Review: Pacific Design Action II Backpack XL

by on August 4, 2006

We’ve reviewed a number of backpacks for Apple’s notebooks, ranging from hardshell models to huge carry-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink models, and things in between. This time, we had the opportunity to try out Pacific Design’s Action II Backpack XL, a $50 backpack that is designed to serve as both a standalone backpack and a computer bag.

Action II Backpack XL
Action II Backpack XL

Action II Backpack XL
Action II Backpack XL (Back View)

Action II Backpack XL
Pockets Galore

Action II Backpack XL
Laptop Compartment

The Action II is a relatively large backpack (17.5″ x 13.5″ x 9″), but is not overly unruly. Think of most student backpacks you see at big box retailers–you can hold a few books/binders, a notebook computer, and all of your gadgets thanks to the various pockets and compartments. The backpack comes in one color scheme—black and “titanium grey”.

There are a number of sections, including an exterior zippered pocket, a compartment for pens/pencils/small gadgets, two side zipper pockets (one with an elastic water bottle holder), an iPod/MP3/CD player pocket (with a headphone pass-through), and the larger storage compartment for everything else. Inside that compartment is a smaller area for laptop storage.

What should be noted is that the Action II’s laptop compartment is merely a padded pocket, much like that found on Axio’s Swift. For most, this should provide adequate protection for any laptop, but if you need a bit more, purchases are encouraged to pick up a a sleeve of sorts, either from a third-party or Pacific Design’s Nucleus.

The Action II will hold a 17″ PowerBook/MacBook Pro, as well as anything as small as a 12″ PowerBook/iBook. A Velcro strap keeps the computer secure even, so small computers shouldn’t have the “person who wears a M shirt wearing an XXL shirt” feeling.

The build quality of this bag is top-notch, and it seems like it would survive the everyday bumps form anyone carrying their stuff to work, school, or wherever. We were impressed with the comfort-minded aspects that you get in a bag at this price. The shoulder straps are fat and well-padded, as is the carry handle. The back of the backpack is padded and breathable, much like the bags from Axio, proving to be rather comfortable even when carrying a lot. There’s even a waist belt for extra security.

Overall, the Action II Backpack XL (despite having a mouthful of a name) combines functionality, sturdiness, and comfort in a price that is pretty easy to live with. Giving you the option of being a regular backpack and a “computer bag”, this backpack is rather flexible and perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much on a good way to carry their ‘Book.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The Action II Backpack XL is a rather capable backpack that can carry and protect a lot of your gear at a great price.

Pros: Integrated computer sleeve, well-made, good price
Cons: None significant

The Facts

5/5Product: Action II Backpack XL
Company: Pacific Design
Price: $49.95

This post has been filed in 'Book Accessories and Reviews