CASE LOGIC LARI115HDN Larimer Rucksack Bag Review
The backpack is the quintessential accessory to being a productive student. A good backpack can be worn for almost any casual occasion, a great one can take you to work and an amazing one will even stand firm as you climb a mountain.
But for Students who aren’t climbing mountains or running to work, the option to select a backpack over a satchel or large handbag is difficult, especially since many of us feel to have outgrown the accessory since our schooldays.
I got a chance to review the latest offering from Case Logic to see if what they brought to the carry on accessory fight was a winner, or if it was no better than what I already had.
Test one: Appeal
One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with my current beau of a Backpack was for its inoffensive colour. As a more navy shade of blue, it matched with almost anything I wore and its size meant it blended the lines between big and bulky. Other major pro’s were the fact it was made with weight in mind, and you could tell that from the double hemmed stitching, as well as the padded back and straps- helping to cushion your shoulders from the weight inside. Speaking of straps, let’s take a moment to ogle those straps on the top- it’s like doing a belt buckle or, or tying down a box to the roof of your car. There was something rugged, tough and ultimately trustworthy about it.
I get none of these same resemblances when I compare them to the Case Logic, but it takes me less than a second to realise that the two have entirely different ethos’s to their design.
Case Logic seems to have had an entirely different philosophy in designing this backpack. The bulk that comes with ruggedness was replaced with a clean cut, minimalist look; one that matches the ‘gentleman’ tagline in the promotional material. It’s a welcome difference for me too. All too often backpacks fall into a ‘rugged’, ‘utility’ or ‘sporty’ category. When last did a ‘fashionable’ option exist?
The price falls into another niche market too, and whilst both bags are priced very competitively at £54.99 for firestone and £44.99 + post and packaging, my preference for one does not dismiss the value of the other. Both are made with excellent quality polyester and the metal in the zips at least feels more durable and hardwearing than your average £20 bag. Of course, with my older bag which is from Firestone having elements of faux leather- you can see more of where the value is. With the Case Logic design, you can feel the quality within that price.
In a way, the more I look at the two side by side, I realise that one is Bruce Banner and the other is the Hulk. That’s not to say Bruce Banner is the lesser choice- if you wanted someone to make a scientific breakthrough, you aren’t calling the Hulk.
That that is where I begin to find the appeal in the Case Logic product. It’s different. It’s funky- not the smell, but the genre of music. It’s the kind of bag worn by the guy who says everyone in the group will get the same grade, but gives a higher grade on a group presentation because it’s so obvious that one person did most of the work.
I like this backpack not because it’s different for the sake of being different, but because it’s made with refinement in mind. It’s the conscious difference between a French roll and a brioche bun.
Test Two: Use and Practicality
Using this bag is so much easier than my existing backpack. Firstly, the snap fasteners are far easier and quicker to use than belt buckle style straps on the Firestone sack’ and the pull string is too.
As someone who likes to hide any access points from potential thieves, I tuck the drawstring into the opening and where the flap over the top covers the entrance, any obvious entrances into the bag are visibly hidden. Because the Firestone backback takes a lot of effort to close, it quickly becomes tedious when you forget to put something in, or when you forget to take something out. The Case Logic design is very pleasant to use in this regard.
It’s also far more comfortable. Whilst Firestone very thoughtfully padded the back and shoulders from the potential strain on your shoulders, the bag is quite heavy in comparison, coming in very close to 3kg. This is offset however with clever storage capabilities- allowing you to evenly distribute the weight within the backpack and on the outside too in the two side pouches. However, the Case Logic once again redeems itself with a lighter construction and smart compartment spaces that makes the weight on your back feel close to you, rather than further away. You don’t feel like you have to lean forward like the tower in Pisa when this bag is heavy,
Both bags make the mistake of having easy access pouches at the top of the bag’s opening, throwing off the centre of gravity ever so slightly, but when you want to have easy access to some change, Vaseline or your keys, the last thing you want to be doing is rummaging around in your bag. It’s also not affected if you find yourself on a rush hour commute and are forced to put the bag between your legs. The Case Logic has two of these convenience slots and whilst it is smaller, the two pouches mean that you can have more things stored conveniently. In one, I kept my tram fare, wallet and keys, whilst another had a pen and USB wire for my phone and iPad. In both there was plenty more space but it was all I needed to carry – it’s a bag that you can use to go to Uni one day and use as a weekend bag the day after- which is exactly what I did.
Test Three: Aftercare
If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have a drink spill inside your bag, cleaning it may be the last time you ever use it again. Luckily, Case Logic were kind enough to use Polyester as the main material for this little rucksack and after one particularly unfortunate incident which saw me pour coffee into the inside of the rucksack as I tried to take out some popcorn. The combination of wet paper, popcorn dust, coffee and pencil sharpenings was not an easy fix; and since Case Logic does not specify whether the bag is machine washable, I proceeded to clean the bag out by hand.
Tedious? Actually, no. It was surprisingly easy. I simply turned the back inside out (with a little help from a friend) and took a warm, damp, soapy cloth (and some elbow grease) to the dirty bits and I can promise you, that within 20 minutes, it was like I was just drying off the bag after a heavy downpour.
Again, it’s a lot more than I could say when a similar incident happened with the Firestone. (Yes, I know; I’m a klutz.) In that instance, I still have salt dwelling at the bottom of the bag due to the bags rather ridged construction and fixed panel compartments.
Do you remember the phrase ‘the grass always looks greener on the other side?’ but the usual response is that you shouldn’t make the switch? In my case, I had a chance to try the greener grass and man does it taste good. I will admit that I will hold the Firestone in a high regard. Despite this review, I will still recommend it to people- but only if they can’t get their hands on one of these.
Closing words: New favourite backpack.