MacBooks, iPads, chargers, game consoles, bottles — maybe even a book or two; it sometimes feels when you’re a student like you have to carry your entire life around with you. If you can’t afford to leave a single item at home, but don’t want to end up with a crooked back, a great backpack is a must-have item. And the Mous Extreme Commuter Backpack is among the best I’ve tried in recent years.
Whether you’re going to college, heading to the office or setting out on a holiday or backpacking trip, the Mous Extreme Commuter Backpack, with its large capacity, smart pocket options and great padding, is an excellent choice. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and it’s become an inseparable part of my on-the-go arsenal, one of the smartest backpack designs I’ve had the pleasure to use.
For a backpack, it’s engineered to within an inch of its life. Its specs sheet contains 14 materials listed in its construction, everything from aluminum to carbonated nylon, EVA foam, and spandex, with the bag itself having a leather-like black finish. But it's the use of so-called ‘AiroFoam’ that’ll have gadget fans intrigued.
It’s this stuff that forms part of the protective lining to the bag. Its molecules compress when engaged by impact, with hydrogen bonds that momentarily break to help absorb impact if your bag is dropped. In other words, the corners of your gadgets should be protected from damage when in the Extreme Commuter, even if dropped from a significant height.
You’re not just secured from clumsiness either — your valuables are secure from would-be thieves too. A ‘Fidlock’ clasp to the main compartment is designed so that anyone trying to get into your bag while it’s on your back can’t help but alert you to their presence as they’d have to essentially lift the bag at the same time, while YKK lockable zippers are also present if you’re intending to put the bag in a flight’s hold, for instance. Water resistance keeps your goods from getting soaked in a downpour too.
Pockets, pockets, pockets
The Mous Extreme Commuter Backpack is generously capacious, too. With dimensions of 440mm (H) x 295mm (W) x 155mm (L), that’s 18 litres of space to fill up, including a 350mm x 285mm laptop pocket. That bag itself is split into two main compartments (a slim one for your laptop, one for any other items you’re carrying), with more zipped-shut compartments than you can shake a stick at. It’s more than enough room for a 16-inch MacBook Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with tons of room to spare.
There’s also an outer water bottle pouch, as well as a secret zip slot for important documents like passports against your back, and a pocket with a tuckaway key chain too. I have to admit to misplacing a couple of items within the bag, such are the options at your disposal. Carry handles on the top and side give you some flexibility for throwing it around, too.
The trade-off here is that all these extra pockets and features come at a high price. According to the Mous website, you’re looking at £219.99 (about $280) for the 18-litre bag. There’s no denying that it's expensive for a backpack. And that extra large size won’t be for everyone either (though Mous quotes it as suitable for anyone from 4.10” to 6’6” in height).
But with the quality on show here, you get the feeling at least that the Mous Extreme Commuter Backpack would at least be on the road with you for many years to come, helping to squeeze a year’s worth of value out of the bag. Its limited lifetime warranty speaks to that — though we’re not sure how far the definition of ‘limited’ is stretched there.
If you’re regularly carrying half your life around with you though — and some of your most expensive, delicate tech possessions at that — the Mous Extreme Commuter is wonderful, and inarguably one of the best college backpacks for students out there. Stylish and functional, it’ll see you from the campus to your round-the-world adventure and back, with peace of mind that your gadgets will be safe and sound.
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Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.