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on August 19, 2011
I've reviewed this pack for the Black color High Sierra Access Backpack after borrowing it from a friend for travel. I'm a large guy so I had it packed to the hilt, with 2 laptops and the gear to support, some mags and books some gifts and other stuff and the zippers worked easily no stressing.

When I returned I had about 1/3 what I took with me and it was compact like a day pack by pulling the reinforcement straps tight and its small again.

I used the rain cover when I landed in Hono cause we walked in rain to our gate. Nothing got wet. In the hotel i had to dry out the cover before I let it get packed away.

This pack is under advertised and under rated. Sellers I hope you like the photos, buyers I hope the photos answer any questions.

This pack makes EVERYONE ask about it and this pack steered me away from a THE NORTHFACE pack cause of the size, straps, padding and application of so many tasks it covers.
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55 comments| 445 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on October 1, 2015
I waited a few weeks before writing a review -- so far I'm loving this backpack. I did a lot more shopping and review reading than I expected to in order to settle on this one. I had ordered the Targus Drifter II based on all the research I had done on both Amazon and other sites. When it arrived, I realized it didn't really work for me because there were no compression straps to stabilize the load if it wasn't stuffed full. Aesthetically I really didn't like it either.

As to the High Sierra Access....Yes, it's large. I purchased it specifically because I was going on a 5 day airplane trip and didn't want to check luggage. This backpack, and a lightweight foldable backpack (which I used as purse / shopping bag while I was at my destination) were all I carried.

For or everyday use I pack my 15" MacBook Pro Retina, iPad Air, the chargers and cords, a spiral steno notebook, adapters for serial and HDMI projectors, a lavalier microphone (with a lot of cord), pens, stylus , business cards, reading glasses, microfiber cloth, etc.

For travel in general, I also carry my Kindle Fire HDX, its cord and charger, plus the cords/charges for my iPhone and Apple Watch. For this five day trip, I packed in all my clothes and toiletries, as well as my lunch for the airplane.

Despite feeling like I had seriously stuffed this pack, I still managed to fit it under the seat in front of me (after removing my iPad and lunch). I checked and fully loaded, the pack weighed in at 32 pounds.

The pack worked out great for my trip and I use it daily as my briefcase. From a daily use perspective here are the features that were important for me: compression straps so that when it's not stuffed to the gills, the load inside is held stable. The rear-most compartment has a zipper on top near the back panel that provides quick access for the notebook or tablet stored in individual pockets at the rear of the pack. There is a separate zipper for the rest of that compartment that gives access to other items in front of the electronics. Hard to describe but it makes sense when you see it.

The water bottle pocket is big enough to hold everything I've tried to put in there so far, including a quart size mason jar. The front pocket is gusseted so it holds lots of stuff and has several smaller dividers inside of it. I like to keep my stuff organized so this is great for me. There is a smallish pocket near the top front that I use for reading glasses, sunglasses, or similar items.

I have no issues with the zippers being stiff as others have suggested.

Overall, it's easy to carry, easy to pack and provided it holds up over more than the few weeks I've had it, I'm very satisfied.
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on February 5, 2016
I'm not in love with it.

Pros: It's durable and very comfortable, even when filled with heavy textbooks- the straps are pretty amazing.. It can handle a bit of rain, even without using the rain cover.

Why I don't like it: the zippers stick often- it's quite frustrating a lot of the time. The shape of it is strangely more wide than deep and that limits the number of books you can fit into it. In fact, for how large it is, it seems like it would hold more, but no.

