I was in the market for a new rucksack to carry my MacBook and general bumf around in, so was delighted to be asked to road-test the Saga 15″ laptop backpack.
My first impressions of the Saga were very positive – it’s thoughtfully designed and feels like a quality bag. I was sent the black version (it’s also available in dark navy, granite grey and royal purple), and it’s a good size for lugging your tech around without being overly bulky – the backpack boasts a roomy 20 litres of storage within its 44cm high x 29cm wide x 15cm deep dimensions.
I like the contrast green grab handle on the top of the black edition, which co-ordinates nicely with the zip pulls, and the tasteful light grey interior has four handy organiser pockets on the front of the main laptop compartment.
The Saga goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting your digital gear from the elements. Your laptop snuggles neatly in what Australian brand STM calls its ‘protective suspended tech cell’, which has evenly distributed foam padding around the bottom of the laptop compartment, extra corner padding and keeps your tech in an elevated position above the bottom of the bag, ensuring it sits above the impact zone if dropped.
The Saga’s exterior is made of a durable water resistant fabric and there’s also a treated inner lining to keep your precious cargo dry. The bag’s zips are ‘reverse coil’, which means the slider is on the flatter side of the zip, with a tight-fitting fabric covering to help keep out any dirt and moisture.
There are pockets galore – four on the front of the laptop compartment for storing pens, magazines and paperwork, and a handy mesh pocket the reverse of the front flap used to access the main bag, which is ideal for securely carrying your keys, phone, wallet, charger, etc. When fully unzipped, this flap gives you really good access to the main compartment so you don’t have root around through a narrow opening to fish out that apple lurking at the bottom of your bag.
On the front are two full-width pockets – a shallow one with a zip for easy access, which would easily fit a pair of shades in their protective case, and an open drop pocket deep enough for carrying a brolly or that novel you’re reading. There’s also a webbing loop on the front for a carabiner clip or bike light, and a mesh pocket on both sides for bottles of water/Coke/beer/gin (delete as applicable).
The Saga is comfortable to carry, even with a full heavy load. It has wide padded straps that help to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders, and a fully padded mesh back panel that promotes airflow (nobody wants that sweaty-back look) and helps to avoid sharp corners from a lunch box digging into your back when not shielded by your laptop. There are also stiff strips running across the whole of the rear of the rucksack to further strengthen the bag and prevent uncomfortable bulges.
The contours of the straps fan out towards the bottom, which means you don’t need to be a contortionist when it comes to taking it off. The a carry handle on the top is also well padded, which will welcomed by anyone who’s ever carried a fully loaded rucksack using a wafer-thin strap.
All things considered, this is an excellent laptop backpack for your daily trip to uni. It has a simple, lightweight design, will offer a decent level of protection to your prized laptop, has plenty of pockets and is comfortable to carry, even with a full load. The zips look like they’ll last, and the materials used feel like they’re heavy duty – but if anything does go wrong, STM offers a lifetime warranty on any material and workmanship defect for the whole life of the bag.
All this comes at a cost – that being a little over £50+P&P on Amazon.co.uk at the time of writing. But when you’re using a rucksack most days and are carrying precious cargo like a laptop, I think that will prove a sound investment in the long run.