BooqPaq3 Laptop Backpack Review

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As you can imagine, Julie and I see all sorts of laptop and gear bags in all
sorts of styles and flavors. Obviously, some of them are better than others.
Some of them have redeeming features but they aren’t quite ready for
prime-time, and some…well some are so bad that we send e-mails back and
forth to each other discussing the various features that guarantee that that
particular bag will wind up in the bottom of our respective junk closets.

The bag I want to tell you about today will never have to fear being
relegated to the bottom of anyone’s closet. It utilizes a well thought
out design that actually delivers the features that many of us are looking for
in a laptop bag: protection for our electronics, lots of pockets, quality
construction, and good looks. I am talking about the
BooqPaq3, by
Booq (pronounced like Luke). To
take the "good looks" thing a step further, this back is somewhat
personalizeable, with the addition of you choice of
BP3 Shell. Obviously, I
am getting ahead of myself, so let’s start at the beginning.

This is the BooqPaq3, which is avaiable in black, navy or gray, and we will
call the BP3 from here on…

With just a quick once-over, it is evident that this is a higher-end backpack
model. The first clue is from the materials used in its construction –
weather-resistant 1680D ballistic nylon. This material is tough, dirt and stain
resistant, and should be virtually indestructible. The BP3 measure approximately
17" tall x 14" wide x 6" deep. Empty, it weighs about 2.9 pounds.

There are lots and lots of zippers on the front of this bag. Each heavy duty
zipper is capped with a metal and rubber custom pull that says "booq" and
displays the "b with a swirlie" that makes up their logo.

With so many zippers, there are as many and more accompanying pockets, so
let’s start with the ones on the front…

We’ll do something different, and begin at the bottom, which is where we find
a sunglasses sized pocket that stays shut with a Velcro patch. Before anyone
utters a word about the Velcro – let me say now that there are only a couple of
places where this ornery stuff is used, and when it is used, it is in small


With that said, this pocket would be perfect for sunglasses if it had been
lined in a soft nappy fabric. If you are carrying anything else there, then what
it is lined in won’t matter to you. This pocket might also be great for a
folding head-phone set.

Moving up, let’s look at the dome shaped pouch that closes with double
zippers. Inside this spacious compartment, is an open webbed slash pocket along
the back wall. This compartment is perfect for small loose items that need to be
kept where they can be easily accessed. The outside of this compartment has a
hanging D-ring, that you could clip something to, if so inclined.

Next, is a slash pocket that has been sectioned into four small open
compartments. I could see storing memory cards or other such small items here,
though the open top of the pocket would make me nervous about putting anything
too valuable there. Above this are is a 8" wide x 3" tall open slash pocket,
followed by a zipping 8" wide x 5" tall mesh pocket.

Next is a 8" wide x 7" tall x 1.5" deep zippered pocket that would be perfect
for your CD or MP3 player. In fact, it is designed so that you can run your
head-phone’s cord through the metal grommet in the flap that covers the zippers.
The flap is held in place with a small patch of Velcro, one of the few (but well
placed) instances it rears its ugly head.

Picture on right courtesy of the Booq website

Now let’s move to the BP3s sides for a moment. Each side features a 9" tall x
4" wide x 2" deep zippered pocket that can hold either a water bottle or other
assorted "stuff." Both sides are identical.

The right side of the BP2, behind the pocket, hides a zipper that secures a
huge pocket that is as deep as the back of the pack. This is a great spot for a
magazine, or airplane tickets that you need easy access to, but want to keep in
a secure area.

The top of the bag has a padded handle. In a perfect world, this handle would
be even more substantial, but as it is, it is better than many I have reviewed.
On either side of the bag’s handle are three loops formed out of nylon webbing.
These loops remind me of the shotgun shell holder’s on an outlaws bandolier, but
they can obviously be used for other purposes – like holding head-phones when
they aren’t in use (but they are plugged in), or holding small canisters.
Actually, the more I look at them, they look like they could hold the canisters
35mm film comes in.

The back of the BP3 is a tough, padded turtle shell fashioned into the "b
with swirlie" logo. It looks great, and when the pack is loaded, it feels
great against your back, too. The shoulder straps are wide and padded, and
extremely adjustable. There are straps to secure and balance the pack across the
waist and sternum. Personally, I never use these. But if you like them, they are

Let’s go back to the top of the bag for just a moment. When looking at this
area, you will recall that there are two double sets of zippers. The set to the
rear unzips to reveal a padded area suitable for even the largest laptop. This
area measures approximately 17" tall  x 12" wide x 2.5" deep and is
finished in a soft loopy fabric (this material would work very well in the
pocket I want to use for sunglasses, hint hint).


