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Brenthaven Prostyle Slimpack Review

Have you ever dropped your laptop bag with your laptop in it? Ouch! If you are accident prone Brenthaven may have a bag or two to lighten the blow. Laptop bags have become ubiquitous. So many varieties, shapes and sizes to fit ones needs.  Brenthaven makes a large variety of laptop bags and sleeves and is one of several companies that designs laptop bags that can sustain impact to protect the contents within it. The Brenthaven Prostyle SlimPack is a laptop backpack made with high density foam protection and a number of pockets and nooks and crannies to stash your gadgets and things.

The SlimPack is just as the name implies, SLIM. It’s also lightweight. Many backpacks including others made by Brenthaven weigh 2 pounds or more for the bag itself. The SlimPack is less than 1 pound. To their credit, larger and heavier bags can carry more, but the main focus of the SlimPack is to provide a slim and sleek backpack for a laptop and  other accessories (e.g., peripherals, phone, iPod, pens, digital camera). The color choices include black/red, black/white, and grey/orange.  The external dimensions are 12.5″ W x 18″ H x 3″ D. The internal dimensions are: 9.5″ W x 15.5″ H x 1.25″ D.  It was easily able to fit my 15 inch Macbook Pro.

Its size and weight make it a good choice for daily commuting and travel. I could see it being especially ideal if you use a bike or motorcycle to get around. The built in rain cover accommodates this type of use.  The side pockets also make it easier to extract your laptop from the bag in airport security.

The thoughtfully placed pockets and zippers provide convenient storage places for all your items.  You can reach your laptop from the side accessible pull down zipper without having to open the large flap.  Two other zipper pockets are also placed at the perimeter of the bag, which allow easy side entry without having to open the pack up. The front side pocket is lined in a soft fabric. While the two side pockets are easy to access, they are thin.  Large items like a portable mouse may not fit well in the tight space.  A more appropriate device would be a phone or iPod for convenient accessibility.

A large Velcro flap covers the body of the SlimPack and clasps to the bottom. The flap itself includes a zipper opening at the top. I can only guess why this is here.  My bag did not come with a zipper pull for this pocket, which makes me think it’s not meant to be opened for regular use.  When I did manage to open it I felt the waterproof lining inside the flap. I am guess it could be used to extra storage or to provide extra rain coverage.

The top flap opens up to an organization panel and several other pockets. The red org panel integrates a side zipper and snap that allows accessing and organizing this pocket more convenient.  The red lining material, which also lines the laptop compartment, isn’t my favorite part of this bag, but it gets the job done.   At the same price, the gray/orange Prostyle SlimPack comes with a softer and more attractive lining.  It would have been nice to see this in the black SlimPacks.

The pouch in front of the org panel is sewn with extra material that can bulge out, if needed. This would be a good place for the larger perpherials like a portable mouse.  The large compartment above the org panel can fit  books, notebooks, magazines, and papers.  In keeping with the slim nature of this bag, this pocket maxes out after a couple one-inch thick books. Anymore than that made the pockets in front too tight to comfortably access.

The body is constructed of a durable water resistant external shell that is made of military grade ballistic nylon.  The bottom back pocket stores a rain cover that covers the front of the bag.  The zipper pulls and stitching carry the color detailing subtlety through the exterior of bag.

The high density foam provides ½ inch thick padding around all six sides of the laptop.  The HDF system, as they call it, provides impact protection while suspending it above the bottom of the case. I tried to feel around the bottom to check out this suspension system. What I found was extra HDF padding lining the bottom of the bag and space between the laptop compartment foam and bottom foam.

In addition to the foam protection, the back straps are thick for shoulder comfort. Adjusting the straps is made easier with quick release shoulder straps that tighten and loosen without much effort. The cushioning against the back gives soft support and is reinforced by the padding of the laptop compartment. The shoulder straps join together with a unique adjustable chest clip to accommodate comfortable positioning for different body types. The chest clip can slide up and down a thin piping built into the bottom half of the shoulder straps. This is extra neat!

The Slimpack sits comfortable on the back but because of its unforgiving rectangle shape it sits high against the back. This is adjustable to comfort level.

100% lifetime guarantee is an added plus.  The Brenthaven ProStyle SlimPack is available for $79.95.

 

Product Information

Price:$79.95
Manufacturer:Brenthaven
Pros:
  • Slim, chest strap, rain cover
Cons:
  • lining material

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Ekstor August 11, 2010, 4:28 pm

    Thank you for the nice review. I’ve learned a lot about who the real premiere back makers are thanks to this site. It looks like this is a pretty ideal minimalist/low-profile bag. I wish it were less but that’s a standard price for the Brenthaven/Timbuk2/Skooba’s of the world.

  • DimChen September 23, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Just got one from Amazon for $49.99 , It’s light , Great looking , easy access to my MacBook pro 15.4′ , I love it !!

  • KY February 18, 2011, 3:03 pm

    The Brenthaven website (http://www.brenthaven.com/pc-catalog/prostyle-slim-pack-gryorg#viewer) explains the reason for the missing zipper pull, as pulled directly from the site:

    There is a small zipper on the interior of the flap that seems to be missing a zipper pull, is this a mistake?
    No, this is not a mistake. This zipper is meant for embroidery access, and does not include a zipper pull intentionally.

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