People often spend a lot on gadgets and tech gear, but not nearly as much on protecting it – and themselves. Like with most accessories, not all bags are created equal. Ideally, you want not only a bag that can fit and protect your kit, but one that will let you carry it all in as much comfort and with as little strain as possible. When you have a DSLR with a few lenses, and a laptop or tablet (or both), your backpack options become a little limited. We’re looking at the Booq Python, a backpack designed to fit your SLR, lens collection, up to a 15in laptop, tablet, and a selection of other bits and bobs.
The Python is stylish and streamlined, with a distinct sloped-top look that differentiates it from your average backpack. Its grey exterior with black highlights creates a restrained look that goes with most outfits, especially formal. And though the Booq Python backpack’s inner red lining can be a bit garish, this does make it easy to see when you’ve accidentally left a compartment open.
Branding is kept subtle, and the backpack’s shape and size mean you’ll never look ridiculous wearing it. Its sloped top and sides also make it easier to slide smoothly past obstacles.
The bag weighs 2.7kg, which is about average for a large, heavily padded backpack with a semi-rigid frame. It’s 457mm high and 294mm wide.
As usual for a premium bag, the Booq Python uses ballistic nylon to give it a hard-wearing exterior. Throughout a few weeks of daily use, the bag still looks as good as new – at least, on the outside, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Materials throughout are thick with strong seams and plenty of padding. The frame is rigid enough to protect your gear.
Weatherproofing is excellent. The outer nylon is coated with a water-repellent finish while all top-facing zips are also liquid-repellent. The compartment on the far right even holds a detachable rain poncho, though we’re not sure red was the best choice here.
Zippers are ‘self-repairing’ with strong metal tags, seams are frequently double-sown and usually worked in to be invisible, and straps are thick with solid plastic buckles. It’s a shame that amongst all this obvious quality (which you would expect for the £220-plus price) the inner lining of the zippers often got caught in the zips themselves, leading to a laborious effort to try and open them all the way.
This wasn’t just restricted to one compartment either, as we came across the issue on both the laptop and top camera compartments on infrequent but regular occasions. While this might be easy enough to solve with a pair of scissors, it just doesn’t inspire confidence. However, it’s worth keeping in mind this was the only quality blemish.
Ergonomics & Comfort
The Booq Python is definitely one of the more comfortable laptop/camera backpacks we’ve worn. It’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into everything from the strap placement to the materials to give a pleasant and ergonomic experience.
The bag’s rear is very thickly padded, with contoured mesh material and broad air channels to keep things as breathable as possible. Shoulder straps are very wide and again have plenty of padding.
There’s a thin chest strap but, more importantly, a thicker waist strap with very comfy ‘hip flaps’ to ensure the pack never digs in noticeably. We happily wore a fully loaded Booq Python all day with no discomfort aside from the inevitable hot back. Our one criticism here is that the somewhat short chest/sternum strap doesn’t give too much leeway for those with a broad chest.