I recently received the ECBC Hercules Laptop Backpack, part of the company’s Elite Collection, to review. This is the best backpack I have ever used. Hands down. I always worry that I won’t like the items I receive to review, but I was not disappointed this time.
I used the ECBC backpack on a couple of short trips and liked it, but the big challenge came when I had to pack for 10 days in Europe with only a carry-on bag and a backpack. It performed beautifully, held everything I needed, stood up to my abuse and still looks like new. This backpack is going to be traveling with me for a long time to come.
Easy entry through TSA
ECBC is a relatively new company that includes a TSA-friendly FastPass® system that makes going through security easy. I have TSA pre-check, so I don’t often need to remove my computer, but when I fly at odd hours, or through airports without a pre-check lane, I still have to remove my computer. I hate taking my lifeline out of the bag and putting it on that conveyor.
With the Hercules, I don’t have to do that. There is a protected pocket at the back that fits up to a 17” laptop. My 13” MacBook Air fits nicely with the removable modular insert in place. I love that the compartment is secured with self-repairing, water-sealing YKK zippers. When I left on the trip, it was early morning and, as I expected, TSA pre-check was closed. There were no problems with my ECBC backpack. I unzipped the compartment so the backpack could lay flat on the conveyor. My laptop went right through the x-ray without incidence and without having my computer loose and unprotected. All I had to do was zip it back up and I was on my way.
I do want to note, however, that the security at Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris made me remove my computer on the return trip. They do not recognize the FastPass® and I wasn’t about to argue with customs officials to explain to them that it would go through their x-ray machine. However, it is accepted by TSA agents throughout the US.
Exterior specs and features
The backpack is more than checkpoint friendly. It has everything I look for to carry all the electronics I have with me when I travel, while still making it comfortable.
The Hercules backpack measures 18.4” high and 12.13” wide. Made out of super strong 1000D Kodra Nylon with a ripstop nylon lining, it weighs only 2.7 lbs and is about 7” deep. But it also looks nice and I’m not carrying around something that looks like I’ve been out hiking in the woods when I want to look professional. It was even nice enough that I didn’t feel awkward traveling in Business Class with it.
The shoulder straps are fully adjustable with a soft foam that sits against my shoulder and a hard foam on top for durability. The top handle is also padded, which comes in handy when I grab it to go in and out of vehicles and pulling it down from overhead bins on planes and trains.
Other features include a moisture-wicking air mesh back panel and a buckle to help secure the pack for longer walks. I received the pack in berry (a dark burgundy color), but it is also available in basic black, navy blue, dark green, and a linen color.
The backpack is not only durable and easy to get through security, it is also perfect for all my belongings. In the main compartment is another padded pocket that holds my iPad securely. It also easily fits my Nikon D5300 with the 70-300mm lens attached, a bag containing my electronic cables, a small Eagle Creek padded case with my GoPro and accessories, along with the mandatory notebook and a couple of file folders. There’s room on top to put my makeup bag as well.
Also inside the main compartment is a mesh zipper pouch that is ideal for small items. You know, a girl never travels without her lipstick.
There is a zipper pocket at the top on the outside that also has the water-sealing, self-repairing YKK zipper. I usually put my cell phone in this pocket and anything else I need handy without having to dig for it.
There is an exterior compartment that has another mesh zippered pocket, compartments for pens, passport, tickets and other important items. On the front is one more pocket with the YKK zipper. There is a compartment inside for a cell phone, but I use it for the MP4500 Portable Power Pack that ECBC also sells. It’s ideal to hold that and my earbuds. When I need to recharge on the go, I just put the phone down in the front pocket with the charger, hook them up and charge on the go.
There is a zippered water bottle holder on each side. I can slip a bottle of water in one and the other is perfect for the flashlight I carry with me everywhere. Take a look at this video that illustrates how to use the Hercules Laptop Backpack:
Charging on the go
I have to also give a huge nod to that MP4500 Portable Power Pack. I’ve gone through my share of portable batteries. Most of them charge your phone once or twice and then they die. Or you will charge them up but when it’s time to use it, the thing is dead.
Not true with the MP4500.
I can charge it up and not use it for a week or two, then when I need it, it’s still fully charged. I can charge my cell phone three or four times without having to recharge the battery. It can fully charge my iPhone 6, my iPad and is easy to recharge.
Getting the ECBC backpack
You can get your own ECBC backpack at one of their retail locations across the US, on Amazon, or by purchasing the backpacks online at ec-bc.com. The Hercules Laptop Backpack sells for $139.99 and the separate ECBC Portable Power Pack retails for $42.99.
If you are looking for additional luggage, ECBC has a nice selection of messenger bags, totes, rolling duffles, garment bags and carry-on luggage. You can find out more on the ECBC website.