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We reviewed Mission Workshop’s Vandal backpack last year, and while we were impressed by the fact that it could carry a lot of stuff, we were not happy with its lack of protective padding for a MacBook. This time around, we appreciated how the VX Small Rucksack includes a little more structure for your stuff, but Mission Workshop missed the boat on the laptop padding once again.
If you like your backpacks like you like your bike tires--rugged and able to withstand wet terrain--the Rucksack is fantastic. The backpack is made of very durable synthetic fabric inside and out, and its waterproof shell keeps rain droplets from reaching your precious MacBook. As an added bonus, you can wear the backpack in two sizes: small or large--it depends on what you have in it and how you Velcro the top. The large zippered pocket inside the main compartment is perfect for a MacBook or an iPad, and the bag could easily hold a weekend’s worth of clothing, shoes, and then some. You’ll find five other pockets and compartments too, including two zippered pockets on the front for cords and things, a Velcro compartment, and a pocket deep enough to hold a long U-lock for your bike. The Rucksack also features what Mission Workshop calls the Arkiv closure system, which is a metal buckle that slides onto two tightly secured corduroy straps to secure the pack together.
The Rucksack won’t move around on your back while you’re biking, but an optional $30 waist belt can provide added security. Mission Workshop also added a padded lining between your back and where your MacBook sits on the inside, but that does nothing to protect the MacBook. You’ll still need a padded laptop sleeve if you plan on carting it around.
The bottom line. You shouldn’t discount this backpack entirely because of the lack of padding. It’s great at hauling things for the biking journeyman (or woman) as long as you have your MacBook in its own carrying case.
Stuff to pack, extra padding for your MacBook
Very comfortable. Won't move around as you're riding your bike. Lots of pockets for lots of things.
Laptop compartment doesn't have padding?!