To begin, I will start with a disclaimer. I love backpacks, own five of them. Each of the packs has a specific purpose and I’m always on the lookout for another specific bag to fit an individual need. When approached to review the ECBC Lance B7103 daypack, I jumped at the opportunity because I was looking for a workhorse backpack for my electronic gadgets.

Catching a glimpse of the internal pocket system in the B7103, it was love at first sight, but it faded quickly. After spending a weekend on the road, some very excellent features of the bag made mobile life more organized, but some specific features seemed to be missing…

Design and Function

Getting the pack out of the shipping box, my first impression was “bulky.” Having used a very minimalistic pack from another provider for the past three years, the B7103 seemed large and cumbersome. I kept having to remind myself the B7103 was not for quick trips to the coffee shop. The pack is for solid trips out of town or vacation, where the whole office is loaded up in one bag and toted to the needed location.

Outside

Measuring at 18.5″ x 12.1″ x 10.1″ (47cm x 30.7cm x 27.7cm), there is a lot of room for gadgets and additional items. Working our way from outside-to-inside, the external water repellent ballistic nylon and rugged YKK zippers make this an ideal pack for checking at the airport or cramming in an overhead airplane compartment without the fear of ripping or tearing. If completely loaded down, the foam back panel, padded shoulder straps, and cushioned top handle make the pack more comfortable to wear for extended periods. Additionally, there are collapsible water bottle pockets on each side of the pack for double fisting your favorite beverages.

Inside

Inside, ECBC utilizes a “FastPass System,” which it claims is TSA approved to get through security checks more quickly. Instead of having to completely remove the laptop, the dedicated laptop compartment unzips on 3-sides, flipping the pocket completely open for scanning purposes. The padded laptop compartment pocket is designed to hold up to a 17″ laptop if the padded bumper is removed to accommodate the larger form factor.

In front of the laptop compartment is a small, fleece lined pocket which is perfect for an iPod, iPhone, or sunglasses. The pocket is easily accessible from the top of the pack and is shallow, for quickly retrieving items. The product description lists  a “protective neoprene mobile phone pocket,” separate from the fleece lined pocket, but, it was no where to be found. Likewise, the description lists a “main inside compartment for books, magazines, [and] folders,” which I can easily see, but the tag on the pack lists that pocket as a tablet pocket. To offer more confusion, the quick details on the website list a padded tablet pocket, but in my opinion, there is no dedicated area in this pack I would trust my iPad unless it was in its own case. Then, I would feel okay letting it bounce around in the “main inside pocket for books, magazines, [and] folders.”

AUTHOR UPDATE: The marketing department contacted me, with a note the B7103 website incorrectly listed the features of the pack. As it turns out, the pack was never intended to utilize a neoprene case specific for iPhone. Likewise, the pack does not have a padded section for iPad. The features have since been updated and can be viewed on the product description page.

Don’t get me wrong this pack has lots of pockets, 17 by my count (3 main compartments with many additional pockets), including specific places for pens and even a keyring. I like the internal pockets to hold items like my power blocks, cables, thumb drives, trackpad, and external hard drive. However, I was particularly interested in this pack because it advertised specific housing for my MacBook Pro, iPhone/iPod, and iPad. The B7103 does have dedicated storage for laptops and phones, but not for tablets. The only place to store a tablet is in the main compartment, which does have smaller pockets inside and may very well hold an iPad mini. However, the smaller pockets are not padded like the dense foam used for the laptop compartment.

Conclusion

The ECBC Lance Daypack B7103 is certainly a workhorse of a pack that will set you back a cool $150. Easily loaded down with everything I could grab for my weekend trip, the pack had room to spare and a pocket for just about anything. Although the pack advertised a padded tablet pocket, there was no true dedicated location for my iPad and the neoprene mobile phone pocket was no where to be seen, unless the “fleece-lined top utility pocket” was the same thing(?) When it comes down to it, I am conflicted on how to recommend this one.

A nice pack for keeping everything in one place and leaving room-to-spare is the main reason to have a pack of this size. If you are headed out for a conference or on the road for several days, you would be well served to pick up a B7103. However, if you are looking for a dedicated, padded iPad pocket, look elsewhere. The rugged B7103 will provide ample room for cords, drives, books, and a mouse, but unless you are sweeping everything off your desk and into a bag, leave this one at home.

Pros:

  • Space for every gadget and corresponding cable you could need on a trip
  • Padded back and straps keep it comfortable, along with a waist belt support system
  • I love pockets and this bag has more than I need
  • Rugged external nylon shell

Cons:

  • I am concerned the features of this pack are advertised incorrectly
  • No dedicated, padded iPad compartment
  • Bulky for short trips
  • No neoprene phone sleeve

Do you use a backpack when on the road or traveling around town with your laptop? Do you prefer a large pack with a dedicated space for everything or just a simple, one compartment pack for your needs?

  • Kurt

    5 backpacks? any of them a ‘bug out bag’/’72 hour bag’?

    • JimGresham

      I do have an Osprey camping pack I keep with a few essentials… It is ready to go if necessary! Just added a solar charging panel to the ‘bug out’ mix and a review will be posting soon.

      • Kurt

        nice! i’d really like to get a solar panel so i’m looking forward to your review! i like watch bug out bag videos on youtube.

  • Great article, looking for a tech backpack myself at the minute. Does anyone have any recommendations for one with a decent ipad pocket as well? I’ve seen a few but with mixed reviews.

    • Kurt

      maxpedition has some nice backpacks…many have pals webbing on them if you are into a military look too or ones without if you don’t. made with 1050 denier nylon so they perfect for an EDC bag

      • Awesome, the military look sounds kinda cool. I’ll check those out, thanks for the help!

        I’m trying to dig my way through a million and one different ones so it’s nice to have a recommendation.

      • Kurt

        another nice choice are the bags from National Geographic. some are more traditional styled like a backpack but great inside for electronics. the material is nice looking too. i prefer the more boxy type so i dont look like a student but there are choices….good luck~