I was on a train headed to Washington DC last year and saw someone getting off the train wearing a most unusual backpack. Instead of a square or sack-shaped backpack this one was curved. Moreover it was entirely black… my favorite. I sped up to get a closer look and was not surprised to discover it was made by booq. A bit more research when I got to my hotel revealed it was the booq Boa squeeze. I almost bought one at the time but never followed through. Then we got word that a new version, the booq Boa Squeeze graphite, had been released. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a review sample, and I’m impressed. Here’s our video look.
The booq Boa squeeze graphite is a most unusual backpack while, at the same time, it is a highly functional way to carry and protect your laptop and gear. The backpack has a nice padded slot that fits a 13-15″ Mac/PC. Made from 1680D Ballistic Nylon on the exterior and 420D ripstop polyester on the inside, the bag weighs just 2.2 pounds yet is water-repelling and packed with great features.
External storage comes in four discreet places. There is a zipper pocket on each side of the bag. These are great for items such as plane tickets, pens and other small accessories that might get lost inside the large interior of the bag.
As I note in the video I wish the zippers ran the entire length of the pockets and were double rather than single pull zippers but the design booq went with does prevent small items from slipping out were the zippers not entirely closed. The more I think about it the smarter I think booq was with this design element.
There is one vertical exterior zipper pocket for accessories. This pocket has a bright-colored lining that makes it easy to see what is inside. When I first saw the bag I wasn’t sure what I thought about this rather unusual pocket but, as I have used the bag, it has been a welcome place to stow items I need to access quickly.
Finally there is one horizontal upper zipper pocket along the top outer edge of the bag. This is the perfect place for a smartphone or wallet. That’s exactly how I have been using this pocket and it works well. And because it is on top of the bag I feel fairly confident that items stowed inside are safe.
The main compartment zips open, thanks to two zipper pulls. It opens wide enough to grant easy access to the interior but not so much so as to potentially leave the contents strewn on the floor. Interior organization comes in the form of four lining slip pockets, one zipper pocket, one stretch mesh pocket and two velcro flapped pockets. At first it doesn’t look like there is a great deal of organizational potential built into the backpack but, in fact, there is.
Finally, there is a well-padded laptop compartment lined with a soft material that won’t scratch your precious laptop. The compartment works perfectly with my 15″ MacBook Pro and, thanks to the single velcro strap that locks it inside, I am confident my laptop is safe once placed there.
The booq Boa Squeeze Graphite has a removable key fob in one of the outer side pockets, high-performance YKK zippers and a Terralinq medallion that allows you to register the bag with the Terralinq service. This service, which is a relatively low-tech way of getting lost bags back, is surprisingly effective and is a nice addition.
The booq Boa Squeeze Graphite holds a great deal more than you might initial expect. At the same time, thanks to the compact design of the bag, it doesn’t actually LOOK like there is a lot inside. Most importantly, the bag does a good job of protecting your gear while also being easy and comfortable to wear. I used it for a number of days in a row when I was running into Manhattan to address some pastoral issues, and I found the bag to be a terrific companion. And, in addition to everything else, the booq Boa Squeeze Graphite looks cool. If you want a well-made backpack that put up with a ton of use and abuse while protecting your gear and doesn’t look like every other backpack on the market you will want to check this bag out. Yes, there are far cheaper backpacks on the market but for the combination of quality and style the booq Boa Squeeze offers this can’t be beat..
What I Like: Cool design; Holds much more than it first appears; Smart organization built into it; Comfortable to wear; Quality build that will put up with serious use and abuse
What Needs Improvement: Would love double zippers on the side pockets; Only available in one color
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample