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I decided to write this review after comparing this with my brother's same backpack but with Swissgear branding and logos. He is currently on the 10th year of use with no visible wear (except from discoloration) and I have this for 2 1/2 years now. The backpacks have the exact same look and dimensions.
Initially I was very pleased with the purchase since the dimensions suited me just fine for the use I wanted and there are many pockets on this backpack for a lot of stuff.
But after comparing I immediately noticed the main difference which is on the quality of materials. It is evident the fabric and overall materials on the Wenger version of the backpack are way cheaper and oh man, it shows. The fabric especially on the inside is lighter and more glossy, more like the petroleum plastic you will find on 5-10 euro backpacks.
After normal to heavy use (stuffing lots of clothes and a laptop on trips) tears in my backpack started showing after the first year, and at some point made the backpack unusable. Some sawing was necessary in order to keep the backpack in working condition.
Overall I think it is an okay backpack but I would not buy this brand again.
Bought it at the end of may, and the stiching is falling apart on one of the handles already. After owning a swissgear back for nearly 6years before. The worst part is that i need mine to carry my laptop daily. So cant send it back for replacement either:(... Will think twice before getting a swissgear back again.
UPDATE: I have contacted swissgear, and they were happy to send a replacement. However i had purchase a replacement bag while i waited for the new one to arrive. the stiching in the new bag seems stronger on the handles, but quality still doesnt seem as good as my previous swissgear bag, as there is bits of stiching not cut properly which could get ripped. I will update in a few months to see if the replacement is what one would expect from a swissgear bag.
Therefore i will raise my review from 1 to 3 stars as their customer service was impecable.
Today I order the replacement for this bag after over 6 years service. It was a uni bag, a camera bag, a day bag, carry-on luggage, a hiking pack, and a laptop case. It rode (and crashed) on the back of motorcycles and survived many many journeys by bus afterwords.
The build quality was clearly lacking from early on. Small repairs were needed and often the stitching on the strap was never quite right. The bag never failed, even through years of abuse, overstuffing and general neglect it kept together reasonably well. In later years the rubberised floor panel was torn, sharp and uncomfortable.
The compartments are well-spaced, numerous, and well thought out. Had it not been for the borderline terrible build quality affecting the fit and function I would have purchased another one. As it is I'll give the brand a swerve from here on and try my luck elsewhere.
After 6 years, 2 months, 4 weeks and 2 days I'm happy to put down a well-serviced, reliable, but rough rucksack for the last time. You may play taps at your own leisure.
This is the second Wenger bag I have had, the first lasted me 8 years.
This bag seemed at first to be the same standard I’m used to. But, after owning the bag for around 8 months, the stitching on the handles of the bag has started to undo. I’m unsure if this one will outlive the legacy of my previous Wenger product! Only time will tell.
Other than the stitching, the bag has plenty of space. As a guitar teacher that carries a lot of books around, as well as a plentiful amount of other accessories, I believe I’m more than qualified to say that the space in this bag is more than adequate.
I just wish I’d have noticed the stitching within 6 months of owning the bag, I could have got a replacement then...
I bought this particular model to replace an identical one made by Swiss Gear; I can only assume that they were acquired by Wenger, or have somehow otherwise changed name. That one I purchased in person, and I assumed that I would be buying the same item here on Amazon. While it is largely the same, there are two material changes, on slightly for the better, and one for the much worse:
For the better, a stiffener was added to the bottom of the large main compartment, and this has improved how well the backpack sits upright without toppling over. I had grown used to facing the pack toward the back of a chair when I set it on the seat, as it had a habit of toppling over and falling to the floor with the old pack. I never thought much of that as, well...backpack. But this is a nice little new touch that makes the pack more stable, which gives some more assurance when it is sitting off the ground.
For the MUCH worse, the material on the shoulder straps has been changed to something considerably more slippery. For the huge proportion of users who only use one shoulder strap at a time, this can result in the pack slipping off your shoulder and down your arm, almost always at an inopportune moment. It stays in place with a leather jacket, as there's enough grip, but for any jacket with a synthetic shell it really is a struggle to keep it on one shoulder. This is a daily struggle and a real nuisance, as now I have to cock my arm to actually hold the pack in place so it doesn't slip. This really damages the experience of using what is otherwise a very nice backpack. I've resigned myself to live with it, but I doubt I'd get another one for these reasons.
We had read a lot of review's before purchase and found them very positive and useful. This bag lives up to all the positive reviews. The top pocket is so so so useful for travelling by train or plane... it's my favourite thing about the bag. It has enough room for an overnight / two night trip and is very comfortable.
UPDATE : One year later and the stitching is coming undone around the top pocket and zip. I have had to restitch the bag twice in two different spots. I would have expected the bag to be more durable. The sewing and stitches on the bag were not designed to withstand normal wear and tear. Another 6 months later and had to do more repairs. All around the same spot on the top. Seems like the stitching cannot handle the rucksack being carried by the top strap.
It broke within two weeks, the stiching on the straps unravelled and the material ripped. It was a very protracted procedure to get a replacement as the company is based in Switzerland, but we got one in the end. (They wanted us to cut it up and send them photos before they would send a new one - I pointed out that my son needed a bag for school even it was a broken one until the replacement came).We've had no problems with the second one thank goodness.
Super bag - sturdy, durable, full of useful pockets, everything the other reviews say - just one problem. My laptop (an Asus N56) is exactly 15 inches end to end - a standard modern size - and it just barely fits into this bag. It's beautifully well protected except at the top corners, which poke at the zip, pushing it out a little. Sadly I'll probably have to return it, as it seems pointless to give great protection to the rest of the laptop but to leave the corners to scrape against the zip. I'd bought this to replace an older bag that was designed for old-style non-widescreen laptops. It seems like this one is too, along with the rest of the Swissgear range (I've also tried a Mythos). Very frustrating.
I purchased this after owning a similar Swissgear sack. The previous one lasted around 5 years of almost daily use before one of the zips broke. Therefore I did not hesitate to buy another. This one is more squat than the last which makes packing a laptop with its sleeve quite snug. It has a nice base which appears water resistant and allows it to stand. It has all the pockets you expect from Swissgear. In fact they may have gone a bit overboard. However my main complaint is that lin ess than 1 year the fabric has worn resulting in a hole. Don't expect this from Swissgear.
It's very robust looking - gazillions of pockets but the finish on one of the rivets was peeling off when I looked at the product so doesn't inspire confidence- time will tell. Perhaps it was a 'Friday' bag..however it does feel really solid