Something you’ll quickly learn, if you are indeed a new reader, is that I take my school supplies very seriously.

Patchy was unofficially retired as early as May when its condition became extreme. The bottom being unlikely to survive contact with anything sharper than a boiled egg, it now calls the living room closet home. It sees occasional use for high volume, low density cargo, such as the mint leaves my grandma grows in our backyard for profit or several cubic feet of packing peanuts.

I’ve wanted to replace my backpack, Columbia, since at least mid-semester. It has several problems which a hardcore Asian like myself could no longer ignore. In addition to the relatively small volume, there was the paucity of accessories compartments and supplies pockets. The main compartments are excessively divided in a manner that limits books beyond a certain width and the main zipper being set too far forward, it is a hassle to remove a laptop. Indicated in red is a better position for zipper placement.

columbia diagram There is also a glaring issue that I’ve noticed common to all other laptop-sleeve bearing backpacks. The laptop sleeve [indicated by the white outline] is attached to the pack’s inner wall, offering illusory protection by placing it as close to the wearer as possible. While my other cargo may protect it from small-caliber projectiles, what if I tie my shoes?

That is to say, the act of bending over places stress on the laptop. The yellow line indicates the curvature of my back as it puts pressure on the center of the laptop. While this effect on ultrasleek models like the Air are unknown, it has proved itself a hazard to my LCD screen.

The result of repeated bicycle commutes has flexed the tough magnesium alloy screen bezel inward enough that the bottom row of the keyboard and the slightly raised mouse button have indented their shapes into the screen. The extent of this effect is unknown with newer, lighter, plastic machines, (You tell me, Neal.) but they probably have lower profile keyboards and mouse buttons anyway. I much would have preferred a sleeve design that shelters my machine between two rigid textbooks rather than one textbook and the uneven landscape of my back.

My new Adidas has the same laptop sleeve placement so I’m stuck using an un-bicyclable Targus messenger bag. At least it can hold laptop accessories and is compatible with a backpack. (I can wear both at the same time.)

Next time: A comprehensive review of the Adidas.

One Response to “Columbia”

  1. Neal says:

    Targus un-bicyclable? I think not, just shorten the strap and have it under your arm. I do understand your concern about bending, I always position my laptop at the back of my bag, usually supported by a book.

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