging cable or earbuds. I’m not a fan of backpacks with built-in powerbanks and USB connectors as they become outdated quickly. I prefer a simple passthrough so I can use whatever I want.
The Slim Profession very well suited for how I work and how I use a backpack. I’ll be using it everyday for work. Once I had more time with it, I will follow up on its quality of construction.