For years I have been lugging my kit around in a Wenger Swiss gear backpack, which has been a real rugged workhorse. The thing though is massive and even after years of use I still don’t think I have found all the pockets!
The problem is that because it could carry so much there has always been a temptation to overfill it – you never know when you might need that widget and so in the bag it goes. This became an issue for me because the Wenger is heavy when it is empty let alone when full. So began the search for something that might allow me to carry what I needed without breaking my back.
At the same time as I realised that I needed an alternative Cocoon released their SLIM backpack. I have been using their Grid-It organisers for a while helping to bring some order to the larger pockets on the Wenger and so when I saw the SLIM included a massive grid I was sold.
Frustratingly the pack is only available in the US and then only in Apple stores. So when I was on holiday there earlier this year I hunted one down.
As you can see from the picture above it is thin, almost so that you might not believe that it can actually hold that much but looks can be deceptive. There is a large padded pocket at the back for your laptop with a smaller pocket in front for an iPad/Kindle etc. There is also a pocket for papers but don’t expect to get more than a few sheets in there and your certainly will have to choose between your iPad and a notebook – a good time to go paper free?
Up front there is another zipped cover which opens to reveal a massive Grid-It organiser which allows you to stow pretty much any thing you can think of in a convenient and easy to reach way. As you can see from the images below from mine and a colleagues bag you really can store all manner of things here. Including, in my case, an umbrella.
The thing I have always liked about about the Wenger is that it has a massive amount of padding which probably accounts for why it is 1.8kg vs 1.14kg for the Cocoon. The result of all this padding is that the Wenger is really comfortable when being carried for long periods. Given the thin nature of the SLIM I was concerned that there wouldn’t be much protection and it would be uncomfortable but I was wrong on both counts. The lighter weight helps and what padding there is seems to do a good job of fitting comfortably to my back.
If you are looking for a smart and compact way of carrying all you need for a business day then the Cocoon is the pack for you. You won’t be able to carry as much as the Wenger but in my case I consider that to be a good thing and my back agrees!