Picture on left courtesy of the Booq website

While I can see putting a naked laptop in this section (because of  its
decent padding), for added piece of mind, you might want to pick up a

Laptop Sleeve
. These are cases which have been made to fit various sizes of
laptops; they perfectly cocoon your laptop and keep it safe from all angles. The
sleeves sized 12 through 15 can fit inside the BP3; I was sent a
PowerSleeve 15, which can
also be carried by itself as a mini-bag, when not in the BooqPaq3. This sleeve
features the coolest removable strap on either side – due to its clever design,
you wouldn’t even know that it was a shoulder bag when the strap is gone.

Picture on left courtesy of the Booq website

Hint: If you are going to want the added protection of the
sleeve, your best value would be to get the
BP3 System, which
includes the BP3 and the correctly sized sleeve for your laptop.  You also
get a FonePaq (cell phone
case) and PDApaq (PDA
case),  which can be attached to the BP3’s shoulder straps.


Pictures courtesy of the Booq website

The forward set of zippers open into the main compartment of the BP3. This
area measures approximately 17" tall x 12" wide x 2.5" inches deep, and is a
great place to stow any books or other larger loose items that need toting. On
the wall that makes up the front flap, there is an organizer section, which

…an 8" wide by 6" deep zippered mesh pocket. Attached to the mesh  is
a gusseted flap pocket, which stays closed with Velcro. There is also a plastic
clip for holding your key-ring.


But wait…there’s more!

Remember I mentioned that this bag was
somewhat personalizeable? With the addition of the

BP3 Shell, an externally
clipped and Velcroed pocket, you can add a touch of flair to what might
otherwise look like a plain backpack. The BP3 Shell is available in grey, khaki,
black or orange rip-stop nylon, camouflage nylon, or leather-look (PVC-based)
material; my bag came with the camo version.


This shell attaches to the two plastic clips on the bottom front of the BP3
and to the two strips of Velcro near the top of the front side – which I bet you
didn’t even notice until I pointed them out.

The rear of the shell is thickly padded and the  front is thick material
(which may depend on the model you get). The zipper on the front opens to reveal
an 8" wide by 4.5" deep pocket. If the padding had been on the front side, I
would have said this was a perfect pocket for a PDA or cell-phone, but otherwise
– it is a great spot for small items that you are not particularly worried about

A definite benefit to attaching the BP3 Shell to your bag is that it provides
padding protection for any MP3 or CD player (or PDA, for that matter) that you
put in the pocket it covers.

This bag can hold an amazing amount of "stuff, " I get a backache just
looking at this picture…

Picture courtesy of the Booq website

The BooqBag3 is an amazing backpack that is just about perfect
for those that prefer this style gear bag. The one suggestion that I have for it
(lining what I call the sunglasses pocket) can’t even be viewed as a con,
neither can it’s judicious use of Velcro – in fact, the places they used it are
so appropriate they should be an example for other bag makers. The BP3 is made of quality materials.
It has plenty of pockets for all of your
gear, offers plenty of protection for your stuff,  looks great, and it
might just be the perfect backpack.

Price: $119.95 for the
BP3 (Comes with BP3
Shell). $34-95-$44.95 to add a

Laptop Sleeve
that will fit inside, or $159.95 for the
BP3 System (includes one
12-15 series sleeves)
Booq products come with an excellent warranty, which you can read about

Extremely well made of quality materials
Lots of pockets
Lots of padding
Looks great
Judicious use of Velcro – it’s only where appropriate (yes, that is



Product Information

  • Extremely well made of quality materials
  • Lots of pockets
  • Lots of padding
  • Looks great
  • Judicious use of Velcro - it's only where appropriate (yes, that is
  • possible!)
  • None

24 thoughts on “BooqPaq3 Laptop Backpack Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Good review. Nice backpack. My previous post in the shoulder strap review talked about the eBags Firewall Laptop brief that I bought. I think I would have test driven this thing before making a decision. My biggest complaint with Backpacks has been the lack of structured storage space. This one seems the same inside the large compartment. After 10 years of using a backpack, I’m pretty happy with the Firewall….

    But I may still test drive this one

  3. I do take my backpacks out in the snow and rain, so my main concern is that the open pockets on the front are exposed to the elements (with little other than the Shell to shield them). The pictures on the Booq website suggest putting things like memory sticks and flash media in the front storage array, and I’m concerned about the effects of moisture, etc. or say I slip on an icy patch and fall into snow or something.

    The other thing is that I’d like to use something like this as carry-on luggage to take on an airplane. With my laptop filling one compartment, it doesn’t sound like too much room left in 2.5″ of depth for lose-your-luggage-emergency change of clothes and toiletry kit.

    I’ve been on the fence about buying the BP3 System for several months now. A test drive of the product here in Canada means importing the product, and that entails shipping, handling, duties imposed by customs, interference from customs brokerage houses, and what-have-you. So, the more info I can get from good reviews like this before I take the plunge, the better.

