I have no idea what people are doing to their backpacks to make them tear, but I've had mine for nine months now and it's still just as new as the day I opened the box. I initially bought this as a more compact and ergonomic solution for toting things around on a trip around Europe during the summer, and it worked like a charm. It has enough space to fit my 15" Macbook (plus neoprene sleeve) in the laptop compartment, several textbooks/notebooks in the middle compartment, and a snack and pens/pencils/calculator/etc in the front pocket. The straps are designed in such a way that it doesn't hurt my back and lies flat without sagging. The backpack itself survived two gruelling months of air/bus/train/boat travel and days upon days of walking, and I now use it daily for university. My only complaint is that the padding on the part that lays on my back conducts heat and traps it in which isn't a problem during Canadian winters when I could use a bit more warmth but definitely made for the extreme in sweaty back on a hike in +35C heat.
Overall, this backpack gets five stars. If/when it starts to break, I have no doubt I'll get another one.