Keen Morrison (green) review: Keen Morrison (green)

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Compact, stylish design; lightweight; comfortable.

The Bad A little light on protective padding; feels top-heavy.

The Bottom Line The Keen Morrison Pack is a great urban backpack that is light to carry and sneaks in a padded laptop pocket to boot.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0

Keen, best known as a footwear manufacturer, also makes a series of backpacks and messenger bags. Its $100 Morrison Pack is a backpack with a rear laptop sleeve, for laptops up to 15 inches. Weighing only 1.2 pounds, the Morrison feels pretty light on the shoulders. Its curvature hugs the back, and a combination of dimpled mesh and rear hip pads provide nice ergonomic support. Measuring 18 inches wide by 13.5 inches tall by 7.5 inches thick, it also feels nicely compact while still offering considerable storage space.

The interior is divided into two main compartments: the rear laptop-sleeve-holding pocket suspends the Velcro-lipped sleeve securely, and is lined with soft woven material. Other than a tiny zippered pocket, the rest of this sleeve is empty, and it's large enough to tuck magazines, a spare shirt or two, or loose gadgets and cables. With a laptop in the sleeve, the backpack feels slightly top-heavy, with weight collecting near the shoulders, but the well-padded shoulder straps give good support.

The second, front-facing compartment is deceptively roomy (in fact, the whole backpack looks smaller than it is), holding a zippered lined pouch and a mesh pocket. It stowed our bulky folding umbrella easily. Attached to the front of this compartment are two minipouches that zip up and are each big enough for a phone, iPod, or portable game system. The pack's bottom is lined with recycled rubber, giving it good solid traction on a smooth surface. When empty, the Morrison packs down pretty flat.

There's not much else to the Morrison, but the fact that it doesn't look like a laptop backpack (or even seem capable of storing one in its slim-looking frame) is a plus for us. Students or casual travelers will appreciate the look and feel. A negative, however, is that this type of pack likely isn't as weatherproof or as heavyweight as some gear-packers might desire. While $100 is a little expensive for a backpack, the above average design of the Keen Morrison makes it a little easier to justify spending money on.

The Keen Morrison Pack comes with a one-year warranty that doesn't cover damage by misuse, accident, or modification.

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