For the past year I have been using a messenger style laptop bag to carry around my laptop. I've made a few trips but nothing major up until the beginning of this year. Our trip to CES this year required a lot of planning and packing. I was going to need a secure way to carry around my laptop at the show that I could also take onto the plane with me. I came in contact with a bag manufacture by the name of Spire; they have a great selection of high quality laptop bags including backpacks. Spire was nice enough to send out their new backpack called the Torq for me to be able to try out while I was at CES.
Review Sample Provided by: Spire
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
Like any other backpack the Torq comes without a box. All of the information about features and warranty are all on tags attached to the zippers. Because the laptop pouch inside the backpack is also a separate product you will find the same tags attached to it. As much of a packaging whore that I can be, I can also really respect when a company makes a quality product that doesn't need packaging to do the talking for it, the Torq is that product.
When I started to pack everything into the Torq I wasn't sure how much room I was going to have. I first found the "boot" that is included with your purchase, the boot is specific to the size of your laptop. This is your first layer of protection. The boot is very padded and is the first layer of protection. It can also be used by itself if you don't have a need to bring along all of your accessories.
The boot has a Velcro flap on the backside that you use to secure the bag in the Torq. The Torq's 2nd compartment is lined to allow the Velcro to attach.
The accessory compartment on the Torq will hold almost anything. For our trip I stored the following in it with room for more.Cordless mouse Laptop lock Power cord Vizo mini notebook cooler Bluetooth headphones and charge cable Mouse pad Corded Razer pro 250 earphones Telephoto Lens for our camera Pens A car visor mount CD case with CD's
As you can tell, I was able to pack a lot of things into the Torq. The crazy thing was the still empty 1st compartment and all of the room left in the accessory compartment. At one point I was able to also pack our SLR case and a books. If that's not enough room there are 4 more pouches, 3 outside and one on the inside front of the backpack.
Once I was in Vegas I had to run from meeting to meeting from 8 to 6 with almost no stops each day. Because of that, comfort was a major concern. Spire's Torq was very comfortable to toss over my shoulder or using both straps no matter how much weight it had in it. I didn't put the sternum straps to use but if you have too much weight they would make a major difference in the comfort levels. After a long day at CES my back wasn't sore, although my feet were dying! Even though Spire included a mesh fabric on the back of the Torq, I did have some issues with my back warming up. Considering how comfortable the backpack was I wasn't too upset that I had to cool my back down every once in a while.
When packing a lot of weight in your backpack quality is always a concern. This concern can become a major issue when your laptop and maybe some of your most important data could be at risk. Because of this Spire used high quality Ballistic Nylon to keep everything secured. The sewing and zippers all seem to be overkill; this should lead to a longer life of the product. Because of that Spire is able to give all of their products a Lifetime Warranty, company's can only afford to do that if they plan on going out of business or because they make a quality product. Considering the fine products they make, I am inclined to think that Spire is going to be around a long time. Spire summed it up best on their website "We skip the superficial, unnecessary junk that adorns most laptop bags, and instead focus on quality materials and construction that will last a lifetime. Why? Because we're out there every day, using and testing the bags all over the world -- and so are our customers."
Well I packed up my stuff and went out to Vegas for CES this year. We had a great time and saw a lot of great products. As it turns out, I had a great product with me all along. The Torq backpack from Spire was able to pack away more stuff than any guy should want to carry. I had no worries about anything being damaged due to the quality craftsmanship and well placed padding on the backpack. The well placed padding also made the Torq very comfortable to wear around the airport and CES. I did find the back area to be a little hot, but considering that Spire used a mesh back already I don't think there is much room for improvement in this area. Overall, this is an amazing backpack backed up with a great warranty. Of course, with a MSRP of $170 you are paying a price for that quality. Spire does help sweeten the deal a little with the included "Boot" laptop sleeve that can be removed and used to carry your laptop around when your traveling light.