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For backpacks, Booq Boa and Mission Workshop are the top picks

No laptop backpack gets as much positive attention from reviewers as the Booq Boa Flow (Est. $195) . Four separate computer publications give the backpack approving reviews, saying it's roomy, sturdy, well organized and cool-looking. It offers plenty of interior pockets, including a zippered pocket on the bottom that can accommodate a DSLR camera (though CNET editors say they're "not sure we trust" this configuration). It's also well padded and waterproof.

One feature of the Flow that reviewers can't overlook is its size. DigitalTrends.com calls it "a behemoth of a backpack," with plenty of room for a 17-inch laptop and everything else you might need for a weekend getaway. However, its large size can also be a drawback; both CNET and PCMag.com say this bulky bag is too large to be practical for everyday use. On the other hand, Dave Rees of The-Gadgeteer.com, who commutes by motorcycle, finds it "perfect for getting my laptop, gear, and lunch to and from work." All reviewers, however, agree that the Flow is ideal for long-distance travel.

Although the Booq Boa Flow is very sturdy, it pales in comparison to the Mission Workshop R6 Arkiv Field Backpack (Est. $210 and up) . TheWirecutter.com calls this bag "an assault rifle in pack form": built and styled for users who want their laptops to be able to survive under combat conditions. The Arkiv isn't simply a backpack: it's a modular, fully customizable system, with nine different components that you can choose and arrange to your liking. Editors at TheWirecutter.com and Macworld agree that some of these components are incredibly useful, while others, such as the cell phone pocket, are completely unnecessary. However, both reviewers gripe that for all its custom options, the Arkiv is surprisingly short on organization pockets to store everyday items like pens. Also, they say that a fully loaded Arkiv can be quite heavy, and without the optional Waistbelt (Est. $35), it's awkward to carry.

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Booq Boa Flow XL Backpack for 17-Inch Laptops, Black/Red (BFXL-BLR)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $199.95   
Average Customer Review:  

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