This started as a tangent rant in my large cafe bag review and I decided to expand upon it. I'm pretty sure there's a smaller backpack already in the works but I figure there's nothing wrong with adding my thoughts.
I spent a lot of this summer looking for a backpack, and ended up settling for one that's adequate but that I still have problems with. I didn't really use a backpack much all through out elementary and high school(either had a locker close to class, or in the case of high school, I carried my books in my arms because I was in boarding school and could stop by my room between classes to switch books) and I've barely used one in college, so I'm very new to backpack shopping. I finally decided I need one after going grocery shopping one day with my previous backpack and returning with much food and much back pain(carrying my rabbit in it was nearly as painful).
Good backpacks that follow most of my requirements are too big(or far too tiny). My requirements:
- A flexible padded back. Not so stiff that it won't contour to the shape of my back but not so non existant that I can feel the outline of everything in the bag.
- Somewhat water resistant. I don't always remember to bring an umbrella, or want to actually use one anyway.
- Comfortable shoulder straps.
- Good way to carry laptop, but not one that eats into the space of the bag if I'm just using it to cary stuff(like groceries). Not that I want the bag to just be a big empty space. I really like the two compartment configuration of the brain bag.
But it also needs to be small because I don't want to look like a human turtle. I also hate when I have to tighten shoulder straps nearly all the way to get the bag to sit properly on my back(this also results in the straps rubbing against my arms as I walk).
My current 17" backpack is still too long and I'm thinking about returning it even though aside from the size, it's great. It's even supposed to be designed for women, but apparently it's designed for taller women. I have to tighten the straps nearly all the way to get it to sit flush with my back but the that results in the shoulder straps being a bit too close together around my neck, so while I don't really have back pain by the time I take the bag off, I have a bit of neck/shoulder pain instead.
I think about 15'- 16" long would be great(I saw a 15" backpack recently and it really wasn't as tiny as I thought it'd be; unfortunately it wasn't water resistant at all).