Hands-on Gear Review

Burton Tinder Review

The 2018 Burton Tinder
Top Pick Award
Price:  $95 List | $55.94 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Attractive, comfortable, durable
Cons:  No water bottle holders, not great organizational capabilities
Bottom line:  Great simple design for work, school or play, that will keep you pleased no matter what fashion you use it in.
Editors' Rating:   
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Volume (L):  25 L
Dimensions:  20 x 13 x 6 in.
Weight:  1.8 lb.
Manufacturer:   Burton

Our Verdict

Let's face it; if you're cruising around town and work every day with your backpack, you want it to look good. After all, what good is functionality if the pack looks too silly to be seen with? Enter the Burton Tinder; it's the perfect blend of old school style and modern features. We think it's the best-looking model in our laptop backpack review and is the winner of our Top Pick Award for Style. This is the pack that you want to be seen wearing, and it is plenty versatile enough to work in almost any situation. Climbing shoes and harness? Groceries and beer? Water and a jacket? No problem! Just make sure you're gentle with how you throw it around with your laptop on board because there really isn't a whole lot of protection for your most valuable possession.

Colorways and Pricing
Burton stays fashion forward each season, releasing new color options and patterns for 2018, such as the one pictured above. All other aspects of this pack remain the same. There are two price tiers for this pack. Depending on which colorway you choose, the price is either a modest $75 or $95.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Laptop Backpacks of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Katherine Elliott

Last Updated:
Tuesday
November 29, 2016

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We loved this pack for its style and feel. In terms of practicality, it's a bit difficult to keep the plethora of items organized that most of us carry on a day to day routine. The Tinder is a simple and functional everyday pack that happens to include a sleeve for a laptop. It feels somewhat like a throw-in feature and could easily be mistaken for a large pocket. So if you are looking for a daypack that looks great and happens to be able to carry a laptop, this contender is a fantastic choice for you. As a dedicated laptop bag, we think that many of the other bags we reviewed have a better set of features. For a pack that does it all, check out our Editors' Choice award winner, the Osprey Flapjack.

Performance Comparison


Although not the best for laptop protection and storage  the Tinder has a style that most of us couldn't resist  even while out of the trails.
Although not the best for laptop protection and storage, the Tinder has a style that most of us couldn't resist, even while out of the trails.

Laptop Protection


This pack had very few features that help to protect your laptop; it would not be wise to consistently carry your laptop in this bag every day without another form of protection. The Timbuk2 Rogue seemed to have an equally insufficient system for protecting your laptop. What we did like was that it has a secret zippered side access zipper, making it super easy to get to your laptop without all the other stuff in the single main compartment getting in the way. This didn't cover up for the fact that the padding was thin, especially on the side of the pouch that protects from the inside.


The back plate pads the laptop with a single thin piece of very flexible foam, while the padding on the inside is still flexible but even thinner, at best half the thickness of the already tiny back plate. The pouch is suspended off the floor of the bag by a couple of inches, but that doesn't make up for the fact that the design left gaps in the padding, and our 15-inch laptop moved around freely. We think that using it as an insulated hydration bladder carrier would be a much better use of the design. Alternatively, you might want to consider the Osprey Flapjack, The North Face Borealis, or The North Face Recon for a pack that will offer a significantly higher amount of protection.

This contender has a secret zippered access compartment for your laptop. While it was a fun feature  it had a very thin padded back panel and laptop sleeve  making this a low ranking pack for laptop protection.
This contender has a secret zippered access compartment for your laptop. While it was a fun feature, it had a very thin padded back panel and laptop sleeve, making this a low ranking pack for laptop protection.

Comfort


This model is very comfortable even though it doesn't offer the best laptop protection (which we believe is due to its sleek design).


In this case, less is more, and the straightforward and old-school shoulder strap system is still more comfortable than some far more complicated designs, like that on the The North Face Recon. The shoulder straps attach to the pack behind the neck, adequately far apart. This is an important characteristic to ensure that they don't bite into the neck. The flexible back piece is a piece of foam for structure and cushioning, but it is comfortable. The sternum strap appeared well placed and added an extra level of support to a somewhat flimsy back panel. The Osprey Flapjack scored a 9 out of 10 regarding comfort, with the The North Face Borealis trailing behind, scoring an 8 out of 10.

