Review: Brenthaven's Broadmore Backpack Optimized for Travel

Brenthaven Backpack

The Brenthaven company was first introduced to me by the online Apple Store back in October 2001. I purchased my first Apple notebook, the Powerbook G4 667MHz Gigabit and chose a messenger style case. Brenthaven offered a special foam sleeve which perfectly cradled my prized titanium possession. Brenthaven knocked it out of the park providing plenty of other pockets that would fit my college notebooks and other accessories. Thirteen years later, you wouldn't be able to tell it's age.1 It stayed with me when I upgraded to the MacBook Pro and also snuggled my wife's MacBook Air comfortably. But, back to why we're here; the TSA Friendly and amazingly spacious Broadmore Backpack.

If you don't already know, my career as an airline pilot requires me to travel quite a bit. In and out of various hotels, hotel shuttles, airplanes and airports, durability is of the utmost importance. TSA friendly bags offer a welcomed bonus but that never proved to be a deciding factor. Since I upgraded to Captain, I've found that sitting on reserve in base for days at a local hotel can be quite mundane. This made it urgent that my next bag needed not only fit my laptop but accommodate a Sony Playstation 3 which I know would provide me hours of entertainment.

Brenthaven TSA Laptop Pocket

I received a Brenthaven Broadmore BackPack last week to review for and it has easily become my primary bag. Packed to the brim, it's proving every bit a worthy successor to my original Brenthaven Messenger. I was impressed by the generous padding not only on the back but on the shoulder straps which are also spliced with Napa leather. The zippers are high quality and the two soft lined pockets serve for quick storage or immediate access to your iPhone / Android and sunglasses. There are also two side pockets that can easily hold a water bottle or tumbler or whatever else you'd like.

Brenthaven frontal Brenthaven straps up close

One of the defining qualities of Brenthaven's Broadmore line is the "quilted and fully padded CORE™ Protection laptop compartment."

A Protection System that wraps your laptop in high-density protective foam. Flexible bow shaped forms at either end of the laptop compartment automatically adjust to allow a snug fit for any size laptop. Patent ID #7,549,535.

I was under the impression that I would end up using a companion sleeve for my laptop but I'm surprisingly comfortable sliding my MacBook Air 13" or MacBook Pro Retina Display 15" naked into the pocket. It hugs the laptop like a glove and so far, after a couple of unintended drops, the backpack has done it's job well. And yes, even my PS3 has survived.

Brenthaven Broadmore Left Side Brenthaven Broadmore CORE

I mentioned that I planned on carrying my laptop and Playstation 3 but I was able to pack in even more goodies into the Broadmore Backpack. Unknown to me prior to receiving the bag, it included an awesome iPad compartment in the inner pocket. A keyring and serial number can be found inside the outer most pocket and holds just about everything else with slots for pens, pencils, USB drives and wires a plenty. You could even throw in a few Field Notes notebooks too. Don't forget the zippered pockets within the backpack than will also keep those loose trinkets from getting lost in the bottom.

Overall, I'm very happy with the bag. It holds exactly what I need and more. It's stylish, well-built and I can see it being my last.

whats in my bag

From left to right: Contigo Autoseal Stainless Steel Travel Mug 20oz, Sony Playstation 3, MacBook Air 13", PS3 power cable, HDMI cable, Thunderbolt to HDMI cable, Sony Playstation Wireless Headset, MacBook Air Powercord, Google Nexus 7" (2012), Hidden Radio Generation 1, PS3 Controller, followed by wallet, watch, keys, bracelet and my iPhone which I used to take this photo. An impressive feat and it even fit underneath my seat on an American Airlines MD80! I like the travel somewhat light. This bag weighs 3.1 pounds while measuring 14.5" W x 18" H x 6.5" D.

This beautiful bag is available from Brenthaven at $249 and comes with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee! If you find yourself traveling as much as I do or appreciate great craftsmanship and attention to detail, make this backpack your last.

Fits: MB Air 13.3", MB Pro 13.3", 14", MB Pro 15.4"

this post was written while listening to Noon Pacific.

  1. I have since lost the actual Brenthaven messenger strap when the bag was checked on as a valet bag on a flight years ago.