It’s no secret that Samsonite makes some of the best luggage in the world, but when it comes to backpacks, we want to see how they stack up.
In particular, we want to pick apart every detail and design feature of the Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Large Backpack, Samsonite Kombi Small Backpack, and the Samsonite Tectonic Perfect Fit Backpack.
As some of the best backpacks for travel on the current market, each one offers something different. They each are aesthetically different and provide features that suit various types of travel.
We’ve chosen to include the Xenon, Kombi, and Tectonic models in today’s review as they present various solutions to practical travel for commuting to and from work or school, as a fashion statement, or general travel.
Today we’re reviewing three of Samsonite’s most popular backpack models. We’ll be highlighting all of their features and comparing each one to see what makes them different. This way, you can decide which one would suit your needs.
Samonsite Backpack Overview
While Samsonite is probably mainly known for their suitcases, we’re excited to review their backpacks and see if they live up to the same amount of hype. The three we’ve chosen look like they’re ideal for businessmen and women on the commute to and from work, as daypacks, and also for short 3-4 day trips. The common denominator we can see is that they focus on comfort, style, and functionality.
In terms of comfort, it looks like all three offer a great amount of padding to ensure long wear times. Each out of the three have diverse aesthetics, to appeal to different styles. In terms of functionality, we can tell that they clearly offer neat organisation with carefully placed storage sections.
Based on the reliability of Samsonite as a brand, we’re intrigued to find out if these bags can offer the same level of quality construction that we’d expect. Whether you’re a casual traveler, need something for your daily commute, or just need a new backpack, these packs seem to cover a wide range of needs.
Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Large Backpack
Part of their business line, this model has a contemporary feel, yet with a classic design. It’s packed with travel-essential features, especially for effortless airline travel.
- Durable 1680D ballistic weave polyester
- Air channel mesh ventilation system
- Comfortable padded back panel & shoulder straps
- Large side pockets
- Rear pass-through strip for roller luggage
- Security-friendly padded laptop sleeve & tablet storage
- Several front stash pockets
- Large main compartment
|Number of Compartments
4 + various pockets
17.5”L x 12”W x 8”D
1680D Ballistic Poly Weave, Mesh
|Laptop Sleeve Size
Materials & Breathability
1680D ballistic poly weave fabric is a variation on the traditional basket weave. It has an incredible tensile strength, and despite it being a little heavier than some other materials, this pack manages to remain lightweight at 1.2kg. since it’s so rugged, it’s resistant to abrasions as well as being water repellent.
An air channel mesh system is incorporated into the back panel for ventilation. It consists of several mesh parts that sit on the back, as well as on the shoulder straps, in typical high-sweat areas. This system also provides lumbar support with lots of padding, so you can wear it for longer periods at a time.
The zippers on this pack deserve their own mention, due to their attention to detail. These zipper pulls are micro-forged with a matt gunmetal logo. Not only does this look so sleek and modern, but it also helps with getting a good grip on the pulls. No more fighting a battle trying to tug away at the zips, as these pull smoothly and quickly.
You can get a high level of organisation with this bag. You’ve got two outer front pockets, two elastic side bottle holders, a large main compartment with document sleeves, and a rear laptop and tablet compartment.
The front sections are perfect for stashing quick-reach valuables, like pens, your phone, wallet, keys, and so on. We appreciate the A4 sized sleeves in the main area, as they allow you to prevent crumpling or creasing without needing to put them with your laptop.
The overall aesthetic of the design certainly has a modern feel. With the black-on-black coloring, steel accents, and small red trimmings, it feels ultra-sophisticated, yet remaining simple at the same time. It’s classic enough to use with business wear, on a day trip throughout the city, or even on a bike ride. We love how it can complement so many different styles.
There is no side handle, but since it’s not a huge pack, we can forgive that. It also makes up for it with dual top handles, so you can pull it towards you quickly off an overhead bin or conveyor belt. One of the handles is micro-injected, which basically means it’s extra soft and easy to hold.
A stretchy retractable SmartSleeve is located at the back, which helps to slide the bag over roller luggage handles. When not in use, it blends right in so you can’t feel it on your back.
The shoulder straps are thick, cushioned, and comfy sitting on the shoulders and underneath the arms. They also curve around slightly which helps to hug the body and avoid slipping. They are fully adjustable, with no dangling parts to get in the way or get caught on anything. As we mentioned, they are also ventilated in certain areas.
Samsonite Kombi Small Backpack
This model doubles as a fashion statement with a very pleasant, minimalist design. We love the leather trimmings, and we can see this being used by students or workers on the commute to and from work.
- Hard-wearing ballistic nylon weave construction
- Padded 14” laptop compartment & tablet sleeve
- Rear SmartSleeve for roller luggage
- Large main section with organiser
- Highly cushioned shoulder straps
- Dual front storage options
- Fleece-lined anti-scratch pocket
- Sophisticated leather accents
- Embossed steel zipper pulls
|Number of Compartments
5 + various pockets
16.25”L x 10.5”W x 5”D
1680D Ballistic Nylon, Genuine Leather
|Laptop Sleeve Size
The ballistic nylon is ultralight, so it won’t weigh you down any further even at full capacity. It’s just as tough and durable as a ballistic poly weave, but much lighter in weight. The nylon element is actually a little more robust that polyester, so this is anti-scratch as well as water resistant. Since the zippers aren’t airtight or fully protected, this won’t shield anything more than light to moderate moisture levels.
