I’m not the kind of person who uses big handbags or briefcases on a daily basis. Instead, whenever I have a bunch of stuff to haul around, I prefer to use a backpack. This is true whether I’m going to the library, the beach, or Six Flags. Even when I travel, a backpack is my carry-on of choice because of the convenience of being able to walk through the airport with both hands free.
Because I use backpacks so often, I try to buy durable ones that are still reasonably priced. Of course I could spend a few hundred bucks on a North Face pack that’s designed for scaling mountains, but that would be overkill for me. Instead, I try to stay in the $30-$60 range, which can definitely get me a quality bag. The last one I had was from Eddie Bauer and cost me $35. It lasted seven years before finally giving out a couple weeks ago. After doing some research, I decided to go with the Nike Edge Elite Utility backpack this time around.
The first thing that attracted my attention to this backpack was its looks. I saw the black/anthracite one on the rack at a local sporting goods store and just had to take it down to examine it more closely. The Edge Elite Utility simply looks very cool, which is always a bonus.
Next, I checked out the Edge Elite Utility’s features. As I said, I don’t need anything too elaborate from my pack. I just like to have several different compartments for keeping things separate, and the Edge Elite Utility does reasonably well in this regard.
The main compartment has a large divider that’s supposed to be for a laptop, but I honestly couldn’t see myself lugging my laptop around in this thing. There’s not enough padding for that. Nevertheless, the divider could definitely come in handy, like for keeping file folders separate from other junk or whatever.
There’s also an iPod/music player pouch (with a velcro strap) in the main compartment, with an audio port for your headphones to go through. This sort of thing is pretty standard in backpacks these days, so I wasn’t surprised to see the feature included with a Nike bag. The pouch is large enough to accommodate any device on the market, and I do like the headphone port, as it allows me to listen to my iPod without exposing the MP3 player to potential thieves.
Outside of the main compartment, there’s a smaller secondary compartment with a zipper that goes halfway around the bag. Within this compartment, there’s an unsecured pocket and a small, zippered pouch. I keep my pens, keys, wallet, USB memory stick, and other small items in here for easy retrieval.
Then there’s a “cargo net” stretched across this outer compartment, which is a fantastic feature. I love being able to shove stuff in there (napkins, Kleenex, sunglasses) without having to open up the backpack and deal with the zippers.
And finally, there are two smaller pouches on the sides of the backpack. One of these has a zipper on it and is perfect for carrying my digital camera or cell phone securely. I love being able to keep those items separate from everything else so they don’t get banged up, while still having them be easily accessible so I can grab them quickly.
The other small compartment is billed as a water bottle holder, and is also extremely convenient. It’s lined with rubber so the condensation from your drink doesn’t seep into the rest of the pack and is perfect for my 16-oz. diet Coke or Evian bottles. I can get the bottles out of the pouch and put them back in without having to remove the backpack, which is exactly what I want.
Oh, another fantastic feature that I forgot to mention is that the shoulder straps are padded with the kind of Nike Air cushions that you’d expect to find on this company’s athletic shoes. This padding makes the Edge Elite Utility backpack the most comfortable one I’ve ever owned to date. I have used the backpack numerous times already, and even when it’s loaded down, my shoulders and neck don’t get tired or sore from the burden.
Overall, the Nike Edge Elite Utility backpack seems to be well worth the $54 (and change) I paid for it. Now I just hope it lasts me half as long as my old Eddie Bauer pack did!
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