No matter what you need to carry alongside your Mac laptop—tools, folios, iPhone, textbooks, or a couple changes of clothes—the new Mission Workshop Arkiv Field Pack ($209 and up) is ready for the challenge. Sold in 1200-cubic inch and 2200-cubic inch versions, the former large enough for any full day of activities, the latter super-sized for a few days’ worth of gear, this modular backpack system grows with the parts you add onto it. Updated July 13, 2012 with additional photos and hands-on impressions, following our initial May 23, 2012 preview.
The Arkiv Field Pack is designed to be completely customizable, thanks to an interchangeable accessory system that lets you arrange the pack to meet your needs. Six accessories are offered, including two different types of laptop holders—one ready for the 11” Air or an iPad, the other for up to 15” MacBooks—and several different types of pouches, all attachable to Arkiv’s exterior. The core pack’s features include a 1000 denier nylon exterior, a weatherproof urethane coated nylon liner, waterproof urethane zippers, and your choice of three colors.
Hands-On: We thought Mission Workshop’s The Sanction Rucksack was a serious bag when we tested it, but Arkiv Field Pack seriously one-ups it with such an incredible array of expansion options that the latter is practically battlefield-ready. Even the straps have straps: nylon rails allow you to slide on the optional external carriers, which feel just as well-built and water-safe as the main bag, locking in place with double Velcro straps so you won’t accidentally lose a laptop during your adventures. Field Pack’s interior pockets are spacious but not numerous, with three separate places to put items ranging from small to large/full-bag-length in size. Nicely foam padded arm straps with breathable mesh are highlights of the back side, one sporting the only branding on the bag—a set of four X marks.
Is Arkiv Field Pack overkill for carrying a Mac laptop? Perhaps. But for carrying a whole lot of stuff plus a MacBook or an iPad? Brilliant and seriously badass. Consider The Sanction as an alternative if expandability and raw carrying capacity aren’t your critical concerns; if you really want a very specifically dedicated compartment just for your MacBook or iPad, Arkiv might be a better (though pricier) pick.