Everki Versa Premium Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack review

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Because I am a doddering, forgetful fool, I finally realized that to avoid forgetting any item or its accessory, I need to carry everything with me. And I mean everything. iPhones, iPods, iPad, earphones and headphones (I AM a reviewer, after all) and all the junk that has to go with this stuff. It can become a commuting nightmare. Thankfully, there are bags and backpacks that can help organize it all, or at least make you feel better by keeping everything in one place – organized or not. For the last couple of months, I have been using the Everki Versa Premium Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack… or just Versa.

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One of the drawbacks when switching backpacks is that no matter how quirky an older backpack was, at least I knew where everything was kept, even if it wasn’t logical. When I moved all my gadgets and their peripherals to the Everki Versa, I had to relearn where everything went. I still sometimes have to think twice before I reach for something. I know this problem lies with me and not with the Versa, but it’s still a pain getting used to it.

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Right away, you know the Everki Versa is not an everyday backpack. It comes in a canvas drawstring bag that keeps it clean and dust-free until removed. Actually, the bag is somewhat unnecessary because the Versa is one tough-as-nails backpack. It don’t need no sissy bag to protect it! It’s extremely well-stitched. The zippers are heavy-duty, oversized for convenience and some zipper pulls can even be locked together. The ballistic-nylon outer shell is water resistant, so a rain shower won’t affect the valuable gear stored inside. It also has a large open pocket on the back that serves as a trolley-style suitcase handle pass-through.

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The shoulder straps are infinitely adjustable, well padded, and quite comfortable. For the record, I never use both shoulder straps; I use a backpack more like a shoulder bag slung over one shoulder. Go figure. If I went on a world tour, I might have to rethink that. But if you do use both straps, there is conveniently placed padding at the back for added comfort.

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When the Versa is zipped up, its black exterior can be subtle, until it’s opened. Inside is bright orange lining. Ordinarily, this brightness would be off-putting, but my non-orange gear contrasts nicely against the color, so everything is easy to find – even if I sometimes can’t remember where I put it. There are two orange-colored materials used inside, nylon for general lining and a soft felt used for lining pockets that help keep laptops and iPads scratch-free. There are black Velcro straps to help hold things in place when opened. I wish these straps were removable, because I don’t always need them and they can get in the way.

I won’t attempt to describe each and every pocket in and on the Versa. I will let the photos do that. Plus, the Everki website does a much better job showing how versatile the interior can be.

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I will say that there are a lot of pockets; some with specific purposes and some for anything you can fit. Even a few earphones, headphones, wiring, iPad, MacBook Pro (up to 15″), three iPods, iPhone, chargers and other gadgets have not filled this Versa to capacity. However, with all that gear, it does weigh quite a bit! Even empty, the Versa is a hefty 4+ lbs. This is where the added padding helps.

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There are some unique features to the Versa. At the top is a nifty hard-shell built-in case for sunglasses (I use it for computer glasses and office security card). If I review another backpack, this is one feature I will miss. There are also patented corner-guard protectors, which help prevent damage to laptops if the backpack is dropped or manhandled. This impact absorbing feature is similar in concept to reinforced-toe work boots. Plus, if you don’t need the added bulk or protection of corner-guards, they’re removable.

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Another feature that is becoming common in many backpacks is the ability to unzip and lay completely flat for airport X-ray machines. This allows you to leave everything inside the Versa, which can help speed up those long security lines.

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The front pocket allows for easy access to files or papers (8.5″ X 11″) without them being creased or wrinkled. I guess it’s a good idea for executives, but to accomplish this, this front pocket has some awkward and stiff corners that constantly get snagged on things as I am carrying the Versa around. It’s a useful feature, but it can be irritating when it snags.

There are numerous interior pockets – some with flaps, some zippered mesh and others open at the top for easy retrieval. As I said earlier, I use most of the pockets for cords, chargers, and other gadget accessories. The Versa is very adaptable to whatever I throw inside.

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You can lift the Versa by either of two leather handles located on the top of the backpack. While these handles are tough and easy to grasp, they are flat and not as comfortable as a more rounded, tubular handle I’ve used on other backpacks. Visually, the flat handles look a bit cheap for a backpack this nice.

