An innovative bag with more pockets than you may need (June 16th, 2006)
Product Manufacturer: Crumpler Bags
Price: $145.00 US
- Well-constructed. Thoughtfully designed. Strong materials. Lots of Velcro.
- Lots of Velcro. No pockets without flap access. Lots of divisions donít make organization easier.
Crumpler makes a fine bag even though the company seems a bit strange in their marketing approach. The Part and Parcel is a fantastic shoulder bag, but it is not the best I have seen. In a way, problems with the bag are similar to problems with the companyís web site. There is a little too much going on for my taste, on the website and within the bag.
Secure with a bit too much VelcroThe Part and Parcel is a 15Ē laptop shoulder bag that comes in five pleasing colors. It has a securely attached wide and comfortable strap that gathers on one side. A huge outer flap closes the entire bag, which is water resistant, but not waterproof. This flap closes with clips and a whole lot of Velcro. Donít make this the bag you use when you show up late for a meeting, because there is no way into it without disturbing an enormous and loud swath of Velcro. Itís like Crumpler just discovered the stuff, and wants it everywhere. Personally, I like a shoulder bag that has outside slip-in pockets, but everything on the Part and Parcel is under the flap. If you want more outside pockets, their smaller bags attach to the strap easily, but add bulk to an already large bag.
Excellent ConstructionThe build quality is outstanding. Seams are strong, and the strap is solidly fixed in place. A removable shoulder pad makes carrying the fully loaded bag even more comfortable. Your laptop rests in a padded envelope in the large main pocket, held in place by another padded Velcro closing flap. The main compartment is divided in two, then subdivided into many smaller pockets, at least five of which have Velcro closures. To be fair, a few are zipper closed too.
The design is innovative, donít get me wrong. The bag looks like a normal shoulder bag, but it doesnít look boring like most bags. It has interesting lines, mesh pockets for visibility, and an incredibly durable 1000D Nylon shell, plus 420D Ripstop Nylon inside. If you seek fine workmanship, even on a casual bag, you will not be disappointed with Crumpler. Wide and sturdy zippers donít snag or pull apart easily. The Velcro is strong and assured, so even though the ripping sound is grating, there is no doubt the bag will stay closed. Clips are heavy plastic, and nothing as out-there as the seat-belt clips or para-glider clips you see on some bags. The dimensions of the bag are 17.5" x 13.5"x 6" and the sleeve is 13.8" x 11.4" x 1.6"
Not My StyleIf I have criticisms of this bag, they are surely personal complaints about the style of bag I prefer, and not criticisms of Crumpler itself. The company makes such a plethora of bags, you should be able to find one that exactly fits your life and usage-style. For me, though, the Part and Parcel is just not it. When filled with the various plugs and adapters, the bag is a bit unruly. I carry many small devices, and more than a dozen cables to connect them. Cable management with the Part and Parcel is confusing because you canít immediately see whatís in a pocket. Even though a few pockets zipped closed, I still found myself shifting things around a lot to dig for the exact cable I needed. Opening and closing flaps is just not fun. I prefer fewer, deeper pockets to the many subdivisions the Part and Parcel contains.
Finally, I have to second complaints I have read from other MacNN reviewers concerning Crumplerís web site. Ironic silly phrases may be funny the first time, such as pull this chicken across the screen to see our catalogue, but for such a large selection, the site certainly makes it difficult to see their whole catalog of bags.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor