SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Review

SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Review

The SwissGear SA1908 laptop backpack is brought to us by the makers of Swiss Army Knife which is a popular and well-known brand for products of durability, functionality and convenience. This backpack is designed for efficiency at airport checkpoints due to the ScanSmart feature.

Although this feature can prove to be useful for travellers, just how well does it work? And does the backpack itself serve any other purpose besides this feature? My article will investigate the versatility of this backpack and how well the ScanSmart feature works.

Average Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Click Here To Check Out The SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Now

At A Glance


  • Ventilated Back: The Airflow Back System helps to prevent sweat and heat building on your back when it is on.
  • ScanSmart TSA Friendly Laptop Compartment: The open viewing laptop compartment with the fold flat design provides an efficient way to get through airport security without having to take your laptop out.
  • Side Access Entry: Your laptop is easily accessible from here without having to open your backpack up.
  • Ergonomic and Padded Design: The contoured and padded shoulder straps give comfort and support when carrying the backpack.


  • Number of Pockets: There are not as many interior and exterior pockets compared to other SwissGear backpack models.


SwissGear SA1908
Average Customer Rating
4.4 out of 5 stars
MaterialBallistic Weave
Available ColorsBlack
LockZip Holes
Outer Compartments / Storage- 2 x Small Side Pockets
Zipped Compartments- 4 (including laptop ScanSmart section)
Padded Laptop Compartment
Fits Laptop Screen SizeUp to 17"
Dimensions (inches)- 18" x 9" x 13"
Weight (pounds)2.65 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime

Design & Craftsmanship

Made from a ballistic weave fabric, the SwissGear SA1908 laptop backpack feels strong which suggests durability. At first glance, the backpack looks quite big but in fact is of a reasonable size measuring at 9x18x13 inches. It’s fairly light too weighing at only 2.65lbs.

The fabric used inside the backpack is a light and thin nylon material which is wipeable. It looks pretty flimsy but upon touching and pulling at it, you can feel the material is quite sturdy and can hold your belongings without fear of tearing the fabric.

The design is quite simple with details kept to a minimum and just a small SwissGear logo on the front giving it a subtle classic look. To keep to this style, the backpack comes in black only.


SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Review

Although there’s not as many pockets as seen on other SwissGear backpacks, there’s still plenty of space inside.

The bag has four compartments with many internal pockets making organization for you easy. Each compartment closes with double stainless steel zips embossed with the SwissGear logo and holes wide enough to fit a padlock through.

A few people had issues with the zips which they found broke when the backpack became too full but many people said the zips were quite strong.

Looking at the front of the backpack, there are two reasonably sized external pockets and a large compartment in the middle. The zips in the large compartment opens to three quarters of the way down of the backpack.

Unlike other SwissGear backpacks, the top carry handle is not reinforced with the usual rubber casing steel. However, the handle is thickly padded and reinforced with a durable quilted fabric thus providing the support and comfort needed for carrying.

Under the handle, there is a slit for your headphones. This allows you to use your headphones by threading the wire through the slit and connect it to your mp3 player or mobile phone. You can listen to your music whilst keeping your mp3 player or mobile phone in the pocket.

Next to the handle is a plastic tab attached. Sunglasses can be clipped here or any other clip able item that you want to easily access. For example, if you are camping, you could attach a torch here.


SwissGear ScanSmartAt the back is where the laptop compartment is with the unique quick recognition window for the ScanSmart feature. This is designed to be airport friendly enabling you to pass through security checks with less hassle whilst keeping your laptop safe (though it may not be suitable for all airports).

The zips in the laptop compartment opens all the way down to enable it to fold flat. On both sides of the backpack, there are expandable mesh pockets that can fit various sized water bottles, thermos or an umbrella.

Airflow Back System

Like many SwissGear backpacks, the back and shoulder straps are heavily padded with a multi-panel airflow design. You can see mesh padded panels on the back and ventilated air holes on the front as part of this design. This helps to keep you cool when wearing the bag and gives your back and shoulders maximum support and comfort.

Comfort & Convenience

TSA Checkpoint-Friendly Laptop Compartment

TSA Friendly Laptop Compartment

Going through airport security screening can be tedious especially if you’re carrying a laptop. The ScanSmart feature ensures you don’t have to take your laptop out.

The ScanSmart feature in the SwissGear SA1908 laptop backpack is designed to make going through airport security checks a breeze which makes the backpack ideal for taking onto flights.

The fold flat design allows you to open the laptop compartment quickly and easily like a book at checkpoints so the laptop can be seen in its open viewing compartment.

