Skooba Design backpack sweeps you through security

Skooba Design backpack sweeps you through security

Summary: Skooba Design's latest $129.00 Checkthrough backpack has rigid edges and a separate see-through "Butterfly" compartment which allows you to scan the entire bag through the TSA security at the airport with the laptop inside.


Skooba Design's latest $129.00 Checkthrough computer bag is a backpack that has rigid edges and has a separate see-through "Butterfly" compartment which allows you to scan the entire bag through the TSA scanning equipment with the laptop inside.

Recently Skooba Design, whose first-generation TSA-approved "Checkthrough" laptop bag I had looked at earlier this year sent me one of their new backpacks. It was good timing, as I was about to go on vacation to South Carolina and I would be able to test it in a real travel scenario.

While I had liked Skooba's first generation Checkthrough laptop brief, and still feel it's an excellent product for people who like traditional laptop bag briefcase designs, for my own routine use over the last six months I ended up moving to a Mobile Edge backpack design instead, as I frequently have an additional piece of luggage with me which I carry on the plane that gets checked at the gate and it is more comfortable for me to hang my carry-on stuff on my back rather than drag it on my shoulder. I can lumber through the airport a lot faster that way.

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Knowing that Skooba makes quality travel accessories I was very excited to see their new backpack. Like their previous Checkthrough product, it incorporates a separate, see-though zippered compartment that "Butterflies" out from the main part of the bag which allows the TSA RapiScan equipment to view the laptop unobstructed and also eliminates the possibility of the laptop accidentally (albeit a remote possibilty) falling out of bag, as with "Pouch" designs such as the Mobile Edge. The bag is made of the same durable 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon material as their other products, although I would have liked to have seen them go with a 1050 Denier, which is tougher and doesn't "Pill" as quickly.

Skooba and Mobile Edge TSA Approved Backpacks from ZDNet Tech Broiler on Vimeo.

What I liked -- Durable construction, lots of compartments and well organized. Rigid material in the lining makes the squared off parts of the bag more protective of the equipment. Separate, see-through zippered enclosed flip-out "Butterfly" compartment that securely holds the laptop.

What I didn't like -- The Skooba backpack is of a smaller, compact squarish design rather than a "Teardrop" design that Mobile Edge has, and it is less generous in terms of storage. It can't really be "stuffed" like the Mobile Edge. Also limited to holding a 15" laptop snugly, a larger laptop might be problematic. Also I felt the front pouches were a little on the smallish side compared to other bag designs, but some people, such as women or less burly men might prefer this compact design better.

In addition to the backpack, Skooba has also introduced a "Roller" version of its laptop briefcase, for $189.00.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Security


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Thanks for the info ... and ...

    You really are a tech ... One Bottle of Wine, one bottle of booze, and what may possible have been a six pack on your kitchen table ...

    You've just gained points in my book ...

    • All of the above.

      Booze (Haitian Barbancourt Rum), Wine (Pinot Noir) and yes, a six pack.
  • I'm a little dubious...

    I keep so much stuff with wires in my laptop bag that I usually get the check-out with the round handy-wipes. I'm not sure if the bag would make a difference.
    Mac Hosehead
  • RE: Skooba Design backpack sweeps you through security

    I really like the clean look of the outside. I
    wish Waterfield Designs would make a
    backpack. I keep asking when they will. For
    now my SleeveCase
    /sleevecases.htm) will have to do, but I may
    pick up this backpack to put it into. I have a
    15" so it should work for me for short trips.

    Thanks for the review.