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OGIO Squadron RSS Backpack

5 Stars
OGIO Squadron RSS celebrity

Back in January, I took a week-long trip to Las Vegas for CES. I knew there was a lot of gear I wanted to bring, but wasn’t sure what bag I should use. I needed to be able to fit all my gadgets in a carry-on bag of some sort, but also needed something I could wear while walking the floor of the convention center. I decided to give the OGIO Squadron RSS backpack a go and it worked out well.

PROS

  • Fits a lot of gear without looking too bulky
  • Several pockets help you find a place for everything
  • RSS system protects laptops from bottoming out
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish appearance

CONS

  • RSS system only works with thinner laptops

One of the reasons I chose to go with the OGIO Squadron RSS was because of the backpack style. As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Timbuk2 and their messenger bags. However, I felt a backpack style would suit my needs better. I didn’t want a messenger bag to continuously hit people, or worse, hit products and displays while I was walking the floor. I also felt that for the amount of time I’d be carrying the bag, a backpack would end up being more comfortable.

OGIO Squadron RSS front

CAPACITY
The OGIO Squadron RSS is 19.5-inches high, 13.5-inches wide, 7-inches deep and has a capacity of 1850 cubic inches. It also weighs 3.5 pounds, which is somewhat heavy, but the RSS system is worth it. If you don’t want the RSS system, you can get the regular Squadron, which weighs just 1.6 pounds, but is identical in every other way to the Squadron RSS.

The Squadron RSS has nine exterior pockets. The front pocket has spaces for pens, business cards, keys, and boarding passes. There’s also an internal zippered pocket for additional convenience.

OGIO Squadron RSS front pocket

The main compartment has a place for your tablet, while the lid-side has four additional pockets for mice, chargers, batteries, power adapters, etc. The rest of the main compartment is open for whatever you might need. I was able to put my 10-inch tablet, camera charger, laptop AC adapter, laptop mouse, and a travel surge protector in the main compartment pockets, before filling it with a ton of other items. I also stuffed in a box of business cards, Kensington lock, headphones, MP3 player, smartphone charger, tablet charger, Bluetooth headset, Ethernet cable and snacks.

OGIO Squadron RSS main compartment

The top pocket is fleece-lined for valuables. I kept my eyeglasses in that pocket for easy access.

OGIO Squadron RSS valuables pocket

The very back of the OGIO Squadron RSS is where you store your laptop. The RSS sleeve was able to fit a 13-inch MacBook Pro without any issues and I could see a 15-inch fitting as well. I realized, however, that thicker laptops won’t fit. You can always remove the RSS sleeve for larger laptops, but you lose a lot of padding that way. I’d recommend the RSS system for thinner laptops, like ultrabooks or MacBooks with 15-inch screens and smaller.

OGIO Squadron RSS insert

The sides of the Squadron RSS also have two additional pockets each. The upper pocket is a perfect size for compact digital cameras. The lower pocket is a dual-purpose pocket; it’s a bit smaller and has what appears to be a breathable mesh exterior. It’s supposed to allow water bottles to be placed in the pocket, but when I carried a normal-sized bottle of water in it, it fell out frequently. Perhaps a larger water bottle would’ve worked better, but alas, that’s the ONE thing I forgot to pack!

OGIO Squadron RSS side

The last pocket on the bag is on the shoulder strap. It’s an expandable, zippered pocket that will fit an average-sized smartphone. I kept my phone in my pants pocket, so I used the shoulder strap pocket for lip balm and breath mints.

OGIO Squadron RSS strap pocket

DESIGN
The OGIO Squadron RSS is well designed and has stylish appearance. It comes in two colors: celebrity(pictured) and blackhawk(black). The front of the Squadron RSS has two useful straps for hanging a variety of items. I think they’d work well for carrying jackets or sweatshirts, or maybe even a small tripod. There’s also a sturdy grab handle on top of the bag, with a soft material on the underside of the handle for a more comfortable grip.

The RSS system for laptops is a great feature of the Squadron, and one of the primary reasons to consider the Squadron RSS, over non-RSS bags. The RSS system is basically a removable sleeve that you place your laptop in, similar to any other laptop sleeve. The difference is, the bottom of the laptop is suspended about two inches from the bottom of the bag. The material that holds your laptop is a stretchy, neoprene-like material that gives a little, but not so much that it’d hit the bottom. Even if it did, there’s another half an inch or so, of thick foam that would prevent damage to your laptop. So when you’re in a rush and need to put your bag down or throw it in a car, or whatever, you really don’t need to worry about the safety of your laptop.

OGIO Squadron RSS insert2

The back of the Squadron RSS is made of a molded foam and is firm, but comfortable on your back. The shoulder straps are padded and comfortable as well. What OGIO does with the shoulder straps is make the top portion a bit stretchy, so that when you walk, there’s a little give. This reduces the strain on your shoulders and neck, as you walk with the Squadron on your back. OGIO calls this, O-Shox. The sternum strap is smartly-designed as well, in that it’s adjustable. You can slide the sternum strap up and down, to meet your comfort needs.

OGIO Squadron RSS back

CONCLUSION
There isn’t a bag in the world that will let you carry 15 pounds of gear for eight hours a day, without some discomfort. The OGIO Squadron RSS, however, will let you carry that gear for a few hours at a time without any major pain. It also has one of the more advanced protection systems for your laptop (RSS), that I’ve ever seen. To top it off, it’s one of the coolest looking laptop backpacks around, in my opinion. If these things appeal to you, I think you’ll find the OGIO Squadron RSS to be an excellent backpack for your laptop, tablet and other gear.

Available from OGIO.

* Review sample provided by OGIO

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