Port Designs Courcheval Laptop Backpack (Don't Buy One Before Reading My Review)

Port Designs Courchevel Laptop Backpack Review


What a disappointment! I know it’s a negative way to begin this Port Designs Courchevel laptop backpack review, but disappointed is how I feel. Due to a previous experience I had with a Port Designs laptop backpack, I expected much better.

The best laptop backpack I have owned so far was by Port Designs. It lasted many years and accompanied me to numerous European countries. When something impresses me, I remember. That’s why I bought a Courchevel backpack but it turned out to be the worst backpack I have ever owned in my life.

Port Designs is a French company. It was founded in 1992 and specializes in producing luggage designed for transporting laptops and tablets.

According to the official website, Port Designs is one of the “leading brands” for producing this kind of luggage. A few years ago, I would have read that statement while nodding my head. Now all I see is a company that’s good at blowing its own trumpet.

So how could a company that produced the best laptop backpack I ever owned also supply me with one of the worst pieces of… kit I have ever owned?

I still have the tag that was attached to the Courchevel laptop backpack when it was new. It tells me the bag was designed in Paris. Then, in much smaller print, the tag reveals, the Courchevel was made in China.

I’m guessing my first backpack was made elsewhere in the world, possibly even in France, and, since then, like so many other companies, Port Designs has decided to take advantage of a cheap Asian workforce.


First Impressions

I bought my Port Deigns Courchevel laptop backpack online in February 2020. I was shocked when I received it and had a bad feeling about it right from the start.

One of the things I liked about my previous Port Designs backpack was it was made of such good quality fabric and had plenty of padding. Unfortunately, like the Trust Backpack, I was using directly before it, the Courchevel backpack is made of thin, poor-quality material and has very little padding. It’s flimsy.

However, on the plus side, the Courchevel laptop backpack does have several roomy sections that have handy pockets inside.

Handy inner pockets but the fabric is thin.

The bottom of the bag has a plastic coating to help prevent water from seeping into the fabric if you place the bag on the ground or another damp surface. That’s a good idea. I like it but it’s a great pity Port Designs didn’t add a little padding as well.

If you buy a Port Designs Courchevel laptop backpack, be very careful not to drop it or place it down roughly. There will only be a thin piece of fabric between your device and the outside world.

Where possible, I like to buy backpacks that have a built-in rain cover. The Courchevel has one. It tucks away neatly into a zippered pocket at the bottom of the bag.

Even though I previously had a lot of respect for the Port Designs brand, I probably would not have bought the Courchevel if it hadn’t got a rain cover.

Port Designs Courcheval backpack showing waterproof bottom and rain cover.


Using the Port Designs Courchevel Laptop Backpack: What I Learned

One of the first things I learned about this backpack was the rain cover is not waterproof. The first time I pulled it over the bag and went out in the rain, the fabric of the bag got very damp.

Because the rain cover was obviously not fit for purpose, I used to put my laptop into a plastic carrier bag before placing it inside the backpack. I placed a few old socks at the bottom of the compartment as well to provide a little padding.

In my view, I should not have had to do either of these things. I never had to with it with bag no.1.

After just a few weeks, I noticed the fabric was fraying in various places. The fraying was especially bad around the straps and handle.

However, as I am pretty much stuck in the UK for the foreseeable future and no longer a perpetual traveller, the bag was spending a lot of time in the house. I was using it more for storing things than transporting them so I decided to stick it out, even though it was pretty obvious I was already in need of a new bag.

I finally bought a replacement in April 2022. That means I had the Courchevel for just over two years. There is no way on earth I could have kept it that long If I’d still be travelling. Like its quality, the bag’s condition was too poor.

After only a few weeks the straps were fraying (Port Designs Courchevel Laptop Backpack Review)

Fraying handle: Another example of the poor quality matrials used to make the Port Designs Courchevel laptop backpack


Port Designs Courchevel Laptop Backpack Review Conclusion

It hardly seems necessary to add a review conclusion because you will already have gathered I had a bad experience with this Port Designs backpack. Needless to say, I cannot recommend the Courchevel to anyone and I will never buy anything that bears Port Design branding ever again.

I replaced the Courchevel with a Kroser travel laptop backpack I bought online. It’s much better quality. I could see that right from the start. It was also cheaper to buy. Unfortunatley, it has no rain cover, but the fabric is rain-reppelent. That’s not the same as being waterproof, though, so I bought a raincover sepearately and keep it inside the bag.

Port Designs Courchevel laptop backpack (left) + Kroser laptop backpack (right(

I’ve been using the Kroser for eight months and have not had any problems at all. I’m impressed and hope it will be several years before I need to replace it and write a review. So far, it looks like I will get my wish but fingers crossed.

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