Surge Laptop Back Pack
Company: The North Face
Price: Under $100 online
When my brother in law told me “You MUST get this pack to review, Nemo,” I was skeptical. As I get older, wheeled back packs are getting more use than are strap-only packs and cases. Why is North Face making a low-price laptop computer day pack in the first place?
Among the many computer packs we have reviewed at MyMac during the previous ten years, the ones that remain highest in my opinion and usage are manufactured by Brenthaven and Skullcandy, with several runners-up. An outstanding pack needs to have solid construction, plenty of spaces and compartments, sensational comfort, and reliable protection for electronic cargo. The North Face knows something about at least three of those four traits.
While I was waiting for the demo Surge pack, I did a little Internet research. There were too many raves and five-star ratings for this product. Nothing in the world deserves consistent high-fives. Was something fishy going on?
As soon as the review pack arrived, I unloaded what seemed like a thousand pounds of assorted junk from Crumpler’s heavy-duty Hairy Hoard padded laptop briefcase that I had been using for over a year. How could everything fit with equal protection into the slim Surge pack? Didn’t I at least need a sleeve to encase my precious 15-inch MacBook Pro?
Everything fits, with room to spare, plus there are dedicated exterior elastic pockets for water bottles, snacks, or portable hard drives. The three top-zippered drop-in compartments now contain a staggering quantity of Nemogear, and my computer slides vertically into a fourth zippered space.
Bottom, back, front, and side padding eliminate the need for a laptop sleeve, and the laptop zone is spacious enough for an additional pad of paper and a calendar, for those of you who still use such retro items. My bro-in-law wants to make sure I mention that the “main reason I bought a Surge is that it takes a 17″ MacBook Pro.”
All of the above is what you would expect, correct? Me too. The best surprise is the ergonomic contour and fit of this Surge pack. I am very skinny, of medium height, and somewhat old; I’ve been using rucksacks and packs since I joined the Cub Scouts in 1957. Never a fan of a cinch belt, I have always reasoned that if a fully-loaded pack can’t fit comfortably, simply by its shoulder straps, it is inferior. Never again. Surge’s clever strap-and-clip configuration is perfect for Mr. Nemo Skinandbones, as well as on a more stocky frame..
In the words of the company:
An angled bottom panel works with the action of gravity to automatically shift the weight of the pack’s cargo closer to the user’s back – a far more comfortable fit when carrying medium to heavy loads.
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My packed Surge is heavy! The top deck grab handle is nothing special, but the shoulder straps and cinch clips are perfect. This pack fits me as if it was designed with my lanky frame in mind. I am impressed, and I was enthused about taking it on walks farther than from my car to a client’s house for a tutoring lesson.
During the longer strolls with Surge, I was reminded how difficult it is to deal with dangling clips and straps. These exterior features, which make this and similar packs comfortable and versatile, become annoyances when you set a pack down on the ground. One day a manufacturer will invent a way to get the straps and clips out of the way, maintaining an elegance during wearing and off-body storage. In addition, I hope revisions of Surge’s design allows it to stand upright.
The four or five available colors (depending upon where you purchase a Surge) will suit most fashion-conscious purchasers. An empty Surge is not at all heavy or bulky. One size is available. If you want to get really bored reading the raves, do a web search for “surge pack reviews,” and follow the links. I am not alone in praising this exceptional, affordable day pack for computers, gear, and personal effects.