I have found that the higher you climb on the corporate ladder, the more stuff you get stuck lugging home and back. Even in our supposed “connected” business world it seems like more paper files are created just to be shredded at a later date. A conspiracy from the shredding companies to keep in business? I’ll leave that theory for another review.
When my company handed me my nice, shiny, new laptop they also gave me the lousiest travel bag imaginable. I will not name the brand, but let’s just say wrapping my laptop in old newspapers would have provided better protection. At that point I figured if IT didn’t care, I better. So I went shopping for a nice travel pack and ended up settling on one of the best laptop backpacks I’ve owned, The Drifter II Backpack by Targus.
I am not the briefcase/messenger bag type, so I settled on the Drifter II because a backpack just seems like a better way to transport items. I have seen too many laptop bags bouncing off doorframes or getting smacked around to feel comfortable with them. Plus, after watching two auditors get in a briefcase slap fight in the parking lot once, I figured that a backpack just looks cooler.
So let’s give the Drifter II a cursory look before jumping into my thoughts.
• Laptop storage – The Drifter II comes in two versions that can hold either a 16” or 17” laptop.
• Dual water bottle pockets – For those who carry a water bottle, the backpack has side slots for bottles. Since my expeditions last the length of the parking lot at work, I’ve never tested these.
• Storage – The Drifter II offers plenty of zippered pockets of various sizes to put stuff in. There are two main compartments, one padded for the laptop.
• Solid construction – Strong nylon material with a weather resistant bottom. I’ll also add that the shoulder straps have a nice level of padding. (click here for more backpacks like this)
The Drifter II is a beefy backpack. This is not the backpack for someone looking for a streamlined, thin profile bag. Even empty, you are not going to look at the Drifter II and call is svelte. Loaded up, the bag is bulky, but not unwieldy. In preparation for a big meeting that I needed to lug a bunch of material to, I loaded the Drifter II up to almost bursting capacity. When I strapped it on my back, the wife told me I looked like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with a shell on my back. Not the look of a professional, but what can you do? Function over form is important to me, so if I had to look like a turtle, so be it.
However, if you want the superficial report, the backpack is an attractive looking basic black with some nice highlights with the zippers and logo accents. In my humble opinion, the Drifter II is a nice looking backpack.
I have been using the Drifter II for a while now and feel that I can comment on the backpack’s durability and “fitness for service” (as a military friend would say). The Drifter II has held up very well under what I would consider normal, constant usage. I use it every day to transport my work laptop to and from the office. Now I would be lying if I said I babied the bag. Since the laptop isn’t technically mine, I may not be the gentlest with the backpack. Now before you judge me, this is a good thing because the Drifter II has done a remarkable job protecting my work laptop.
The laptop compartment is very well padded and keeps the laptop well protected from life’s normal bumps and bruises. The water resistant bottom is appreciated when I dropped the backpack in the snow once getting in my car. That would have been bad enough, but I dropped it in the slush a second time getting out of the car about 10 minutes later. A quick wipe and everything was kept dry. I haven’t been caught in a downpour yet, so can’t comment on overall water resistance.
The only wear and tear I have seen is some threads have popped on one of the shoulder straps. They are not unravelling or getting any worse, so I have no worries. The main body of the backpack shows no rips or undue wear and tear.
This is a pretty important quality, especially if you are lugging the backpack around for a good distance. Occasionally, I have to commute by train into the city so I lose the car for storage capability so I need to pull out one of my backpacks for travelling. Everything I need has to be in my backpack. When I load the Drifter II up with my laptop, file folders and miscellaneous business materials the pack can get pretty heavy, but Targus padded the straps very well, so wearing the backpack is pretty comfortable.
I love the Drifter II, as much as one can love a laptop backpack. I have found Targus to be one of the better backpack brands. I’ve bought a couple of their other models for other uses. Even though my job paid the cost of the Drifter II, I would not hesitate to pay the price that you can find the backpack for in stores. If you cannot find the Drifter II in a local store than visit a site where you buy backpacks online. My source is usually a large online retailer once known for selling just books.
Putting a backpack through real world trials is the best way to find out if what you bought was worth it. I can definitely say the Drifter II was worth every penny my employer paid. I say that with no snark. If they came to me and told me to pay them back, I’d fork the money over in a heartbeat. Once my personal laptop bag gives up the ghost, I will purchase a Drifter II without any hesitation.