Yet another lesson I learned thanks to my laptop in CES was the task of flying with it. I had heard enough stories that carrying-on my notebook was a necessity, and after seeing our luggage return, I'm glad I did. I stored my laptop amidst the rest of my carry-on items, an assortment of notepads, gum, and a few magazines. With January in Ohio usually consisting of blizzards, I was also wearing a coat and boots. Needless to say, securing myself through the airport checkpoint took a little longer than it should have. In my ultimate quest to better prepare myself for CES this year, I jumped at the opportunity to test out CODi's checkpoint-friendly laptop backpack.
12.5" x 16.75" x 5.5"
MAIN: 13.75" x 16.5" x 3.25" COMPUTER: 10.75" x 16" x 2"
Packaging The CT3 Tri Pak isn't packed for a luxurious retail life, but the clear plastic bag does more than enough keeping the product debris free and showing off its features. Inside you'll find a plethora of foam and cardboard inserts, intended to preserve the shape and from of the bag during transportation or storage.
Set-Up On the surface, the CT3 Tri Pak functions just like any other backpack. The back is rich with compartments and zippered pockets, including the laptop compartment, a front compartment designed to function like a business organizer, providing pockets for business cards (infinitely useful in CES), writing utencils, and other neccessities. You'll find two zipper-pockets on the very front side of the bag for quick and easy access, as well as mesh pockets on either side.
For those who haven't traveled with laptops in the past, upon entering the security check-point x-ray, passengers are required to remove any notebooks from their carry-ons, since the mass of hardware blocks the machine from seeing anything. Where the CT3's 'Checkpoint Tested' aspect comes into play is the ability for the laptop compartment to separate from the other, folding out horizontally. The compartmet is still attached to the bag, and can easily by transformed back into the backpack by folding the compartment up and securing with Velcro, but the laptop compartment stands alone, so it won't block the x-ray. Therefore, users won't need to remove their computers when going through the checkpoint.
Performance One of the first concern with backpacks in general is the quality of the material. The abuse-prone nature of the product raises some concern for the life of the bag, and the idea of a compartment holstering heavy hardware hinging off the the other definitely contributes. Rest assured, however: this function is constructed using military grade ballistic nylon. The material provides intense strength without adding unnecessary weight to your shoulders. In fact, the bag itself weighs in at only a little over two pounds. In the case that you do pack CT3 heftily, CODi has ensured comfortability with padded mesh on the back and shoulder straps of the bag.
I was a little disappointed to learn that the CT3 only supported up to 15.4" laptop models, but realistically the majority of users around going to be hauling around widescreen gaming notebooks. It will also work flawlessly for my 12" netbook, which is much more carry-on friendly.
Overall I've owned several laptop bags in the past, none of which came anywhere near the features the CODi CT3 Tri Pak has and most of which were overall bulkier. CODi has done a truly amazing job incorporating storage and especially the checkpoint-friendly compartment folding system without making the bag itself obnoxious to carry. Comfort and quality are also obvious concerns of the manufacturer, given the military grade investment along with padding to relieve pressure on your shoulders and back. With the CT3 Checkpoint Tested Tri Pak, I'm actually looking forward the airport check-point, and since I'll be getting through much faster than my companions, I'll be sure to pull out my notebook in my freetime and brag about it on Facebook.