Initial ImpressionLately, I prefer purchasing stuff that is pricier on average if the build quality is right because I believe it will pay off in the long run. To me, many products are clearly simply overpriced, though, which makes them bad investments. Moreover, while which country these are designed in adds to or reduces a product's price, what actually increases pricing is that cotton tag with the brand's name on it. Having said so, the Fortress is an affordable sub-50$ backpack with Cougar's logo and colors; black with internals in a predominately vivid orange color.
At the front, company name and logo have been embroidered in orange. Black is one of the best choices for a backpack since it will keep most of the dirt hidden. Padding and a multi-layered external design seem to offer the necessary protection for the contents inside, and that combination also makes this a comfortable backpack to wear.
Closer Look: Externals
The Fortress is made out of a thick layer of polyester, which immediately caught our attention. The thicker the outside layer, the longer it will endure, and it will also be easier to mend if it gets torn or is otherwise damaged. Moreover, with the exterior layer as thick, the contents inside are better off. We did make use of it outdoors primarily to check on how it deals with dirt and whether these shock-absorbing materials are able to handle our clumsiness.
Once it gets thrown on to the floor, dust gets all over the black external layer; thankfully, it is easily cleaned. Dirt can be wiped off by hand or with a wet tissue. The stitched joints appear to be well made, while the zippers' sliders are thick and large, with large plastic teeth making them rather easy to use.
Velcro loop tape has been attached to the front, so you can attach stuff with a Velcro hook to the front. Moreover, the Velcro loop tape is sewn on and divided into six small departments underneath. Opposite to the Velcro loop tape, Cougar's name and logo are embroidered into the front in a vivid orange color.
Two handles are attached to the backpack; one is on the upper side, while the other is on the external right side. As such, a user can carry the Fortress in two different ways. Both handles are reinforced with extra padding, which makes them quite comfortable to hold even for longer periods of time. This is very thoughtful of Cougar because most backpacks, once filled with stuff, weigh a lot, and holding them by the handle is not usually as comfortable as it is here.
Apart from the two handles, the Fortress can be held in two additional ways. Since it is a backpack, two padded shoulder straps are attached to the rear. At first, these shoulder straps are not easily spotted because they are hidden inside a large rear pocket. Once you pull the straps out of the pocket, however, they are easily connected to the backpack's lower body via a side-release buckle.
Inside the backpack is a shoulder strap with snap clip hooks. With the latter strap, the Fortress can be carried around as a shoulder bag as well. Considering the fact that the Fortress can hold lots of stuff, Cougar attached two small hip belts to the rear shoulder straps as a means to stabilize the weight.