Stuff I Use is a series on Tech & Coffee that highlights products I use personally and find to be nothing short of awesome. Links to products on Amazon are affiliate links which help support T&C costs.
I went with the Belkin Core Backpack because I wanted something slimmer and a bit more refined than the SwissGear Maxxum I carried previously. I moved away from messenger-style bags about four years ago when I started to notice pain in my right shoulder. I realized I had started to carry more items with me on a daily basis, as I often work remotely. The Belkin Core has been great. The profile is slim, yet I can fit everything I need and still have room for items that I need to add occassionally. The inner pocket layout is near perfect for organizing all the smaller items and with the padded laptop sleeve and document/tablet sleeve, everything stays in its place. The bag is made of a durable material that is light-weight and easy to brush clean. The straps are padded which make carrying comfortable, even when the bag is loaded with heavier items.
My only issue with this bag has been the zipper on the large outer pocket (the opening nested underneath the gray band). After about a year of use, the zipper no longer keeps a reliable seal. I only keep a few very flat items in this pocket, so it has not been an issue which affects usability for me. Another big factor that led me to this bag was price. The bag retails for $50, but can be found just under $30 from some online retailers.