Solo Black Ops Altitude 17-inch laptop backpack review

Solo AltitudeNew York brand, Solo, got in touch about their laptop bags recently. So, I have been living with one of their Altitude rucksacks from the Black Ops range for the past couple of months.

Having a few jobs means that I have to be mobile. In London, mobility means public transport or walking, for the most part. This all adds up to me and my kit having to get around easily. Sometimes I just need a notebook and a laptop. Other times, I also need camera kit including tripods, and the like.

I am reliant on a good bag. I have tried messenger bags but, over a certain weight, putting all that on one side soon irks my old back. It is generally rucksacks, or backpacks, that offer the most comfort and space.

The Black Ops Altitude backpack certainly looked to tick all the boxes.

Solo Altitude design

solo altitude frontAccording to Solo, the Altitude backpack is designed for “every adventure” and its construction seems to verify this.

What you get is a bag made from parachute nylon, so it is lightweight and durable. Additionally, the rucksack features some rather unique, and cool-looking, hardware that is “inspired by aviators”. I am assuming that this refers to chunky zippers and metal clasps as well as the military-grade Velcro. The latter enables you to affix the included ‘New York’ patch, for a start.

On the front is a rather natty metal Solo logo. The webbing that runs along the front could be used for hanging items from. There are also compression straps to alter the depth of the bag.

solo altitude laptop sectionThe rear, padded laptop compartment can accommodate a laptop up to 17.3-inches. Here there is also a separate section for tablets and a mesh pocket facing them for odds and ends. Between those is quite a large area that will happily swallow A4 notebooks.

solo altitude front mainThe front zippered section boasts two smaller organiser pockets as well as a large storage section. Additionally, this part has a handy key clasp.

solo altitude front pocketsFinally, rounding off the main sections, there are two further zipped pockets on the very front. The top one is ideal for business card holder, door pass cards, keys, etc. The lower one is larger than the one above and, again, contains organiser pockets, the larger of which holds a glasses case perfectly.

Even more pockets

That’s the main event covered but that still leaves the sides.

solo altitide rightOn one side you will find four levels of small pockets. The lower two are sectioned off. I find the third level the right depth for pens. Here you will also see one of the discrete Solo logos as well as one of the compression straps.

solo altitude leftThe other side has an extendable pouch which is perfect for bottles, flasks or umbrellas. Again, there is another compression strap.

Comfort

solo altitude backThe back of the pack is well padded.

Furthermore, the padded section is secured at the edges which enables the bag to slip over rolling luggage handles.

solo altitude luggageThe straps are also well padded and feature d-rings for attaching things via carabiners. Lastly, there is a waist strap that fastens across your body to aid comfort and security. Great for cyclists as well as walkers.

The bag measures 18.50 x 12.6 x 4.92 inches, which is well under the requirements for airline carry-on luggage.

Although constructed from lightweight nylon, it still manages to tip the scales at 2.2 pounds when empty. This will be mostly due to the quality heavy-duty fasteners and padding.

Solo Altitude performance

solo altitude reviewI have had this bag packed full. The main compartment’s laptop area cossets your computer with 1/4-inch thick padding. This has looked after my Lenovo Yoga II Pro as well as a HP Envy X2 without issue. The tablet section has been home to my Nvidia Shield; again with plenty of room to spare.

The main section between the device pockets and mesh pocket gobbles up 12-inch records still in their card mailers easily. As I get most of my LPs delivered to my office address, this is more handy than you’d think. For those of you that do not have a vinyl addiction, this section has also proved handy for product catalogues and full-sized notebooks.

solo altitude packI have actually used the front section to pack my DSLR in its case. That’s as well as cabling and my headphones.

The Solo Altitude has proven itself good as a weekend bag too. The large main areas easily accommodating clothes and a change of footwear.

Let’s not forget how it looks. This really won me over. I love the discrete branding as well as the metal details and stealthy look. The top carrying handle is a must as I refuse to wear a pack on my pack on the train – nobody needs to wear their pack on a train! – so being able to easily hold my bag in those situations is a good thing.

Solo Altitude backpack review conclusion

There isn’t an area that disappoints with the Solo Altitude. It has done well in all weathers and my belongs have remained dry in deluges.

I actually like the yellow lining and the whole thing is well put together. The last two months have seen it in constant use and there are no visible signs of wear.

Furthermore, it stores everything that I have tried it with: laptops, show catalogues, notebooks, tablets, cameras, tripods, food containers, clothes, and LPs. It is surprising just how much this can carry – the only limit will be your back.

Capacious, comfortable, cool – I can thoroughly recommend the Solo Altitude backpack.

Price and availability

You can buy the Solo Altitude backpack right now from Amazon for £48.93.

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