* Prices may differ from that shown
I was lent this case/backpack by a friend and said friend has generously allowed me to keep it for the last six months!
I travel a lot on business and for longer stays I tend to use my trusty but heavy Samsonite case. This Jansport case is much handier and lighter and easily carries all I need for three or four days. It weighs 4.3 lb when empty.
It has a number of useful features. For me the main one is that I can swap it easily from a normal wheeling about case to a suprisingly comfortable backpack. Some cases don't make the transit easily and when hoisted onto my shoulders feel unbalanced and uncomfortable on my spine. On this one the retractable wheeling handle is padded enough not to be obtrusive and doesn't leave me feeling like someone is trying to realign my back with a shovel!
When I am pulling it up and down endless airport corridors and piers, it behaves itself and doesn't try to go it's own way like a wayward supermarket trolley. It doesn't make a lot of noise either which is a blessing! I had a case once that sounded like a Concorde landing every time I tried to move it. The wheels are at the corners of the case, rather than set in a few inches. This seems to help with stability and balance, so no graceless belly flops from your case when you let go of it to look for your tickets etc!
There is a side handle on the Jansport 8 for the times when you just want to carry it a few yards or up or down stairs. This isn't too comfy for carrying the case far. ( but then it doesn't need to be with two other ways of moving it about.) The bottom front is protected with a ridge of hard plastic, I assume this is to protect it from scuffing. (Or from the kicks of frustrated fliers who have just been told their plane is delayed again!)
My (friend's) case is black but they are available in a lot of different colours and some fairly fancy patterns too. If I was buying one for myself, which I probably will, I would buy a brighter one. Not because I prefer the look of them but because they are so much easier to identify on the airport luggage carousels. I wish I had a quid for every time I have lifted off somebody else's luggage!
The shoulder straps are sturdy and well padded, they tuck away inside a little compartment at the back of the case just below the sliding handle. They aren't very easy to adjust but stay put once you have the length right.
Inside the case are two large main compartments with those elasticated thingies that are supposed to keep your clothes in one place. To be honest, there's never enough space left in one of my cases for the clothes, books etc to be mobile. Once the case is shut nothing is going anywhere so I dont really use them. I occasionally get irritated by those bits of elastic strapping when I find they are trying to escape from the case and are messing with the zip! Having said that, this is not a problem peculiar to this particular case. They all do it if I don't remember to fasten them up before I try to fasten the case.
The laptop section is well padded and has room for cables and other bits and bobs of computer paraphenalia. I find the padding can hide loose bits due to the way it fits into the compartment and have twice 'lost' pens or little memory sticks in them. It does hold the laptop securely though and I don't worry myself about whether it will get damaged or not. It is also easy to get the laptop out for inspection at the security gates.
I find that the case will usually fit easily into the overhead bins on aeroplanes. I don't have to ease it in with the help of a battering ram!
There is a meshed pocket on the side for water bottles but I tend not to use this because it can get caught in things if there is a bottle in it. There is also a handy little mesh pocket on the main front pocket for travel documents and my latest sudoku book and pen! (and various other bits and bobs!)
The zips are sturdy and work fine, the ones around the two main compartment are double ended which is always handy.
The wheeling handle is T shaped and moulded with finger grips. A few times I have had the case jogged out of my hand if I have hit a bump whilst wheeling it but I think that is more my fault than an inherent design fault.
I have seen this case on sale at Dublin Airport for about £80.00 but don't buy one at an airport because they are about £20 cheaper if you shop around on the web.
This case is a couple of years old now and still looking good and working fine. I recommend it.