After 4 weeks here are my thiughts about the Empire Builder.

The clip placements for the should strap is something I am not a fan of. Having the Absolute Strap and using it with the Empire Builder, when I place the bag off my shoulders the strap automatically goes to the bottom of the bag. So if you are not paying attention, you will be crushing the strap, which with the material if he Absolute Strap, will leave marks if left unchecked.

I feel the bag needs handles on the side. Why? Because when you seat this under a seat or have it stood up and stored in the overhead bins of airplanes, the bag fits extremely snug. So snug that I can really get the bag out in a timely matter and in a efficient way. It needs a handle on both sides of the bag. Maybe not a handle, but I need something I can grab.

Other than these two things, this bag is awesome. I can put a lot of things into this bag. It’s a bit heavy but he Absolute Strap did help relieve the weight and discomfort.

I think the bag is extremely rugged, would I check this bag? Hell no. But this bag can handle a lot of bumps and drops.

I think if I am being nitpicking, I want more O rings in the bag.

I really love the front pockets because I can easily store anything. When I check through the TSA, I can easily put my wallet and phone into the open slot of through one of the zipped pockets. Easy access and very practical.

Traveling home this time around I had the following inside the bag:

  • Side Effect (portable HDDs, Chromecast, USB flash drives)
  • Snack Charmer (cables and powerbrick)
  • Spiff Kit Deluxe
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini
  • Lenovo L440
  • 1 folder
  • 2 notepads
  • Took/Pen Wrap
  • RFID Passport Pouch
  • Small Ballistic Pouch
  • Pocket Pouch

These fit and I carried it. No struggle other than getting it out of the overhead bin.

Great bag-lots of room, I love the pockets, and very durable.

Highly recommended.