Monday, October 28, 2013

Wenger Packs Are Functionally Tough

Wenger Zermatt backpack
About eight years ago, the family-owned Swiss company Victorinox took over Wenger, which was headquartered in Delémont. What this meant for Wenger is that it would remain a Swiss company, but step back from product duplication that had split the Swiss Army brand into two parts.

This effectively ended the 1908 compromise, which gave Victorinox permission to call its Swiss Army products "original" and Wenger to call its Swiss Army products "genuine." But beyond that, Wenger had the opportunity to refine some of its product lines, including daypacks and backpacks.

Wenger makes a superior Swiss backpack.

The 18-inch Wenger Zermatt backpack (above) is a good example. It combines functionality and style in a daypack, making it size adjustable to minimize any unneeded bulk. Along with the size adjustment, it is especially comfortable with padded straps designed to minimize sore shoulders.

Wenger backpacks have always stood out for their abundance of pockets and the Wenger Zermatt is no exception. The front pocket has a built-in internal organizer, making it functional for day hikes or, if you prefer, a good-sized laptop and its accessories.

Another important quality of the backpack is the airflow technology. Wenger manufactures most of its backpacks with a contoured shape to help minimize sweat. But beyond the shape, the super lightweight material itself is designed to minimize heat and friction.

The Wenger Zermatt backpack also comes with a built-in bungee cord, but I've only used it to tighten down the pack. There are custom zipper pulls too, making it one of the most versatile lightweight packs I've owned. It only weighs a little over a pound on its own.

At the same time, the backpack is durable enough to take a beating. The nylon thread might be lightweight, but it is made to take a sustainable amount of abuse, from the rubber loop zippers to the optional sternum strap for added security.

Wenger also makes a backpack specific for computer packers.

Wenger Valve backpack
While I prefer the more sport-minded daypack in terms of versatility, Wenger does make one of the better computer backpacks too. When you shop around, the bag you want to look for is the Valve.

The entire design concept of the backpack was to make it checkpoint friendly for people who travel with iPads, tablets, or 15-16-inch laptops. Along with specific storage space for electronics, the backpack has a file compartment that fits extra papers and documents, an essentials organizer with interior zippered pocket, and trolley strap that keeps the bag in place on a rolling suitcase.

The side water bottle pockets are mesh and the overall feel of the bag is durable. The only downside, when compared to my bag, is that this backpack does have some added heft to it. It weighs three pounds when it's empty (although I suppose the weigh is negligible when electronics are added).

A couple more graphs about Wenger.

Not everybody knows it, but Wenger is currently celebrating 120 years of service. And service is an especially good word because every able-bodied Swiss male is required to serve and remain in the army as a reservist until age 50. As a condition of preparedness, each soldier was and is provided a folding pocketknife as part of a mandate the originated in 1886.

For people who wonder about the compromise of 1908, it's simple enough to understand. Originally, Victorinox was the maker of the Swiss Army knife in the German-speaking canton of Schwyz but Wenger developed better mass production in the French-speaking canton of Jura. But nowadays, both companies are equally committed to designing high quality items that meet the needs of the Swiss Army and the world.

The Wenger Zermatt Backpack Stands Out At 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

As a backpack, the Wenger Zermatt meets every imaginable need for people who plan to do more than tote a computer around. It's a multifunctional bag that is easy to pack up and carry. But if you do need something a bit more checkpoint friendly than outdoors savvy, the Valve is fine too.

You can find the Wenger Zermatt backpack at the Swiss Army Depot. The same outlet also carries the Wenger Valve backpack for checkpoint-friendly commuters. The Swiss Army Depot has several other models as well, including the Zermatt backpack in black or gray. Amazon also carries a Wenger Computer Backpack, along with several other models. All are reasonably priced.
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