Burton : Pipe Pack

laptop backpack review macbook
Pros Comfortable. Laptop compartment fully covers my Powerbook G4.
Cons When PMD (Personal Music Device) is loaded in PMD Compartment, bag is top heavy.
Retail Price : $119.00

Burton : Pipe Pack Backpack Review

Burton makes (made) one of my all time favorite bags:The Asylum. I still love this bag even though it’s not in production any longer. So as you can see, I was very excited about the Pipe Pack. Some of the excitement was warranted and some wasn’t but more on this later. Before I begin the review let me caveat it by mentioning this backpack was designed as both a laptop carrier and a snowboard carrier. Since I don’t snowboard I couldn’t review this aspect of the bag but it LOOKS like it would carry a board.

Construction
The backpack was well made and some some well thought out features. There were a lot of hidden pockets and cubbies to stash your wares in. There are two compression straps but no sternum strap. Since this is a board carrying backpack, there are two straps on the very back.

Protection
The laptop protection was above average. One of my suggestions with the Asylum was that the neprene built-in sleeve was not quite tall enough for my Powerbook G4. The neoprene sleeve in the Pipe Pack is larger and covers all the laptop so, as one Martha Stewart would say, that’s a very good thing. The laptop is well protected from the contents of the bag which is important to me. Not only do I want my laptop to survive a drop, but I also want it to survive whatever I load into the backpack.

Organizational Features
Inside the backpack in the main compartment there are two neoprene compartments. The first, located at the top inside of the backpack is for your goggles. I don’t have goggles, so I put my Oakley Titanium sunglasses in here. They didn’t stay there for long. I’ll get to the reason whay in a sec. There is a nylon pocket with two mesh pockets about the size of a wallet or PDA. One of these mesh pockets has a key clip. The laptop neoprene sleeve is also in here.

The outside has two small zippered pockets on either side (I put my Kodak DX-3900 digital camera here). At the top is a PMD (Personal Music Device) pocket with a headphone port. If you reach down inside this compartment you discovewr a “secret” compartment that is rather large. Burton even supplies a very this 12 disc holder. Here is where I want to discuss my one minor problem with this backpack. Pay attention there is alot of physics involved here. When I loaded my Sony CD player and headphones in the PMD pocket and put my Oakley sunglasses inside the front part of the backpack was so topheavy it was constantly hitting the floor. When I say front, I mean the part that zippers close to form the main compartment. It was a real pain-in-the-ass. I know it sounds pretty petty but it got on my last nerve. If the PMD compartment was near the bottom or on the side it would have made all the difference. Even when I removed my singlasses I still had that same “front flop” thing goin’ on.

Comfort
Very good. Shoulder straps were well padded the included waist strap worked well. The inside back of is also padded with that Moisture Wicking Stuff ( I don’t know if I need to capitalize that but it seems important enough to do it). There is also a removable hard plastic insert to help with rigidity, but if you remove it you and Steve Irwin (Crocadile Hunter guy on TV) will have to wrestle it back in. It’s not easy.

Aethetics
I really like how it looked. My sample was blue and pewter colored. Pretty sweet. The zipper pulls were a lighter silver color which looked nice. There were also not 10,357 straps hanging off it.

Review Rating

AVERAGE SCORE 7.8
Construction 8.5
Comfort 7.5
Organizational Features 8.0
Protection 7.0
Aesthetics 8.0