Thursday, June 13, 2024
Backpacking & OutdoorsBusiness travelReviewsTravel light

REVIEWED: Solo New York Varsity Elite Backpack

This black or burgundy laptop backpack from the Varsity Collection open like a suitcase and adds a large wet pocket for gym kit, laundry or shoes

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Solo New York calls the Varsity Elite ‘the ultimate carry-all’, and it’s hard to argue. Lots of pockets for specific items and uses, plus a clip-over hood that can stash a coat while out walking, make this a really productive bag for urban short-haul travel.

Laptop compartment

Despite its overnight/short-trip possibilities, the 21″ x 13.5″ x 7″ Varsity Elite is designed for urban commuters. In the back compartment is lots of room for a 17.3-inch laptop, plus an inner-facing pocket for a tablet. However, if you have a smaller ultrabook – such as a 13-inch MacBook Air – is does rattle around a bit. OK, so it’s not going to get damaged with all of this padding around, but still … it’s not as snug as we would like.

Wet pocket

The USP of the Varsity Elite is its wet pocket. Accessed from the lower half of the front of the bag, it’s a surprisingly roomy pocket that shares the space occupied by the main compartments. So if yo put a pair of shoes in there, there won’t be much room left in the main zone. However, if you stuff some dirty laundry in there, it keeps it away from your clean stuff. It works best for laundry and for wet towels. Great design.

Main compartment

The wet pocket might be a standout, but it’s the main compartment that TravGear likes most. This compartment is simple, uncluttered and opens like a suitcase. That makes it really easy to access, so ideal for trips where you’re staying in several hotels in a short space of time. The lid has a small wet pocket and a small zip pocket for documents. A clip-over hood makes this section secure and/or out of the way, while also making it easy to stash a jacket on the top of the Varsity Elite while out walking.

Side stows

Add two zipped side pockets (that can be left open if you like to travel with a bottle of water), some nice sports zipper pulls, smooth yet tough nylon fabric, and an ultra-light design, and TravGear was impressed by the Solo New York Varsity Elite on a recent four-day business trip.

Price as reviewed: US$79.99

Buy the Solo New York Varsity Elite Backpack