An urban-inspired classic laptop backpack.
When I’m not writing product reviews, I’m working in the private sector for a nonprofit organization. I am in marketing and public relations so I like to keep my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro close at hand for any creative work that needs to be done. Even though neither of those devices are particularly heavy, I still need something durable to carry them in as I travel between home and work. For the past several months, I’ve been using the Costa Travel Satchel from Moshi. It’s been a really nice, professional-looking case for me, but I’ve recently wanted to start using a backpack again because I feel like it makes me more agile and sometimes, it’s just easier to maneuver with a backpack then it is with a messenger-style bag. So, I started using the Black Ops Altitude Backpack from Solo.
Over the past few months, I’ve become quite a fan of Solo products. I have been aware of them for quite some time, but always thought of them for briefcases and not technology carrying cases. This latest acquisition has been extremely appealing and useful for me so I am excited to tell you all about it.
The Altitude backpack is designed for ‘every adventure’ according to the Solo website description. It’s made of parachute nylon to keep it lightweight but durable. The bag features some rather unique hardware that is inspired by aviators. In addition to zippers and metal clasps, the Altitude backpack includes military-grade Velcro so that you can attach an identifier patch if desired.
The padded laptop compartment can accommodate up to a 17.3-inch laptop. There is a front zippered organizer section, side pockets, and an internal tablet pocket. Unlike other types of products, this backpack does not arrive in any sort of branded box. It does, however, have tags attached to show of its exclusivity. The bag measures 18.50 x 12.6 x 4.92 inches, which is well under the requirements for airline carryons.
Even though the backpack is primarily made from lightweight nylon, it still weighs 2.2 pounds completely empty. I believe this is due to the closures and padding that is included with the bag.
As I described above, I transport various equipment with me to and from work every day. I was very eager to test out this backpack because 1) it was designed by Solo, and 2) it is a compact backpack and not overly bulky. The main compartment houses the padded laptop sleeve. The padding is about 1/4-inch thick. The sleeve is about 2.5 inches deep and 11 inches wide. I have a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro and a 12-inch iPad Pro. I keep my iPad Pro in a pro-level tactical case with the Apple Smart Keyboard attached. I was able to slide both of those devices into this sleeve area with no problems. I even had enough room to store a file folder in it at the same time.
Even with the laptop sleeve filled, there is still about 2.5-3 inches of space you can fill in the rest of the main compartment. There is also a tablet sleeve attached the outside of the laptop sleeve. It’s only large enough to accommodate 10-inch tablets with slim cases. There is also a mesh pocket inside the main compartment. The other night I had to take my step-daughter to the urgent care because of a fall she had at school. She loves to color and we had no idea how long of a wait we would have so I packed up her coloring book and marker case along with my iPad Pro in the Altitude Backpack and we had room to spare!
There is a secondary compartment that has about 2.5-3 inches of depth to it. The inside as a couple of pockets that are good for small accessories. This compartment is really nice for documents and other items that need to lay flat. Now, I feel that what makes this bag so special is the outside pockets. There is kind of a standard accessory pouch with some pockets inside to house pens and accessories and then there is a zippered pouch that is ideal for headphones or even your wallet. This pouch actually hides another outside pocket that could be used for anything you need quick access to. One of the side pockets is perfect for a water bottle while the other side has some additional small pockets for organization.
The Altitude Backpack has surprised me in so many ways. It is a very lightweight and compact-style backpack that I was shocked at how much I could actually fit inside it. I carry my laptop, 12-inch iPad Pro, various accessories, and usually some form of paperwork, too, and even with all that stacked inside the bag, it didn’t seem overly heavy or bulky. It wears very well and is comfortable even when it’s full. On more than one occasion, I have been able to completely leave my purse at home and just carry the backpack. The urban/military style of the backpack is not something I would have sought out, but because the design of the bag has lent itself so well to organization, I have really taken a liking to it and will likely end up getting a personalized patch for the outside. I can recommend this versatile backpack for all types of users.
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