Kensington Contour Traveler Notebook Backpack Review

Kensington Contour Traveler Notebook Backpack Review

by Niki Breese


The Kensington Contour Traveler Backpack respects the professional look of the business audience enabling them to carry their midsized notebooks with the tools for work and play with the ease and comfort of a backpack.

The Kensington Contour Traveler Notebook Backpack (view large image)

This is the tag that came on the bag (view large image)


  • Travel-Optimized Organization System complements your travel routine with Purpose-Built pockets for your tickets/passport, business cards and more
  • Organizer Grid with pockets for MP3 player, cell phone, flash drive, pens and a key holder without opening the main compartment
  • Padded backpack straps plus the Contour System with built-in lumbar support increase comfort and reduce fatigue.
  • Accessory pocket keeps power cords, adapters, mice and more within easy reach
  • Durable, water-proof bottom and water-resistant nylon material on the main body keeps contents safe and dry
  • Lay-flat grip makes it easy to grab from overhead compartments and the integrated luggage strap provides convenience
  • DropShield padding provides secure protection
  • Exclusively endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA)

The Kensington Contour Traveler pictured with a Dell Inspiron 6000D. The Contour Traveler will fit most 15.4 notebooks (view large image)


  • Material: Nylon, PVC for waterproof base
  • Color: Graphite Blue
  • Dimensions: 14.5″L X 18.0″H X 7.5″W
  • Notebook compartment dimensions 14.4″L X 11.4″H X 2.0″W
  • Fits most notebooks up to 15.4″
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Warranty: Kensington Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Price: $69.99USD


Front side view of bag (view large image)

Back side view of bag (view large image)

The Contour Traveler exhibits impressive quality. The nylon construction has a thick and tough feel. Weak zippers are one of my pet peeves, so the sturdy metal zippers included on this bag made me happy. The straps, flaps and handle are secured firmly by tough stitching to the backpack’s large body. Even the strips for adjusting the fit of the straps feel resistant to tearing.

This backpack is neither alluring nor unappealing. What Kensington calls Graphite Blue I would call more of a satin black, though it is hard to tell just by looking at the pictures.  In calling the color satin black, I should clarify that the material is rough and not a soft satin! The zippers are silver in color with black accents. A silver Kensington logo on the bottom right corner completes the look.

After a week of use, the bag appears the same as it did out of the box. The obsidian is still shiny without any noticeable dimples. There are no scuffs or torn stitches. On the downside, the dark color bag is a pet hair magnet if you’ve got cats and dogs running around the house.


Kensington claims that the Contour Traveler’s Dropshield protects the notebook from drops. The backpack also has a waterproof bottom, while the rest of it is made of water resistant material (water-resistant nylon with PVC for a waterproof base). The bag has merits from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

Water Resistance

The backpack sits on a towel after a quick dip (view large image)

The weather has been beautiful here, so I had to make wet situations to test the Contour Traveler Backpack. The water resistance simulation test consisted of dumping a full cup of water on the empty backpack with all pockets zipped. The bag deflected the water, and the nylon dried in minutes. Water bled through the zippers, but the compartments and more importantly the notebook sheath stayed dry. The puddle simulation test tested the waterproof base of the bag. In this test the backpack was subjected to having its bottom dipped in the backyard swimming pool. It took longer for the bag’s externals to completely dry. Water did penetrate the bag, and on the inside it remained wet for a long time. The bottom of the notebook sheath was completely dry thanks to being elevated above the base.


The back rest of the Contour Traveler is lavishly packed with firm padding. As the name suggests, the padding is contoured to fit the back. The contoured shape distributes weight more evenly, and thus is the foundation of the bag’s superb comfort. Coming from a chronic over-packer, the bag is comfortable to wear even while on the move. Unlike my old Targus backpack, it does not feel like there is a wooden board up against my back (otherwise known as my laptop). The material on the back of the bag and on the inside of the straps however is excessively rough, which makes the bag uncomfortable to wear with short sleeves. There is a strap with Velcro mid way down, going across the backpack’s padding, which is apparently there for looks, because it does not seem to do anything useful. I’ve never been one to have back problems anyway, but I let my bad back suffering dad wear the Contour Traveler fully packed and he said it was comfortable to wear.


A look at the protective sheath (view large image)

Portable DVD player used in the drop test inside the bag (view large image)

Kensington includes DropShield protection with the Contour Traveler Backpack. The notebook sheath is made of thick foam with a soft material lining on the inside to prevent scratches. The protection is adequate, but I do not feel the sheath is bullet proof. I recommend using a sleeve. The closest I am going to get to putting DropShield protection to the test is dropping my ancient Panasonic portable DVD Player while in the sheath from the same meager height that I stand (5’1″). The portable DVD player survived intact and came out working as it did before. My test is a poor one in comparison to dropping a notebook however, because the DVD player is smaller than what this backpack is designed to carry.


The main pocket is the standard deep pocket with a notebook sheath against the back. There are no additional pouches in the main pocket. The main pocket is just large enough to hold two textbooks and a single subject notebook. I would not try putting anymore than that in with a notebook. The notebook sheath fits most 15.4 notebooks according to Kensington. It sheaths my notoriously thick Dell Inspiron 6000D like a glove.

This pocket is meant to allow the owner to be able to quickly remove a passport and/or airline ticket from the bag. I am not going on any flights anytime soon, so I put the pocket to other uses. There is enough room to fit three accessories like an external hard drive, headphones, and a mouse.

The 3rdback pocket contains specially designed pockets for a cellphone, a thumb drive, a pen, an MP3 player (it fits my iPod mini with room to spare), CDs, and two utility pockets. There is also a keychain holder, which would be more convenient if it were detachable. Each pocket is designated with its own logo. For review purposes, I placed the appropriate items in each pocket, although in real life I am not an obsessive, compulsive neat-freak, and I use them for whatever I want. This pocket can also hold additional small accessories outside the organizer grid.

The mouse barely fits (view large image)

The bottom pocket on the backpack is useful for storing a power brick. I like the ease of retrieval. It beats the purpose-made power brick pouches that come with other bags and backpacks, which are easily lost. There is not much room for anything else in there. The mouse barely fits. One nitpick with this backpack is that the cheap zipper on this pocket does not match the other ones.

Water bottle holder (view large image)

There is a pouch on the left side for drink bottles and cans. When not in use, the pouch folds flat and is secured by Velcro.

Card holder (view large image)

The pouch on the right side is the business card holder. Fortunately, it can double as extra storage for pens and pencils but that is about all that will fit into it.


The Kensington Contour Travelers backpack is comfortable to wear and is fairly durable. However, with its purpose built pockets, this large backpack does not have sufficient space for hauling large amounts of cargo.  If you’re more about staying organized and carrying a notebook than about carrying a bunch of textbooks and a notebook then the Kensington Contour Traveler backpack could be a good fit for you.


  • Professional look
  • Sturdy, well made
  • Water resistant
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Organization
  • Notebook sheath offers adequate protection and will not scratch your lid.


  • Not too much storage for such a large backpack
  • Accessory pouch’s zipper does not match
  • Base not fully water proof

New best friends, notebook and backpack hang out poolside, enjoying another day in paradise (view large image)





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