Review of Speck Core Pack Fly Messenger Bag

As a reviewer I have tested several products from Speck; primarily iPhone and iPad accessories. Besides those products Speck also makes laptop bags; so for today’s review we will check out the CorePack Fly, which is advertised as a TSA friendly bag. This means the TSA provided bag makers with guidelines to expedite travel through security check points at airports.

Speck created the CorePack Fly with a separate laptop pocket allowing the X-ray visualization of the computer without any extraneous cables or wires. Theoretically this design should allow passengers rapid transit through security lines. However in recent months TSA security has become more stringent requiring the direct visualization of all computer devices prior to passengers passing security checkpoints making TSA “friendly” bag slightly less friendly. Thankfully this does not make the bag any less useful or render its design invalid.

Normally I don’t always get a chance to evaluate some review items in the “field”. Luckily the CorePack Fly arrived just before I headed out for vacation so I was able to test the bag while traveling through a couple of airports.

The CorePack Fly is designed to fit up to a 15” laptops including the MacBook Pro. It can be used as a messenger style bag or can be held like a briefcase.

Like most laptop bags the Speck CorePack Fly arrives without any packaging other than a tag found on the side of the bag. This tag is slightly different from others as it doubles as a mini instruction booklet.


The CorePack Fly comes in two styles – Restart Greyscale Pixel and Speakeasy Greyscale Pinstripe. For today’s review we will look at the latter version. This style was my personal preference as the Restart Greyscale Pixel looked less business like and seemed aimed towards a younger demographic.


The bag measures 16.5” x 7” x 12” and is composed of a durable washable cloth material. What differentiates the CorePack Fly from other laptop bags is the way it separates in the middle like a notebook to keep the laptop compartment isolated from the rest of the bag.


This section is padded with an extra-plush micro-fleece to keep the laptop safe from harm.


The compartment can accommodate a 1.5″ thick, 9.5″ deep, 14″ wide laptop and easily fit a 15” Macbook Pro or for my trip an iPad and 10” netbook size laptop.


This pocket was originally deemed TSA friendly since it keeps wires away from the laptop allowing just the computer to be scanned by the X-Ray machine. The side zipper pocket allows quick access to the laptop without having to dig through the CorePack Fly.

On the outer back of this compartment is a sleeve with Velcro closures on the top and bottom. Opening these closures allows the CorePack Fly to slip over a wheeled suitcase handle for piggybacking on wheeled luggage without the risk of falling over.

If you need extra room for a magazine then simply keep the bottom Velcro closed. The Velcro is industrial grade so there is little risk of it pulling open accidently. I do wish the bottom Velcro ran across the entire bottom section instead of just the middle so it could double as large pocket.


On the top of the bag we find the dual-position buckle system which can align the buckles on the top or sides of the bag. The detachable shoulder straps come with an adjustable pad with the Speck logo printed on the outside. One really nice feature of these buckles is that they rotate around a 360 degree axis which prevents the strap from getting twisted.


Centered between these two straps is a zipper that keeps a briefcase style handle out of sight until you are ready to use the CorePack Fly like a briefcase. As with the strap this handle is padded as well.


Looking at the front flap of the CorePack Fly we see a center buckle with an adjustable strap. To the right of this buckle is the Speck logo and name printed in white on a rubber black label.


Inside the front flap we find a grey nylon material similar to padding found in a winter coat. There are two Velcro triangles on each corner of the flap that secures it down to the rest of the CorePack Fly.


Below the flap are the largest compartment spaces in the CorePack Fly. There are a total of five pockets inside of this section. A divider separates the back wall of this compartment from the rest of the space. Towards the front is a zippered section with three smaller pockets found within.


The outer section of this main compartment features three smaller pockets protected by Velcro flaps, one is designed as a media player pocket/organizer with a headphone cord pass-through.


A zippered pocket that stretches along this front section provides two more storage areas. The left side pocket includes a detachable key leash fob.


Below this zipper is a large Velcro strip for keeping the front flap securely down no matter how much is packed into the CorePack Fly. For those who want to keep hydrated during your travels, there is an expandable mesh water bottle pouch on the right side of the bag.



