Review: Loopbags Vanguard 15-inch Backpack

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If there is one thing I learned while testing this bag it was that there are better bags out there than a $60 Targus for sale at the airport electronic boutique. And so I’m pleased to introduce the Loopbag Vanguard 15-inch Backpack in brown.

In my humble opinion this bag is immeasurably better than a heavy, cheap messenger bag style laptop carrier but it does have pros and cons. First the Pros.

Visually this bag is nice. Its sales material states that it has a semi-rigid frame so it maintains its good looks full or empty. This is definitely true: from the outside you can hardly tell whether it’s stuffed or completely empty.

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The bag I tested was deep brown. I was impressed with how clean the bag stayed after two weeks of everyday use. This was helped by the fact that the bag is water resistant, a fact I unwillingly tested when caught in an unexpected rain. Impressively, when I arrived home my laptop and everything else in the bag were totally dry. Its Nylon top feels like it is rubber coated, and all the external zippers are covered.

This bag also features a very nice security feature that is brilliant in its simplicity. The zippers to the main compartment can (but don’t necessarily have to) zip to behind your back. That is to say, you can put the zippers where you have to take off the bag to get at them. On a crowded subway, or other urban environment, this is a easy, convenient way to avoid potential theft. I have actually wondered what would stop someone from reaching in my bag on the subway when I have my headphones in and am being jostled by a crowd. This bag addresses that issue is a non-complicated way that you are likely to use every day.

Internally this bag is as well constructed as the outside. It has a nice padded laptop sleeve, and several other pockets. However this is where I have some problems with the bag.

The biggest problem I encountered was that this bag is small. Of course you can tell that from the outside, but it seems like it doesn’t store very much even for its size. There is enough room for a laptop, one large textbook, and a variety of pencils and small tools. There isn’t even a very good spot for my laptops power block. There is absolutely no accommodation for a water bottle, I carry one almost all the time, and it was a constant source of frustration to try to jam it in behind the laptop sleeve.

My only other complaint was that the bag is slightly hot to wear. Because of its waterproof rubbery texture, it feels like you are wearing a trash bag against your back at times. This was not a major problem, and I more than forgave the bag after it saved my electronics from the rain. It is simply a trade-off for the ease of mind waterproofing gives you.

Bottom Line
Overall I would suggest this bag, It distributes the weight of a laptop much better than a messenger bag, looks more stylish, and is both water-resistant and secure. However, I would not advise getting this to haul all your books and supplies. It is not a true backpack because of its limited storage. It is just a laptop bag. If that is what you need, then this is a good choice.

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By Berkeley Beyers

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