BEIJING — As an urban warrior on the streets of New York City, it’s almost a requirement for me to own a backpack with a laptop compartment. For the past year and a half, I’ve used the STM Sports backpack with much success and originally planned to take it on my trip to China.
But then I was given the chance to bring the Naneu Pro K3 back to the motherland (it, like me, was manufactured in China but exported globally), and the lure of its many compartments was too strong to resist. Built for photographers and photojournalists, the bag’s base is designed to fit a large DSLR camera and several lenses. The bag, meanwhile, comes with a compartment for 15-inch laptops and features more than 15 other pockets — both large and small — semi-hidden throughout its body.
At first glance, the backpack, which retails for $149.99, looks a bit over-sized because of its thick base. Fortunately, it still was small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of a Boeing 777-200 (a major concern that kept me up at night). At 5.25 lbs, the backpack is relatively light, because it’s made with water-resistant, ripstop nylon. A hidden rain guard keeps items from getting wet, and the back of the bag uses patent-pending trademark called the “AirFlow Suspension System” — essentially a wire mesh that prevents your back from touching the bag, thereby increasing airflow.
For this trip, I decided to pack a bunch of gadgets: a router, digital camera, cell phone, iPod, iPhone, international power adapter, Magsafe airline and laptop power adapter, and several headphones. I’m happy to say the bag doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the sheer amount of stuff it can hold. Everything I threw at it, from a stack of research papers to my litany of devices, fit easily.
The base compartments are nice and soft, and adjustable with Velcro. However, you need to make sure you unzip the buttom while the backpack is vertical, otherwise objects tend to fall out pretty easily.
My 15-inch MacBook Pro fit snugly in the laptop compartment, and despite watching in horror as the bag tipped over a desk and onto the floor at one point, the MacBook came away without any scratches.
The K3 has held up so far on its trip, although it still has a ways to go before it gets total my seal of approval. It’s not invincible.
Much to my dismay, when leaving the airport in Beijing, I noticed that the “ripstop” nylon already had torn at the base — likely from the zipping and unzipping that occurred during my 13-hour flight. At this rate, I’m worried the backpack will come apart before the end of my month-long trip. For now, I’m just going to have be a bit more careful with it.