At a Glance
Backpack with iPod integration.
(The following review is an excerpt from a Playlist article on iPod apparel; you can read the full article at the link below.)
JanSport’s $100 Audio Pack, available in black, blue with gray trim, or pink with gray trim, is a traditional “bookbag” backpack — it doesn’t include a laptop compartment or sleeve. Made of durable ballistic nylon, it provides a padded back and shoulder straps for comfort, holds 1,500 cubic inches of cargo, and weighs just under 2 pounds empty. Two external pockets hold water bottles, while a small, padded organizer panel inside the bag’s single main compartment accommodates smaller items. The outside of the bag features a rigid panel that gives the bag its shape and its contents a bit of protection. One of the nice design touches (also found in the Alt Pack) is thumb loops on the shoulder straps; to tighten the straps, instead of having to grab the excess strap itself, you just put your thumbs through the loops and push down.
In terms of iPod integration, you place your dockable iPod in a zippered, neoprene pouch inside the bag’s main compartment. Two plugs — one for your iPod’s dock-connector port and the other for its headphone jack — connect your iPod to the bag. (You’ll want to enable your iPod’s Hold switch to prevent bumps to the Click Wheel from affecting playback.) Near the top of the right-hand shoulder strap is a standard stereo miniplug, into which you plug your headphones; lower on the strap is a set of soft-button iPod controls: Play/Pause, Volume Up, Volume Down, Forward, and Back. These buttons worked well and were easy to use, while resisting minor bumps — I was surprised how infrequently I accidentally hit a button while using the backpack. Another feature that I really liked was the small elastic pouch at the very top of the right shoulder strap (near the shoulder) that can be used to store your earbuds. The pouch is too small to fit your earbuds and all of their cables without some effort, but for quickly stashing the earbuds themselves, leaving the cables free, it worked well.
Overall, the Audio Pack is a solid bag for carrying books and other large items, and its iPod integration is implemented well. However, this isn’t a bag for carrying lots of gadgets and gear, as it doesn’t have enough pockets and organizers.–Dan Frakes