*Originally published for NotebookReview.com
The most important mobile computing accessory in my book is a backpack. I tote my notebook, PDA, cell phone and other goods around all day. I ve been using a specialized notebook backpack for years, but this is my first go with Dicota. After a number of weeks with the BacPac Rain, I can confidently tell you that it will be replacing my Targus bag as my everyday backpack.
The BacPac Rain is a mid-sized bag that offers a very sleek and clean look. Right out of the box the design subtleties are immediately obvious. The most surprising move though is that Dicota opted to use their zippers backward instead of the standard use. This doesn t have any effect on the usability, but it does have an amazingly clean look. This is the first time I ve ever seen anything of this nature.
They ve also integrated a sealed valve of sorts that allows access to the internal compartments. This valve is perfect for stringing through headphones or even the AC charger cord if you like. The front of the bag also houses two mesh pockets that are very tall and perfect for holding a couple bottled waters.
The main compartment features a generous padded notebook slot with an elastic velcro strap to keep the notebook in place. Dicota also ships an accessory bag that s perfect for holding the AC adaptor. It s padded on two sides and fits nicely in the bottom of the main compartment. My power pack fit in there easily, with tons of room to spare. There are also two pockets built into the outside of the notebook slot. These are both quite large. In one I house my noise canceling headphones and their case. In the other I stowed my digital camera.
The middle compartment offers features on both sides. The back side has three integrated pen/pencil holders (these do require clips on the pens or pencils), a carabineer for holding keys and the like and a skinny pouch great for holding a mobile phone or snack bar. The alternate side contains a large zippered pocket perfect for holding cables or other loose accessories. I particularly like this pouch for holding my ethernet cable, phone line, Bluetooth adaptor and other mid-sized items. The middle compartment is also large enough to accommodate papers, magazines or other materials.
The last zippered pocket is actually more or less hidden unless you know where to look. A vertical zipper the length of the front is revealed once the left clip on top is opened. This compartment doesn t actually hold anything, it actually yields another small zippered pocket built into the front of the bag. This pocket is perfect for holding change, gum and other small items.
By now you might have forgotten the name of the bag is the BacPac Rain. I haven t even mentioned the rain part yet, largely because I ve been so wrapped up in the other great features. But the rain issue is actually quite important. In the bottom of the bag, there is an integrated rain slicker that will certainly save your sanity and expensive hardware should a rain cloud open up on you. A zipper runs the length of the bottom of the bag that when opened reveals the slicker. An elastic cord and a small snap at the top ensure a snug and secure fit. The rain protection is completely unexpected and likely won t be used often, but is one of those features you re happy to have in the event you need it.
In use, the pack is very comfortable. It doesn t boast over-padded straps or back support, but it remains comfortable even after hours of continues use. The pack is also very light, at only 2.45 pounds (1.1kg). The weight of a backpack is very important and often overlooked. When trying them empty, they never feel heavy, but once loaded with all your gear, an extra pound or two can make a significant difference, especially if you re going to be saddled with it for long periods of time.
The BacPac Rain is certainly a favorite of mine after only a few weeks of use. The only real problem I have with it is a lack of cell phone holder on the shoulder strap. I ve really come to enjoy that with my Targus pack. The BacPac Rain also only comes in two color options, the burnt sienna with beige accents like mine and blue and beige model. Dicota offers a number of colors in their other models and may bring some of them to this product line in the future.
Notebook compartment fits most 15 notebooks
Small design features make a big difference
Rain protection offers nice insurance policy
Only two color choices
Lack of cell phone holder on shoulder strap
I ve not used a mid-size backpack I like better, for everyday usage. If you want a light, comfortable bag that will set you apart from everyone else, definitely ad this model to your list of potential backpacks.
Dicota ships directly to many countries but at this time does not sell this product in the US. Many of their other packs are sold here though, visit their website for more information, www.dicota.com