- Review Price: £51.52
If you’ve ever spent any time shopping for a laptop bag, and the choice is pretty bewildering, then the name Dicota will have popped up somewhere along the line.
Today we’re looking at one of the company’s more interesting options, the BacPac Xtreme. It’s ”advertised” to fit 15.4in laptops and is meant, as the appallingly spelt name suggests, for people that want that little bit extra from their bag. Be this so they can take it round the world and back, or simply to the station and back, it doesn’t really matter; fundamentally it’s simply supposed to be stronger, more versatile and more comfortable than your bog standard bag with straps.
It is, too. Though it doesn’t appear much to look at, closer inspection reveals a multitude of features that elevate it above the humdrum crowd. For starters it features both chest and waist straps and this, combined with the large shoulder straps, ample padding and nicely contoured shape, makes for an incredibly comfortable carrying experience.
Even when carrying a heavy laptop and plenty of sundries weight is distributed evenly, with no annoying chafing. Naturally, there’s a handle at the top as well for quick transportation and even without the provided chest and waist straps the BacPak Xtreme is very comfortable, so you needn’t use them all the time.
General construction quality is also of an excellent standard. In our time with it we discovered no loose threads and the zips, particularly the heavy duty one for the main compartment, are strong without being tough and awkward to operate. As an added bonus, the zips for the laptop and main compartment can be padlocked as well.
On each side is an elasticised pocket that’s perfect for water bottles, or anything else that you need quick access to. These are accompanied by two further zipped pockets. Here there’s also a pleasant surprise, since one of them is a foil lined compartment that’s meant for keeping drinks at their original temperature – whether it be hot or cold. Being foil lined also makes it water proof, so it’s a safe place to put a drink and know it won’t leak all over your belongings.
Another feature denoting its more advanced nature is the waterproof hood. This is contained in a small pocket at the bottom of bag and can be wrapped over the top of the bag, fastening onto a popper close the handle. It’s a great feature that ensures your bag doesn’t get soaked through by heavy rain. It also covers the bottom of the bag, so you can lay your bag down on damp ground and not worry – though that doesn’t mean we advise dropping it in a puddle.
For storing your notebook there’s an exceedingly capacious self contained compartment at the back of the bag. It has a liberal lining of padding on all sides and its location means it’s well protected from any potential bumps and scrapes. Bizarrely, this compartment is also a lot bigger than is advertised – hence the emphasis earlier. Though Dicota quotes this as being for 15.4in notebooks, we managed to fit a particularly large 17in laptop, a Rock X770, snugly but without difficulty. Of course, this doesn’t mean ”all” 17 inchers will fit, but there’s a pretty good chance many will.
This roominess is matched in the main body of the bag. There’s a slip case style space for folders, magazines, newspapers and other flat items. Indeed, with some padding at the bottom this could be used to store a smaller laptop, like an Eee PC, MSI Wind, Sony TZ or Lenovo X300, though we can’t think of many people who would want to carry two laptops around with them…except for TrustedReviews Staff Writer Ardjuna, but then he’s just plain odd!
On the other side of this there’s a convenient compact camera/mobile phone sized pocket, along with business card holders, a pen holder and two elasticised net pockets. This leaves plenty of space for other odds and sods in the loose section and overall you’d need to have a lot of stuff to run out of space.
Especially since there’s another compartment, a “multimedia pouch” as Dicota calls it, just above. This is its own self contained pocket and features a headphone loop, so you can house your MP3 player safely and listen while wondering around. Of course, this does mean you don’t have easy access if you want to change tracks and don’t have inline controls, but otherwise it’s a neat and useful feature.
And “neat and useful” sums up the BacPac Xtreme very well. We’re not totally mad about the looks of either our black version or the grey one, but it’s not ugly and the nicely angled back gives it a low-profile appearance despite its comparative size. At around £50 it’s pretty good value too given the quality, durability comfort and abundance of useful little features on offer, so if you’re after a laptop back pack that offers a little more than the ordinary, this one comes recommended.
It’s not stylish, but it’s very comfortable, well made and comparatively weather proof. Add to this a not unreasonable price and you have a very versatile and practical bag that doesn’t break the bank.
Many thanks to Simms International for providing our review sample.