Core Pack Fly

With an innovative, dual-position shoulder strap and tuck-away carry handle, you can wear CorePack messenger-style, over the shoulder or briefcase style. This comfortable bag is large enough to hold a ton of stuff in addition to your 15-inch or similar-sized notebook. With a CorePack at your side, you will look fierce on life’s battlefield while your notebook and files stay safe.

Designed to fit up to a 15″ MacBook Pro or similar-sized notebook
Cool, comfortable and spacious messenger-inspired design
Quick-access extra-plush micro-fleece padded notebook compartment
Dual-position shoulder strap buckles: wear over shoulder or cinched on back
Media player pocket/organizer with headphone cord pass-through
Tuck-away carry handle and expandable water bottle pocket
Convenient detachable key leash fob
Deep-well pockets, zippered pouches and plenty of organizers
Durable exterior with double-needle stitched bindings
Comfortable detachable shoulder strap and vented body padding
Duraflex high-performance buckles
Extra-secure velcro and buckled front flap closure
Holds notebooks sized up to 1.5″ thick, 9.5″ deep, 14″ wide
One year Speck limited warranty

The CorePack knows no urban boundaries
Adjust the dual-position buckle system for your comfort and preference. Attach the shoulder strap to the buckles through side openings and cinch up for messenger-style comfort on your back, or move the buckles and attach the shoulder strap through the top openings and sling CorePack over your shoulder. Or, detach the shoulder strap and unzip the tuck-away handle to carry CorePack briefcase-style.
Explore all of CorePack’s additional unique features, including the portable media player pouch with headphone cord pass-through, expandable mesh water bottle pouch, detachable key leash fob and more!
You can even avoid jumbling through all your main gear by easily accessing your notebook through the quick-access back panel instead.

For testing I brought the CorePack Fly as a carry on through New York’s JFK Airport and the Jamaica’s Montego Bay Airport. The lengths I go through to accurately review items is outstanding.

Although the bag is TSA friendly, both airports did ask for the removal of all laptops before passing through security. This was a let down as I was hoping the TSA friendly laptop pocket would be actually tested, but the TSA seemed rather rigid in having ALL laptops out.

On a positive note, the side zipper made accessing the laptop contents quick and simple, which Is better than having to dig out the laptop from the main compartment of the bag.


The CorePack Fly is a terrific travel companion as it was comfortable to carry even when saddled with a netbook, iPad, DSLR camera body with three lenses, various chargers and several magazines. Speck did not skimp on storage space with the CorePack Fly. All my accessories and items fit without difficulty.


The padded handle was able to give my shoulders a rest during the long wait at customs. The bag traveled and held up well due to its solid construction.

During the flight, the CorePack Fly fit easily under the seat in front of me when it was laid on its side. The flat bottom kept the CorePack Fly standing upright when resting on the ground.

Aesthetically the CorePack Fly is a terrific looking bag. The classic pinstripe look makes it fit in for the business person or the vacationing traveler.


The only issues I found with the CorePack Fly was the front buckle strap easily became slack and tended to want to slide out of the buckle. The second was the laptop side pocket makes it simple for someone to slide the laptop out of the bag without being noticed. Maybe the addition of a snap or locking clip will find its way into the next revision.



The Speck CorePack Fly is an extremely well designed bag intended for those who frequently travel. Although advertised as “TSA friendly”, the TSA’s policy seem arbitrary from airport to airport. One person I spoke with told me she was able to pass through airports using the CorePack Fly without revealing her laptop while I seem to always have to take my laptop out. Maybe I look suspicious, who knows.

Despite TSA’s arbitrary policy with showing laptops even with “TSA Friendly” bags such as the CorePack Fly, this bag is still an excellent travel companion. It features numerous compartments to provide plenty of storage capacity and is solidly constructed to last through many years of travel. I know the CoreSpeck Fly will be my travel companion for years to come.


+Stylish appearance
+Plenty of storage room
+Numerous zippered pockets
+Solid construction
+Separate laptop compartment

-Buckle strap easily loosened

Overall score-10-10
Design score-10-10
Performance score-10-10

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