Ease of Use
One thing I like to see from gear is an ability to function in any environment. This so-called “town-to-trail” gear is my preference because on the weekend I tend to play it by ear (if possible) and usually have no idea what I’ll be doing. The Victorinox Swiss Army Altmont Active backpacks fall into this category nicely, and that’s why we’ve been toting them everywhere.
What they’ve done well with the Altmont series is creating a great laptop backpack that has features you want from a hiking daypack as well. Gear loops and a daisy chain system add an extra level of functionality that makes it easy to attach whatever you need on the trail. The “hidden zipped pocket” for my laptop was so sneaky that I didn’t even know it was there the first week of wearing it. It kept my laptop safe and dry everywhere I went, and it was comfortable because the weight of the laptop is close to my back. The compression molding kept me from feeling the laptop at all, which also kept me cool. Add to that the fact that the straps are adjustable at both top and bottom and you’ve got yourself one comfy pack indeed.
Accessibility was clearly one of the main concerns designing the Almont series. On the 15″ laptop model the outer pocket zips from top to bottom and is more of a pouch than a pocket. This confused me a bit at first, and then I realized how handy it is if you lay the backpack down before opening it up. It’s an efficient design because it allows you to see everything at the same time. If you need something from the main compartment you can then open a second zipper and access whatever you need. Being able to access the bottom of the backpack from a different entry point is fantastic. No more pulling everything out to get that dry pair of socks you have stashed at the bottom. The Victorinox Swiss Army Almont Active series is well designed, no question about it, right down to the nifty bottle opener on the shoulder strap.