The Lowepro CompuDaypack backpack was introduced back in February. Targeted at photo enthusiasts and students at a list price of $99, it can handle up to a 17 inch notebook computer and a digital SLR with 2-3 lenses, flash units and other accessories. Available in three colors, you'll be able to find one that matches your style.
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Features and Design
By far, the most important feature of the CompuDaypack is the ability to carry a full size notebook computer, digital SLR and all of the extra accessories you need. Lowepro has done this by providing three compartments in the backpack. A lower compartment holds the camera, above the camera section is a compartment to hold accessories, and a compartment against the wearer's back holds the notebook computer. Overall, the backpack actually has a pretty slim line, especially given everything that you can fit in it. It will easily slide under an airline seat.
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The lower camera compartment is fully padded with adjustable dividers. The dividers attach to the walls of the compartment, and each other with Velcro. To keep the bottom compartment from flopping all the way open and dumping you camera, there is a gusset system to keep it from opening too far. The bottom compartment measures 11 x 5.3 x 5.5 inches.
Camera compartment (view large image)
Above the camera compartment is a compartment to hold the miscellaneous stuff that you carry. There are a handful of organizer-style pockets -- sleeves for writing utensils, business card sized sleeves, and a few zipper pockets. The bulk of the space in this compartment is open, so you can fit just about anything in it. Outside of this top compartment is a media player pocket with a headphone wire port. The top compartment measures 12.6 x 5.5 x 11.4 inches.
Top compartment (view large image)
The notebook compartment can accommodate most 17 inch laptops. My IBM Thinkpad T40 (14.1 inch) fits with plenty of space to spare. The notebook compartment is padded well on all sides, against your back, between the notebook and top compartment, and on the bottom as well. A slim sleeve pocket can handle a couple file folders or magazines. One thing that I've seen on other bags that isn't in the CompuDaypack is a simple Velcro strap for additional security within the notebook compartment. Since the whole compartment is used for the notebook (there's no additional padded sleeve) in order to accommodate a wider set of notebooks, implementation for an additional security strap would be difficult. The notebook compartment measures 12.2 x 1.8 x 15.9 inches.
The CompuDaypack is available in Burnt Orange, Slate Gray, and Leaf Green. I got the Leaf Green variant for this review. From what I hear from Lowepro, the gray bag is the most popular. The outer fabric is water-resistant 840D and 600D rip-stop nylon.
The back of the backpack (that touches your back) has plenty of padding for comfort. The back and straps (also nicely padded) are lined with a mesh to help you keep cool. The straps are contoured and if you want to carry it like a briefcase, there is a padded handle at the top of the straps that provides a nice grip when carrying off of your back. There is plenty of room for adjustment of the straps.
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On a daily basis, here's what's I carry in the backpack:
The Lowepro CompuDaypack handles all of that extremely well. It's by no means a light load, but the backpack handles it very well. I don't have to walk far or leave it on my back very long, but I have worn it for a couple hours at a time with a similar load. The backpack remained very comfortable.
Loaded top compartment - it will still zip closed with this book in it (view large image)
The camera compartment and notebook compartment have two zipper pulls, so you can open the zipper in both directions. The top compartment only has one zipper, which I was a little disappointed with
If you're looking for a reasonably priced notebook/camera backpack, you should definitely take a look at the Lowepro CompuDaypack. It can handle a notebook and camera load perfectly in a slim size that will fit easily under an airplane seat. The high quality products from Lowepro are backed up with their limited lifetime warranty.
Where to Buy
The best way to find the bag is to head to the Lowepro website (www.lowepro.com) and follow the link titled "where to buy". You can also just google for the product name to see where you can find it. You'll probably find it under $99.