Customer Reviews: Kipling Luggage Alcatraz Wheeled Backpack with Laptop Protection, Black, One Size
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Size: One Size|Color: Black|Change
Price:$140.60+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on September 4, 2013
This is a Kid's Review (there is no "if you are under thirteen, click here" button)

I ordered a Kipling Alcatraz II in true blue from the Altman Luggage Co. It's a wonderful backpack - large, sturdy, and rather stylish. It has a lot of zippers and pockets that you can easily reach, instead of some backpacks where you have to fumble around for a while. The color is heavenly - I have a fondness for black, though the black Kipling held no desire for me. So I looked for a lighter alternative and found the true blue, which is basically a navy.

The handle goes up smoothly and feels . . . robust, for lack of a better word. The wheels run smoothly - but beware, they are a bit slippery at times. Compared to the size of the backpack, the wheels seem a bit small, though it works just fine.

However, and this is not a complaint, the fabric feels different than what I expected. It says it's made of nylon. From the picture, I gathered the fabric would feel rather spongy, but its texture is practically the complete opposite of that! It feels rather like denim, though with a smoother feel and without the coarseness of denim.

Everything fits easily with a bit of room to spare - and, mind you, there are a lot of school supplies.

The inside of the backpack is as visually appealing as the outside. Mine appears to be a grayish-green with Kipling symbols alternating between dark and light. If you're scared about purchasing this because of the large buckle - that you might not be able to get it open, etc. - don't be. The buckle is even easier to open than zippers in my opinion.

And we mustn't forget the monkey! The adorable, furry little thing hangs by a keychain and has arms that you can put in any direction, and it droops back to its original position right after you let go. It's soft, cute, and has a puckered-up mouth with a hole in the middle, though I'm not sure how deep the hole is.

I'll add to my review after I see how it holds up after a few months of my sixth grade torture.
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on December 28, 2012
I needed a good backpack with wheels when traveling for business to carry my computer and other stuff on the plane and STILL be able to take a rollerboard with me. It's light and sturdy and has lots of accessible pockets.
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on July 3, 2014
My all time favorite travel bag. Fits under airline seats (tip put it in backwards, small end fits almost every time.) Rolls smoothly, fits a lot of stuff.
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on June 3, 2014
Perfect for overnights or an extra bag when flying. I have a bad back, so I bought it for the wheels rather than as a back pack. The color is great and the monkey is really cute. Light weight and yet roomy. Great quality.
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on May 19, 2015
This bag is a disappointment. There are things that are poorly designed that cause their own problems.

•Likes: Fabric is nice enough. Zippers are large, and haven't had any issues with them so far (about 6 months of use)
Interior is reasonably large. It's a little tall, but that works out well enough.
Top flap helps with rain protection, pockets are reasonable.
•Would Like: an external pocket that functionally holds a water bottle. The zippered pouches don't do that in any sort of secure way. Had to get small flasks to be able to carry water functionally (not my preferred container).
•Don't Like: The wheels are small. They're cheap, and they wore out in about three months. They use cheap bushings for rolling, that also failed in that time.
The way the wheels are mounted, they're surrounded by plastic, and they seem to pick up hair and string constantly-part of why they failed, I'm sure.
Wheel units are riveted to the backpack. Replacement parts seem to be difficult to get (according to the local authorized dealer). Replacement is an ordeal.
The backpack straps are a fiasco to get out to use. It's obvious that they're not intended for regular use.
Handle unit has some problems (as mentioned in other reviews) Another fiasco for replacement.
The bottom of the backpack is prone to being scraped up. Mostly because of the small wheels. There is a leather panel that helps keep the bottom from wearing through.

A fix the luggage shop did for me: They had to cut out the stock wheels. Found some small diameter rollerblade wheels, sanded them down so they would fit in the wheel wells, and put in some bolts. Still has the same problems with collecting hairs, but at least I can now get them apart to clean it out easier. NO, this is not a functional fix. It's a ridiculous way to deal with a design flaw. I just wasn't ready to throw away this pack after just a few months. Even with this, I don't see this back pack lasting a year.

The last rolling backpack I had was a cheap-o $30 thing. It lasted three years before it started to disintegrate. It had NONE of the problems encountered with the Kipling. Kipling was nice enough about connecting me with a local shop that did the repairs, and I think it would have been partially covered by the warranty (wheels are a 'wear' item…). Even so, a whole new bag wouldn't have fixed problems that are built into the design. This pack (as well as did the old one) rolls about a mile a day, five days a week, on fairly smooth concrete.

Considering the cost, I think this is an example of NOT getting what you pay for. It could have been a really nice bag. But it isn't.
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on May 21, 2014
I bough this backpack before i went traveling. It looks very spacious on the picture, and i liked the fact that it has a laptop sleeve. The other nice part are the wheels that can be put out if needed, that part was handy. However, space wise, its not very spacious, cant put a lot inside.
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on February 23, 2014
The backpack is very versatile, with space for all my son's school supplies. The wheels are very robust, they should last a long time without breaking.
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on September 12, 2014
Very roomy on the inside. The wheels roll smoothly. The flap on the front is somewhat bothersome. The clasp holding the flap down is difficult to open and gets in the way when attempting to open the front storage compartment..
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on March 30, 2014
but... the handle got stuck in less than two months! In general it seems like a sturdy book bag. It is a bit heavy but lighter than a züca. But since the handle got stuck early in the school year my daughter had to use it like a backpack and was hurting her back. I had to buy a new insert for the old züca bookbag (which she has had since the First grade and is now in Fifth grade) so that is what she has been using since October. I am trying to contact the Kipling company to see if they can fix it.

If they can fix it, I would probably purchase another in the future for my other daughter. If not, I would most definitely stick to the züca.
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on August 31, 2015
I travelled with this less than half a dozen times and now the retractable multistage wheel handle has become stuck and unusable. The time this occurred I was about to pass through airport security to board a flight and had to hammer it in to retract it before I could place it on the x-ray conveyor belt. The laptop sleeve buried at the bottom is also not a good idea as every time I pass through airport security I have to dig my laptop out from a pile of clothing.
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