I got Granite Gear Jackfish 17 inch laptop pack with a capacity of 38 liters. Granite Gear is a well known maker of hiking packs, unlike all the other laptop laptop bags I own. This is evident in the design. This is the only pack I have seen that has a decent hipbelt. It is the only pack I have seen with a sternum strap, load lifters for the shoulder straps. It is actually designed for carrying a significant amount of weight, all day long. It is more of a hiking pack that can hold a laptop than a pure laptop pack. It has less nooks and crannies compared to my SwissGear, MobileEdge, or other dedicated laptop pack. I counted the zippered compartments at 9 for the Jackfish, 10 for my SwissGear pack, and 10 for my MobileEdge pack. Counting all significant compartments and dividers, the Jackfish has 13, my Swissgear has 16, and my MobileEdge has 14. Like all Granite Gear packs, the Jackfish has a lifetime guarantee.

Back view

jackfish back

This is a view of the back of the pack. Many features of the pack are visible. From left to right, there is the main well padded bag handle. There is a small zipped pouch labeled 'barrier' to hold glasses or a cell phone. There is an upper accessory compartment, a lower compartment, and a mesh pocket. Near the bottom of the pack is a loop commonly used to hold an ice axe. I have no idea what it might be used for on this pack. At the bottom are two compression straps. The bottom of the pack is made out of some heavily coated water and abrasion resistant material. On each side are two compression straps, a zippered pocket and a mesh pocket.

Pack front

jackfish front jackfish foam

This is the front of the pack, i.e. the part which rests against your back. Visible from left to right are the secondary handle, which is made out of thin webbing with a hard black cover. The hydration port is visible. The two shoulder straps with the load lifters are visible. The shoulder straps have an adjustable sternum strap. The sternum strap slides up and down over the inner edge of the shoulder strap. This is a simple and elegant design. Unfortunately, it is a poor design, as the sternum strap tends to slide upward in use. I found this out when I used the pack for a week. I had to slide the sternum strap down many times a day. On the other hand, this is the only laptop pack I own that even has a sternum strap... The hip belt is partially visible. The next picture shows the foam padding / frame sheet of the pack. The foam is roughly an inch thick at the thickest part. The entire back is covered with a black mesh. This should provide quite a lot of ventilation for the back. At the bottom you can see the area where the hip belt can be folded away into. If you look closely at the shoulder straps, you can see the foam inside, which has large openings for ventilation. The foam is middle density, not super cushy and not super hard. After using the pack a few times with a fair amount of weight in it, I really appreciate the shoulder strap design. The inboard part of the shoulder straps is solid foam, while the outboard part is ventilated. The foam is stiff enough to offer significant support and weight distribution. Of all the laptop packs I have, these shoulder straps are by far the best. Paired with a decent waist strap, and you have a great pack for carrying loads. Of course, it comes from a real backpack company...

Hip Belt

jackfish belt

This is the hip belt. One side has a zippered pocket. There is a V shaped piece of webbing attached to the thick area of the belt that adjusts and in the middle is a small side release buckle. I don't know why simple 1.5 inch webbing was not used. Perhaps this design has better ventilation?

Pack side

jackfish side

This is the side of the pack. The two side compression straps are visible as well as the zippered side pocket and the mesh side pocket. There is a tab sewn to the center of the top of the mesh.

Pack laptop

jackfish laptop jackfish main

This is the laptop compartment. This can also be used to hold a hydration bladder rather than a laptop. The hydration bladder can attach to the black plastic clip at the center, and the tube can go through the opening behind the plastic clip. Unlike other laptop packs, there is no strap to secure the laptop from moving around. With my monster 17" laptop which is over an inch thick, this is not an issue. If you had a thinner laptop or a smaller laptop it could move around. A velcro strap would be a handy addition here. The next picture is the main compartment, which is quite large. Neither the laptop section nor the main section have any zippered pockets. Most other laptop bags have zippered areas to hold papers, cables or the like. Of course a hiking backpack would not have these additional pockets.

Lined small pouch

jackfish lined pocket

This is a small pouch that is lined in tricot, a very soft material. It could be used for glasses, a cell phone, or other delicate gear. The zipper has urethane coated teeth and says barrier, which I presume means water resistant.

Back pockets

  acc pocket jackfish
  small pocket

The first picture shows the accessory pocket. There is a black hey-holder, a zippered pocket, and 4 vertical pockets. There is also the main pocket area next to the 4 vertical pockets. The next picture is the lower external pocket, which just has a single compartment. The outside of this pocket also has an external mesh pocket.

There is no good way to store sheets of paper in the jackfish. This is not a big deal for a hiking pack, but critical for a laptop pack. I made a modification to improve this. I got a USPS priority mail tyvek envelope and folded the flap backwards and attached it to the laptop side of the big compartment. I added 3 strips of tyvek adhesive to help secure the envelope to the pack. Now I have a place to store papers.

In an ideal world, the pack would have zippered compartments on each side of the main compartment to hold papers.

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