overall? It's a good bag, esp for the price, but I don't know if I'd buy it again!
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on September 21, 2016
 I am a college student that has all of their classes in one day with teachers that all want me to bring a textbook to class. Therefore I have a lot to carry around a lot of heavy stuff. This bag is just the size I need to carry all of my stuff. I really like the rain tarp that pulls out of the bottom and covers the bag. I have had a chance to use the rain trap and it worked great and keep my laptop dry and safe. This bag also seems to be comfortable to wear even when weighted down with 30-50 pounds of books and a computer. It fits a 15.6 inch computer very well. It does have a place to store the waist straps. I have highlighted the one issue I have had with it in my photos and video. As you can see from the marker, some of the stitching has come out in the stretch part of the strap. On my second time using the back I had a lot of stuff in it and when I put it on I heard the stitching pop. I have decided that I will repair this and keep the bag because it is the right size and has a built in rain tarp. I also wish the rain trap wasn't bright yellow. This is a color that really, really stands out, but it works so I will just live with it. The zippers seem to be decent enough but I have notice that the main zipper can be a little sticky when you have a lot of stuff in that compartment. This bag also has two ways to get into the main compartment. The first way provides a quick way to get to your laptop and the second way opens up the whole main compartment. You might be able to see this in one of the photos. All in all, I like the bag and hope it gets me through several years of college.
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on December 12, 2017
I bought this backpack for my son to use for the start of his 7th grade year. Thinking it would be a good, strong and durable one based on the company and the products they produce, thought spending this kind of money made sense and would be worth while as it could be something he would use for year. Boy was I wrong. 3 Weeks into the school year 2 wholes appeared on the lining between the zippers and the bag itself. When I contacted High Sierra they had me forward all the information about the bag in addition to pictures showing the problem. Once I submitted those I was told to pick 4 of our choices to replace the bag and to cut out the tags and a palm size hole through the bag to show that it would no longer be usable. Once that was done and pictures were sent to prove to that effect we waited, and waited, and waited and never heard back. I have sent 3 follow up emails in over a 3 month period and have still not gotten any replies. Very frustrating, disappointing and potential consumers should know that this is the kind of product and customer service (or lack there of) to expect.
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on February 19, 2015
The bag is large, very comfortable to carry but breaks fast. I purchased it based on the rave reviews as a replacement for a Victorinox back pack after six years of use. That bag had some of the plastic covered handles break and just looked like it was tired but it lasted six years.
The High Sierra bag was purchased in August of 2014. It is barely mid point in the school year and this bag has stitches broken in the middle. A couple of parts missing etc.
I am not saying that these bags do not go through a lot. but if you sell a large bag pack, it will have books and cloths in it and the material and stitching needs to be up to par. It may be the price point and I just need to go back to Victorinox. I reached out to High Sierra via email (closed after 3 PM Eastern time) and am waiting to see their response.
Update: High Sierra will replace the bag if they have it in stock. We are back and forth via email and calls and hopefully I will get a replacement in the next two weeks. I will update my review if I get a similar replacement and a year from now when we have time to evaluate the new bag.

A replacement bag was delivered and held up for a couple of years. Up ratings from 1 to 4.
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on August 29, 2014
I bought this backpack to replace one I had been carrying for over ten years and finally fell apart. I chose this one based on reviews, pictures, and my general trust in the High Sierra brand. I own several of their bags used for varying purposes and have only been less than ecstatic with one of them. When purchasing this backpack I had my fingers crossed it could also function for backpacking trips in the summer when I needed to carry less than what my High Sierra titan would hold. I'm not disappointed.

This backpack is very very roomy. The zipper closest to the back is only on the top and allows easy access to the computer sleeve. The computer sleeve is open to the biggest compartment and can be accessed that way as well, but if that area is full, this opening allows you to remove or add the computer without shuffling contents. There is also a tech sleeve attached to the padded sleeve for tablets. I don't use this, but it seems like a great place for it because both sides are hard if the backpack has contents.

The main compartment not only holds my computer, but a two inch binder, massive textbook and five subject notebook with room to spare. I haven't placed more in because the other compartment keeps things sorted and I don't have to try to fit it all in the big one. One thing to note.. Even with a very large binder there is still a massive amount of room between the top of the binder and the zipper. Both of these compartments are deep. I keep my planner, calculator, and a book on top of the contents of the main compartment and have no issue with it being in the way of the zipper.

The second largest compartment I use for notebooks mainly. I could probably fit everything in the main compartment, but this keeps it sorted and balanced. Lots and lots of room, still very deep.

In front of this compartment there is a side zip compartment that I read someone else uses for laptop cords, etc. It works perfectly for that purpose. It runs the width of the pack so there is plenty of room. I put my planner in there if I'm not carrying my laptop. If I am, I can fir the power cords, wired gaming mouse, headphones, etc with no issue.

The mp3 pocket is a lot bigger than I expected. I doesn't hang into the second compartment but runs along the top. It's deep enough for my keys, three breakfast bars, and my phone. I don't like squished snacks, so this works well. Conversely, I can fit my bulging-with-too-many-discount-cards wallet in there.. not the checkbook size but the size smaller. There is an opening for headphones to come out.