The leather accents are a highlight for us. With such an uncomplicated all-black design, the pops of genuine brown leather give it a bit of a luxe feeling. You’ll find these accents on the front, on the top handle, a little at the sides, some on the shoulder straps, and on the back panel.
In addition to a lower quick-stash pocket, there is a front flap that opens up to reveal a notebook/document sleeve, open pouch, and a mesh pocket. Then you’ll find the main compartment, with more sleeves and a fairly large section for storing clothes and other large items. Again, you’ve got the laptop section at the back to accurately disperse the weight.
Also, part of their business collection, this pack can suit many styles. It basically doubles as a fashion accessory. We love the interior lining. It’s a light brown colour that looks almost a subtle gold when compared with the outer black nylon sheen.
The main perimeter zip goes all the way down the pack, offering a type of clamshell opening. We like that it’s angled, as it’s easier to use. This angled zip style is followed throughout the side pocket, adding to the overall polished look.
At the back you’ll find the SmartSleeve, which is also leather, and lets you attach the pack to your roller baggage. The zippers are again gunmetal steel, but they have ridges in them with a curved shape for an easier grasp.
To enhance comfort levels, the shoulder straps have a quilted padding design. It would be nice if there was mesh on these straps, as they don’t seem very breathable.
We do like the branding on one of the straps, as you can instantly tell where it’s from, without being over-the-top. A padded top handle has leather on the top which feels smooth against the skin.
Samsonite Tectonic Perfect Fit Backpack
To upgrade your business travel needs, this pack is super modern and the perfect size for fitting plenty of items for a daily commute, or 3-4 day trip.
- 1680D ballistic weave polyester
- Padded shoulder straps
- Laptop compartment with integrated padding
- Tablet pocket
- Easy Attach strap for roller luggage
- Cushioned & vented top handle
- Various exterior latch points
- Heavily padded & breathable mesh back
- Large front stash pocket
|Number of Compartments
6 + various pockets
19”L x 13”W x 9”D
1680D Ballistic Polyester, Mesh
|Laptop Sleeve Size
Moving on to compartments and pockets, you’ve got quite a few with this model. 3 quick-stash pockets are positioned at the front, giving you versatility with where you keep your smaller belongings. In one of these pouches is the elastic tablet sleeve. The mains section is spacious, and the rear laptop has a zipper that stretches down the entirety of the pack. This gives you easier access.
This is the most heavy-duty and hard-wearing pack out of the three. We think it’s perfect for cycling to and from work, as well as travel from 3 days to a week.
The zips are hefty and strong, the ballistic poly weave is resistant to rips or holes, and the rear-side mesh padding is seriously thick. All these elements contribute to a very durable bag.
The top handle not only has padding, but also ventilation holes with plastic lining that help to let your hand breathe as you hold it. The shoulder straps are super padded, with wide-hole mesh for extra airflow, reducing sweat build-up.
This model seems to blend style, modernity, and sport all in one. Full-black materials with a few pops of bright red and silver allow it to complement business-wear, but it also has a sporty aesthetic to it. This means it could be used for more traditional backpacking, as it’s extremely tough to withstand the rigors of travel.
While the front attachment points make this pack instantly recognizable, we’re not sure if it adds much to the overall look. It looks a little bit strange or bare without anything attached, but it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Samsonsite Backpacks Waterproof?
- Xenon 3.0 – Much like the original Xenon, this is made from the same ballistic poly fabric, expect this has diamond ripstop accents. It is still only water resistant, but the diamond ripstop gives it a little bit more durability. We suggest using a backpack rain cover if you’re travelling in intense wet conditions.
- Tectonic – Even though it’s made from ballistic polyester fabric with a high denier rating of 1680, this bag is water resistant, not waterproof. This means it can withstand light to moderate rainfall, or splashes, but nothing heavier.
- Kombi -The materials are made up of ballistic nylon fabric, which is a highly rugged and durable textile for resisting abrasions. It is more water resistant than waterproof, as it encourages moisture to bead faster, but it won’t last in extremely wet conditions. Also, the zippers are exposed so water can seep through after a certain amount of exposure.
What size laptop can I fit in them?
The Xenon model can fit a laptop of 17” in its dedicated compartment. It also has another sleeve to fit your tablet at the same time. The Tectonic can fit up to around 17.5″ and the Kombi small backpack has enough space for a 14″ laptop.
Can I use them as a carry-on?
This Xenon models are ideal to use as a carry on for a plane, despite their larger size when compared to other models, they compact well. Its size is suitable for many international airline carry-on standards. The rear location and clamshell flap of the laptop pocket make heading through security completely hassle-free.
The Kombi is equally compatible as a carry on, however we are unsure in regards to the Tectonic if the larger model would be allowed, as it has slightly larger dimensions than the Kombi and Xenon. It would be dependent on the airline, however all other smaller models of Tectonic would be fine.
Can these be used for children?
No, we don’t recommend this pack for kids as a school pack. It’s too big and heavy for a child to carry, for teenagers though it should fit quite well.
Can I fit a water bottle?
The Xenon has a side zippered pocket that is rather flat and therefore not large or stretchy enough to fit a bottle. It’s more suited for smaller items like snacks, keys, a packet of tissues, coins, and so on.
Conclusion on Samsonite Backpacks
It’s been a pleasure to review these travel backpacks from one of the best luggage brands in the world. Our multi review of the Xenon, Kombi, and Tectonic models revealed their high-quality construction, comprehensive organisation options, range of styles, and promising level of comfort.
For basic travel in urban areas, general leisure, and especially for commuting to and from work or school, we think these are three of the best Samsonite backpacks that offer high quality above all else.