  4. Tasty,

    If you are carrying your laptop, then space would be a bit limited. But I think you could fit one change of clothes in the main compartment, and you could fit your toiletries into the dome pocket on the front and the two big side pouches/pockets.

    I am not sure how much gear you carry in addition to the emergency change of clothes, but it might work for you.

    I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this bag, but I won’t even get to keep it…my daughter has claimed it. :p

    Judie :0)

  5. Guys:

    This bag seems to be the “ONE.” I have been looking for a back pack for some time. The most important thing is quality and style. I have been using a Brenthaven brief for almost 10 years and I just want something different now. Brenthaven’s backpack’s are pricey and not very stylish. So, I had not switched yet. But you should note that the Brenthaven brief has performed beyond my expectations and has set the standard that I will come to expect for quality.

    I first saw one of Booq’s print ads. Then went to their web site. Not convinced, I forgot about it until I read your review. I then went back to the Booq web site and called Booq. Within hours I ordered the BP3 System (Navy w/ Kahki shell, although my daughter wanted me to get the Orange shell, it was a little bright for business use). When I receive it I will post a review.

    But your great review pushed me over the edge to get the BP3 ! Thanks for the great review !

  6. Brad,

    You are right about Brenthaven’s quality. I will never forget one of my first reviews was on their PDA case. While that thing was fugly – it was built like a tank.

    I don’t think you will be dissapointed in the Booq – keep us posted.

    Judie :0)

  7. Man if I see a grown person running around at the conference center with one of these I’ll probably think he’s some nerd fresh from college.

    This sh!t is like an army bag, who would carry this unless you were in Iraq fighting the Iraqis.

  8. I think this bag is very cool but will it hold a 15 inch powerbook? I have found that the widescreen can be a problem when finding a good quality bag for it.

  9. Judie:

    I received the BP3 System yesterday. The construction is excellent. However, this bag is BIG, but in the wrong demensions for business use. The side pouches are too big and deep, the velcro releases on th shell are awkward to use to gain access to the underlying pockets; the main compartment is not shaped right for business papers (too wide); and most importantly, although well padded (even without the sleeve) the computer storage section is too difficult to get in and out of.

    The sleeve is nice, but not necessary as there really is ample padding. Finally, I don’t see much use for the phone bag and the PDA bag, as those items need to be easily accessable and messing with another bag to get to them is cumbersome.

    I wanted this bag to work in the worst way, but it just does not work for me. I would love to see a review of the Brenthaven Executive Backpack.

  10. Brad,

    Well that is bad news! Thanks for letting us know about your experience with the Booq, and I will see what we can do about the Brenthaven.

    Judie :0/

  11. Judie:

    Also, if you do contact Brenthaven, your comparison of the Executive Backpack and the Urban Backpack would be valuable.

  12. I feel that I must chime into this discussion on Booqbags. I ordered a Powersleeve 15 a month or so ago and haven’t had an outlet for my frustration with the company. While I have to say that they make an excellent product (with one caveat), their customer service is horrendous.
    I purchase a new Powerbook 15″ recently and followed the chart on their website to determine sizing for the correct booqbag. The PS 15 was supposed to fit all 15″ Powerbooks, so I placed my order. They took my money very quickly and shipped the product. The only problem is that the new Powerbook is slightly larger in dimension than the previous model. I called AND email Booq several times to try and work something out. (I think they sent me an older PS 15 bag!–The dimensions listed on the website conflicted with the attached tag on my PS 15 bag.)
    They have never returned any correspondence. 😡 This is only my experience and should be taken as such.

    Are you planning on returning your backpack? If so, I would really like to know what your experience was like.

    In any case, I wanted you all to know that they were quick to take my $$, but they have POOR/NON-EXISTENT post-sale customer service

    Eddie J.
    [email protected]

  13. Thanks for asking about my experience with Booq. I knew right away the bag was not the one for me. I followed their instructions and sent it back. About a week after they received it I received an e-mail regarding my credit. Can’t ask for more than that except maybe a call to see what went wrong ?

  14. Brad,
    I’m happy to hear that you had a good experience in returning it at least. I couldn’t get a response either way from them. Hopefully you’ll find a bag/backpack that fits your needs both functionally as well as aesthetically! =)


  15. I like the look of the Booq and ordered he BP3, but it came bigger than I expected. Lots of compartments and pockets and solid construction.

    I have previously used the Spire Zoom ( for three years and were very happy with it until my new Dell Latitude D800’s extra length requires a larger bag, and unfortunately Spire’s new models did not look as well designed as the older models.

    I have then purchasrd a Mobile Select backpack from Ebags, returned after one day. Must give Ebags a thumb up for ease of return with no shipping charge and hassle.

    Now onto the Cons of this backpack:

    (1) The handle on the top is flimsy. Even a $30 backpack has better handle nowadays.

