I’m writing this Port Designs Laptop Backpack review earlier than I would have liked to do. Tomorrow the bag is going in the trash. I’ll miss it. This bag has been travelling with me for more years than I can remember. I had a few laptop bags before it, but it’s easily the best of the lot.
When I left the UK in July 2015, it was with me and, from what I can remember, I’d already owned it for some time. At least a few months, perhaps a year, and possibly even longer. It was a good bag. I liked it, but now it’s looking a little worse for wear and, more importantly, the zip on one of the compartments is broken.
From what I can remember, my Port Designs Laptop Backpack cost me around £50-£60. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth every penny. It’s had a lot of use and travelled with me to more than a dozen countries. I’ve had my money’s worth but I’m still sorry to see it go.
I don’t write a product review unless I know an item well. Some people review items just after they buy them or have only been using them for a few weeks. Those types of review are based on first impressions. They may tell you an item looks good, but they won’t provide an idea of how well it’s going to hold up.
This Port Designs Laptop Backpack review is based on experience and many years of use.
Why I Bought a Port Designs Backpack Instead of Another Brand
I may not remember where I bought the bag, but I remember where. I got it from the Tesco supermarket in Newton Aycliffe. There were a number of other options, but I chose this one because it was well padded and the quality looked to be good. I also preferred the overall design. The fact that it had a pull-out rain cover was also a big point in its favour.
At the time, I’d never heard of Port Designs and was unfamiliar with the brand. My decision to buy it was based solely on the merits of the bag itself, not on the manufacturer’s reputation.
I’ve since learned, Port Designs is based in France, has been trading since 1992, and is one of the main brands when it comes to supplying bags for transporting laptops and tablets.
What I Like About the Bag
One of the main things I like about the bag is the padding. Once my laptop is zipped inside the back section of the bag I know it’s well protected. I actually travel with two laptops and used to place the second one inside the main section of the bag.
The bag has three main sections, plus a small zipped pocket on the very front. I used to find that one perfect for storing my passport and spare mobile phone.
The section at the back of the bag is where the laptop goes. No surprise there. That’s the way it always goes with this type of bag.
Apart from the thick padding, there are another two things I like about the back section. First of all, there’s an extra foam strip at the bottom that provides additional padding. Many laptops bags don’t have this. It’s a good idea though. It protects your laptop from damage if you drop the bag or place it on the floor too hard. The second thing I like about the back section is the strap at the top. It fastens with Velcro to help hold the laptop in place. It’s a nice touch.
The other two sections have plenty of internal pockets for storing pens, notebooks, business cards, you name it. There is a clip for holding keys in the front section as well. I’ve never used it, but many people may find a clip like that handy.
The base of the bag has a plastic coating on the outside. It stops the bag slipping around and saves things from getting wet if you have to rest the bag on a damp surface. It’s proved to be very durable.
The two external zipped pockets on either side of the bag are also very handy. After so many years of use one the pockets on my Port Designs Laptop Backpack has got a hole it. That only came about recently as well. Six months ago it was fine but I stuff padlocks and all sorts of strange gear into those side pockets so they’ve done pretty well.
I consider the waterproof cover an extremely important feature. It’s one of the reasons I bought the bag in the first place. Sometimes when I’m travelling I have to do a lot of walking in the rain and laptops and water are not a good mix. The waterproof cover is permanently attached to the bag and pushes inside a small zipped section at the bottom when the weather is nice and dry
Would I Buy Another Port Designs Laptop Backpack?
If you’ve read all of this review, you will probably already know I like this Port Designs Laptop Backpack a lot. I would definitely buy another. Unfortunately, the zip gave way just after I arrived in Tirana and I could not find a Port Designs laptop backpack in any of the shops. I had to buy a different brand instead, but if I could have bought another Port Designs backpack I would. No doubt about it.
Unfortunately, this particular model appears to have been discontinued but on the strength of my experience with it, through the years, I would be quite happy to buy one of the newer designs instead. As with any product review, this is a personal opinion, but if you need a good laptop backpack or bag Port Designs is going to be pretty hard to beat.
UPDATE (December 2022): I bought another Port Designs laptop backpack. The quality was very poor. It was not a patch on the bag in this review. It was made in China. The fabric was very poor and there next to no padding to protect the contents of the bag. I no longer reccomend the Port Desgigns brand and will never buy any of its products again. It’s a big change of heart I know. You can find out what caused the change here: Port Designs Courchevel Laptop Backpack Review
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