I have quested for a durable and comfortable backpack for quite some time now. I find myself using a different back for every convention these days; not because I necessarily like them, I just can’t find one that I love. That is, until now, when SOLO was nice enough to send over one of their SOLO Rival backpacks for me to take a look at. The SOLO Rival features a darker color scheme, with lots of grays and black shades gracing its polyester body. It has a “techy” feel but its construction, size, and sheer number of pockets alludes to more beneath the surface. The person who dons the SOLO Rival is prepared for anything(assuming they utilized the Rival’s internal space properly).
Its main body is made of polyester with reflective strips, hardshell side pockets, straps, and much more. The backpack has 7.25 main compartments ranging in sizes to fit a small notebook to a 17.3-inch laptop and everything in between. And some of these have more pockets within them to hold pens, pencils, and other pint-sized accessories you may need.
The back is padded for your protection as well as protection for your laptop from the everyday rigors of walking around or just moving around with the backpack on. There are also dividers for the tablet area so you can place other things in there such as a legal pad or another tablet.
The back padding is silver with a black mesh net and the S stitching for the SOLO name tag. One of the compartments has a headphone opening so you can listen to music as you go about your business. The tabs on the zippers aren’t those flimsy looking tabs but are actually very sturdy and reliant. At the ends of the tab, it has a slight forty-five degrees so your fingers do not slip when you zip up the backpack.
Another great feature of the SOLO Rival is its cross-chest strap which pulls the backpack straps towards your breast bone, taking stress off of your underarms and shoulders. It also enables your arms to move more freely while wearing it. I find this extremely helpful; especially when I am also carrying a DSLR camera that I have to wield about in sometimes awkward positions to get a shot. Additionally, the backpack straps are padded and of decent comfort to boot.
Hardshell Side Pockets
The SOLO Rival has hardshell side pockets which are an extremely useful thing to have on a backpack. These will help protect the items within the backpack when you make a sharp turn or something similar and hit the backpack on the corner or the edge of a wall or a desk or whatever. While they won’t fully protect the products inside from being damaged at all, it helps with accidental bumps. Often we hit our backpacks on a door frame or something similar when we’re walking through one and this just helps save you from really smashing those products hard against that door frame.
With three full size compartments and five smaller compartments, there is no limit to the number of ways you can organize and reorganize your stuff. Inside the front compartment, you’ve got three large pockets plus card slots and pen pockets. There’s also a headphone port within that pocket, so you can keep your phone or music player safe inside that pocket and run the headphones out. There are also two hard shell pockets on the sides of the backpack that are zippered, which can each hold a full-size pair of headphones and keep them safe.
The next full size compartment is a large storage compartment, capable of holding a pair of shoes or a couple of neck pillows. The next compartment contains a fully padded pocket to house and secure your tablet or e-reader along with a larger pocket that can be used for standard storage. In between this pocket and the back pocket, there’s a quick-access pocket that can fit a wallet or large smartphone. Not to mention that the back storage compartment is quite large enough to hold something like a decent sized toiletry bag.
Backpacks are an important part for a lot of us tech bloggers as we take them many different places throughout the year so finding the right one is important, but often a chore. For me, that chore has been checked off of my list as complete since having the SOLO Rival Backpack sent over to me. This thing has more than enough compartments for the things I need and want to carry around and it’s very comfortable even when fully loaded down.
At the price of $79.99 you can’t beat this thing. Especially with the fact that it comes with hardshell side pockets which for me is an important thing especially when walking through various conferences or things similar to CES where people are always bumping into you and often causing you to hit your backpack on a wall or a door.