Brenthaven Pro 15/17 Backpack
There are two kinds of portable computer owners in the world: those that use backpacks, and those that don't. I personally fall into the former category, because I tend to walk everywhere and take my notebook with me, meaning I don't want a messenger bag tugging at a single shoulder. But they're equally handy for cycling, and best of all, leave your hands and arms completely free.
As the name suggests, this Brenthaven backpack is designed with Apple Macbook Pros up to 17 inches in mind, but it'll work just as well for a PC notebook. It's attractive in the same way that an off-roader can be: it makes a simple, solid impression without any of the 'fluff' you often find on other backpacks like elaborate tags, stitching or patterns. The finish is consistent in every way, from the unrelieved black colour - no two-tone here - to the unaltered cloth material (except for the breathable back). It certainly looks rugged and durable.
Now I own what I used to consider a fairly high-quality laptop backpack, from a known manufacturer, but I must admit it immediately feels flimsy when compared to the Brenthaven. Quite simply, this is the laptop bag with the thickest padding I've ever come across, and I've owned a few. Not only that, but unlike most it has padding at the top and sides as well as front, back and bottom of its dedicated notebook compartment, all of which can be removed, replaced or augmented by the user, protecting your machine from all sides.
The handle is very well padded and eminently comfortable. As mentioned, the entire back of the bag is constructed using breathable material, as are the insides of the shoulder straps. This is a must for long walks on a warm day: though my current model features breathable padding, a cheap one I bought once didn't, and I paid for my penny-pinching in sweat. Wearing this Brenthaven is again very comfortable. The shoulder straps are not only thickly padded but also nice and broad. Adjusting their length is effortless, and there is a third strap you can wear across your chest for added stability. The only niggle here is that it's not very long, so it mightn't stretch if you're broad-chested.
Apart from the Pro 15/17 Backpack's notebook section, which has no room for anything else, there are four other compartments. The first one next to the notebook pocket is almost as tall, has zips that go most of the way down and a solid divider that makes this compartment suitable for documents and delicate papers. Though it's the second-largest compartment, it's not very wide, meaning room is limited for bulky things. On one side there are three elasticised mesh pockets and two bigger non-mesh ones below that are suitable for items like phones, chargers and other gadgets.