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ECBC Harpoon Daypack B7101 review: Little hold-it-all

Slim and studded with pockets, the Harpoon is great for everything except, perhaps, dSLR cameras.

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott Stein
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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3 min read

I'm not normally one to get utterly excited about laptop bags, but then again, I find a good bag to be incredibly important; and few bags out there seem to offer what I'm looking for. I need a bag with many pockets. I need one that's lightweight and packs flat. I prefer something that can be discreet, go with me from work to wherever I might be next, and carry a laptop, an iPad, or whatever else the day might surprise me with. Having room for an umbrella is a nice plus.

ECBC Harpoon Daypack
8.0

ECBC Harpoon Daypack B7101

The Good

The <b>ECBC Harpoon Daypack B7101</b> has tons of storage pockets, feels very lightweight, packs extremely flat, and bears weight well.

The Bad

It won't hold a 17-inch laptop, but it comes close. It's a little more expensive than the average backpack.

The Bottom Line

If you're interested in carrying the maximum amount of gear in the slimmest backpack, the ECBC Harpoon wins out with ample pockets and convenient design.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The $99 ECBC Harpoon Daypack B7101 surprised me, because the first time I saw it I felt it was utterly generic. The black nylon backpack is slim-looking, and almost too slight. It didn't seem heavy-duty, or particularly versatile. I was doubtful. ECBC is a relative newcomer based out of Southern California, making a modest collection of basic-looking but not unattractive backpacks and messenger bags.

Sarah Tew/CNET

After several months of use (yes, this review is overdue), I've come to realize the bag's genius. The ECBC Harpoon (the smallest in ECBC's line of backpacks) has more pockets than I've ever seen in a bag this slim. It carries its weight well, and even fully loaded with cargo, it's not so hard to shoulder. And it does the best a bag can do: it takes your gear and somehow finds a way to let you pack more into less space. The Harpoon comes in black or gray, outfitted with water-repellent nylon and water-resistant zippers. On walks through rainy New York, its contents stayed safely dry.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Still not convinced? Look at the picture: I fit all that into the Harpoon and still had some room to spare. The ECBC Harpoon has two main zippered areas, each with its own zippered subcompartments and Velcro flaps. The laptop sleeve can accommodate nearly any laptop, except for a 17-incher (though I tried, and it came close). Small subpockets can hold an iPad, or several iPads.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The front compartment is big enough to hold handheld game systems, chargers, 7-inch tablets, books, or a handful of DVDs and games. In front of that there's another big zippered pouch that runs the length of the backpack, and can hold papers, keys, or even a bit of spare clothing. There's yet another fleece-lined top compartment for a phone or MP3 player. Two-side zippered pockets hold water bottles or small umbrellas.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I fit a 13-inch MacBook Air, an Acer Chromebook, a full-size iPad, an iPad Mini, five Wii U games, chargers, cables, and keys into one Harpoon Daypack load. The bag was nearly bursting and felt like a block of lead, but it held. I wouldn't advise overloading it that much, but the point is that the Harpoon is versatile. The straps, with two layers of padding, aren't as thick and cozy as some backpacks', but they're very comfortable, even during heavy lifting.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Heading into CES 2013, where versatile, compact bags are a necessity at all times, I can't think of a better candidate to take with me. This is my favorite laptop backpack since the Booq Boa Squeeze. It's pocket-crazy to the point of being overkill, carries more bits of gear and separate gadgets than any other small backpack I've recently seen, and manages to be both protective and relatively lightweight. If you're looking for something compact and versatile and don't mind the look of a zipper-bestudded nylon bag, this is worth serious consideration.

ECBC Harpoon Daypack
8.0

ECBC Harpoon Daypack B7101

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8
laptop
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