The simple and sleek design made for a very comfortable fit. The shoulder straps don't look like much at first glance  but in this case  less is more.
The simple and sleek design made for a very comfortable fit. The shoulder straps don't look like much at first glance, but in this case, less is more.

Storage


This contender scored towards the bottom in storage when compared to other packs. This wasn't because it is small (it isn't), but because it is far too simple to organize all that we needed to carry in our laptop backpack. It is a simple daypack, with a laptop sleeve thrown in for good measure, and includes almost zero of the design features found on the other laptop backpacks.


If you like the single-compartment, top-loading style of pack but need more organization, check out the Osprey Flapjack or Granite Gear Rift 2, which do a fabulous job in comparison.

The simple modern design is fashionable. Unfortunately  without a great organization system in place  it's more of a looker than a performer.
The simple modern design is fashionable. Unfortunately, without a great organization system in place, it's more of a looker than a performer.

Ease of Use


Like many of the other laptop backpacks, the Tinder's top-loading rucksack design makes it very versatile for doing anything outdoorsy, but not so great for serious work-related activities. While it is plenty large to carry books and binders on the inside, it has only two pockets and a small insert for a tablet. If you carry a lot of pens, pencils, electronic gadgets, cords, notebooks, etc., you can guarantee that they will all just be thrown into the mix with everything else.


On the other hand, if you are heading to the climbing gym but need your laptop afterward, the Tinder is a great option. The double cinch strap design makes it stand out amongst the other zippered competitors, and we found it to be rather easy and pleasant to use while opening and securing the bag. For a model that shows excellent ease of use, might we recommend the Flapjack, scoring a perfect 10 out of 10, or either of The North Face models, scoring 8 out of 10s.

The top loading cinch design made for an easy access pack. It was nothing to laugh about.
The top loading cinch design made for an easy access pack. It was nothing to laugh about.

Style


Style is where the Tinder shines, and it rightfully received a 10 out of 10 scores. We would swipe right for this laptop backpack. This is the best looking and by far the hippest bag of the bunch, which is why we awarded it our Top Pick for Style.


What we especially liked was its minimalist look: no extra external pockets, no extra straps, and one single color fabric throughout the entire construction, with just a few faux leather flares, rather than many different swatches. Its refined look is a throwback to a simpler time, which is precisely what Burton was striving for. If style is your most important feature, then look no farther.

The urban hip look of the Tinder put in in the top of the rankings for style out of the 9 backpacks we tested.
The urban hip look of the Tinder put in in the top of the rankings for style out of the 9 backpacks we tested.

Water Resistance


This pack doesn't look like it would be very water resistant, but it did very well in the "shower test". The 600D Polyester Twill material repelled the water with ease.


However, if there was a substantial amount of precipitation, this might not be the best pack to keep your valuable electronics safe from the elements. If a high level of water-resistance is what you're after, the Patagonia Black Hole 25 scored a 10 out of 10 and is the only pack in our review to earn the highest score possible.

Even though this pack had the appearance of being fully saturated  the paper on the inside remained dry over and over again.
Even though this pack had the appearance of being fully saturated, the paper on the inside remained dry over and over again.

Best Applications


This contender is best used as a daypack/everyday backpack when the need to carry a laptop comes secondary. It is far more of a backpack than a laptop backpack. It would not thrive as an everyday school or work bag, and probably does not protect a laptop securely enough to be a fantastic travel bag.

Whether you are traveling or just headed to the office  the Tinder will help you look good along the way.
Whether you are traveling or just headed to the office, the Tinder will help you look good along the way.

Value


The Tinder has a retail price of $85. This is on the lower end of the price scale, as many of the laptop backpacks we tested are over the $100 mark. We feel that this is a fair price for all the attention you will receive with the stylish pack.

Conclusion


Whether you stuff it with fun things like climbing gear or ski goggles, or more practical work accessories like a laptop and books, the Tinder is ready to tote your schwag in vintage, trendy style. It has a padded laptop compartment, a zippered internal mesh pocket and a top zippered pocket for things you need to access quickly and easily. A double drawstring closure keeps everything secure and takes out the hassle of sometimes sticky zippers, while brushed faux suede detailing gives this contender good looks above the rest.

The Tinder is one classy laptop backpack. It has a minimal modern design and that makes it unique among the rest.
The Tinder is one classy laptop backpack. It has a minimal modern design and that makes it unique among the rest.
Katherine Elliott

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Most recent review: November 29, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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