Just Porter's Streeter Backpack Review (Recommended)
My History with Just Porter's Commuter Backpack
Just Porter has been on the market for over 5 years now. And about a year ago, one of the people I take Instagram pictures with had a Streeter backpack.
He raved about it. So, I took the plunge and ordered one up. That was a good decision. It has been such a good decision I bought a second (More on that later).
Now, I rarely write reviews, but I thought a quick review of the Streeter Commuter Backpack would be appropriate as this is the type of company that should get some good press.
These are the kind of companies We should Support
First, one of the best memories I can share is about the company itself. I received my bag, opened it up and what did I find?
A note from the owner, Chris Bahr. Now, I'm sure that he writes a lot of these notes, but I have never received a note thanking me for my purchase from any other company.
Second, I received an email from the owner saying I hope I was happy, and if I needed to contact him, just respond to the email. Well, I did. And guess what? He responded.
THAT IS WORLD CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE!
Enough about Customer Service
What you should know about the bag
I wanted to share some thoughts about its quality, construction and overall feel.
First, the quality of this backpack is something that you'll notice immediately. The Straps are really well out together, and the stitching is really great.
As I've had a chance to use it over the last year for daily use and taking pictures, I think it's one of the best commuter backpacks in the market.
What I Use The Streeter Backpack For
I am often hauling around my sketchbook, a laptop, iPad, a couple of books and documents.
If I am heading to the gym, I'll bring some clothes. And, I'll often carry my camera around during the weekends.
I always have more than enough room on a daily basis, and when I am taking a weekend trip I can usually carry my toiletries and a couple of days worth of clothes, plus an extra pair of shoes.
What I think makes a Great Commuter Backpack Vs. Bad
First, the most important thing about a great backpack is to make sure it's comfortable. A great commuter bag can make a sweaty bike ride or long commute by train better. However, nothing is worse than a backpack that digs into your shoulders. OUCH!
This backpack is way better than others I have owned.
The Streeter backpack really can handle a heavy load. I really like the fact that the straps are far enough apart that it's really comfortable to carry. In fact, this is the most comfortable bag I have ever owned.
It's Weatherproof Exterior Has saved me from massive headaches
Living in Chicago, the weather is horrible 6 months out the year. Rain. Snow. Sleet. It's bad. But, I really needed something that could keep my computer safe from (Cough *SHIT* Cough) bad weather.
This bag has kept my gear safe from the elements. Now, this bag shouldn't be confused with a waterproof bag, and I'll quickly explain because there is a huge trade-off between weatherproof and waterproof.
Originally, I thought Waterproof is what I wanted
Originally, I had a "Waterproof Backpack" from Ortlieb, but found that it lacked the proper padding for my laptop. My Ortleib was a rolltop, but the tradeoff between "laptop padding safety" and waterproof was a little too much. I use a 16 inch Macbook pro, and I need to make sure that my laptop is protected from bumps and the potential falls to the ground.
I've looked at other bags that fit the "waterproof" category, but everyone had the same problem - NO PADDING FOR MY LAPTOP.
I cannot trust my $3200 computer to a thinly padded laptop area, and that's why the Streeter commuter bag made a better choice.
What's the difference between a Waterproof and Weather-proof Commuter Backpack?
Quickly, weatherproof means that it keeps the elements out, but is not a "sealed environment." Waterproof is basically a wet/dry bag. The trade off is keeping water 100% out and keeping water away. Again, from the waterproof bags I've seen there is too much a trade-off between features, comfort and laptop safety.
Is the Streeter Backpack Comfortable?
Yes, the Streeter has been great. I've used it traveling around the city and traveling throughout Europe. As you can see from the picture above, it was great in Venice, Italy.
A nice feature is that the shoulder straps are wide enough to distribute the weight in the backpack. That alone has saved me some neck pain.
When reviewing the Streeter Commuter's physical and technical features, I was pretty surprised. The Streeter's straps are what make it unique and incomparable to other backpacks in the market. The padding is comfortable.
What About the Size of the Streeter Backpack?
The Streeter Commuter is a medium-sized backpack. I liken it similar to a smaller Herschel Rucksack. With this size, it can accommodate any essential items that you need to carry around including a laptop, iPad, Phone, Charging batteries and other electronic gadgets.
The size and design also allow you to carry a heavy load with ease. Noting again: The bag’s padded shoulder straps improve the level of comfort. It also has a padded back panel that pretty comfortable as well. In other words, it's pretty damn comfortable.
It Fits My 16" Laptop
Nowadays most people are attached to their laptops. Even on a short weekend trip, I'm tethered to my electronics. But, often most bags don't do well organizing for a laptop lifestyle.
This is one of the rare laptop backpacks that can fit my 16" Laptop. Plus, I throw my iPad in the extra slot for good measure.
Bravo on the Laptop Area Design
It has a dedicated compartment that is designed to carry a laptop such as a 16” MacBook Pro. Given that it is has a waterproof material, my laptop has been protected from numerous downpours.
I really love the fact that my laptop doesn't even touch the ground.
The design makes your laptop float above the bottom. So, even when I've placed my bag on the ground firmly, I haven't had to worry about my laptop getting the smackdown.
Easy to Access to the Main Compartment - Anti-theft
The Streeter has magnetic buckles on the front flap that give you quick access to the main compartment.
Note: the magnetic buckles took me a little time to figure out. But once I got used to them, it's the fastest backpack to open.
A bonus is that the magnetic buckles have kept some roaming hands away from my stuff on the inside. It was really nice knowing that a rogue thief couldn't easily get to my laptop for a quick swipe.
Besides the dedicated laptop compartment, the bag has a vertical instant front pocket that is ideal for keeping small items such as keys. The main compartment is spacious enough to accommodate all your books and even some clothes.
It can also expand to accommodate more items. And, it has a solid organization system opposite of the laptop, tablet area.
What would I change about the bag?
There aren't a lot of problems with the bag. they could make it an inch or two more narrow, but then I think you may lose too much capacity.
I would really have to struggle to find something I hat about it. Overall, it's a great bag.
As I wrote, I bought another Just Porter Streeter Backpack
Yes, I did. Why? The first one was stolen out of my car.
I didn't even think about buying another bag. I am a Just Porter lifer.
The Streeter Backpack Review Verdict
From my experience, it's clear that Streeter backpack delivers a well made, high-quality commuter backpack.
I love the quality of the bag. I love the company. I love the customer service. And I love that my laptop is safe.
I've enjoyed using the Streeter for the last year, and I recommend it to my friends. The price is $159.99.
Lastly, if you're looking for a really technical and lengthy review, See Here: Just Porter Streeter Review