With 2012 just getting under way, winter’s end is nowhere in sight. Luckily, Lululemon’s $108 Wet Coast Backpack is here to keep laptops dry until spring. The company is known more for athletic wear than tech accessories, but it really hits a home run, so to speak, with this pack, thanks to a complete commitment to waterproofing and vast amounts of storage. Those looking for a stylish or colorful pack, however, will want to look elsewhere.
The bag’s most notable feature is Wet Coast’s Durable Water Repellant finish. The fabric enhancement (also found on many pieces of Lululemon clothing) keeps water out. And if that doesn’t ease your mind, a black-and-silver-patterned rain cover, stowed discretely in the bottom of the pack, extends to fit like a shell over the front of the pack, tightening with a drawstring—no water is getting at anything in here. Bonus points for the rain cover attaching to the bag itself, so no matter how slippery and wet you and the bag get, this accessory isn’t going anywhere.
The pack is 20 inches high, 11.5 inches wide, and 7.5 inches deep, and offers storage galore—nearly every square inch of the exterior is made up of a pocket or pouch. A water bottle pouch on each side of the pack is flanked by pockets with magnetic closures. Two zippered, front-facing electronic pockets are padded for securing smaller devices. And the interior of the Wet Coast is made up of three mesh, zippered pockets ranging in size from the length of the bag to just deep enough for a phone or wallet. Keeping with Lululemon’s commitment to a yoga lifestyle, two adjustable straps across the front of the bag keep a yoga mat secure during travels.
The bag’s padded laptop area is a separate, zippered pocket, rather than an insert or thin sleeve. This part of the backpack has a special waterproof zipper and can comfortably fit a 17-inch laptop. I love the thicker padding on the rear of the bag, as it rests comfortably against my back and keeps edges from jabbing me while wearing the pack. The front side of the laptop area is considerably less padded, but with the other layers of pockets and fabric, I never felt that my laptop was exposed or unsafe.
The Wet Coast’s adjustable shoulder straps are comfortably padded, but with the bag being able to hold so much gear in its many nooks and crannies, even comfortable straps have their limits—the more weight I packed in, the less comfy they became. That said, a removable waist belt helps distribute the weight properly.
The only area in which the Wet Coast Backpack leaves me wanting is appearance. A quite masculine pack, the Wet Coast is available only in black. Still, for a highly functional bag you can trust to keep your laptop—and other belongings—dry, you can’t go wrong.