Review: Brenthaven Mobility Backpack

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Date: Monday, March 3rd, 2003, 01:00
Category: Luggage

Brenthaven MobilityI have to start out by saying that I am not really a backpack kind of person and never have been. With one exception – my LL Bean backpack (the one with the reflective stripe on it) which carried my textbooks to elementary school in my formative years.

During all of the years I have carried a PowerBook I have elected to carry it in a more traditional “briefcase style” bag – two handles, a shoulder strap and a zipper on top. Most recently my bag of choice has been the Timbuk2 Commuter Messenger Bag with a TiBook sleeve.

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Brenthaven MobilityI have to start out by saying that I am not really a backpack kind of person and never have been. With one exception – my LL Bean backpack (the one with the reflective stripe on it) which carried my textbooks to elementary school in my formative years.

During all of the years I have carried a PowerBook I have elected to carry it in a more traditional “briefcase style” bag – two handles, a shoulder strap and a zipper on top. Most recently my bag of choice has been the Timbuk2 Commuter Messenger Bag with a TiBook sleeve.

Readers of this Web site already know that I have an unabashed luggage fetish, I just can’t get enough of it. When I happened across the new Brenthaven Mobility backpack I decided to give it a shot. The Mobility backpack is available for US$99 directly from the Apple store under Accessories/Portable Gear in the left navigation bar. Brenthaven makes this back exclusively for Apple and it is not available on the Brenthaven site.

My preference for a horizontal or briefcase-style case comes from the simple fact that I can jam more gear into it. While this principle is flawed it allows me to get at my stuff quicker and easier than in a backpack, which is traditionally a “top-loader.” Enter the Mobility backpack.

The latest backpack from Brenthaven is roomy, spacious and stylish to boot. It has two large padded compartments that adequately protect my PowerBook. The main compartment (closest to your back when worn) easily handles a 15-inch PowerBook with room to spare. It even handles my TiBook with the attached (Titanium PowerBook Handle) with relative ease. Although untested, I suspect that the main compartment will accommodate the new 17-inch PowerBook as well.

The second compartment is equally as tall the main just not quite as deep. Surprisingly it also accommodates the 15-inch PowerBook. In my tests I was able to cram my TiBook and a 12-inch PowerBook G4 into the one and two compartments with room for minimal accessories behind door number three. This will undoubtedly appeal to the business travelers among us saddled with two laptops for work – but is not recommended.

The third compartment is roomy, tall and loaded with seven pockets, including two of those cool mesh pockets that hold all of my assorted power accessories. My favorite touch is the neoprene pouch inside cabin three that fits an iPod (sans case) perfectly. It also protects a small digicam quite nicely while still keeping it available for those spontaneous Kodak moments.

A little zippered pocket rounds out this great backpack but it is smaller than practical, good for maybe a few business cards, your keys and a writing implement or two. I don’t use it because it I lose things in it. The pocket is so well integrated into the design that you will barely notice it and, if you are like me, you’ll forget you put things in it.

The Mobility backpack also includes a elastic cord that wraps around the bottom front and two tall exterior side pockets. The only things I didn’t like was that the thinness of the TiBook allows it to move around slightly while in the main compartment. This is easily remedied by stowing something small next to your ‘Book or by moving it to compartment number two.

Also, being a backpack means that it doesn’t have the room that you’ll find in a messenger bag, but these are entirely different animals and you probably don’t need about one-third of the junk you carry around anyway. Once slimmed down to a reasonable subset, your mobile office will feel comfortable on your back courtesy of the Mobility’s extra-padded shoulder straps.

The Brenthaven Mobility Backpack is built tough, has excellent heavy hardware and feels natural and comfortable on your back, even after prolonged use. The twin micro-thin dashed reflective strips down the outside flap are a nice finishing touch. Do your back a favor: lose some of the frivolous accessories and check out the Mobility backpack, your lower back will thank you.

Brenthaven Mobility Backpack
US$99
http://www.brenthaven.com/
800.803.7225
Available from the Apple store
PowerPage Rating: 4 bolts (out of 5)  BORDER= BORDER= BORDER= BORDER=

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