High Sierra Access Backpack- Does it Live Up to the Hype?

Day after day, consumers seek bags to hold their various items. Whether that be books, clothes, foods, documents– the list never ends. While most want to find a bag of quality, they also want that bag to be at an affordable price. With the endless amounts of options available, how can one know which bag will suit their needs best?

I became one of those overwhelmed consumers last fall.

The second half of my first semester of college had just started and everything was going well—or so it seemed. That morning, I packed my Eastsport backpack full of my books and laptop needed for the day’s classes. As I stepped outside my dorm, the strap on my backpack had popped off! But it was no big deal. I was no wimp. I could handle it. Five minutes into my trek to class, though, I realized that I could not continue this way. My back was killing me and my arm was not supporting me! I needed a new backpack.

Thus, I began the quest for my next bag. I researched the best backpacks for college students throughout the internet. I asked my friends on campus if they liked their backpacks and how they were holding up. I finally settled on two brands: Jansport and High Sierra. What made me choose the topic of this article, the High Sierra Access backpack, you might ask? The color. Although Jansport had a wider range of colors to choose from, High Sierra had the color I preferred. After second guessing myself a few more times, I settled down and ordered the backpack online for about $40.


The backpack arrived at my dorm room two days later. Would this backpack live up to the high expectations I had set for it? Would I be returning it first thing in the morning? I opened the package and was pleasantly surprised. The color of my backpack was a muted fuchsia, was rugged, and was HUGE! With specifications like 20 x 15 x 9.5 in. dimensions and 2750 cubic inches of space inside, I had never seen a backpack quite so large. It was actually a bit daunting. I modeled it out in the mirror and liked the way it looked. It was a bit heavy, but very comfortable. There was an abundance of pockets to place items in. The nice, soft padding on the back of the bag was wonderful, as well as the padding on both arm straps. It also had a chest strap. In addition to all of this, it came with a detachable phone holder, but a flip phone would be the only thing that could fit inside. I was satisfied, but I had to get used to its largeness.

Does It Hold Up?

The next day was the real testament to how it worked. I filled it with all my books and everything else I needed and realized that the extra space in the bag was great! I had room for my books and then some. Being the pack rat that I am, it was perfect for me. As I walked to class, I felt comfortable. With my other backpack, when I had a heavy load, I would feel that heavy load, making my back hurt by the end of the day. With this new backpack, the weight was a little more evenly distributed, leaving a not-so-pained, not-so-strained back.

There is No Perfect Bag

Although the High Sierra Access backpack is sturdy and well built, there are a few unsightly features. The backpack comes with a rain cover that’s tucked away at the bottommost part of the bag. A rain cover seems extremely useful and helpful right? This is true, except the rain cover is bright yellow! A bright, screaming yellow for all the world to see. This makes for a more than embarrassing walk around campus when it’s raining. Often times, I have opted to just forgo using it because it’s simply too eye catching. Also, the hooded zipper function is a bit too tough for my liking. It makes it a strenuous task to fully zip the backpack. Even though the hooded zipper is annoying, I know that it’s protecting the zipper itself—a fundamental portion of the backpack—so it’s worth it.

Is This The Right Backpack For You?

If you want a high performing, durable backpack that can double as a school bag and a luggage bag, then this is definitely the backpack for you. If you want a bag that is suitable for casual use like a day at the mall, you might want to search elsewhere. This bag’s ideal use is heavy duty lugging, and if it’s not at least a quarter filled, it looks ridiculous carrying it around, looking almost like a large deflated balloon on one’s back. If the color of a backpack is one of the focal points of your search, you might be slightly disappointed in this line of bags. The color selection is more on the masculine side and rather sparse. It is quite surprising that it is this way since other High Sierra backpacks like the Loop or the Curve model have such a vast selection of colors to choose from. Personally, I really enjoy the bag since I use it in so many different ways for so many different events, including travel and school. Overall, the High Sierra Access Backpack is a bang for your buck, and I am very content with my purchase!