The Versa is not inexpensive, but it should last a long time simply because it is so tough. I can easily imagine a college freshman buying the Versa and still be using it daily by the time he or she graduates and still be passed down to future students. Whatever complaints I have with the Versa are small compared to the use I get out of it. Even with all my yet-to-be-reviewed gadgets plus their add-ons, I still have plenty of room for more as long as I can handle the extra weight. That’s impressive.

 

Product Information

Price:$195 US
Manufacturer:Everki
Retailer:Everki
Pros:
  • Extremely tough
  • Water resistant
  • Padded in all the right places
  • Infinitely adjustable
  • Airport-security friendly features
  • Protected sunglass compartment
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Carrying handles not as comfortable as tubular designs
  • Awkward corners on front can snag
Posted in: Bags, Reviews

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Izzy February 6, 2013, 1:47 pm

    “unzip and lay completely flat for airport X-ray machines. This allows you to leave everything inside the Versa”. We must travel in different universes, Bill, and this bag would not offer any advantages to me.

    I flew over 50 times last year in Europe and most of the security staff would not even let me leave my MBA in its leather sleeve to go through screening. Never was I allowed to leave it in a bag, no matter what “approval” the bag had stamped on it; the MBA has to be in its own tray, separate from shoes, jackets, bags, etc – and then it gets swabbed about 1 trip in 4.

  • Julie February 6, 2013, 2:12 pm

    @Izzy the last several trips I’ve taken with my Tom Bihn Checkpoint bag have not had to remove my computer… Must be US thing…

  • nickyp February 6, 2013, 6:43 pm

    i have the Everki Lunar briefcase and think its great and not too pricey.

  • Rick February 9, 2014, 6:23 pm

    Great review, thank you. Have you guys considered reviewing the Everki Concept? Looks very similar in design, but bigger (and $100 more).

    And how would you compare the Versa to, say, the Tom Bihn Synapse 25?

  • Bill Henderson February 10, 2014, 10:33 am

    Rick,
    Let me first say that I still use the Versa everyday and like it even more than when I reviewed it. The darn thing is indestructible. I would love to review the Concept and offer a comparison. Maybe we can look into it for a later date.

    The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 was reviewed by Andy Jacobs. Here is the link:

    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2013/08/09/tom-bihn-synapse-25-backpack-review/

    Bill H.

  • Rick February 10, 2014, 11:01 am

    thanks for the reply. I’d read the Synapse 25 review, was just wondering if you had any perspective on how the two directly compared.

    One question, you mentioned that front flap that kind of portrudes on the bag and how it would snag on things. Has that been an issue? I can see that being a problem for me. I usually put my backpack in the back seat on the floor behind the driver’s seat. There’s a webbed pocket on the back of that seat and I can see that flap catching on it. Just wondering if you’ve noticed that flap being an issue.

  • Bill Henderson February 10, 2014, 11:04 am

    Frankly, it doesn’t bother me like it did. I suspect I just got used to it. Plus its a pocket I seldom use, so if I could have the Versa without it, I would go for that one. Bottom line: it’s not enough of an issue to prevent me from using and liking this backpack.

    Bill H.

  • Rick February 10, 2014, 11:19 am

    Thanks, Bill. Seems like that pocket would be most helpful for airline travel, quick access to documents. I only fly maybe 5-6 times a year, not sure how much I’d use that pocket and I am concerned it’s going to be in the way. I can get it on amazon via my prime membership so if I need to return it, not much risk there. Might try it, though the Concept looks really nice.

  • Wendell March 24, 2014, 3:38 pm

    I appreciate your review. . . very well done. I am trying to decide between the Everki Atlas and the Versa. I really like the adaptable laptop sleeve of the Versa as I travel with either a 15″ MBP or 13″ MBA and other bags have not handled this well . . .

    But I really like the ballistic nylon and the padded corners on the Atlas. Andy Jacobs did a review on the Atlas but no one has compared the two. Do you have any experience with the Atlas? What are your thoughts?

    thanks

  • Bill Henderson March 24, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Wendell,
    All I can say is that my Versa has padded, reinforced corners plus HD Foam. It’s pretty thick, so I would thing your laptop would be well protected. I put my iPad in that slot and it is very well protected. There is room for a laptop AND an iPad – each in its own padded slot.

    I have not seen the Atlas.

    Bill

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