    (2) Of all the compartments available, there is no place to clip a few pens. The only possible locations – under the shell all the way to the left and right side of the outer pockets.

    (3) The laptop compartment is too wide. I understand it is designed to hold an extra sleeve, but without it, the fit is not snug. My old Spire came with a sleeve. But my Dell Latitude 800 will not fit after a sleeve is added because as it is now, it is barely fitting in height, but too much room width wise.

    (4) This backpack does not stand up straight. Something about it. Most backpack when fully loaded will stand up straight at least when leaned against the wall, this one will not. I think it is because of the extra wide shoulder straps and the padding at the bottom is not “flat” on the outside. The extra wide shoulder strap is not comfortable either and if you wear an overcoat this shoulder strap may not fit well over heavy layered clothing.

    (5) Need to find a way to tuck away the waist straps so it does not dangle when not in use. To this day I have yet to see people use the waist strap, most do not go hiking and camping with this.

    (6) Ah the side pockets – I like to see some variations. Would be nice to have this construction on one side but the other side have a half height one, or one with a horizontal zipper across the could be opened and a water bottle pushed in? A mesh fitter pocket somewhere on the outside will be nice.

    (7) Zippers – I think this is the biggest letdown on this for me. The zippers do not zip well. Both the Spire and Mobile Select have bigger and better zipper, it makes a difference when the zipper is hard to use. I tried each of the compartments and I have to hold one side with one hand and then zip/unzip with the other. Most high end bags I have used you can zip/unzip with one hand.

    (8) The interior clip is located incorrectly. If hangs over a zipper opening so you must move whatever you are hanging out of the way.

    I am searching for the ultimate backpack and the search continues…

    What is Booq’s return policy like?


  16. After three days of consideration I decided to return the backpack and go with Tom Bihn’s SmartAlec.

    Visited Boog’s website and there is a form you fill out to file a return / claim. I filled it in and await notification – did not hear from them in 2 days.

    Visited the web site again and noticed it says you do not need to file a claim to return, simply mail the bag back and they will be refunded. I did precisely that and three weeks have gone by – no notification of receipt, no refund credit. Not a word.

    I filed another claim form asking for status – no reply for two days.

    Just emailed theiir customer service asking for status, will post my experience. FWIW, a backpack I ordered from eBags was returned and credited within a week, and with free return shipment.


  17. Email them about the returned merchandise. Got an automated reply saying they got my email. Now 5 days later, not a word.

    Customer Service – two thumbs down.


  18. Nothing like resurrecting a dead thread for some info.

    I got my BP3 system with PowerSleeve 15 today and the bag is too freaking small! The PowerSleeve will * NOT* fit in the bag. Is this normal? I can almost understand the zippers being a little stiff, but the PowerSleeve is supposed to fit in the bag — right? It’s like they made mine 2″ too short.

  19. Hey all of you, I tried the Booq and had similar complaints. I really wanted it to work but to no avail. I searched and found SpireUSA. I bought the new FUSE bag. This bag is FANTANSTIC ! It will hold just about any computer, it is very well made (I know since I was previously using a Brenthaven bag), and it is stylish and easy to travel with. I get stopped in my building almost daily by people admiring the bag ! Sure it could have a pocket or two extra, but it really does the job ! Go to their website and check it out !

  20. Judie –

    I am trying to decide between buying the Booqbag PS3, or the Spire ‘Fuse’/’Meta’ or Samsonite Laptop Sports Backpack. Any plans to review the latter ones?

    I am a student with a long commute on public transit, so I need a bag that can carry plenty of textbooks and binders, along with my laptop/PDA/mobile, and yet be comfortable to walk around with. I’m also looking for a bag that will accomodate a thermos with dimensions of 9 3/4″ height with a 2 3/4″ base diameter, and it doesn’t sound like the PS 3 side pockets will do the trick based on the dimensions listed in your review. Is there any other spot in the PS3 where I could fit my thermos?


  21. akapur, I wish I could answer your question, but it has been almost 3 years since I did the review and I no longer have the bag. 🙁

    I don’t really think that there is a better place to put your thermos than the side pockets of the Booq bag, but you are right that they don’t sound like a good match based on the measurements we have both given.

    I have some other laptop backpack reviews coming up, maybe something else will be a better match for you. :0)

  22. I’m right now looking for a backpack to house a macbook pro 15.4″. That being said i really can’t choose between the spire Fuse and this BP3. I’m a college student so space for books is a must and i’ll probably be biking a lot to and from college. Backpacks seem more safe for a labtop than a messenger bag, and the reviews for both bags put them ahead of the rest. any advice between the two or even any up-to-date newer backpack models would be great, price for me doesn’t really matter since to me spending $200 to protect a $2k investment is worth it. Thanks!

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