Pros: 'Clean' look, functional, VERY sturdy
Cons: Big... but it has to be
From an instructor's perspective, one of the biggest gripes I have with my students is their organizational skills, or lack thereof. Specifically, keeping all their 'stuff,' for lack of a less-flattering term, in one place; tools, uniform parts, notebook, knives and writing implements. We lose countless hours while students scramble for their Sharpie, an apron and their zester. If they are hauling around a laptop, oh my! By the time they locate their power supply, USB cord and pocket drive, we are already getting ready to end class.
I prescribed a tool box, being the old schooler that I am, but that still requires the use of a laptop bag and/or a backpack - then ChefPak showed up! Part knife kit, part laptop bag, part other academic ephemera holder, ChefPak is a smartly designed bag with students and professionals as the perfect audience. The toughness of the bag is constructed to handle the abuse that we insist on putting our equipment through, as if being in a kitchen isn't enough torture. The seems are stitched and stitched and stitched! There is ample padding in all the right places on the inner space that makes contact with your back. After all, a knife kit and accompanying equipment is no light hauling. The heft of the bag is matched by the generous space; a pouch large enough to hold a knife case (included by the good folks of ChefPak) and another for the laptop. Oh, and another for more stuff, with a plethora of smaller compartments to handle the pens, markers, flash drive, notebooks and a saffron tin or two. Its got space! The included knife/trap bag fits perfectly in the largest pouch of the bag and is designed with us in mind, as well. When opened, the knife bag lays flat and keeps a busy cook's tools snugly in place, whereas my old tool box tends to jostle everything around, taking its toll in the form of little nicks, scratches and bruises to the handles of some pricey knives.
My students like the bag. A lot. I heard a lot of flattery about the non-geek factor in terms of the bag operating incognito, playing the role of just about any other backpack. I also heard positive comments about the wide straps that, if too narrow, can make rather the most uncomfortable of commutes when shuttling a fully-loaded bag. One student mentioned that some newer bags have an MP3 player pouch right in the shoulder strap, that the ChefPak does not. I argued that such a highly visible location for an expensive piece of electronics is an advertisement for nefarious behavior.
Is it worth the $100? A resolute, Yes. I can easily tuck a laptop, a folded chef coat, knives and some classroom material in one place. Where's the gray area? None. I do not know the designers of the ChefPak, but I would have to speculate that he/she/they are kitchen folk or spent an awful sum of time talking with kitchen folk. Nice job!