The front organizational pocket is just that... I've got fall manner of pens and highlighters, I keep my college id in the Velcro pouch inside, and there are plenty more little compartments I haven't filled with things yet. There is also room for two sliding pencil cases and a ti calculator. Big area.

The little zipped pouch on the front is nice. I use it for things that wont get squished if I set the backpack down wrong. I don't utilize much of the space offered here, but I keep chapstick, Kleenex pack, pocket knife, etc.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but there are buckles along the side so you can cinch the pack up if there are less contents, or let it out if there are more. I always use these to help secure the weight and keep things from bouncing around if there is less inside.

As far as the comfort of this pack, I was/am amazed. Until it arrived I was using my high sierra tote bag, not meant for such weight, and was miserable (for two days). This bag holds everything without me having to run to my car between classes. I pack it far heavier than I would ever pack my full size pack for a backpacking trip. The straps and back are padded enough that there is no discomfort. The back is firm enough, I cannot imagine any standard contents cutting into my back or causing discomfort. As a matter of fact, the main place I feel the weight of this backpack is in my legs! This is even after walking around campus all day.

That being said, I do not use the waist strap. It is just a strap, no padding or anything like that. Like another reviewer suggested, I tucked it into the padding and haven't thought about it since. I also find the cell phone holder on the shoulder strap to be a nuisance but it comes off incredibly easily. It's nice that they include it for those that might like it. It could also be used for an mp3 player, etc.

The rain guard is a huge bonus that I haven't had to use yet. I do plan to spray it with waterproofing spray as an added precaution. I've never had issue with the rain guard on my other pack leaking, but I prefer to plan ahead... especially with a computer, super expensive books and calculator as cargo.

10/11/17 Update:
This backpack is still my go-to, and is still holding up beautifully. I have managed to stretch out the elastic in the bottle holder (fitting my large yeti in there) and in the straps, where they were just an added bonus, not required for the integrity of the strap itself. I'm still just as happy with it. It's handled being washed and thrown around for years, and has done so while managing to still look new.
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on August 13, 2017
After spending a lot of time reading reviews and narrowing them down I decided on this one. I needed something that would fit my needs while I traveled back and forth from NYC by bus. I was looking for one that would house my headphones, allow me easy access to my tickets, had a place to put lunch, jacket and umbrella. This ended up being perfect! I love the compartment for the headphones. It is easy to get to and they fit perfectly. I use the side compartment for my bus schedule and wallet. It keeps it separate from everything else and tucked inside safely. The main compartments are divided so I can keep my lunch on one side and a sweater or jacked on the other. There is an accessory compartment in the front where I keep car keys, my phone, phone charger and other items. The arm strap also has of mesh pouch that I keep my work ID and bus tickets in. These are just some of the multiple compartments this backpack has. The only negative is the weight of it, even when it is empty. Because it is so functional I don't mind it at all. I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for something that is multi-functional.
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on January 15, 2017
False advertisement. The capacity is listed as 2750 cubic inches. Actual capacity is closer to around 1500 cubic inches. 2750 cubic inches capacity is very far from the actual capacity. That's about 45 liters, and if you've seen 45 liter backpacks, they're not really called backpacks. They tend to be rucksacks and are VERY LARGE. I have a 32 liter backpack that can fit far more things than this bag, and one big contributing factor is that there are way too many dividing compartments. If I fill up the main compartment, it bulges into the other smaller compartments and they basically can't fit a whole lot. The zippers are not bad but the cover flaps don't go well with the zippers and often get in the way when trying to get things fast one-handed, while holding the bag with the other hand, such as when outside in a crowded public place.
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on March 4, 2017
Everything you need. Looks great and the poncho underneath has come in really handy.

UPDATE: I've had this backpack since November and about 2 months ago (5ish months of use) the stitching for the main part ripped just from trying to zip the backpack up (it wasn't overstuffed). About a month ago 1 of the buckles that clip the front straps together snapped off... as in it's not stitched on but clipped tightly on and it was pulled off. I tried fixing it but with no luck so I pulled the other one off because it looked bad. I still love the poncho utility, but a backpack that starts falling apart WELL within the first year is not a good backpack.
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