Many people have found the ScanSmart feature to work well and efficiently as it has reduced the amount of time spent at airport checkpoints.

Instead of having to unpack and pack their laptop back into their bag, all they needed to do was unzip and zip up the laptop compartment.

If you do need to take your laptop out though, this can be done via the side access entry. It’s also useful to use this when you have a limited amount of space to open the bag or if you need to access your laptop quickly.

Support for your Back and Shoulders

With the Airflow Back System, it has prevented back sweat for many people even in hot weather conditions and despite the thick padding on the back. Not all backpacks have this feature which is ideal if you are planning on backpacking or hiking.

The padding of the backpack has been placed in the right places as it is very comfortable to carry even after a few hours. This is further helped due to the ergonomic design of the shoulder straps which helps to distribute the weight of the backpack evenly so your back and shoulders are properly supported.


Due to the size of the backpack, this makes it perfect to use as a carry on. It can fit under most airline seats or in the overhead compartment. You will be able to fit a lot in as well with little worry about weight because it’s quite light.

Some backpacks can feel quite bulky when it is on your back or if you need to carry it by the handle. But the height of this SwissGear backpack is not overly big and is a good size even for those with shorter torsos. There’s no need to worry about the backpack dragging along the ground as well when carrying it by the top handle.

Having the headphone slit directly above the special mp3 pocket is quite handy as you can safely listen to your music without having your mp3 player or mobile phone out on display for thieves. The slit is only big enough for your headphone wire to fit through so you don’t have to worry about your mp3 player or mobile phone falling out either.


Although the SwissGear SA1908 has less pockets than other SwissGear models, the compartments and pockets are quite spacious because of the reduced number of pockets. There are still enough pockets for you to organize your possessions so you don’t have to worry about rummaging around the bottom to find something.

SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Review

External Pockets

The two external pockets are ideal for storing small items or items you will need to quickly access because they are easily accessible as well as being quick to open. The bottom pocket sits quite flat but can hold things such as pocket tissue, maps or CDs/DVDs.

Inside the top pocket, there is a removable key fob attached which is great for storing your keys here so you will always know where your keys are. There are also organizational slots and pockets here to store pens, flashdrives, notebooks, cards etc.

With the expandable side pockets, it’s ideal to stash your water bottle here but only thing is, it can be difficult to do this if the bag becomes too full. Having these on both sides of the backpack is handy as you can use the other pocket to store other necessities too. You can easily reach these pockets without having to take your backpack off.

Open Viewing Compartment

Upon opening the laptop compartment, you will see a mesh fabric which is your open window. Although the mesh does not offer much protection, the padding on the back will be enough to do this.

Laptops up to 17 inches can fit in this compartment. However, a few people were able to fit slim 17.3 inch laptops in as well. It is a bit harder to pull out from the side access entry though. There are also adjustable padded straps to hold smaller sized laptops. This prevents them from sliding about thus reducing the risk of damage.

As the open window compartment is quite spacious, you will be able to fit a tablet in here. Some people were able to fit in two slim laptops as well. Opposite the open window is a large open pocket where you can store cables, charger, mouse or any other computer peripherals you may need.

Middle Compartment

In the middle compartment, it is quite roomy as it goes all the way to the bottom of the backpack which is ideal for storing books or folders. The width in this compartment is also enough to fit a spare change of clothes if you are travelling or trainers for the gym.

There is just one open pocket stitched in at the top for your smaller items such as mobile phone or mp3 player. It is here that you will find the headphone slit sitting directly above as mentioned before.

My Conclusion

With so many features such as the quick recognition laptop window, special pouch for your mp3 player and quick side entry laptop access, this back pack shows versatility, convenience and functionality. These are all essential in meeting the everyday needs of a student, backpacker or on the go businessman.

The SwissGear SA1908 laptop backpack is great to take on flights as a carry on because of the size and the ScanSmart feature making it efficient for you at airport checkpoints.  This is useful for anyone who frequently flies whether it is a short or long haul flight.

Because of the material used, this backpack will last you a good few years and will be able to withstand daily usage. The only thing to remember is to not overfill the backpack which can damage the zips. But at the price it’s selling at, it isn’t overly priced when you compare it to other well-known backpack brands so the price is reasonable for a backpack with a good amount of features.

Average Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Click Here To Buy The SwissGear SA1908 TSA Friendly Laptop Backpack Now

Written by Julian Walters

Head Editor of I'm obsessed over things that keep me organized, especially briefcases. My favorite movies are The Godfather I & II. I love Progressive House music, and my favorite food is steak.