The North Face Surge won our travel-happy testers over during the testing period. The unique butterfly opening to the laptop compartment allows you to pass through security screenings at airports without removing your laptop from its sleeve. TSA approves, and so do we. Outside of the airport, it also keeps items well-organized with an array of pockets in various sizes, several with fleece linings. It protects multiple screen devices well simultaneously and kept us comfortable on our commutes. The Surge doesn't win in the looks department, and lands in the middle of the pack regarding water resistance, but otherwise, we really like this pack.
The Surge has been given some updates since our testing. Check out the comparison below.
For more style, water resistance, and all-around performance, the Editors' Choice Flapjack from Osprey hits all the right buttons for a daily laptop backpack. And if you like the Surge but don't need its travel feature, The North Face Borealis is similar in design and feel with a much lower price tag.