Speck is generally well-known for their iPhone and iPad cases, but this year they've been trying something new with a lineup of tech-friendly backpacks for the school season. The MightyPack has dedicated storage for your iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, cables, pens, textbooks, notebooks, and other odds and ends.
The big differentiator with the Speck MightyPack versus more conventional backpacks is what they call the Tech Locker. This is a padded, fur-lined pocket near the top built to cover your accessories. Big headphones are an ideal use case, but your iPhone can live in there comfortably if pants pockets aren't an option. Elastic netting lets you hold onto extra cables.
A passthrough slot allows cables to run between the primary and secondary compartments, so your gadgets can live in one and your backup battery in the other. Unfortunately, there's no second passthrough for the Tech Locker, which is where your most-used items are likely to stay.
On top of the more generic pouches, there are a smattering of smart ones dedicated to specific kinds of products. For example, next to the iPad sleeve is a Apple Pen sleeve, if that's your jam. The left shoulder strap has a small pocket for slipping glasses into. It would be nice if it was big enough to fit your iPhone, but a case with a holster clip would do fine there.
Along the outside near the bottom of the bag is a dedicated pouch for backup batteries, which is a nice location if you want to charge while keeping your iPhone in your pocket or use it while on the move. On the downside, the pocket isn't especially large; the Goal Zero Venture 30 battery I usually use is too wide to fit in there, so you'd have to have something slimmer, if not a lower capacity.
A little snug
The issue of capacity extends to the rest of the backpack. There is not a lot of depth to the main compartment. It's fairly tall, so if you can stack books or are dealing with generally slim equipment, you should be okay. MacBooks up to 15 inches will fit, and the added lip along the top make sure it won't slip out accidentally. My DSLR camera with its own bag will fit in the main cavity, but it's a squeeze, and pushes both sides out. Including anything else is a challenge.
In terms of sheer build quality, there's a lot to like. The neoprene handle makes for comfortable carrying when your shoulders get tired. The straps and back are well-padded, though I tend to prefer something a bit more rigid to avoid contents from poking me while in transit. Luckily a strong MacBook can provide that spine in most cases. Speck advertises a padded bottom as well, but the protection there seems negligible. At the very least, the quick-release clips on either shoulder help unload fast after a busy school day.
There are some particularly high-tech backpacks being released lately, with integrations as simple as built-in battery packs, and going all the way up to external USB ports and GPS tracking. In that sense, the Speck backpack is a little more simple, but that's hardly a bad thing, especially if you already have all of the gizmos you need.
The biggest strike against the MightyPack is its limited depth for storage. For slim products, this backpack is a good size, but trying to fit bigger things inside comfortably is tough. The larger MightyPack Plus may be the way to go if you need to haul a lot of stuff around. Given the $80 pricetag, however, this is a solid backpack. It's easy to spend more than that when getting a new bag, but the MightPack handles all the essentials with a few smart tweaks for modern students.
- Speck MightyPack - $79.99 - Buy now