We’ve reviewed several pieces of Lat 56 degrees luggage, including both a two wheel and four wheel version of its cabin baggage.
This new backpack is recognisably part of the same range, with the extremely distinctive look coming from its trademark military-spec moulded EVA foam exterior.
Backpacks are becoming more popular with business travellers: partly because we are all a lot more informal now and whereas once we might have bought briefcases which then morphed into laptop bags, now we realise that backpacks capable of carrying laptops are more practical.
In my own case, it’s also recognition that if a bag doesn’t have wheels, I only want to carry it if I can distribute the weight equally on both shoulders to avoid damaging my back. I use backpacks either with a wheelie bag on board (where permitted) or simply using it as my main bag on board and checking baggage for longer trips.
When choosing a backpack no one size or make will please everyone, but of course while you can pick up backpacks for as little as £20, if you are going to be putting valuable electronics inside and using it as your main bag for a period of days it pays to invest a little more. This bag is relatively expensive for a backpack, but the build quality is immediately obvious.
The carrying shoulder straps are luxurious – very wide, padded and extremely comfortable even with the heaviest load in the bag. It has an ergonomic back panel with a raised, breathable padding which does add to comfort and stops it being too closely pressed against your back, useful when you get warm walking with the bag on your back.
The zips are all good quality, waterproof, and look as though they will last, and the overall strength of the bag is good. If you have a laptop this slips down the back of the bag. My laptop is a large one – 15 inches, and just about fitted, though it was tight to zip up afterwards. Other laptops will fit in easily and an iPad would work well since there are elasticated straps to hold it in place. It’s also very convenient for airport security since you don’t have to open the main bag.
This is almost like a hard-sided case rather than the softer material that many backpacks are made of, which will give you confidence when putting fragile or valuable items inside. It does mean that this isn’t the sort of bag that expands when you have a lot in it and then becomes smaller when you don’t. There is one main pocket and then two side pockets. The main pocket opens like a clamshell, and unzips all the way down thought you don’t want to do that since everything will fall out.
The main compartment has several document pockets, but again these are very firm – good for adding to the internal strength but it means that if you have one large object that you want to put in the bag, this is not possible. The internal layout of the bag is suited for having papers and books, but suffers in terms of adaptability because it cannot be removed as it can in other bags I have tested. I found that the bag filled very quickly and then I was having to stack one thing on top of another, most of it resting on top of the main internal compartment, which meant opening the bag required care if items were not to fall out.
The only other point to bear in mind is that because of the ergonomic back this backpack doesn’t have a back panel designed to slip over trolley handles.
This is a premium backpack bag (with a price tag that reflects the robust quality). If you want a stylish option which will protect your items while travelling, it is well worth considering.
- Price: £149 from lat56.com
- Weight: 1.3kg (2.9lbs)
- Dimensions: 44x40x20
- Volume: 35L