Rucksack: Wenger Swissgear Rival
12th May 2009
You may not have heard of Wegner, but as the company that makes the Swiss Army Knifes, you quite probably have one of their products. These days they’ve branched out into backpacks and this – the Rival – is just one of the range of computer carriers now available. But is it any good?
Well, the first thing that strikes you on picking up this pack is that it is very well made… and correspondingly heavy. However, I spent some time using it as my primary computer bag and discovered that it offered a high level of protection for my laptop, plus excellent organization with it’s many pockets. It was also big enough to take books, documents and a change of clothes for an overnight trip, which was great. It fits all but the bulkiest 15"/15.4" notebooks and complies with most airline restrictions for hand luggage, all of which makes it a reasonable choice for business travellers.
On the downside, though, there are a few aspects which drove me nuts, the main one being unnecessary gimmicks and design quirks – shock absorbing shoulder straps for example (?!) – which make it heavy and fussy. It also felt bulky on the back when full, and the total absence of a waist belt left my shoulders trashed in no time at all.
Overall, this is a very well made bag for the price which falls down on its over-design. Simplify it, slap on a waist belt, take away some of that heavy and unnecessary rubber and you’d have a great computer rucksack.
Reviewed by Ben Winston on behalf of planetFear