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Gear Review

4 5

Almost perfect...

I adore this backpack. I have a few small gripes with it, more like suggestions or little things I would change with it... but overall it is fantastic. I use it for my day-to-day-everything, everywhere I go (with a laptop), and also for college with extra folders and books.

The good: absolutely excellent build quality (as to be expected from Oakley, the number of pockets and their layout has proven to be very useful, and it has PHENOMENAL weight balance when carrying heavier loads. It is surprisingly comfortable and easy to wear when fully loaded. It really is impressive in this aspect. The laptop pocket is well padded, which is very important to me; a lot of laptop backpacks have a very thin layer between the laptop pocket and the main bag, which is ridiculous in my opinion... but again, not a problem with this pack. The main pocket is also surprisingly roomy and useful. Personally, I also like that the look of the pack is a bit understated, which is not common for Oakley of course, but it really is a great looking pack in person.

The suggestions/minor gripes: (1) The 4 pockets on the sides of the pack (2 on each side) do not have zippers, only velcro. The bottom side pockets have a cinch cord under the velcro flap, but I still would like a zipper under the velcro flap. It just makes more sense. I haven't had this occur yet, but it is easy to envision one of the flaps getting caught on something accidentally and being pulled open, possibly losing contents, etc.... not to mention they would be terribly easy for a pickpocket to get into. The strangest thing about the lack of zippers on the side pockets is that the big lower outside pocket on the main body of the pack DOES have both the velcro flap and a zipper, and it works perfectly.(2) The big internal pocket of the top flap is very useful, but it is a single opening with only one zipper draw on it. This makes no sense to me. It really should have two zipper draws; with only one zipper draw, I find it is easy for things to fall out of that pocket if it is open while the pack is laying down on a bench next to me or whatever. If there were two zipper draws this wouldn't be an issue as I could control the size of the opening. I really don't get why they didn't put two zipper draws on this opening. I might even go to a place that does alterations to have one added if it ends up bugging me enough. But it is manageable as long as you pay attention. I haven't had it cause me any real trouble because I've kept an eye on it. (3) Nowhere on the inside of the pack are there any kinds of clips or loops to attach things to, such as keys. Surprising Oakley would miss something like this, as this is very common on backpacks currently - especially laptop backpacks. I may add this somehow at some point. (4) The two small pockets on the outside of the top flap could be a bit bigger. They are much smaller in person than they appear in the pictures of the pack. (5) The only thing that secures the big top flap is the two metal clips you see in the pictures. While I have found that it is secure (they are very solid clips), the two clips bizarrely have no cinches. You can't tighten them. They simply clip and that's it. It hasn't proven to be any kind of issue for me at all yet, but it still strikes me as odd and I could see it possibly causing trouble for some people.

Overall, I highly recommend this pack; it is a bit pricey but if you can stomach the price I have found that it is well worth it. The only reason I've given it 4 stars and not 5 is because of my minor concerns with it. They are a bit annoying but not enough for me to consider another pack. Don't let my concerns scare you away... try it out. I really do love it, and I don't think I could be convinced to give it up. It is absolutely my favorite day-to-day backpack I have ever owned (and I've tried a lot of backpacks, I really have). I absolutely, highly recommend it.